Rome Mayor Tours Mormon Temple Construction Site
The Mayor of Rome, Italy, got a rare personalized tour of the construction site of the Rome Italy Mormon Temple. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), builds temples all around the world, and on October 4th, 2008, President Thomas S. Monson surprised the Church by announcing plans to build a new temple in Rome.
Plans to Build a Temple in Rome
This will be the first Mormon temple in Italy. The Religious and Cultural Center of the Church, the first of its kind in Italy, will include a temple, multi-functional meetinghouse (including a cultural hall and facilities for conferencing), visitors’ center, family history center and patron housing, all surrounded by lovely gardens.
LDSchurchtemples.com/rome perfectly describes the feelings at the announcement of the temple:
Italian members met the announcement of the Rome Italy Temple with the animated cheering and enthusiasm you might expect to see in a sports arena during a last-second win, explained President Massimo De Feo, president of the Rome Italy Stake, in an interview. He added that since the temple announcement, the Stake is seeing the baptism of full families for the first time. In just the past five years, the number of stakes in Italy has grown from three to six. And temple attendance at the distant Bern Switzerland Temple has been much higher from the Saints in Italy than from any other country in the temple district.
In the Conference Center, President Thomas S. Monson’s announcement of a temple to be constructed in Rome produced wide smiles and an audible gasp of surprise from the congregation during the Saturday morning session of the October 2008 General Conference.
Rome Mayor Impressed with Building Standards
Mayor Gianni Alemanno of Rome, Italy, was able to get a tour of the grounds, see a model of the temple and hear detailed plans about the entire complex. The Mayor is an environmental engineer and was impressed with the church’s construction including quality of materials, high construction standards and the systems employed to manage water consumption, electrical production and the low environmental impact of the temple complex.
To the Mayor Alemanno were shown a model of the temple and a rendering of what the final complex includes four buildings: a church for Sunday worship and activities during the week, a visitor center with adjoining Family History Center, a facility for welcome visitors who come from afar, and the temple, the twelfth in Europe, the first in Italy. The temple is considered to be literally the house of the LORD by the members of the Church.
Wearing a helmet, the Mayor was able to go into the yard and walk inside the various buildings, realizing person of high standards of construction adopted to build what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider to be the house of the Lord. Mayor Alemanno was very impressed by the advanced systems used for the management of water consumption for the production of electricity and the low environmental impact of the complex, all of these devices make this property one of the first in Italy for eco- compatibility.
The Mayor Alemanno has expressed great appreciation for the architectural style adopted for the excellence of the materials used and the project as a whole that will enrich and beautify this area with beautiful gardens open to the public and made freely available to the whole community.
What Is a Mormon Temple?
Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS or Mormon), are not regular places of Sunday worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are quite different from the thousands of regular chapels or meetinghouses all over the world that are used for Sunday services.
Anyone, regardless of religion, may enter a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse and attend services. However, because of the sacredness of temples as “houses of the Lord,” only members of the Church who are in good standing are allowed to enter the temples. A member must be observing the basic principles of the faith and attest to that fact to his or her local leaders once every two years in order to enter a temple.
The History of The Church in Italy
The growth of the Church in Italy has not been without its opposition. Just three years after the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, the first missionaries arrived in Genova, Italy, on June 25, 1850, including Elder Lorenzo Snow, who would become the fifth president of the Church. Over the next three years, 221 people were baptized and organized into three branches. But most proselytizing in Italy stopped in the early 1860s in the face of local opposition and because of a request from Church leaders for Italian members to immigrate to Utah. An attempt to reopen missionary work in Italy in 1900 was refused by the government.
The Church was finally reestablished in Italy in 1951, following the conversion of Vincenzo di Francesca, who happened to find a burned copy of the Book of Mormon with a missing cover and title page. Italians who had joined the Church in other countries began to return to Italy during this period.
Rome Temple Complex
The Rome Italy Temple will be the centerpiece of a complex of religious and cultural buildings significant to the Church. The Complex will include the following:
- Temple. A worship facility for the performance of sacred ordinances and religious instruction to strengthen Church members’ relationships to God, family, and those around them.
- Stake Center (Meetinghouse). A chapel where members and visitors meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities.
- Visitors’ Center. A building for visitors to learn about the Church through a collection of exhibitions including reproductions of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue and the twelve apostles. The originals were sculpted in Rome and transported to Copenhagen in 1838 to stand in Vor Frue Kirke, the National Cathedral of Denmark.
- Family History Center. A family history library providing the public the use of facilities and equipment to conduct genealogical research free of charge.
- Accommodation Center. A lodging facility for temple workers and patrons who must travel long distances to Rome.
- Gardens. Meticulous landscaping surrounding the entire complex, creating a peaceful, contemplative environment where visitors may feel the joy and beauty of God’s creations.
The Mayor’s Appreciation:
“A representative of The Church, Elder Teixeira, offered Rome, the support of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that it was prepared to cooperate in service projects for the good of the community and offer assistance in emergency situations caused by natural disasters or other needs.
Speaking to reporters at the end of his visit, Mayor Alemanno expressed appreciation for the service activities carried out by the Church in Rome and the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are working for the defense of values such as the family, stating that this is a positive contribution to the life of the city.”