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When You Put the Lord First

Daniele Salerno learned a new language, supported a family, and went back to school — all while putting the Lord first


Like many others, Daniele Salerno put his education on hold to pursue marriage and a family. When he couldn’t afford to attend college and provide for his family, he dropped out of school and began working full-time.

He said, “I enrolled in a traditional college in Rome, Italy, before I got married, but then I dropped out because it was incompatible with my plan to start a family and pay the bills.”

Daniele with his family
Daniele with his family

However, when Daniele heard that a flexible, Church-sponsored program for higher education was going to start, he couldn’t miss out on the opportunity. “One of my priesthood leaders said it would allow members of the Church to pursue a higher education online at BYU-Pathway at an affordable cost with a flexible schedule. I wanted to pursue a career in business. However, I felt I lacked the formal training and qualifications to make my resume attractive for that kind of career path.”

Not only would BYU-Pathway Worldwide fit perfectly into his busy life, but it would give Daniele the chance to earn a degree centered in gospel values. “The idea of having the opportunity to pursue higher education in an environment that equally valued spiritual and secular knowledge was attractive to me. All my life, I grew up being the only member of the Church at school, and I often longed to feel what it would be like to approach secular subjects in light of ancient and modern revelations.”

BYU-Pathway Worldwide also gave Daniele the flexibility he needed to work, study, fulfill his church callings, and tend to his responsibilities as a father and husband. However, there would still be challenges he would face while pursuing education.

Daniele at his graduation from BYU-Idaho

Daniele’s primary language is Italian. College can be hard enough in your native language, but doing it in another is a different challenge all on its own. Daniele attributes his success not only to his hard work studying the language, but also to the straightforward learning material and the help of his instructors.

“It was a challenge to gradually gain confidence in my ability to pursue higher education in a language different than my mother tongue,” he said. “However, it didn’t take much time and effort to realize that I could definitely do it.”

Daniele’s determination also aided him as he juggled coursework with his family, his job, and his church responsibilities. Often he would need to wake up at four in the morning to have time to finish his homework for the day. But when planning his schedule, one thing always took priority: God.

He said, “Choosing to put the Lord first in my daily and weekly schedule gave me a sense of order, priority, and peace inside, because it helped me see when I had given my greatest effort and to accept the final outcome. I decided that I was going to keep the Sabbath Day holy and find the time to carry out my church duties, then I started to plan my life accordingly. This approach helped me in shaping my agenda in a way that [the most important things] always came first.”

Daniele was a shining example to everyone around him of the blessings that came as he put the Lord first in his life. BYU-Pathway Worldwide not only taught Daniele time management, but it also taught him that, with the Spirit, you can learn anything!

Daniele graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, which led him to an internship with the Church in a managerial position. He plans to earn an MBA in the near future. Learn more about the BYU-Idaho online certificates and degrees BYU-Pathway Worldwide coordinates and presents at .