When Elder Claudio Roberto Mendes Costa received a testimony of the gospel following a night of prayerful study and meditation in 1977, he wanted to be baptized the very next day.
“The Lord touched my heart,” recalls Elder Costa, who was born 25 March 1949 in the Brazilian coastal city of Santos. “I realized I had wasted a lot of time by not being a member of the Church.”
Elder Costa, a newly called member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, had first met the missionaries as a youth. He was so impressed that he introduced them to his family, who soon joined the Church. Ironically, however, Claudio left Santos at age seventeen to work in nearby São Paulo and didn’t join the Church until he moved back home at age twenty-seven.
A year later, on 4 July 1978, Brother Costa married Margareth Fernandes Morgado in São Paulo. They were later sealed in the São Paulo Temple. They have four children.
Elder Costa has served as a bishop, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency, mission president, and regional representative. Most recently, he was director of the Church’s institute of religion in São Paulo. Before going to work in 1981 for the Church Educational System, Brother Costa studied gemology and marketing and worked in jewelry store management.
He says the gospel truly is a “pearl of great price.” But unlike the precious stones he marketed as a professional, “the gospel doesn’t have to be divided into parts. All of it is precious.”
Elder Costa enjoys reading books in English about the Prophet Joseph Smith. His reading has not only helped him to learn English but has strengthened his testimony of the Prophet.
“When you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, it’s very easy to receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of today’s living prophet,” he says. “True liberty and happiness are found in following the Lord and his prophets. Our responsibility is to share that knowledge with others and to do the things the Lord requires.”