The Church in Italy: A Personal and Ecclesiastical History

Presented by Dr. Mauro Properzi

Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first arrived in Italy in the mid-1800s. However, after less than two decades, mission operations ended with just under 200 Waldensian converts, most of whom immigrated to Utah. Nearly a century later, a second wave of Mormon influence began. This time, they were blessed with much more success, leading to the formation of permanent stakes, membership growth, greater visibility, and plans for the construction of a temple. There are now more than 25,900 members in 103 congregations in Italy. The missionary force covers two missions.

As a Latter-day Saint born and raised in the Church in Italy, Mauro Properzi will draw upon research and personal experience to present an examination of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the bel paese. He will highlight some of the challenges and tensions that emerge from being a member of the Church in Italy and recount the inspiring stories of some who have paved the way as pioneers for the restored gospel.

Dr. Mauro Properzi is a native of Gorizia, Italy. He received a BS in social work from Brigham Young University, an MA in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, a PhD in Mormon studies from Durham University in the U.K., and an MPhil in psychology and religion from Cambridge University. He also holds a postdoctoral certificate in interfaith dialogue from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. His research interests focus on the theological and historical interface of Mormonism and Catholicism, the theology of religions, and religion and emotions. His publications can be found in such prestigious journals as Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Journal of Mormon History, Brigham Young University Studies, International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, and Issues in Religion and Psychotherapy. His first book, Mormonism and the Emotions: An Analysis of LDS Scriptural Texts, was published this summer. At Brigham Young University, Dr. Properzi teaches classes on world religions and Christianity.

This free lecture is part of the 2015 Pioneers in Every Land Lecture Series sponsored by the Church History Library.