“Fearless in Sharing the Gospel,” Friend, Nov. 2009, 2–3
Mary Bommeli was my great-grandmother. Mary was born in 1830. The missionaries taught her family in Switzerland when she was 24. She was still living at home, weaving and selling cloth to help support her family on their small farm. When the family heard the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, they knew it was true. They were baptized. Mary’s brothers were called on missions. The rest of the family sold their possessions to go to America to gather with the Saints.
There was not enough money for all to go. Mary volunteered to stay behind because she felt she could earn enough from her weaving to support herself and save for her passage. She found her way to Berlin and to the home of a woman who hired her to weave cloth for the family’s clothing. She lived in a servant’s room and set up her loom in the living area of the home.
It was against the law then to teach the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Berlin. But Mary could not keep the good news to herself. The woman of the house and her friends would gather around the loom to hear the Swiss girl teach. She talked about the appearance of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith, of the visitation of angels, and of the Book of Mormon. When she came to the accounts of Alma, she taught the doctrine of the Resurrection.
In those days, many children died very young. The women around the loom had lost children in death, some of them several children. When Mary taught the truth that little children were heirs of the celestial kingdom and that those women might again be with them and with the Savior and our Heavenly Father, tears rolled down the faces of the women. Mary cried too. All those tears got the cloth wet that Mary had woven.
One night there was a knock at the door. It was the police. They took Mary to jail. At the jail, Mary asked for a pencil and some paper. She wrote a letter to the judge. She wrote about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in the Book of Mormon, about the spirit world, and about the final judgment. In the morning she asked the policeman to take her letter to the judge.
It wasn’t long until the policeman came back to Mary’s cell. He told her that all charges were dismissed and that she was free to go. Her teaching the doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ [got] her cast into jail. And her declaring the doctrine of repentance to the judge got her cast out of jail.
I am grateful for the Savior’s love for us and for the words He has given us. I pray that we may share those words with those we love.