She married a wonderful husband for time and all eternity in a holy temple, he said. “The most important date in her life is neither her birth date nor her death date. Her most important date is August 27, 1974. That is the date she and Norm were sealed. Each child was born under the everlasting covenant made on that memorable date.” President Russell M. Nelson hugs members of his family at the Cottonwood Heights Utah Brighton Stake Center after President Nelson spoke at his daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield’s funeral on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.President Nelson told his posterity: “I, with most of you, have shed many tears. I am especially comforted by the Lord’s commandment that ‘thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die’ (Doctrine and Covenants 42:45).”Thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Wendy Nelson Maxfield’s spirit still lives as an eternal entity, he said. With that eternal perspective, Latter-day Saints can understand better the purposes of life and death.Quoting President Joseph F. Smith, President Nelson said, “‘Children should be taught early in life that death is really a necessity as well as a blessing, and that we would not and could not be satisfied and supremely happy without it.’To her children and grandchildren, President Nelson said: “She can minister to you in what I call ‘parenting through the veil.’ She can see us more clearly through the veil than we see her. We cannot forget her. We do not cease to love her. We are sealed to her by eternal ties. She loves us now more than ever. Her desire for our well-being will be even greater than that which we feel for ourselves. So, dear family, stay tuned.”“But when love pours in so bounteously from family, friends, and colleagues, that grief is assuaged in a most marvelous way,” said the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.“Our precious Wendy had to pass through that gateway we call death in order to experience a fulness of joy.”
President Russell M. Nelson hugs members of his family at the Cottonwood Heights Utah Brighton Stake Center after President Nelson spoke at his daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield’s funeral on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“I believe my mother’s happiness came from her faith and belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Blake Maxfield.A wife and mother, Wendy Maxfield was remembered for the love, testimony, music, energy, and laughter she shared. She and her husband, Norman A. Maxfield, are the parents of seven children and have 20 grandchildren. She is the second of nine daughters and one son born to President Nelson and Sister Dantzel White Nelson.President Nelson was joined at the funeral service by his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson; three generations of his large family; his counselors in the First Presidency—President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring; and numerous members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, UTAH Family and friends exit the Cottonwood Heights Utah Brighton Stake Center after funeral services for Wendy Nelson Maxfield on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.
President Russell M. Nelson with his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, stand with son in-law Norman A. Maxfield after funeral services at the Cottonwood Heights Utah Brighton Stake Center for President Nelson’s daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.President Nelson told his grandchildren that they will honor their mother—who spent her entire life ministering, teaching, loving, and serving others—through their own righteousness.All seven Maxfield children—Marissa Jackson, Blake Maxfield, Matthew Maxfield, Brady Maxfield, Megan Hammond, Bryndy Bradshaw, and Makenzie Taylor—spoke of their mother’s many attributes. She spent her days serving others; loving her husband, children, and grandchildren; and creating a home “centered on Christ,” they said.In his last conversation with his daughter, President Nelson reported to her “that her daddy is very proud of her,” he said. “She has always chosen to do that which is right.“ The casket of Wendy Nelson Maxfield is lifted and placed into the hearse after funeral services in the Cottonwood Heights Utah Brighton Stake Center on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.“Our tears of sorrow will turn to tears of anticipation as we gain an eternal perspective,” he said.Sister Gloria Nelson Irion, matron of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, remembered her sister’s “love of the Lord and her desire to serve Him,” which extended naturally to serving others—especially her family.When a parent bids farewell to a child, something dies within that parent’s heart, said President Russell M. Nelson, speaking at funeral services for his “righteous and joyful” daughter on Saturday.Thousands filled the Cottonwood Heights Utah Brighton Stake Center to capacity to pay tribute to Wendy Nelson Maxfield, 67, who died Friday, January 11, of cancer.President Nelson said his daughter has been welcomed home by her mother, Sister Dantzel W. Nelson, who died unexpectedly on February 12, 2005, and her sister Emily Nelson Wittwer, who died on January 29, 1995. She will continue to grow, learn, and progress, he said. “Just think of what lies ahead for her.”
In one line of the song, President Tanner’s mother sang out, “Teach me all that I must be,” rather than “do.”“She then stopped and began to explain, with great animation and enthusiasm as she often does, how ‘be’ expresses what the Lord really expects of us,” President Tanner said to BYU–Hawaii students during the first devotional of the semester held on January 15. His wife, Sister Susan Tanner, also spoke during the devotional.While it is not found in the scriptures, there are similar phrases like “with real intent” or “with full purpose of heart.”“In all these ways and more, we want you to become a more devout disciple here, not just to do well in school and refrain from breaking the rules,” he said.“What do the scriptures promise us if we are intentional followers of Christ?” she asked. “If we come to Him with all of our hearts, He will deliver us out of bondage, heal us, and gather us.”The principle of becoming a disciple also applies to the direction President Russell M. Nelson is trying to take the Church, President Tanner said. President John S. Tanner speaks during a BYU–Hawaii devotional on January 15, 2019. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii.Sister Tanner focused her message on the word intentional.Getting good grades is important, but President Tanner said he wants students to come to love learning so they become lifelong learners.These changes are intended to help members of Christ’s Church become more fully converted and move along the path of true discipleship.President Tanner shared how in the Sermon on the Mount in the Old World and the Sermon at the Temple in the New World as recorded in the Book of Mormon, “Jesus tries to move His followers from outward observance to inward, wholehearted embrace of righteousness. From conformity to consecration.”“It underlies the move from lower law, once-a-month visiting and home teaching to higher law, Christlike ministering. It underlies the renewed emphasis on deep and genuine Sabbath worship, on meaningful covenant making in the sacrament, on personal responsibility for gospel learning and living.”In applying these principles to the students’ education, President Tanner explained that while he wants them to obey the Honor Code, “we want you to internalize the principles of modesty and integrity in the Honor Code rather than just grudgingly conform to its rules.” Sister Susan Tanner speaks during a BYU–Hawaii devotional on January 15, 2019. Photo by Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii.The great aim of discipleship is to become like Him, a new man or woman in Christ.“This is not a time to be casual or half-hearted, to waffle, to be lazy, to let things just happen as they may. This is the time to gather Israel, to prepare the world for Christ’s coming.”Attending church and the temple are important, but truly worshipping is more so.While visiting his 98-year-old mother in Utah for Christmas, BYU–Hawaii President John S. Tanner sang “I Am a Child of God” with her. Due to her failing memory, singing songs is one thing she especially loves.“All of these words mean that you work toward something with design, purpose, intention, or determination,” she said. “Having a goal or an aim or a plan is the foundation. The plan provides something on which we can focus our hearts and minds.”“The purpose of the gospel is to ‘teach us all that we must be to live with Him someday.’ It is not enough to know or to do, as important as those are. We must become like Christ.”Sister Tanner encouraged the audience to be intentional about education, following the Honor Code, and teaching in families.His remarks focused on becoming a disciple of Christ, rather than going through the actions.This is an era that requires intentional efforts in teaching, learning, and living the gospel and striving to become like the Savior Jesus Christ, she said.“While knowledge and action are important to our mission [at BYU–Hawaii], becoming is the most important of all,” he said.Becoming like Christ is simple, but soul stretching, President Tanner said.Christ repeatedly compared His teachings to Moses’s as He taught His higher law. “Refraining from sinning is essential but not enough,” President Tanner said. “His disciples must overcome anger and lust, they must love even their enemies, and so forth. The Lord wants us to change who we are, not just what we do. Hence His eye is ever upon our motives and our hearts.”
The core cast auditions will be held at the end of January and beginning of February. For more information or to sign up for an audition time, visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0e4ea5ad2fa6f49-2019.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is seeking professional-quality actors to audition for 21 core cast roles in the Nauvoo and British pageants, which will be performed on alternating nights in Nauvoo during the summer of 2019.Twelve men's roles and nine women's roles are available, ages 20s through 60s. There is one role for a teenage boy. (Please note that cast members under 18 years of age will need to have a parent/guardian with them in Salt Lake City and Nauvoo for the duration of the rehearsals and performances.)Core cast rehearsals will be held in Salt Lake City in June 2019 and will move to Nauvoo, Illinois, on June 24. Performances for both pageants will be July 9 through August 3, 2019.For those who are not able to attend the auditions in person, please send an email to email@example.com for information about submitting a video audition.
The Church has announces an updated schedule for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple open house, youth devotional, and dedication.The Haiti temple groundbreaking was held October 28, 2018, presided over by Elder Walter F. González, General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s Caribbean Area. (See related story.)The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple will serve more than 17,000 Latter-day Saints in four stakes and three districts. In April 2015 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of the temple, which will open for ordinances on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. It is the nation’s first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The temple's open house will be held from August 3 through August 17, with the exception of Sundays.The announcement updates the open house, dedication, and youth devotional dates originally announced two months ago, which included the start of the open house in mid-April and a May 19 dedication.The temple dedication is planned for three sessions on Sunday, September1. A youth devotional will also be held the day previous, on August 31, and will be broadcast to meetinghouses throughout the temple district.“The temple groundbreaking ceremony was a wonderful spiritual experience,” said Elder González in October 2018. “I can only think about everlasting joy and gratitude for all that the temple means in our lives. It is hard to express with words. This was a day of joy and gratitude when we start to build a portal to heaven as we come to better understand the importance of the covenants made in the temple and how they impact our daily lives, both in this time and eternity.”
Like the shrapnel in his body, the memories of the airport bombing remain. A grueling week of academic exams during his first plebe semester triggered unwelcome emotions.Latter-day Saints know his story well.Reid and Shirley Chambers immediately spotted Wells’s quiet self-assurance. The Chambers were serving as military missionaries in Annapolis when he arrived for Plebe Summer. Each Sunday, Elder and Sister Chambers visited the academy to join the Latter-day Saint plebes for a brief sacrament service. Despite the rigors of basic training, Wells was always on the lookout for others needing an encouraging word or a welcoming handshake.“At that very moment, my company commander walked in my room and talked with me. Our talk, along with a lot of the prayers I had sent up, reminded me of an eternal perspective that life is bigger than the stresses of the day and the problems of tomorrow.”Besides carrying a STEM-centric class load (physics, calculus, and chemistry), every USNA midshipman must master seamanship fundamentals, sweat out endless numbers of push-ups and pull-ups, and keep his or her dorm room in, well, shipshape. Elder Mason Wells returns home with his parents, Chad and Kym, in Sandy on April 28, 2016, after being injured in the Brussels terrorist attack while serving in the France Paris Mission. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“We met through mutual friends. She started taking the missionary discussions, and I’ve been there every step of the way.”But Mason Wells is a tough young man.Wells is majoring in aerospace engineering and plans to become a U.S. Marine Corps aviator following graduation. He’s learned military life is far different from missionary life. But in proven missionary-form, he relies upon prayer and testimony to overcome life’s inevitable challenges.But while most of his new classmates were weeks removed from high school graduation, Wells arrived at the academy seasoned by mission moments both joyful and tragic.But he marked a key moment in his recovery in the summer of 2017 when he reported for Induction Day at the Naval Academy, fulfilling a promise he made himself years earlier. Many of his relatives had served in the military, and he was determined to also wear his country’s uniform. Mason Wells, left, one of four missionaries wounded March 22, 2016, in the Brussels airport terrorist attack, smiles during a visit with Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Brent H. Nielson, Executive Director of the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the University of Utah burn center on March 30, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Wells family.Long before enduring the rigors of military life at the academy, Mason survived almost unimaginable pain and horror.
Elder Mason Wells, left, and Elder Joseph Dresden Empey, center, serving in Brussels, part of the France Paris Mission. They had been companions for a month before they were injured in a terrorist attack on the Brussels airport on March 22, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Empey family.But help arrived unexpectedly.He was one of four full-time missionaries injured in the March 22, 2016, Brussels airport terrorist attack. The young elder suffered serious injuries in the explosion, spent months in the hospital, and endured multiple surgeries and medical procedures.So adjusting to academy life is challenging for even the most dedicated student. It’s supposed to be tough.“At the end of the week, I had a pretty traumatic memory from the airport,” he said. “I remember breaking down in my room because I was experiencing some of the same things I had experienced in the airport. I had many stresses going on in my life.”Fellow Latter-day Saints agree Wells is well equipped for the days and years ahead. He still stands tall.“I still have shrapnel in my head and in my legs—there are some things that are just going to stay with me,” he said matter-of-factly.“I had to adapt and recognize that I’m not surrounded by Church members [at the academy],” he said. “I didn’t have time set aside here for spiritual aspects like I did on my mission, so I needed to make that a priority.”Serving in the France Paris Mission, he said, “gave me the confidence and understanding that I can do anything with the Lord’s help.”“I remembered that we have so much more to live for.”“Mason made others feel like they were his best friend,” said Reid Chambers. Elder Mason Wells is pushed by his father, Chad, as he returns home and is welcomed by friends and family in Sandy on April 28, 2016, after spending 37 days in the hospital due to injuries from the Brussels terrorist attack. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Word spread pretty quickly. … I definitely felt more scrutinized. It was always on the radar.”
United States Naval Academy Midshipman Mason Wells stands with members of his family. Mason survived the 2016 airport terrorist attack in Belgium while serving as a missionary. Photo courtesy of Mason Wells.“I found myself talking about my mission at least once a week at the academy,” he said. “Because of what I went through—and because I’m still a member of the Church—I have gained a certain respect for my religious views.”A popular adage at the United States Naval Academy aptly describes the unusual student life at the 173-year-old military school: Not College.Wells was warned his freshman year (or plebe year in academy-speak) would be long and sometimes lonesome. First-year students enjoy few privileges and plenty of new rules and regulations. Even walking in the dorm hallways is prohibited—plebes must “chop” or jog through the massive Bancroft Hall.
Mason Wells, left, one of four missionaries wounded in the Brussels airport attack, poses for a picture with his brother, Colby, in the burn unit at University Hospital in Salt Lake City on March 29, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Wells family.Most at the academy were supportive. Some were not. But the awareness of his past prompted frequent discussions.
United States Military Academy Midshipman Mason Wells plans to become a military aviator following graduation. Photo courtesy of Mason Wells.Midshipman Third Class Wells no longer wears a missionary name tag. But he still seeks opportunities to share the gospel. In a few days, he is baptizing a fellow midshipman.Most of Wells’s classmates knew nothing about his connection to the Belgium terrorist bombing until the 2017 release of the hope-driven book he coauthored entitled Left Standing.“Mason is just a great guy,” said Reid Chambers, “and a great example to all of us.”“And to be honest, it was really challenging. … We’re placed under a lot of stress. Plebe year was about breaking away from the civilian mold and living a military lifestyle,” he said.
ROME The Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pictured on Monday, January 14, 2019.
Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.“This is a bridge builder, a spiritual bridge toward other faiths,” he said. “We have wonderful relationships with all faiths already here in the territory, because we have many projects, humanitarian projects, with others, including the Catholic Church, and now we will be even more visible. Our presence will be really weighed as a strong presence here. Everyone will know who we are. ...
The Rome Italy Temple is pictured after sunset on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, lead a tour of local dignitaries into the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News. Elder Ronald A. Rasband, right, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks following an invitation by Elder David A. Bednar at a press briefing in a meetinghouse on the Rome Italy Temple grounds on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles leads a tour during the open house for the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.A peaceful marble plaza with fountains, Roman umbrella pines and 500-year-old olive trees sits in a square between the temple, the visitors’ center, a meetinghouse, and patron housing. Elder Rasband told journalists during a tour that the three-story, 40,000-square-foot temple is a “medium-sized temple.” At 15 acres, the grounds are 50 percent larger than Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, presents gifts of a Christus figurine to President Marcello De Vito, left, president of the Rome City Council, and President Giovanni Caudo, president of the Third Municipality of Rome, on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Tad Walch, Deseret News.“We really wanted to make sure that we created an Italian piazza,” architect Neils Valentiner said. “We had the four buildings that made it obvious that we could create that piazza. I think it is felt by all as being very Italian. We knew that was an important feature to create. We think now it is the Rome Temple Square. We have Salt Lake Temple Square. Now maybe we have Rome Temple Square.” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets President Marcello De Vito of the Rome City Council in a meetinghouse on the Rome Italy Temple grounds on Monday, January 14, 2019. At right is Sister Susan Bednar. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News. Giuliano Falehi trims shrubs outside the gate of the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.“Peter received from the Savior the keys of the kingdom,” Elder Bednar said, “and there is a mantle associated with that ordination. The apostleship is never about the men. It is about the office and the mantle. I love to read about Peter and Paul and their ministries in the New Testament. And the mantle they bore, and that Elder Rasband and I have received, is real. For me, the bond with those ancient apostles is in the majesty and powers of the mantle and and in the spiritual witness of the reality of the Restoration in the latter days.”“Now they have this exquisite, beautiful, magnificent temple, that will be a destination temple, not just for the Italian saints, but European Saints. Saints throughout the world are going to come to the Rome Italy Temple and not only experience the feelings of what used to be—those early apostles there in prison, the sacrifices, the crucifixions—to in humility, thank the Lord for where we are today.”Nothing in the past 30 years has been easy, but Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counted the temple’s completion, after seven years marked by delays, as a “marvelous miracle.”“I bring the mayor’s greetings for this great building that makes our city more beautiful,” Marcello De Vito said. “It’s a happy day for all those who believe that different people and religions can live together, who believe being able to communicate is the best way to keep peace among different religions, races, and peoples.” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a press briefing at a meetinghouse on the Rome Italy Temple grounds on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.“The most moving personal aspect of this open house and future dedication is to think that ... those early apostles, the conditions of their lives, the suffering, the imprisonment, the time that Peter and Paul came to Rome, most of it was spent in a dungeon, prison cell,” he said. “And so for me to come here, it’s humbling in the nth degree.”“I’ll tell her, ‘This is beyond anything we’ve imagined and thought that it would be.’ Then I'll try to describe it,” he said. “I don’t think I can. We’ll just count the days until February 9,” when she has tickets for the open house.“I see a bright future for the Church. And hopefully as we present who we are through the temple and keep being good disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, day after day, be good people, good citizens, they will see and they will join us.”
Elder Bednar and Ronald A. Rasband led tours for dignitaries, including a group of Catholic leaders from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, from Monday through Thursday ahead of the public open house, which will be held January 28 through February 16, excluding Sundays.He said he had “a joyous feeling of gratitude to the Lord” to join in celebration with “these Italian saints, these members of the church who have struggled and traveled to Bern and other temples to have their temple experience.Verona Italy Stake President Andrea Cordani said he would be unable to describe it to his wife after he toured the temple on January 13 to prepare to serve as a translator and host. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles receives shoe covers from Rachele Cavallaro before entering the open house for the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News. Elder Ronald A. Rasband is interviewed by CNN correspondent Delia Gallagher in the Rome Temple Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostlestalks with Bryant Van Tassell after receiving shoe covers from him during the open house for the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostlespoints out features of the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, January 14, 2019. At right is President Marcello De Vito of the Rome City Council. At left is Elder Bednar's wife, Sister Susan Bednar.
Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a press conference in the Rome Temple Visitors' Center on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles smiles during a press conference in the Rome Temple Visitors' Center on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Three decades ago, Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy, conducted his Italian branch's sacrament meetings in a garage. This week, he joined two Apostles who led tours for special guests at what he called the magnificent new Rome Italy Temple. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles leads a tour during the open house for the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.He and other Italians were delighted by the use of familiar symbols, designs, and plants in the construction and design of the temple and the temple grounds. Olive branches and an oval symbol created by Michelangelo in the 1500s are found on throughout the temple. The oval with a 12-pointed star is a design known to most Romans because it dominates the Piazza del Campidoglio outside Rome’s city hall. Volunteers Vanna and Benedicto Parisi look at statues of Christ and the Apostles in the Rome Temple Visitors' Center in Rome, Italy, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.The statue of Peter holds two keys in his right hand. Elder Ronald A. Rasband, left, and Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with Elder Massimo De Feo, General Authority Seventy, participate in a press conference in the Rome Temple Visitors' Center on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
The Rome Italy Temple is reflected in the window of the Rome Temple Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.The Rome Italy Temple is pictured after sunset on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.The president of Rome’s City Council said he was proud to be among the first to tour the temple.“It wasn’t easy to build the Kirtland Temple,” he said Monday, Janiuary 14, at a news conference after hosting Rome city leaders at the temple. “There were unexpected delays and challenges. The same thing was true for the Nauvoo Temple. And the same thing was true for the Salt Lake Temple. So I think we just see a continuation. This is a fallen, mortal world. And there are just things that get in the way and don’t work out the way we initially planned. I think the remarkable thing is that in spite of those challenges, as serious as some of them were, that this temple now, with this level of quality, and even with this timeline, is ready for dedication.” The Rome Italy Temple is seen through the window of the Rome Temple Visitors' Center on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.Like Salt Lake, the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center includes a replica of the Christus statue by Thorvaldsen. At night, the center beams in the dark, with the Christus flanked by the statues of 12 of Jesus Christ’s ancient apostles.Elder De Feo was grateful to share the temple with his fellow Italians. Statues of Christ and the Apostles are displayed in the Rome Temple Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy, on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.The Rome temple is the first built in a land where the ancient apostles preached. Elder Rasband felt a personal connection to Peter and Paul, who preached and are believed to have been martyred in Rome.
Despite her circumstances or that of any other single adult, there is hope, Davis said. “There are things that I can develop right now in my life to help me be better and to develop towards … becoming like Christ, like the Savior.”“I think a lot of singles ask themselves that question,” said Marliett Davis of the Provo Oak Hills 8th Ward. “But that’s not the point. I didn’t go wrong anywhere.”HOLLADAY, UTAH“I feel fortunate by the relationships that I have now and that I’ve made in my mid-singles years that I would have missed out on.”Nearly every chair in this Holladay, Utah, Church meetinghouse was filled. And several people who couldn’t squeeze into the chapel, overflow, or cultural hall stood at the doors to hear Sister Kristen Oaks speak.Many mid-single adults wonder what they are doing wrong resulting in them still being single. But rather than ask what they are doing wrong, Sister Oaks encouraged that they should ask, “What more can I do that is right?”That love was certainly felt as she and her husband, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, greeted and shook hands with as many of the men and women gathered in the chapel as they could—long before the meeting began.Cammie Taylor of the Provo Oak Hills 8th Ward said that she saw wisdom in needing that run. “I’m such a better person now than I was in my young, mid-20s.” Rather than marrying young, she’s had “this life and experience that I’ve loved and cherished. I’ve traveled the world; I’ve done things that I feel very fortunate to have done.”“But I know it was a very large part of my learning to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as a single person that brought me through difficult situations and trials and really prepared me for marriage,” she said.Sister Oaks reminded the audience of their divine destiny. “God expects us to have enough faith and determination and trust in Him to keep moving and living and rejoicing,” she said. “He expects us not to simply face the future, but to embrace it and make it beautiful. He is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers.”Sister Oaks remembers wondering what she was doing wrong to delay the beautiful blessings promised to her in her patriarchal blessing. “I had 53 years to do this. Nothing was happening. I was beginning to think my prayers were going unanswered, that I might be a total loser and somehow something I was doing was terribly wrong.”Changing her behavior, she began spending less time alone on the computer and more involved in ward activities. She changed her study of the scriptures, focused her prayers on an eternal perspective, and searched for opportunities to serve and minister.“My original question had been ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ I learned that is the wrong question,” she said. “I should be asking, ‘What more can I do that is right?’ You have that capacity.”Sister Oaks felt impressed to share some perspective of who she is. She is the second wife to President Oaks. After he lost his first wife, June, she married him in her mid-50s. And while she had attained several degrees and worked for many years, “I had never acquired any domestic skills,” she said. But even though she could only cook one thing, it wasn’t her cooking skills that qualified her to eventually marry an Apostle.“I want you to know that you are so loved,” she said. Sister Kristen Oaks embraces Ashley Lawson before a Holladay region mid-single adult fireside on January 13, 2019. Photo by Valerie Johnson.“Finally he pulls her in, puts a blanket on her, and he said, ‘If I had pulled you in when you begged to get in, you’d be dead. You needed to have that run to become warm,’” Sister Oaks said. “And I say to you, we need that, all of us.”Sister Oaks said that Latter-day Saints must have compassion. “As members of the Church, we have to be careful not to judge one another and to suspend any previously held assumptions that might cripple our ability to accept one another on any level.”Sister Oaks shared a story about the great-grandmother of Elder Bruce C. Hafen, an emeritus General Authority Seventy. Elder Hafen’s great-grandmother was part of the Martin handcart company, who were caught in brutal blizzards on their migration west to the Salt Lake Valley. When rescuers arrived, Elder Hafen’s great-grandmother asked a wagon master to let her ride in the wagon because she was freezing. Rather than immediately pull her inside, he made her run alongside the wagon for a bit before pulling her in.But she had a spiritual wake-up call and began to realize how precious life was. She told the Lord, “However He wanted to use me to build His kingdom, I would accept.”At the Holladay region mid-single adult fireside, Sister Oaks focused her message on the needs of single adults ages 31–45, the same night Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, spoke to the young single adults of the Church. While they spoke on faith and doubt, Sister Oaks shared a message of positivity and keeping a broad perspective.“Know that everything is good in your life,” she said as she opened her remarks on January 13. “And if you’re in this room at this moment, your life is totally in order and you’re doing what the Savior would have you do. There is nothing out of whack. Nothing wrong. That is so important for you to know.”
President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, greets members before a Holladay region mid-single adult fireside on January 13, 2019. Photo by Valerie Johnson.
The First Presidency has announced that groundbreaking services for the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple will be Saturday, May 4, 2019.The Puerto Rico Temple was first announced October 7, 2018, by Church President Russell M. Nelson.The temple will be the first in Puerto Rico and the third in the Caribbean, following the existing and operational Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple and the under-construction Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple, which is to be dedicated September 1, 2019.Elder Walter F. González, Caribbean Area President, will preside at the event.The temple site is located at 123 Calle Ronda of Urbanización Villa Andalucía in San Juan’s Trujillo Alto area. Attendance at the site is by invitation only. It is anticipated that the services will be transmitted via the Internet to stake centers withing the proposed temple district.
According to Newsroom, the Rome Italy Temple will serve 23,000 members in Italy and the surrounding areas, making it the 162nd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world.As one of the most historic cities in the world, where biblical Apostles preached of Christ, it’s fitting that the Church has also constructed an impressive visitors’ center on the temple grounds. The center showcases a Christus statue with some of the ancient Apostles circled behind Him with full-length windows as their backdrop. When Elder Bednar saw the statues for the first time, the Apostle said that “it was just a spiritually stunning moment for me.”According to the video, not only is the interior of the temple a reflection of Italian culture and tradition—with floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows and several oval motifs signifying eternity—but the outdoor piazza was designed to feel familiar to Italians.Newsroom released a video on January 14 detailing how the land for the Rome Italy Temple was selected. Posted just weeks before the public open house begins on January 28, the video explains the symbolism within the temple and the significance of the building to the Roman community.Read the full Newsroom article here.Lining the piazza are 400- to 500-year-old olive trees from northern Italy. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles notes in the video that “there’s tremendous symbolism in olives and in olive trees. … Whenever you cut the roots of an olive tree, they’ll sprout. They don’t die; they will continue to sprout. Some have suggested that perhaps that’s symbolic of the hope of the Resurrection.”“This had to be one that when you walked onto this site, every person should feel like they were on an Italian site,” said temple architect Niels Valentiner. “They would recognize it because of the materials, because of the design, and because of the surrounding.”
The First Presidency has called 164 new mission presidents and companions who will begin service in July 2019. Their names and mission assignments are listed below.
South America Northwest AreaMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionBolivia La PazRandol and Jenny E. SalazarBolivia Santa CruzScott M. and Marcia A. StanfordBolivia Santa Cruz NorthMatthew K. and Shannon HawkinsColombia BarranquillaM. Jeffrey and Nan J. LemmonEcuador Guayaquil SouthAlan B. and Susan F. TingeyEcuador Guayaquil WestCraig S. and Kris OlsonEcuador Quito NorthJorge Antonio and Moraima J. ChacónPerú ArequipaRichard M. and Laurie N. MarshPerú CuscoFernando R. and Carol G. GarcíaPerú HuancayoCarlos and Lilian M. CabreraPerú IquitosTroy G. and Jill L. ParkerPerú Lima NorthMeredith H. and Corinne S. PackardPerú Lima WestAndres and Sandra VillegasPerú LimatamboDaryl S. and Amy GlazierPerú Trujillo NorthEdgar and Rocio HinostrozaVenezuela ValenciaJohn N. and Maria Palma
NORTH AMERICA CENTRAL AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionCanada EdmontonTimothy N. and Kristen L. CowleyColorado Denver SouthJohn H. and Janet L. ReesColorado Fort CollinsScott R and Heather Ann PalmerIllinois ChicagoSteven D. and Heidi O. ShumwayIowa Des MoinesDale A. and Valerie SturmKansas WichitaVerne M. and Shawny ErnstMissouri St LouisT. Trevor and Jamie L. BellWisconsin MilwaukeeSean B. and A. Joanne Murphy
NORTH AMERICA WEST AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and Companion California BakersfieldJonathan G. and Sharon Jannelli SandbergCalifornia CarlsbadWeldon J. and Kathryn N. ReevesCalifornia Los AngelesValeri V. and Glenda CordónCalifornia San Bernardino
(Renamed from the California Redlands Mission)Marshall A. and Jill A. McKinnonHawaii HonoluluRobert B. and Joni N. Walker CENTRAL America AreaMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and Companion El Salvador San Salvador West/BelizeJ. Francisco and I. Lucrecia DubónGuatemala AntiguaTimothy L. and Paula A. BarneyGuatemala CobánBenjamin and Hilda PoóuGuatemala RetalhuleuFrank B. and Linda ParkerHonduras San Pedro Sula EastEduardo R. and Ana Maria MoraHonduras San Pedro Sula WestGustavo A. and Videlmina CristalesNicaragua Managua NorthRodrigo B. and Maritza SotoPanamá Panamá CityGary B. and Jana L. Garrett Additionally, four newly created missions were announced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on January 2, with 12 existing missions being realigned with neighboring missions. (See related story.) These changes will take place July 1, at which time the Church will have a total of 399 missions worldwide. SOUTH AMERICA SOUTH AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionArgentina Buenos Aires NorthLeopoldo and Gabriela ZuñigaArgentina Buenos Aires SouthMartín P. and Gabriela FernándezArgentina Comodoro RivadaviaAdrián J. and Laura V. CamejoArgentina CórdobaScott D. and Janice B. HintzeChile AntofagastaBryan R. and Jacqueline B. LarsenChile ConcepciónErnest K. and Jane RichterChile Concepción SouthH. Marcelo and Claudia Jaquelina CardúsChile OsornoRobert J. and Lynnette MeekChile RancaguaCarlos and Jeanette VergaraChile Santiago SouthTo be announcedChile Santiago WestJason J. and Cari MitchellParaguay Asunción NorthRichard L. and Julie Ann MillettUruguay MontevideoFrancisco A. and Marcela I. EscobarUruguay Montevideo WestKeith M. and Lori B. Dunford
2019 MISSION LEADERSHIP ASSIGNMENTSAFRICA SOUTHEAST AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionAngola LuandaLuis A. and Ruth PintoBotswana/NamibiaJeffrey J. and Susan G. AndersonDemocratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa EastTo be announcedDemocratic Republic of the Congo LubumbashiL. Jean Claude and Mimie MabayaDemocratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-MayiW. Jean-Pierre and Angel LonoKenya NairobiKhumbulani and Futhi MdletsheSouth Africa DurbanTim R. and Lori LinesUganda KampalaWalter and Diana ChatoraZambia LusakaAlvin L. and H. Mokiana Sika EUROPE EAST AREA MISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionArmenia/GeorgiaPaul and Elodie PicardRussia MoscowTo be announcedRussia Rostov-na-DonuTo be announcedRussia YekaterinburgTo be announced MÉXICO AREA MISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionMéxico AguascalientesJeffrey N. and Janeen D. ReddMéxico CancúnIsrael and Linda MarinMéxico ChihuahuaW. Michael and Roxanne W. IngallsMéxico Ciudad JuárezRobert C. and Mary Ann HenkeMéxico CuliacánVictor and Angelina EsparzaMéxico HermosilloCarlos and Silvia ZepedaMéxico MéridaMaurice D. and Patrice JonesMéxico México City ChalcoMichael C. and Debbie RushMéxico México City EastAdrian B. and Rita L. ParryMéxico México City NorthGary J. and Juanita SeversonMéxico México City NorthwestChristopher L. and Sheryn L. ThomasMéxico México City WestW. David and Dodie BlakeMéxico Monterrey EastJavier and Leticia RomeroMéxico Monterrey WestJose L. and Iris IsaguirreMéxico PachucaArmando and Graciela MaldonadoMéxico QuerétaroNoé and Silvia DomínguezMéxico SaltilloAlan and Abish MezaMéxico VillahermosaClark and Jennifer Whitworth PACIFIC AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionAustralia BrisbaneJ. Kevin and Debbie EnceAustralia MelbourneMichael J and Tamara HoughtonMarshall Islands/KiribatiBoyd S and Laurie FosterNew Zealand HamiltonJeffrey D. and Tina EreksonPapua New Guinea Lae'Isileli T. and Milika M. FataniTonga Nuku'alofaHakeai V. and Seini Piutau NORTH AMERICA NORTHEAST AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionCanada TorontoClint W. and Cindy EnsignIndiana IndianapolisJ. Drew and Linda Anderson PageMichigan DetroitHoward N. and Lisa SorensenNew Hampshire ManchesterGary E. and Bobbi Jo BeckOhio CincinnatiD. Eric and Lisa M. EnsignVirginia RichmondD. Greg and Kimberly DroubayWashington DC NorthReid L. and Shelly A. Neilson NORTH AMERICA SOUTHEAST AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionAlabama BirminghamChad W and Melanie AllredFlorida JacksonvilleJames F. and Christine G. WoodFlorida OrlandoDarren and Leticia AshcraftFlorida TampaDavid and Michelle HollingsworthTennessee NashvilleRhys A. and Pam Weaver NORTH AMERICA NORTHWEST AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionCanada VancouverG. Blake and Jana Lee WahlenOregon SalemR. Scott and Sherry Ann WildeWashington EverettAley K. and Danelle L.Y. AunaWashington KennewickEdward R. and Carolyn RasmussenWashington SeattleLarry K. and Laurie BeardallWashington VancouverJ. Scott and Lori L. Featherstone ASIA AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionIndia BengaluruTed A. and Karen K. ThomasMongolia UlaanbaatarA. David and Chimka HansenSingaporeLeonard and Rita Woo PHILIPPINES AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionPhilippines AntipoloMark R. and Beki B. AlderPhilippines BaguioBradly and Christy OldroydPhilippines Cagayan de OroRogelio D. and Leah MontemayorPhilippines CauayanJR. Kipp and Donna CraigPhilippines CaviteDarwin S. and Michelle P. CauilanPhilippines Cebu EastKeith B. and Beverly W. MonroePhilippines IloiloGiovanni P. and Nenette PanganPhilippines LegazpiEmmanuel and Anabelle AbrahamPhilippines NagaBrad W. and Shirley A. KirkPhilippines Quezon CityTerry E. and Cyrrena Welch BRAZIL AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and Companion Brazil BelémTo be announcedBrazil GoiâniaDaniel M. and Suzana C.G. PirosBrazil João PessoaTo be announcedBrazil Juiz de ForaPaulo C. and Nadia M. LoureiroBrazil LondrinaBradley K. and Sherrel McKinnonBrazil NatalEmilton and Aparecida MirandaBrazil PiracicabaBruno V. and Luciene M.A. BarrosBrazil Ribeirão PretoCarlos E. and Rosa SantosBrazil Salvador SouthJúlio C. and Cláudia F. TriumphoBrazil Santa MariaJorge M. and Maria R. BecerraBrazil SantosPaul M. and Sue HarmanBrazil São Paulo WestE. Brett and Amy Horsley Europe AREA MISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionCzech/SlovakJacob G. and Tina M. GehringEngland LeedsM. Kirk and Sally Thomas GreenItaly MilanBart D. and Gail H. BrowningItaly RomeDonald E. and Rebecca SmithPoland WarsawDavid L. and Stacy A. Chandler AFRICA West AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionCote d'Ivoire Abidjan WestDaniel W. and Betty Jo LewisGhana Accra WestD. Corey and Melissa C. SandersLiberia MonroviaGary S. and Julie C. PriceNigeria Benin CityDeclan O. and Stella Ihunna MaduNigeria EnuguAlbert and Mellon MutariswaNigeria LagosEmmanuel O. and Tina Elizabeth UdohNigeria OwerriNtiedo M. and Gladys E. SilasLeone FreetownNeil M and Laura Harper IdAHO AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionIdaho BoiseMartin J. and Louise L. NygaardIdaho Idaho FallsMatthew S. and Shannon R. Hurley NORTH AMERICA SOUTHWEST AREAMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and Companion Arizona GilbertGordon K. and Lynette A. WrightArizona MesaChase B. and Kelly S. AndrewsArizona ScottsdaleBrian L. and Gina R. CoxArizona TempeMark B. and Sherrie K. GoaslindNevada Las Vegas WestCurtis D. and Diane ReeseNew Mexico AlbuquerqueN. Edwin and Cheryl A. WeathersbyOklahoma Oklahoma CityCraig H. and Shawna W. ChristensenTexas Fort WorthJeffery G. and Kristi Ann ChapmanTexas McAllenJared R. and Jessica OcampoTexas San AntonioJason J. and Stephanie L. Tveten Asia North AreaMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionKorea Seoul SouthNathan M. and Nicole N. SargentMicronesia GuamEric T. and Christina Hicks UTAH AREASMISSION NEW PRESIDENT and CompanionUtah Salt Lake CityTo be announcedUtah Salt Lake City SouthAlvin F. ”Trip“ and Jennifer E. MeredithUtah St. GeorgeGeorge and Manao Kaluhiokalani
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided at the ceremony. Senior Church leaders and local community leaders in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, were also in attendance. Rendering of the Urdaneta Philippines Temple.Download a PDF of temples across the world.During a multi-stake conference held in the Philippines earlier this week, Elder Holland pleaded with members to stay strong in their faith.Three additional temples will be constructed in the Philippines in the near future. In April 2018 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson announced the Cagayan de Oro Philippines Temple, and in October 2018 general conference he announced the Davao Philippines Temple. President Thomas S. Monson also announced the Greater Manila Philippines Temple in April 2017 general conference.Of the recently announced temples, 85 percent are international. (See a temple timeline of how things have changed over the years.)The Urdaneta Philippines Temple will be the third temple in the country, joining the Manila Philippines Temple and the Cebu City Philippines Temple. The Urdaneta temple will serve Church members residing in the Pangasinan province and in Northern Luzon.“Do not be driven by every wind that blows,” he said. “Do not be tossed about by every wave of the sea. Be strong. Be steadfast. Be firm and filled with faith.”Read the full article about the groundbreaking here.Newsroom announced on January 16 the groundbreaking for the Urdaneta Philippines Temple.
Adding that there’s danger when people think the rules don’t apply to them, the Apostle emphasized the value of accountability and integrity in society—both during the Watergate trials and in the world today.Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles clearly remembers the day he heard the Watergate tapes along with Judge John Sirica, the U.S. district judge who presided over the trials. Boyd Matheson, opinion editor of the Deseret News, left; Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post; Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Michael Dimock, president of the Pew Research Center, speak during “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.Speaking about his experience during “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today,” an event held by the Deseret News on Monday, January 14, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Elder Christofferson said it was “a blow to the gut” when he first listened to the recordings.Joined by legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and president of the Pew Research Center Michael Dimock, Elder Christofferson explained how listening to the tapes at first shook him so much, he questioned his own career choice. However, while initially discouraged and disillusioned, the experience ultimately strengthened his convictions, the Deseret News reported.“I resolved to be more committed to the teachings of my youth,“ Elder Christofferson said.
Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post, speaks to Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, before speaking at “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.“Watergate was an assault on the integrity of institutions that are crucial for society. But it didn’t have the ultimate effect of destroying them because good people, people of integrity, came to the fore and exercised their influence,” he said. “People who had integrity defended the institutions and the processes and our society, and I feel like we’re obligated in our time to be the same kind of people, to be the kind of people that we’re asking the rest of the world to be.” Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post, speaks to Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, before speaking at “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.“I remember the shock that both the judge and I felt in that moment,” he said. “We were so discouraged, we went home early that day. We had no heart to do anything else. We knew what would happen several months later.”
“The interfaith club ... raises awareness to the general public regarding issues for people of other faiths at BYU,” said Laith Habahbeh, a junior at BYU from Jordan. “I feel like when these issues become recognized, we can always take action on them.”Although sometimes people can get a bit pushy or defensive, Habahbeh said he tries to consider each person's perspectives and motives when they interact. “You have to look at it from a different perspective to be able to understand why people are doing this or that.”Despite its fluctuating existence, the club has never had a lack of interest from the students, Slaughter said, but the demands of organizing and running the club proved overwhelming for student leaders in the past and connecting it to a department can help alleviate some of that responsibility.An educating environment“The interfaith club hasn't always had a strong history,” club co-president George Garcia explained. It has appeared and disappeared over the years with the current club having been reinstated in early 2018.For Slaughter, one of the positive outcomes of the club's revival is that it has helped connect students on campus to more opportunities to learn from their peers of other faiths and learn a bit about how they might be perceived by others. BYU freshman Janai Wright speaks with Rabbi Samuel L. Spector at an event held by the BYU Interfaith Club on October 16, 2018. Photo courtesy of Ty Mullen, The Daily Universe.A place to share different perspectives“It’s really just a story about a couple dozen college kids in an unusual environment for them and how they’re going about settling into the community,” Jackson said of her article. “But hopefully that’s something that everyone can get behind.”“We have some bad experiences, but it’s not very often. Sometimes people look at me on the bus because I am wearing a headscarf. They look at me like they are maybe uncomfortable, and I know some people are prejudiced, but I can understand that because that can happen everywhere,” Pratiwi said. “People don’t always hear the truth about communities and so sometimes they are prejudiced. But I just try to smile and give a different image than maybe what they read or think they know. I hope it can change their mind and they can know we are not the people they were thinking.”And although there were many different aspects of the Church-owned school for her to explore and report on, she noted that the student experiences, particularly those shared by international Muslim students, were what stood out to her the most.But the interfaith club isn't the only thing that is raising awareness of students of various faiths on the Church-owned campus.Building relationships on common ground“When you're in an environment where 98 percent of the students are all of the same faith, it is interesting to hear how people see us,” Slaughter said, noting that the panel events where students share their personal experiences are some of the best attended events hosted by the club. Students want to understand the perspectives of their peers, he said.“This age group is interested in what they can do together to make things better,” Slaughter said. “That’s one of the positives. … They want to do good.”“But when I came here, it’s the exact opposite,” she said, sharing her excitement for the friends she’s made and all that she has learned in her first semester. “I just hope that no one will judge people before knowing them. You just have to give everyone a chance and get to know them before you judge them or talk about them.”“It can be faith affirming to look for what people are learning in other traditions,” Jackson said, referencing her discussion with BYU professor Daniel Peterson, whom she interviewed for her article. “Difference is not a threat to faith. … It’s about looking for beauty and goodness where you find it. And I think that is a lesson that most Americans are hungry for right now.”“Most of my conversations here at BYU are about religion,” Habahbeh said. “I mean, there are definitely a lot of people who want to learn and get to know other religions better, and in return they want me to learn about their religion and that's something I don't mind at all. I like learning about different religions.”The club's second goal is focused more on students who are members of the Church, Garcia explained. “We want to help them recognize that Utah is not just full of members of the Church but that there are people of other religions and other faiths here. We work to help them have more empathy towards [non-Latter-day Saint] people in general and help them learn more about other religions.”“With the interfaith club we have two goals, really,” Garcia said. “With [non-Latter-day Saint] students, our goal has been to create a sense of community for them. Quite a few of them have talked about how lonely it is here because they are outcasts. So what we're trying to do is create a sense of community for them where they [don’t] just get to know each other but know that they belong. They may not feel like they belong everywhere on campus, but they can know there is somewhere they can turn to and that there is a group where they will feel included.”Trying to understand another person’s intentions can help overcome tension and allow for a more constructive interaction with difficult topics like religious differences, Habahbeh said.And although non-Latter-day Saint students are a minority on campus, the reestablishment of an interfaith club on campus and a unique focus on religious freedom and openness has helped BYU prove itself a campus where students of all faiths feel comfortable. And in 2018, even groups outside the university—like the Christian Science Monitor—have started to take note of the unique environment created by the Church-owned university.But while the similarities between the two religions and cultures may help break down initial barriers between the different groups as they commingle on the university campus, it is the students' willingness to understand and embrace their differences that is proving to help cultivate a better learning environment for all.Molly Jackson, the writer of the Christian Science Monitor article, shared with the Church News how she visited the BYU campus and explored some of her interests regarding religion and cultural integration.Before coming to BYU, Hind Alsboul, the freshman student from Saudi Arabia who was featured in Jackson’s article, described how many people told her to be wary of people at the university. They told her she’d be brainwashed and that she wouldn’t fit in with the Church-centered society.Since starting up again last year, the club has hosted a number of different events to elevate the profiles of non-Latter-day Saint students on campus, including a number of panel discussions with students of various faiths sharing their experiences on campus and answering questions about how to better create an inclusive community for those of all faiths or belief systems.On the Brigham Young University Campus in Provo, Utah, there are around 33,000 students—more than 98 percent of which identify as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Less than two percent—some 430 students—of those who elect to attend the university identify with other religions or no religion.Interfaith clubs and conversations about how to improve the integration of varying cultures and faiths is hardly unique to BYU, Jackson said, but the university can serve as an example of how such conversations can and should be happening on a wider scale.“Because we are in an environment where people are very well educated, I think people understand how to respect each other very well,” said Cekli Pratiwi, a student at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. Pratiwi noted that when she is off campus sometimes she notices more how people look at her.As assistant dean for student life and the chaplain for non-Latter-day Saint students on the BYU campus, James Slaughter explained that the renewed club was created with ties to the religion department in the hopes that it would create more longevity for the group over the years.In addition to hosting student panels and monthly luncheons, the club has hosted events inviting religious leaders from various faiths to come to campus and share details of their doctrine and religious practices so that students of all faiths can learn from a variety of representations.While the story Jackson wrote focused on BYU and Muslims, she said it’s a story with a bigger picture. It can extend and look at not just what the first day of coming to a new place and integrating is like for immigrants or foreign students, but what their lives and integration look like day after day and year after year as their differing cultures and communities are built side by side.For some students, the similarities between Islam and the Church, in regard to standards of living—represented by the honor code—and a shared history of experiencing discrimination for their respective beliefs and culture, are what help make the BYU campus a welcoming place, the article explains.“So this is the newest one and it is actually affiliated with the religion department and so we are hoping this one will actually stay,” Garcia said. “From what I can see, it looks like the deans and the religion department are really trying to push to make things more inclusive or to find a better way to teach about [non-Latter-day Saint] students.”With 14 different religious or non-religious affiliations represented on campus—the largest groups of which include Protestant denominations, Catholicism, and Islam—Slaughter said the interfaith club adds to the opportunities for students of all faiths to learn from one another.Painting a picture of what it is like to be one of the 44 students who stand separated by their Islamic faith and culture among 33,000 students on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah, an article from the Christian Science Monitor, published in early November 2018, highlighted for a broad audience the unique atmosphere of the campus owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Focusing on elements like the university’s honor code, the Church’s continual defense of religious freedom for all, and the fact that Utah is the only state where Republican politicians have not attacked Islam publicly since 2015, the article highlights ways that the BYU campus proves to be a comfortable place for students of the Muslim faith, despite the fact that only two percent of students attending the university identify as non-Latter-day Saints.Not judging before taking the time to learn about others is one of the things students are good at, Slaughter noted.“There’s a bigger story to be told about those communities' relationships,” Jackson said. “It seems like labels often prevent so many of us from understanding each other or seeing each other.”
Asked if she felt like the Lord was happy with what they did, she responded, “Absolutely.”Ellen Bennett, from the Donor Relations Department at Texas Children’s Hospital, readily agreed that service groups like this were beneficial to the patients and their families.Hallie Fielding, an adult leader for the young women, said, “Even during girls camp in the spring of last year, we had 140 girls and 20 to 30 leaders working on this project. It’s important to have fun at camp, but it’s also important to do something meaningful.”
A child who just finished her latest round of radiation therapy at the Texas Children’s Hospital receives a yarn wig from Savannah Morris of the Spring Texas Stake. Photo courtesy of Kelly Foss.A few young women from the Spring Texas Stake gather as they prepare to deliver yarn wigs to children receiving cancer treatment. From left, youth leader Hallie Fielding, Ellie Blackburn, Savannah Morris, Rachel John, Ashlyn Hall, Annette Pinto, Lauren Billat, Sofia Booth, and Kim Johnson. Photo courtesy of Kelly Foss.Their community service project focused on making yarn wigs for pediatric cancer patients at Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest pediatric cancer center in the country. Not only are the wigs colorful and fun, but they also serve a functional purpose. As a result of radiation and chemotherapy, children cancer patients almost always experience hair loss.Her mom, Shauna Garner, said Ella had already been in the hospital 40 days prior to this round of treatment. “As a parent, you are overwhelmed with so much on a daily basis,” she said. “When there are people who are willing to volunteer their time in multiple ways by creating this, it’s no small task. To see her spirits soar and see the smile on her face, it brings such happiness to your heart. That’s what you hope for because healing is about so much more than just medicine. In the next few days when she goes into the next round of chemo, this memory will make the next few hours and days that we endure a little bit easier, and so we’re so grateful.” Lauren Billat and Ashlyn Hall of the Spring Texas Stake carry boxes of yarn wigs to distribute to kids with cancer at the Texas Children’s Hospital. Photo courtesy of Kelly Foss.So, on January 2, a group of young women and their leaders went to visit child cancer patients and their families at the Houston, Texas, hospital and provided them with the yarn wigs.Young woman Rachel John noted that though it was a large project, “it was 100 percent worth it and I’d do it all over again. Not only did it bring joy to the children and their families, but it also brought the young women who served closer together.” Jay and Shauna Garner smile with their daughter, Ella, who has spent 40 days in the hospital prior to this round of treatment. Ella’s yarn wig was made by young women of the Spring Texas Stake. Photo courtesy of Kelly Foss.“[It] means a lot to them to know that someone is thinking about them … and doing something for them and making their day a little bit easier. We really appreciate that somebody thinks about us here and helps out.”When Ella was asked what she thought of her new yarn wig, she said, “I love it. It reminds me of snowflakes.”Husband Jay Garner added, “I want nothing more than to see her smile; that’s all I want.”After a herculean effort that included more than 200 people and 1,000 hours of work and spanned almost an entire year, young women of the Spring Texas Stake enjoyed the fruits of their labors in a very touching and serious way.When asked how she felt seeing these children with cancer receive the yarn wigs, Savanah Morris from the Spring Texas Stake said, “It makes you feel extremely grateful that you are able to serve these people. … It makes you feel happy because it lights up their day.”Annette Pinto added, “We’re serving like Jesus Christ did. It’s the pure love of Christ, and we feel so good. It’s like a wholesome feeling, that we can serve like He did.”Kim Johnson, the Young Women leader for this effort, noted that the project started in January 2018. “I wanted them [the young women] to think outside of themselves and see that they have the power to touch a life no matter what their age is.” Johnson said. “Also, to experience putting in the time and effort to get the reward.”Megan Turner said that though her daughter Kinsley needs to come to appointments for treatment, understandably, it is really difficult for her. But this time when she saw the young women bringing their yarn wig gifts, she stopped crying. “She’s so joyful, and she’s smiling still,” Turner said. “Thank you so much.”Following themagicyarnproject.com pattern, various tasks were assigned. About 15 people who were experienced at crocheting made the beanies ahead of time. “An elderly sister from the Imperial Oaks Ward crocheted all the crowns on top of the wigs,” Fielding said. “She’s amazing.”HOUSTON, TEXASIn spite of their difficult medical condition, many patients continue to find joy and have aspirations. Ten-year-old Ella Garner fully intends to engage in a serious snowball fight someday soon. Because her family lives in Pearland, Texas, that’s a more ambitious goal than it sounds.
Working with the indigenous midwives marked a special opportunity for Elder and Sister Wilcox.Besides offering neonatal resuscitation training, the Church donated more than 2,000 pieces of medical equipment, including stethoscopes, self-inflating silicone bags, masks, neonatal mannequins, and syringes.“It’s been so rewarding to work with the midwives because they are so excited that people are taking time out to help them,” said Elder Wilcox. “It’s hoped that we can make a huge impact on [decreasing] the infant mortality rates in their communities.”Brazil’s Maranhao region, which is home to thousands of indigenous people, has a high infant mortality rate. There are 16.3 deaths per thousand births, according to the Ministry of Health.The burgeoning friendship between the Church medical missionaries and the midwives is anchored in respect and professional fellowship. The Wilcoxes have met some midwives who have performed hundreds of newborn deliveries in their respective villages.“The course was wonderful, and it will help a lot,” Maria Jose, a midwife from the Sao Jose Ribamar community who has been delivering babies for 35 years, told Newsroom in Brazil.The most recent Pediatric Neonatal Day was attended by dozens of doctors and nurses, along with 24 midwives from local communities and indigenous villages.“The partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is so valuable,” said Marynea Silva do Vale, a pediatrician and president of the Society of Child Care and Pediatrics of Maranhao. “Together, we have been able to promote training once a year in Brazil in places where child mortality is very pronounced.”
Church medical missionary Elder Ryan Wilcox, center, is joined at a neonatal care training seminar by Brazilian pediatricians Dr. Marynea Silva do Vale, left, and Dr. Patricia Marques. Photo courtesy of the Brazil Area.Maria Jose added she planned to return to her community and share the things she has learned with fellow midwives.So it is critical that the doctors or midwives delivering the babies possess the know-how and proper equipment to respond immediately.But all shared a common, even sacred, purpose: keeping babies alive in the sometimes perilous first moments after birth.In response, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Society of Pediatrics of Maranhao once again partnered last October to host the Pediatric Neonatal Day—an annual course that trains local health professionals in advanced techniques of neonatal resuscitation.The Church’s ongoing neonatal care effort in Brazil has gleaned attention outside the country’s medical community. Several news and television stations covered the gathering, allowing Elder Wilcox to utilize the Portuguese-language skills he learned as a young missionary in Brazil during multiple media interviews.Some wore shirts and ties while others donned the colorful skirts and the traditional beadwork of local indigenous tribes. Most spoke Portuguese as their first language, but some conversed in their native Guajajára. Many held advanced degrees. A few could not read or write.Babies not being able to breathe at birth cause most infant deaths, said Elder Ryan Wilcox, a physician and Church medical missionary. “Nine out of 10 babies are fine at birth—it’s the 10 percent that need help, and most of the time it is often just a matter of simply opening their lungs up quickly.”The Church’s neonatal resuscitation efforts in Brazil are made possible through local partnerships, he said. He and other medical missionaries enjoy time-tested relationships with health and physician organizations in Brazil sharing a commitment to saving newborn babies.Elder Wilcox has become a familiar face at the annual gathering in Brazil. A pediatrician from American Fork, Utah, he has spent more than a decade teaching and working with local medical providers. He and his wife, Gretchen, a labor and delivery nurse, are medical missionaries assigned to the maternal/newborn care project, one of the Church’s major welfare initiatives. Midwives from Brazil’s Guajajára tribe listen to neonatal care instruction at an October 2018 training seminar cosponsored by the Church. Photo courtesy of the Brazil Area.“The whole purpose of the course is to identify when a baby is having problems at the moment of birth,” said Elder Wilcox. “The key thing is then grabbing a bag and mask to ventilate the baby. In the course, we teach [care providers] how to use the bag and mask properly.”Newborn lives are being saved, he added, in the indigenous villages of northern Brazil and far beyond, thanks to the generosity of Church members worldwide who donate to the humanitarian fund.At first glance, the people who gathered recently inside a Sao Luis stake center in northern Brazil seemed a disparate group.“I’m better prepared now,” she said.A veteran pediatrician, Elder Wilcox said he still discovers wonder in the birth of a healthy baby. Many of the people he works with in Brazil come from starkly different backgrounds, but they share his joy in welcoming little ones to the world.“It’s been a lot of fun going back to Brazil and once again wear the missionary name tag, even though it’s in a completely different role,” he said.
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of James the elder, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a staff at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Andrew, brother of Peter (Andreas Frater Petri) Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a knife at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Judas Thaddeus (Judas Thaddaeus)Those are some of the symbols found on the 12 ancient Apostles statues by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, which have been featured in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, for nearly 200 years and now at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center.Matthew (Matthaeus) Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds keys at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Thomas holds a builder’s square, given that an ancient story has Thomas building a palace for King Gudaphara in India. Since the “doubting” Thomas didn’t initially believe in the first reports of the Savior’s Resurrection until he touched the wounds of crucifixion, the square symbolizes his belief in things “measured and weighed.” Judas Thaddeus, one of the Twelve Apostles statues by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, holds a halberd as a symbol of his martyrdom, at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of John, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a tablet at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Paul holds a sword at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles statues, by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.James, brother of John (Iacobus Frater Iohannes)Bartholomew (Batholomeaus) A winged child that was part of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original statue of Matthew in Copenhagen is not part of this replica at the visitors’ center for the Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Andrew, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a scroll at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Simon, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a saw at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Tradition has this James—who is shown holding a staff or a fuller’s club—being stoned and beaten to death with such a club near the temple in Jerusalem.Portrayals often show Andrew with a book or scroll and accompanied by an X-shaped cross suggesting or representing the legend of his death in Patras, Greece.Thomas (Thomas)The keys held in Peter’s right hand are symbolic of Matthew 16:19, where Christ tells Peter, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Judas Thaddeus, one of the Twelve Apostles statues by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, holds a halberd as a symbol of his martyrdom, at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles statues, by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, holds a measuring tool at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.James, son of Alpheus (Iacobus Alphaeus Filius) Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original Christus statue is in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of John, one of the Twelve Apostles, is shown without a beard at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.John (Iohannes) Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Matthew, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a tablet at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. There is also a bag of money by his feet, in reference to his former job as a tax collector. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Andrew, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a scroll and a large X-shaped cross at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Simon Zelotes (Simon Zelotes) A close replica in Rome of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, does not hold a small cross like the original, at the visitors’ center for the Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.In collections of Apostle statues, Paul often takes the place of Judas Iscariot. In his left hand, he holds a sword. Traditions have Paul suffering death under Emperor Nero sometime between 62 and 68 AD. As a Roman citizen, Paul was spared crucifixion and is believed to have been beheaded instead. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s James, the son of Alpheus, at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of John, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a tablet at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds keys at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.The lack of a beard underscores the youth of John, and the writing slate and pencil symbolize his role as an evangelist and one of the authors of the four Gospels. At his feet is an eagle, which was one of the winged creatures mentioned in Revelation 4:7, with John the author of that New Testament book. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Paul holds a sword at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Christus The pierced hand of a replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue in the visitors’ center for the Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.This statue holds a halberd, which is a long-handled medieval weapon combining a spear and a battle-ax. Stories have Judas Thaddeus suffering a martyr’s death in Persia.Paul (Paulus) Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Simon, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a saw at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Philip (Philippus)Keys. A bag of money. An eagle. And numerous instruments representing a martyr’s death. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a small cross at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.James is depicted holding a shepherd’s staff or walking stick and sporting hat behind his left shoulder. Tradition has James preaching in Spain, with many Christian pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago route to Santiago de Compostela, believed by some to be the Apostle’s burial location.The statue in Copenhagen is holding a small cross, since tradition has Philip often preaching of Christ’s crucifixion as well as being crucified upside down. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Matthew, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a tablet at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.The following are some of the representations of symbolism found with Thorvaldsen’s statues of the 12 ancient Apostles.Each base bearing an Apostle statue has inscribed a Greek equivalent of that Apostle’s name. The larger Christus statue has a shorter base with “Venite a Me” and “Matteo 11:28”—Italian for “Come unto Me” and Matthew 11:28, which reads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”The knife being held conveys the legend of his death at the command of the king of Armenia. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of James the elder, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds a staff at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Peter (Petrus)Like fellow evangelist John, the statue of Matthew holds a writing slate and a pencil. Beside the right foot is a bag of money, with Matthew’s original profession being a tax collector.The saw held in front represents the tradition of Simon Zelotes’s death in Persia.The Christus statue is seen with outstretched arms as welcoming, inviting, enveloping, with the hands and feet of the resurrected Christ shown with the wounds of the crucifixion. That differs from other similar statues and depictions of the Savior either suffering through the crucifixion or with arms reaching upward in a show of power. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s James, the son of Alpheus, holds a staff at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.
FamilySearch will continue to develop site experiences that enable families to connect with their ancestral homelands near and far. FamilySearch.org will also provide more help throughout the site to make it easier for visitors to accomplish key tasks in a few simple steps.The popular, free genealogy website FamilySearch.org announced its 2019 plans to enhance its record search and Family Tree search capabilities and introduce new interactive discovery experiences. RootsTech London 2019The RootsTech London 2019 convention will not replace the annual conference in Salt Lake City (held on February 27–March 2, 2019) but will be an additional RootsTech event. Registration for RootsTech London opens in February 2019.MemoriesThe free FamilySearch Family Tree will give users the ability to record other relationships to an ancestor beyond immediate family members, when applicable, such as friends, associates, and neighbors (FAN). This function will aid research by allowing users to record information about other people living in an ancestor’s household as noted in a historical record, such as boarders or staff.Online interactive discovery experiencesIn addition to over 300 million additional historical records and images for family history discoveries, look for the following new offerings in 2019.Family Tree and friends, associates, and neighbor (FAN) relationshipsThe FamilySearch Family Tree search capacity will be significantly updated to provide faster and better results. Another innovation will allow search engines such as Google to present names and limited facts from the Family Tree to online search queries without the searcher being signed into FamilySearch.org. This feature will enable millions of people searching for their ancestors online to discover the vast, free services FamilySearch offers them.For the first time, fun discovery experiences that have been available only at life-sized, interactive kiosks in select FamilySearch venues will also be available on FamilySearch.org in 2019. Making these three discovery experiences available online will expand the reach of the activities to more patrons globally:
The sculptorFor the Rome replicas, tradition meshed with technology at Carrara’s Tor Art, as high-pressure water jets cut large marble blocks into rough, basic shapes, followed by robotic machines directed by 3-D imaging milling the marble even closer to the shape and contours of the original piece.The ancient Apostles have traveled again, from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Carrara, Italy, and on to Rome. It’s the second time in as many centuries those cities have been linked with the likes of Peter, James, John, and Paul.Fiberglass models have been delivered to other temple open houses prior to the respective dedications. The Christus image has also been featured in the past atop the Church’s website home page.Featured in the rotunda of the visitors’ center, the Christus and Apostles statutes are presented as having a westward view over the complex’s plaza toward the new multistory temple.The versions in marbleSubsequent statues have been displayed by the Church at its booth at the 1964 World’s Fair, several prominent Church history centers, and various temple visitors’ centers, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., and from France to New Zealand.While the Rome Italy Temple and its surrounding facilities are opening to the public for the first time this month, work on the Thorvaldsen statue replicas began the better part of a decade ago. The processes of digitally mapping the originals and crafting the replicas were featured in a 2012 Church video report. And a similar video report in March 2017 acknowledged their placement in the Rome visitors’ center, while work continued around them.“The Christus and Apostles were some of the first statues to be copied in mass production,” said Torgard of the clay, porcelain, and metal reproductions that sprang up. “People were going around Copenhagen with a tray on their head selling small porcelain statues. … It became a sign of being ‘educated’ if you had a figure of Thorvaldsen in your home, a sign of knowledge and appreciation of the symbolism.”Initially, the Christus didn’t get much attention outside of Denmark, until an American textbook at the end of the 19th century described it as “considered the most perfect statue of Christ in the world.” Today, copies of Thorvaldsen’s Christus can be found worldwide, used by various religions and in many different public settings, as well as available for purchase over the internet.In 2008, then-President Thomas S. Monson announced plans for a temple in Rome, with the groundbreaking occurring two years later.The final touches and details—refined carving, sanding, and polishing by hand—were done by craftsmen and apprentices at Carrara’s Studi d’Arte Cave Michelangelo.As is the unique view of the 13 statues, he added. “It not only shows the Savior, but it shows His 12 Apostles—that He actually organized a church, that He called 12 Apostles, and that in the modern-day Church we have 12 Apostles too.” Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles, holds keys at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Marble quarry in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.The local companies and artisans appreciated the Church’s attention to detail and the decision to have the reproductions done at Carrara, as were Thorvaldsen’s originals, said Heather Evertsen, a Latter-day Saint living in Florence who operates tours in that city as well as throughout Tuscany and into the Carrara area and its quarries. The Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Christmas markets light up Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Within a year, the Church had initiated the process to replicate Thorvaldsen’s statues, receiving enthusiastic approval from officials of Copenhagen’s Church of Our Lady and the nearby Thorvaldsen Museum.Like others across the globe, the Rome visitors’ center points people to the temple, says Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Church’s Missionary Department, which oversees such visitors’ centers.“You don’t see the pain, you don’t see the crucifixion, you don’t see the blood or the crown of thorns,” Torgard said of Thorvaldsen’s Christus. “Of course, you see the wounds in His hands and feet. You see Him standing here, that death is overcome and that He is welcoming.”Thorvaldsen teamed with architect Christian Fredrik Hansen to create a new cathedral in a neoclassical style, showcasing Thorvaldsen’s statues. The Apostles—six to a side—lined the cathedral’s interior walls, with the Christus featured at the front. A replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s James, the son of Alpheus, or James the less, is on display with statues of the other Twelve Apostles in the visitors’ center for the Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Simone Zanaglia measures where to cut Portuguese pink marble at TORART in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.With the facility’s roof already in place, the heavy statues had to be inserted horizontally by special cranes going through the opening of what would be the rotunda windows—no small task for the heavy statues. The Christus alone weighs some four tons and rises nearly 13 feet from base to top, while the 12 Apostle statues—scaled to three-quarters of the originals in Copenhagen—weigh about 1,000 pounds each.The statues underscore the connection between the Holy Land, Rome, and Salt Lake City—the geography of the Bible with the city central to Christianity over the ages and now with the Latter-day Saints’ headquarters city in Utah.Thorvaldsen spent a couple of years on sketches and clay models for the Christus, with several accounts given on how the statue’s iconic outstretched arms came to be. One version is that a clay model’s arms softened overnight and drooped; another is that when Thorvaldsen was struggling to find a specific pose, he was inspired when greeted by a sympathetic visitor.The design resulted in a symbolic walk and flow, with no circumlocutious meandering like in other older cathedrals, said Susanne Torgard, curator and art historian at the Church of Our Lady for 15 years.In 1819, Thorvaldsen returned to Denmark, commissioned to create a collection of statues of Christ and 12 Apostles for a renovation of Copenhagen’s Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke).When a 1976 series of area conferences concluded in Copenhagen, President Spencer W. Kimball took a group of senior Church leaders—including President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency; Elders Thomas S. Monson, Boyd K. Packer, and L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elders Rex D. Pinegar and Robert D. Hales of the Council of the Seventy—with him to the Church of Our Lady, where President Kimball had previously visited. Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Sunday, November 18, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Tracing its roots back to the 12th century, the building had suffered damage and destruction from fires, lightning, and human causes, the most recent the 1807 British bombardment during the Napoleonic Wars.The moment has been recounted numerous times in talks and messages in each of the four decades since. Often mentioned is President Kimball’s acknowledgment that Thorvaldsen’s work timeline coincided with Joseph Smith’s efforts leading up to and including the Restoration, including the First Vision, the coming of the Book of Mormon, the organization of Church, and the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James, and John.Marble from the Apuan Alps above the city of Carrara has been quarried since ancient Roman times, used originally for buildings, columns, benches, and stairways as well as ornamentation purposes such as tombstones, monuments, and sculptures. Carrara marble is featured in Rome’s Pantheon and Michelangelo’s David and La Pieta sculptures.Given a hero’s welcome back home, Thorvaldsen returned to Denmark for good in 1838, the same year the Church of Our Lady featured the 13 marble statues. Large and small copies of the Christus and Apostles statues were fashioned for public settings and for home, with the Danes displaying the replicas not only for their religious significance but as symbols of both art awareness and national pride.The placement of the statuesRegarded for employing the classic Greek style of flowing lines, slender faces, and close-in body postures rather than the day’s more expressive and flamboyant styles, Thorvaldsen earned commissions from nobility and royalty across the continent.
Locator map of Copenhagen, Denmark; Carrara, Italy; and Rome, ItalyThe process of re-creating the statues links the centuries-old tradition of sculpting with today’s technology. Johannes Felder sculpts a marble statue at the Studi d'Arte Cave Michelangelo in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Like the Christus, the Apostle statues were first done in plaster for their 1829 placement.“We had to install them out of sequence, before a lot of the finishes were in, and then work around them,” said senior project manager Bret Woods, noting the painting and the installation of flooring, a high-wall mural, and rotunda windows that followed. “We had to protect them for the last two years because they are so delicate.” Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue of Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles, at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Twelve Apostles statues were carved out of Carrara marble between 1829 and 1848. Replicas of the statues are now on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Italy. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Heather Evertsen shows what a sculpture looks like after it has been cut by machine but before it has been refined by hand, outside of TORART in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Subsequent financial collections provided funding to have the statues redone—in Carrara where the marble was quarried and then reworked, not by Thorvaldsen but by his workshops and artisans at the base of the quarries.“There’s an opportunity for people who are unable to go into a temple to come to the visitors’ center, learn about the temple, learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and have an opportunity to be taught here while they’re looking at the temple.” Susanne Torgard, curator for the museum of the Church of Our Lady, talks about Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, who created Christus and the Twelve Apostles statues, at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Blocks of marble in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.But there’s more of a link here than just the three European cities.More recently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints digitally mapped the statues in Copenhagen, quarried marble in Carrara to fashion the modern-day replicas, and then placed the reproductions within view of its new Rome Italy Temple, the Church’s first in a biblical land.And now, as the Church is poised to welcome the world to the first temple to be constructed here where ancient Apostles walked, the remarkable story of the statues and what they represent is ready to be told.
Bertel Thorvaldsen’s original Christus statue is in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Trucks travel over a bridge at the base of marble quarries in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.In the early 1800s, a Danish sculptor trained in Rome crafted sculptures of Jesus Christ and 12 New Testament Apostles—first of clay, then of plaster, and finally of Carrara marble, with all 13 destined for a redesigned Copenhagen cathedral.The quarries of CarraraThe three valleys of more than 650 quarries produce an average of 30,000 tons a month, typically trucked out in 10-ton blocks.Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844) was born to a peasant mother and a wood-carving father; as an older child, he joined his father in the shipyards carving ship decorations. At age 11, Thorvaldsen was accepted into the Royal Danish Academy of Art, later earning a stipend to study in Rome, where he became a preeminent sculptor during his four decades there.“They came back to the same place, the same quarry, even the same area of the mountain to re-create this project,” Evertsen said. “I think that’s pretty magical.” Trucks move marble blocks at a marble quarry in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.The visitors’ center is just one of several facilities and services adjacent to the new Rome Italy Temple, along with patron housing, a stake center, and administrative offices all found with the 15-acre complex. Trucks move marble blocks at a marble quarry in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus and Twelve Apostles statues are in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“The beautiful view of the Savior looking at the temple is quite amazing to see,” Elder Nielson said.Numerous Latter-day Saint leaders and members have visited the Church of Our Lady over the many decades, including two noteworthy events.Granted after-hours access to the statues in Copenhagen, a Church team completed a precise digital mapping of each of the 13 statues, creating a detailed, three-dimensional computer image for each that would be used next in Carrara. Marble quarry in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Along with the Christus statue, Thorvaldsen crafted 12 statues of the ancient Apostles, replacing the traitor Judas Iscariot with Paul, a subsequent Apostle noted for his travels and epistles to church members throughout the Mediterranean, including Rome. Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.“You walk up the aisle and you see the resurrected Christ, and then you walk out again, knowing He is behind you,” she said, adding that the architectural symmetry “makes it so that the only way you can walk is towards Christ.”Also the Church is linking its longtime use of the Christus statue with this first-time display of Apostle statues in Rome and a key symbol found on one—the keys Peter holds in his right hand.Similar to others of the era, the statues featured elements symbolizing the Apostles’ roles, teachings, or—in several cases—legends of their deaths as martyrs. Peter holds keys, while John and Matthew grasp writing instruments as evangelists who each wrote one of the four Gospels. Others are holding a club, a knife, or a saw. Replicas of Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Twelve Apostles statues are on display in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.The accounts all cite President Kimball pointing to the statue of Peter and the keys, explaining the symbolism and saying: “We are the living Apostles. We hold the real keys, as Peter did, and we use them every day. They are in use constantly.”Today, Carrara white and blue-grey marble includes a myriad of residential and construction uses, from flooring and wall tiling to countertops to vases, bowls, and lamps. Carrara marble is often featured in Latter-day Saint temples too.ROME, ITALYA final clay model was finished in 1821, with castings made as the Christus went first from clay to plaster for its initial offering for the Church’s 1829 inauguration.During his apostolic assignments across Europe in 1950, Elder Stephen L. Richards visited Copenhagen and the cathedral and saw the statues. Impressed with the Christus, he arranged to have a reproduction of the statue made and delivered to Salt Lake City. That statue has been a focal point on Temple Square in Salt Lake City for more than a half-century, as featured in the North Visitors’ Center. Rome Temple in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Tools for cutting marble at TORART in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.The keys denote the Savior’s message to His lead Apostle in Matthew 16:19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” or priesthood authority. A block of marble is marked to be cut at TORART in Carrara, Italy, on Thursday, November 15, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.
There are now more than 16 million members of the Church worldwide.“I am sure they didn’t realize who had come into their home 200 years ago. But the Lord, in His great design, had the Smith family and the Mack family in His eye from the very foundations of the world, ultimately to this day where Joseph could be born here.”When President Russell M. Nelson issued an invitation to read the Book of Mormon by the end of 2018, I thought of President Gordon B. Hinckley’s challenge to members to read the book by the end of 2005 and my experiences in accepting that challenge.Thirteen years ago I read the book at home, during lunch breaks at work, and while traveling. I remember the unique experience of being in Hawaii on a Sunday afternoon and, wanting to take advantage of the tropical setting, going to a park overlooking the ocean and settling down to read. I met a Latter-day Saint family who was reading the Book of Mormon also. I saw people on the flights from Honolulu to Los Angeles and from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City reading the Book of Mormon.Elder Ballard reviewed with me the difficulties and the struggles Joseph Smith Sr. and his wife, Lucy Mack Smith, had with farming and failing, and “the Lord moving them through some trials, trauma, and difficulty, keeping that family so deeply humble. They arrived in Palmyra [New York] when Joseph, who was born here, was in his 14th year.”He added, “You have to stand in reverence when you’re in the proximity of where Joseph was born. He was an instrument in the hands of the Lord; [Joseph’s] work has impacted more than 12 million people in the world today [as of 2005].” President Gordon B. Hinckley, left, and Elder M. Russell Ballard speak to members of the media during a press conference at the birthplace of Joseph Smith near Sharon, Vermont, December 22, 2005. In a satellite broadcast on December 23 from the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial Visitors’ Center, President Hinckley and Elder Ballard delivered addresses carried throughout the Church. Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret News.I asked Elder Ballard about his thoughts of being where the Prophet Joseph Smith was born 200 years earlier. “You don’t realize the impact of Joseph’s life until you come out here and see this almost desolate area where his father and mother were trying to eke out an existence,” he said. “They already had four children. Their little baby girl passed away shortly after being born, so there were Alvin, Hyrum, and Sophronia, and now comes to them, in this setting, Joseph.I completed my reading on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith, who was born at Sharon, Vermont, on December 23, 1805. President Gordon B. Hinckley and Elder M. Russell Ballard—now President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—went to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial Visitors’ Center to deliver addresses in a satellite broadcast.The next day, on the exact 200th anniversary, Elder Ballard and I went back to the monument. Except for the sounds of the Tabernacle Choir drifting on the frigid air—part of a recorded narration about the birth of Jesus Christ—it was quiet at the monument. No one else was outside during the few minutes that Elder Ballard and I walked and he talked about the significance of that date and about his great-great-uncle Joseph Smith and his great-great-grandfather Hyrum Smith.“We don’t worship him, but surely we honor him and we hold him in the highest esteem as the prophet of this dispensation of the fulness of times. As Brigham Young said, Joseph was prepared from the foundations of the world to lead this dispensation. It’s overwhelming when you see the full picture.”Elder Ballard spoke of members reading the Book of Mormon during the closing months of 2005. “Just think, 130 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been printed. It has been translated in over 77 languages scattered in every corner of the world—all from this humble beginning here in Sharon, Vermont.”I had read all of the Book of Mormon that year—except for the last 10 verses. I saved them to read at the Joseph Smith Memorial. A few minutes after Elder Ballard went inside the visitors’ center, I sat near the monument and read those verses and wrote a note in the book indicating when and where I had completed reading it. Later that afternoon, Elder Ballard signed his name beneath my note.I was there. On December 22, 2005, President Hinckley and Elder Ballard walked around the mammoth granite shaft erected in 1905 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s birth.
Piazza, trees, and statuesSoon to become the Church’s 12th temple in Europe and 162nd worldwide, the Rome Italy Temple will serve the nearly 27,000 Latter-day Saints in Italy as well as those in neighboring countries. The Bern Switzerland Temple is the closest operating temple now to Italy, which is home to two missions and more than 100 member congregations.Location and grounds The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The statues are in a rotunda facing the temple, backed by an overhead mural of an Italian landscape. Full-length windows offer a dramatic view of the statues in the rotunda setting and a similar view of the temple from inside the visitors' center. Fountain and doors at the Rome Italy Temple.The 15-acre parcel previously was a farm that the Church purchased in 1997, with the property including a villa, a small olive orchard, and an outside pizza oven. For a period, full-time missionaries resided at the villa, and the property occasionally served as a gathering place for members and their activities. Stained glass in the Rome Italy Temple depicts scenes from the Savior's life.President Thomas S. Monson announced the temple during the October 2008 general conference and then presided over its groundbreaking on Octoer 23, 2010. On March 25, 2017, the gold-plated Angel Moroni statue was placed atop the taller, eastern tower of the twin-spired building.The temple will be dedicated over several sessions held March 10-12; it will open for temple sessions and ordinance work the following week on March 19. The baptismal font and baptistry of the Rome Italy Temple.Other interior features include the instruction room mural featuring Italian landscape scenes from the sea to the hills, the Baroque-style bridal room with its crystalline sconces and hand-painted chairs, the crystal chandelier and artisan-crafted furnishings of the celestial room, sculpted off-white carpets in the celestial and sealing rooms, an elliptical font with inlaid stones and Roman-style acanthus leaves in the baptistery, and original paintings throughout the temple.This week’s schedule“It is beautiful,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who serves as chairman of the Temple and Family History Department, as quoted by Newsroom. “The craftmanship is expert and perfect.”Located at Via de Settebagni 376 in northeast Rome near the village of La Cinquina Bufalotta, the temple sits on an elevated 15-acre parcel just off the A90 Grande Raccordo Anulare beltway—also known as “Il Raccordo” (“The Junction”)—that surrounds the city.Also on the temple grounds are a multifunctional meetinghouse, a visitors' center, and temple-patron housing. Linking the various buildings is the piazza constructed from native-to-Italy travertine tiles, pavers, and blocks. Instruction room in the Rome Italy Temple.
The statues of Peter, James, and John—three of Thorvaldsen's ancient apostles statues—are in the Rome Italy Temple Visitors' Center.Design and exterior Chandelier in the grand staircase of the lobby of the Rome Italy Temple.A morning news conference and subsequent media tours were the first public events scheduled to be held at the temple on Monday, January 14.In latter days, the restored gospel returned to Italy when a handful of missionaries—including Elder Lorenzo Snow, later the fifth president of the Church—arrived in 1850 and found success in northern Italy. Most early converts over the next half-decade eventually emmigrated to the United States and the Salt Lake Valley. Meanwhile, challenges and persecutions resulted in a halting of Church activity in Italy until the 1960s, when missionary work returned and a first-of-the-era congregation was organized.The general-public open house begins Monday, January 28, and runs through Saturday, February 16, excluding Sundays. Free tickets for the open house can be requested at templeopenhouse.lds.org.
The sun sets behind the Rome Italy Temple nearing completion on April 15, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The three-story, 40,000-square-foot temple features architecture inspired by ancient Rome and an exterior of Bianco Sardo granite. The Rome Italy Temple on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. Interior details of the Rome Italy Temple.Initially, only a small portion of the property was available for temple construction; however, subsequent rezoning allowed the Church to expand to use all 15 acres for its grounds and accompanying facilities.
The grand staircase of the lobby of the Rome Italy Temple.The Rome Italy Temple Visitors' Center. The Angel Moroni statue is lowered by a crane into place atop the tallest, eastern spire of the Rome Italy Temple on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Photo by Scott Taylor, Deseret News.The grand staircase in the temple’s lobby is considered an engineering feat, said project supervisor Bret Woods. “It’s connected just at the top and the bottom, so it’s essentially a free-floating staircase—and of course, an elliptical shape,” he said. A view of the Rome Italy Temple and the Italian-style piazza on the temple grounds.InteriorSaid architect Neils Valentiner: “This had to be one that when you walked onto this site, every person should feel like they were on an Italian site. They would recognize it because of the materials, because of the design and because of the surrounding.”The staircase’s oval design suggests the Michelangelo-designed Piazza del Campidoglio and its ramped staircase near Rome’s Capitoline Hill. The Rome Italy Temple on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News. A display model shows the Rome Italy Temple, grounds, and affiliated buildings. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Valentiner said the temple’s design was inspired by San Carlino, a Roman Catholic church in Rome. “The curved ceilings, the curved walls, the expression of the colonnades and columns. And that started this very early concept of a curved church, a curved temple and temple building both on the exterior as well as on the interior.” A sealing room in the Rome Italy Temple.Italy’s Church, temple historySpecial-guest tours are scheduled to run from Tuesday, January 15, through Tuesday, January 22, with invitations to leaders of government, business, legal, interfaith, and humanitarian organizations. Window detail in the Rome Italy Temple.The visitors’ center includes replicas of Thorvaldsen’s Christus and 12 ancient apostle statues found in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark. (See related story.)“There’s tremendous symbolism in olives and in olive trees,” said Elder Bednar in the Newsroom report, noting the deep depth reached by the tree roots. “Whenever you cut the roots of an olive tree, they’ll sprout. They don’t die; they will continue to sprout. Some have suggested that perhaps that’s symbolic of the hope of the Resurrection.”Visitors to the Rome Italy Temple are greeted at the entrance by a floor-to-ceiling stained-glass wall featuring a scene of the life of Jesus Christ, with additional art-glass throughout inspired by the olive tree and its leaves. A model display of the interior of the Rome Temple is visible in the Visitors' Center in Rome, Italy, on Friday, November 16, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.Rome is considered by Latter-day Saints and other Christian faiths as a historic location, a biblical city where ancient apostles such as Peter and Paul preached. Baptistry of the Rome Italy Temple.The public phase of the Rome Italy Temple has begun, with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opening its new sacred edifice in the Eternal City for the next four-plus weeks for a series of open-house tours. Replicas of Thorvaldsen's Christus statue and his 12 ancient apostle statues—from originals found in Copenhagen, Denmark—are featured in the Rome Italy Temple Visitors' Center.CAPTION.: /bc/content/ldsorg/church/news/2019/01/15/photos-give-a-first-look-inside-the-rome-italy-temple_6.jpg