Conversion of the Zollingers

I found a copy of my great-great-grandfather’s (Jacob Zollinger) life history and just loved reading it.  I was really impressed with his and his family’s faith in Jesus Christ and His restored church.  The Zollinger family was an established, well-to-do family in Urdorf, Switzerland for many, many, many years.  And they left it all behind to join their fellow saints in Salt Lake City.  They believed in Jesus Christ and knew His true church had been restored so they were baptized.

This is an excerpt describing their miraculous baptisms:

“During the summerof 1861 my father hired two carpenters to remodel our house. One of them, who considered himself a bible scholar, tried to persuade my parents to join his church but they were not to be moved. The town Minister who lived across the street from us had in his employ a young lady by the name of Mary Horlacher. Through her daily visits to our home for their supply of milk, Mary and our family, especially my sisters, became very good friends. Then one day Mary decided to quit her job and return to her home. Her parents, in her absence, had accepted the gospel and were baptised. The Minister, needing her services again, insisted on her coming back to work. In her old job again, Mary made use of every opportunity to share the knowledge of her new found religion with us.    My parents became interested. They began attending the meetings of the Elders in Zurich. Mother knew that this religion was much different than anything she had heard of. Their baptismal date was set for November 20, 1861. Ferdie and I were finishing the apple harvest that day when we noticed our parents walking along the public pathway that led in the direction of the Limmat River. Ferdie surmising what they were up to and being prejudiced against this new religion, began to swear and curse and threatened to stop them from going.    But the Lord blocked his way, for he met with an accident.

“It was the custom in those days for the farmers to help each other with the threshing of their grain. To keep it dry it was stacked in the barn. Ferdie was asked by a neighbor to come and help him. That eveninc while coming down a ladder, he slipped and fell injuring his leg. As a result he was confined to his bed for five or six weeks. Never did an opportunity to study and reflect on the teachings of Mormonism present itself in a better light than it did then. Ferdie was soon convinced of the truth and desired to be baptised.

“My parents, now members ofthe Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, had in mind to sell the farm and home and emigrate to America. This would have been impossible had my brother Ferdie decided against joining the church. The Lord had his hand init and directed matters for the good of all.

“THE DAY OF MY BAPTISM – December 16, 1861

“In my early youth I cared little for religion.  My uppermost desire then was for enjoyment and that was only on Sundays when we boys got together. Since by brother Ferdie was laid up, it fell to my lot to look afterthe feeding of the stock and the milking. I was in the barn doing the farm chores when the Mormon Elders came to our house. My mother came out and said that Ferdie and my sister Dorothea, were going to be baptised andthat
she wanted me to go along too.    I said that there was plenty of time for me, but I did as I was told. That evening my mother invited the town officers and neighbors to a meeting. The officers were the only ones who came into the house. The other people stayed outside until the meeting was over. After the meeting we walked about a mile to the mill race onthe Limmat River. Ferdie walked with the aid of his crutches.  There was four inches of snow on the ground audit was cold One of the Elders went into the cold water, something I had never seen before. When Ferdie came out of the water he did not have any need for his crutches. He was healed and and walked as before. As for me, they never gave me any change of clothing, so I had to walk home in my wet clothes, but to my amazement, instead of freezing and being cold, I was not only warm but hot. So anybody can guess right there was the power of God made manifest, faith was planted in my heart and a real foundation was laid, I could not get away from it if I wanted to. I know it was the power of God. The baptisms and confirmations were performed by Elders Gerber and Miller. The next morning Ferdie loaded the wagon with 200 pound sacks of potatoes. The neighbors were astonished and wondered what had taken place, for the day before he was unable to walk without crutches.”

I am so thankful for these wonderful and faithful people who sacrificed a comfortable, well-established home and committed themselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They knew they had the truth and their testimonies carried them to the Salt Lake Valley where they could be led by a living prophet of God and actively participate in the growth and establishment of the Lord’s kingdom on earth.

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