Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter XXVIII
Editor's note. Lorenzo writes. Leaves Geneva. Over the hills. Over the Alps. A heavy snow storm. Only two passengers in the coach. Ten horses barely .sufficient. "Houses of Recovery" erected by the govern- ment for lost travelers. Reaches Turin. Meets Elders Woodard and Toronto. Interesting "re-union." Visions. Healings. Condition of Italy. Brother Woodard's course commendable. The Waldenses.
all due respect to whatever romantic enthusiasm a lively imagination may clothe "over the Alps" in the dead of winter, it certainly must be anything but a pleasure trip to those who encounter it. To say nothing of the thrilling aspect and the hazardous adventure, the sudden transition from the heat of summer to the depth of winter is calculated to produce a telling effect on the constitution of the traveler. This rny brother experienced for several subsequent years.
ITALY, FEBRUARY 18, 1852. Dear President Richards:
Bidding farewell to Brother and Sister Stenhouse and the Swiss Saints, I left Geneva on the 9th inst. by malle poste, and commenced winding my way over a rough, hilly and mountainous country that formed a strange contrast with the beautiful, undulating pays of southern France. As we approached the towering Alps, there came a heavy snow storm, which made our journey very gloomy, dreary and altogether disagreeable. About six o'clock in the evening of the following day, we commenced the ascent of Mount Cenis, and readied its cloudy summit, six thousand seven hundred feet in height, at one o'clock the next morning.
Though but one passenger beside myself saw proper to
208 BIOGRAPHY AND
venture over the mountain, it was found that ten horses were barely sufficient to carry us forward through the drifting snow, which had fallen to nearly the depth of four feet since the last post had passed, a circumstance that rendered it very dangerous making our way up the narrow road and short turnings. One stumble or the least unlucky toss of our vehicle would, at very many points of our path, have plunged us a thousand feet down rocky precipices.
It may be noticed to the credit of the government that "houses of recovery" are now erected in the dangerous por- tion of this route, for the preservation and benefit of travelers that may lose their way or be caught in a storm, <and their progress hindered by the drifting snows. In going the dis- tance of a half mile, six or eight of these benevolent build- ings may be seen. We descended the mountain with much more ease to our horses, and more comfort to ourselves; and I felt thankful that my passage over these rocky steeps was completed, and hoped it might never be my lot to cross them a third time at night in the winter season; but regarding these matters, we need seek to exercise no anxiety, inasmuch as over them we hold no control.
On reaching Turin, I had the happiness of meeting Elders .Woodard and Toronto, and the day following of pay- ing a visit to the Saints in Angrogna.
I could see and feel that the brethren here had all been baptized into the same Spirit. At a very interesting "re-union," one sister said, "Mr. Snow, it is the first time I see you with my bodily eyes, but the Lord gave me a mani- festation a few weeks ago, in which I saw you as plain as I see you now." Another bore testimony of an open vision which she had a short time before. A brother also testified of several cases of healing which had occurred in his own family.
I feel to commend the course pursued by Elder Woodard, whose operations have been directed by wisdom and prudence.
Here a branch of the Church has been raised up under cir- cumstances which would have paralyzed the efforts of any one not in possession of the most unshaken confidence in the power of the Lord. We published books at the risk of coming in collision with the government. The Catholic priests called on the ministers of state to prevent their sale; but in spite of every obstacle, we have disposed of nearly all we printed. We are not permitted to preach in public, and at every step find ourselves far off from the religious liberty enjoyed in England. But Italy is not silent under the shackles of spiritual despotism. Many noble sentiments, and liberal ideas, have been spread through the country by the speeches of honest-hearted men in Parliament, who have called loudly for religious freedom, and we trust they will not always call in vain.
The mission, up to this time, has been necessarily carried on in a narrow sphere, but more favorable openings now seem to present themselves, and the Book of Mormon will lend its powerful aid in building up the Church. After many anxieties with regard to that work, it was no small pleasure to find it welcomed by the Saints in Italy as a heavenly treasure, and the translation so highly approved. Nor can I express the delight which I experienced in gazing upon Mount Brigham, on whose rocky brow we had organized La Chiesa di Gesu Christo del Santi degli Ultimi Gioni, in Italia.
The Waldenses were the first to receive the Gospel, but by the press and the exertions of the Elders, it will be rolled forth beyond their mountain regions. At this season they are surrounded with snow from three to six feet deep, and in many instances all communication is cut off between the villages. Our labors in such countries will be eminently blessed when we can have persons in the Priesthood who are not under the same disadvantages and liabilities as foreign Elders, and such are rising up here.
Elder John D. Malan, president of the branch, is a man
210 BIOGRAPHY AND
of God, and having labored faithfully under the counsel of Elder Woodard, I think it wisdom that he should take charge of the work here, while Elder Woodard opens the mission in the seaport of Nice. Italian states are well known as being the most hostile upon earth to the introduction of religious truth, but as their subjects are in constant communication with many countries that are washed by the Mediterranean, they will have facilities for hearing the Gospel as we come into con- nection with their maritime relations; and being acquainted with all the languages around that central sea, the thousands of Italians w T ho perform business upon its waters will furnish some faithful men to speed on the Kingdom of God, through the south and east of Europe. At Nice we shall be able to keep up connection with the Waldenses on one hand and the Maltese on the other. Malta will be an important field of labor, not only for Italy, but also for Greece, where, according to ancient tradition, a branch of the House of Israel long remained.
The Turkish and Russian empires may also be reached through the same medium; and I hope to see the day when the countries I have named will all be cut up into confer- ences of Latter-day Saints. Brother Obray will join his labors with those of Brother Woodard, for both Nice and Malta, and for the extension of the mission into other parts of Italy.
As soon as circumstances permit, I shall be moving for- ward to other realms, and from, whence my next communica- tion will proceed, I cannot say; perhaps from Malta, or the crumbling monuments of ruined Egypt, or the burning climes of India.
Praying that the Lord may always be with you, granting you His richest favors,
I remain, as ever, yours affectionately,