The 15-acre complex and 40,000-square-foot temple will soon become the largest Latter-day Saint center in Europe. "The enormous temple atop a hill, nearly 10 years in the making, was hard to miss during its construction, arousing the curiosity of Romans, regardless of their faith," Elisabetta Povoledo wrote for The New York Times.
The temple piazza, Michelangelo motifs, and cascading fountains are a nod to local culture and have caught the attention of those visiting the site. Latter-day Saint Gordon Walker, who traveled from the United States to see the temple, told The New York Times, “I spoke to some who told me, ‘This is our temple, because it represents Rome.’”
The article continues:
"Some visitors came away less impressed by the design than by the church’s family-centric message, which is stressed during the tour.
"'There’s a strong sense of family, of respect,' Maria Giordano said after taking the tour. 'We’ve lost this in Italy.' . . .
"While relations among various Christian denominations aren’t always idyllic in a country where as much as 90 percent of the population is Catholic, Mr. Dini-Ciacci spoke of positive interactions with the Vatican.
"'There is mutual respect, with doctrinal differences,' he said."
Caleb Parke from Fox News elaborated on Latter-day Saint beliefs, saying:
"Unlike churches where members gather for Sunday worship services, Latter-day Saints consider temples 'houses of the Lord' and one of the central teachings of the Mormon church is that families can be together forever. This sacred union—through marriage, baptism, and other ceremonies—is only made possible in holy temples with members in good standing."
About the new temple and Latter-day Saint beliefs, CNN's Delia Gallagher states, "At the heart of a [Latter-day Saint] temple is a small pool, a full-immersion baptismal font, where [Latter-day Saints] baptize their dead ancestors by proxy in a ceremony central to their belief that families are bound together for all eternity and that only the baptized can enter the Kingdom of God. . . . While the building's spires don't reach the heights of St. Peter's 450-foot-high dome, the Pope's new neighbors hope their temple will also become a place of pilgrimage for spiritual seekers."
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It seems only fitting that this everlasting work should now commence in the "Eternal City" where Jesus Christ's apostles testified of His life and saving grace.
"I'm just very humbled to be here, to think that we're walking in the footsteps of those original apostles," Elder Ronald A. Rasband told Fox News.
Elliot Nelson, who served a mission in Rome, told The New York Times, “We hoped and prayed for this for a long time."
Claudia Mencarelli, a 23-year-old convert from Catholicism, told USA Today about her family's reaction to her conversion, saying, “After the initial shock they could see how beneficial the church was. . . . I feel such a great peace and joy from the gospel. I would not trade it for anything."