Hello. I have seen the movie “how rare a possession” about the italian priest Vincenzo Di Francesca who found a copy of the Book of Mormon, but for many years never could find out what book it was since the cover was damaged and the titel page missing?

It took him 20 years to find out. I find this very strange, because he found it in America and lived there later on too, he could have just asked people around, im sure there must have been people who would recognize it? Or why didnt he just go to the library and look in a dictionary?

He eventually found out when he accidently stumbled upon the word “mormon” in a dictionary, 20 years after he found the book. Why didnt he check it up sooner? How hard can it be? Even if the title page was missing, he had a whole lot of names from the witnesses and Joseph Smith and NEphi, etc to look up?

Anonymous from Sweden,
(This question was posted by someone who decided to join the "Mormon Church," perhaps thanks in part to answers posted on AllAboutMormons.com. Click here to see other questions posted by Mormon converts.)

2 Responses to “Hello. I have seen the movie “how rare a possession” about t…”

February 6, 2012

Maybe because he wasn’t ready to find out more at the time? I find from my own experience and that of other people, that you don’t hear the message- or you’re not prepared to find out the message for yourself- until you get to a point in your life when you are good and ready for it. Only then are you receptive. It’s taken me nearly 20 years to think about returning to Christianity and obviously, that’s not because of any lack of information ‘out there’, I just didn’t want to know about it until now. God moves in mysterious ways!

As an Italian, and I presume Catholic, priest, making an enquiry into anything that might have led him away from the priesthood and possibly away from Catholicism altogether is a massive, massive thing. As you might already know, Catholic priests differ from the LDS priesthood in many significant respects; significantly that only a few people feel a special calling to the priesthood, it takes a monumental amount of time and soul-searching to get through the whole process (many don’t make it); and it involves life-long vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience. Having devoted your whole life to God in this radical way, little wonder that he might have felt some hesitancy to start looking at stuff that might start him off questioning this way of life. Not many people are open to change, particularly when it may threaten your vocation (your calling from God), your ‘job’ and your day to day life.

Am interested in the film, will look it up!

Stephen Douglas
February 6, 2012

I don’t find Vincenzo’s lack of finding out about Mormonism until much later in life to be farfetched. First, he was an immigrant from Italy, living in NY, which meant he stayed, as do many ethnic groups, within his own community. He also served in WWI soon after his find, which meant he was far from any media he might have found to learn more about Mormonism. At the beginning of the 20th century, there wasn’t a lot of missionary work being done on the east coast and the LDS Church was very small there.

When I served my mission in Italy in 1980, the only reason most Italians who knew anything about Mormonism knew anything at all about us was due to the old television series, “How the West was Won.” And all they knew about us was polygamy.

The other reason for him not looking up the name, Mormon, was simple. Mormon was just one of the names in the Book of Mormon. The prominant figure in the Book of Mormon is Jesus of Nazareth, not Mormon.

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