I Was the Mayor
IT WAS my good fortune to be raised in a family having sound moral principles. As a result, I was taught to be honest, sincere and truthful—characteristics that would strongly influence important decisions that I would have to make later in life.
From Catholic Action I went on to politics, feeling that a person should contribute actively to the political and social development of society. In other words, he should become an integral part of the historic moment in which he lives.
And so it was that, in the 1970 local election, I was elected to the city council and, in turn, by the city council to the office of mayor. This was in Campagna Montferrato (Alessandria), Italy. In my new position I found myself thrown into the political arena with its bureaucracy pitted against its citizens, the latter particularly in the role as taxpayers.
It soon became evident to me that corruption had reached all levels of society, with the politician operating out of personal interests, in order to remain in power. Thus the decisions made were strictly partisan. Whenever something constructive was proposed, it was soon blocked by bureaucracy. So it was never possible to complete anything in less than six or seven months.
In these circumstances I struggled to have honesty and uprightness prevail, trying never to lose sight of the interests of the entire community. It was possible to change a few things, but, oh, how many enemies I made!
I noted that the majority of my fellow citizens desired to see justice done, but only by the other person. Whenever it was a question of their personal interests, they sought favors of a friend, or they looked for a compromise or a loophole, or they attempted to frighten the administrator, or they resorted to immoral violence to gain personal privileges.
A Visit with Far-reaching Results
While I was struggling in the midst of all these difficulties, on Christmas Day in 1972 a man and a woman came to my door, and they began talking to me about God and the Bible, saying that a change was imminent on the earth. Rather amazed, I consented to talk with them briefly. They left with me the book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life and some magazines, promising that they would return to inquire as to what I thought about this literature.
After reading a few pages of the Truth book, I stopped, for it seemed so ridiculous. But I spoke about it to my wife. We asked ourselves: ‘To go to the doors and say such things these people must have some reason, some basis; if what they say is from the Holy Bible, how is it that they have understood it whereas our Catholic Church with almost two thousand years of history hasn’t understood it?’
As was our habit, the following Sunday we went to Mass, because we were sincere practicing Catholics. After the parish priest had explained the Gospel, he advised his audience not to listen to those who identified themselves as “Christians” or as “Jehovah’s witnesses.”
The next Sunday, having learned that Jehovah’s witnesses had again visited the homes of the town, the priest became angry and said in a categorical manner not to listen to them, as they were Protestants that did not believe in Christ and, besides, they sought in an aggressive manner to make people accept their ideas. In succeeding weeks the priest frequently railed against Jehovah’s witnesses, calling them “greedy wolves.”
But my wife and I, moved by curiosity, or perhaps due to our reaction to the environment that surrounded us, received these Christians known as Jehovah’s witnesses into our home, contrary to what our parish priest had advised. To our surprise we found that their intentions were peaceful and that their manner was meek.
As Catholics, we felt that we had the true religion, and, hence, our discussions with the Witnesses were with the objective of aiding them to understand that they were in error. But the more we continued to study the more we understood that we were the ones in error. More than once we turned to our parish priest, who, however, was not able to give us the necessary explanations.
Moved now by our thirst for truth, we engaged in discussions with individuals whom we believed to be well informed in regard to the Bible, both Catholic and Protestant. Many important points were discussed. However, neither the Catholic theologian nor the Protestant pastor could find a Scriptural basis to support his theories. Hence, we could only conclude that the truth was found in the Holy Scriptures, and was being preached only by those who were keeping Jesus’ command to love one another, thus identifying themselves to be his true disciples.
The average Catholic receives in adolescence a religious training based on rites and prayers learned by rote, after which his spirituality is supposed to be satisfied through the Sunday Mass. He is given to understand that his salvation is in the hands of the priest performing the various sacraments. His conscience may become seared and hardened and, in the end, such a person often becomes insensible, corrupt.
Gradually I saw the errors of the Catholic Church on the doctrinal level exposed. Let me cite those that principally impressed me. For example: How can the Trinity doctrine be justified when one reads what is written at John 14:28? Or how can the doctrine of the immortality of the soul be sustained in the light of Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 9:5; Job 14:13 and Job 34:14, 15? And if we examine the conduct of the churches of Christendom, the violence they have committed throughout history, and particularly in the recent world wars, and if we compare this conduct with John 13:34, it certainly is evident that such conduct is incompatible with true Christianity.
From all of this it was easy to conclude that the teachings of the Catholic Church were false, so little by little I abandoned her, and together with my wife I began to attend the meetings in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. As our knowledge increased, we realized that Jehovah’s witnesses are truly God’s people.
The Mayor’s New View of Politics
The world of politics began to bother me even more than previously, because now I began to see that the dishonesty and the selfishness among politicians were due to their lack of spiritual discernment and of knowledge of God’s Word the Bible.
It was clear that my continuing in politics would do nothing to solve the social struggles in the midst of which I lived, because my efforts would require that I lower myself to compromises and corruption. Otherwise I would be crushed and put aside. To my mind, society could be changed only if men’s hearts were changed and not just by some honest persons engaging in the various social activities.
This is confirmed by the fact that the world is what it is, not because persons morally upright have not tried to better social conditions, but, rather, because the upright efforts of the few have been overcome by the wickedness of the many.
Now I was able to see why the political and administrative forces were, are and ever will be unable to solve the social problems that daily confront them and why large areas in the southern part of this country are without drinkable water and electricity, why there are national insurance systems with frightening deficits, why there are insufficient educational facilities, unrestrained pollution, runaway inflation, and why delinquency and violence are on the increase.
Nevertheless, as the mayor (a job I had assumed when still a Catholic) I had a responsibility toward my fellow citizens that still remained. At the same time my knowledge of the truth made it clear that my position was not acceptable to Jehovah. It was necessary for me to act without compromising in this regard and in accordance with Christian principles. After thinking the matter over I decided to go to the prefect and explain to him my intention to resign from the office of mayor. He was quite understanding and assured me that he would arrange things so that the remaining members of the city council would be able to complete their mandate without the necessity of holding early elections. This was exactly what I desired—to avoid giving the community the expensive burden that holding early elections would mean.
Thus I was able to resign. Now my wife and I felt tranquil and serene about the choice that we had made. It was now our desire to dedicate ourselves to Jehovah and publicly to symbolize it by water immersion. This we were able to do.
So now my wife and I are happy to be numbered among Jehovah’s people and to offer ourselves for the service of the true God, doing so with deep love and appreciation and with a sincere desire to help others also to acquire this great happiness of heart.—Contributed.