Pope Met with LDS Leadership at the Vatican

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated a new temple in Rome.

On March 9, Pope Francis met with President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , marking the first meeting between the Catholic head and the leader of the LDS Church. The visit occurred a day before President Nelson dedicated the first temple of the Latter-day Saints in Rome. Nelson was accompanied by President M. Russell Ballard of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Nelson flew to Rome along with the 14 elders who comprise the Latter-day Saints leadership to dedicate their new temple on March 10. The complex has an oval-shaped house of worship with an external marble facade. The building was constructed on the top of a hill. There is also a visitor center with the centerpiece being bigger than the actual representation of Christ encircled by smaller apostle statues. According to the Mormon leadership, this was the first time all apostles gathered together outside the United States.

The Vatican declined to provide any details about what the pope discussed with President Nelson and other Latter-day church leaders. The Mormon leadership were more forthcoming on this issue, with Nelson making use of Twitter to state that both the churches have many common doctrines. He then went on to say that although the doctrinal differences between the two churches are essential and real, “they’re not nearly as important as the things we have in common.” The two leaders discussed many mutual concerns, especially for the youth attending their respective churches and matters regarding secularization. The two religious leaders have a common belief that faith in the almighty imparts stability and morality to human society. As per President Nelson, a society without a god is like a rudderless ship.

The meeting between Pope Francis and President Nelson lasted for 33 minutes. Nelson, along with President Ballard met the media afterward, describing his meeting with the pontiff as a memorable and cordial experience. He said the pope was warm and welcoming and a gracious man. President Nelson observed how Catholics are lucky to be led by a capable, gracious, loving, and concerned leader. Other attendees in the meeting included President Ballard, along with General Authority Seventy Elder Massimo De Feo, a local Seventy Elder Alessandro Dini Ciacci, and Mark Woodruff, the executive secretary to President Nelson. The religious leaders exchanged gifts, with the pope giving Nelson his declarations on Islamic faith and the family. The president gifted the pontiff a Lladro figurine of the Christus Statue along with a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

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