A native of Switzerland, Spori was a high school principal and government officer in that country. He was also elected to the Reformed Church's Synod Council. However, he resigned his seat due to disagreements with the leaders of that church. In 1877 he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). In 1879 he emigrated to Utah Territory. His wife, Magdalena Roschi, and children stayed in Switzerland because they had not joined the LDS Church. In 1884 Spori, returned to Switzerland as a Mormon missionary. He baptized his wife. One week later, he set off to preach in the Ottoman Empire. While there he baptized Mischa Markow. In 1886, he performed the first-ever Mormon baptism in Palestine.
In 1888 Spori was released from his mission. He went to Switzerland and gathered his family. On going to the United States they settled in Rexburg, Idaho. It was here that Spori served as principal of the school that eventually became Ricks College and later Brigham Young University—Idaho.
Spori was a highly educated man who had degrees in "mathematics, arts and music, and metallurgy.". He was a friend of Karl G. Maeser who instructed him on the desired set up for the new school at Rexburg, Idaho.
- Whitchurch, David M. (2000), "Spori, Jacob", in Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, pp. 1175–1176.
- Denton Y. Brewerton, “Istanbul and Rexburg—Jacob Spori’s Mission Field,” Tambuli, February 1981, p. 11
- Christianson, James R. (1985). "Jacob Spori: Kingdom Builder, 1847-1903". In Donald Q. Cannon; David J. Whittaker. Supporting Saints: Life Stories of Nineteenth-Century Mormons. Religious Studies Center Specialized Monograph Series 1. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. pp. 343–368. ISBN 0-88494-565-0.
|First||Principal of Bannock Stake Academy
(now called Brigham Young University–Idaho)
November 12, 1888 – 1891
Charles N. Watkins
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