ROME — A history-making new temple in Rome has senior Latter-day Saint leaders making some extraordinary history of their own.
For the first time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has placed one of its most sacred buildings in a land of the Bible, and to dedicate it this weekend, the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are assembling outside the United States for what is believed to be the first time in the faith’s 188-year history.
The church announced the noteworthy gathering in a news release on Friday. President Russell M. Nelson and other leaders will dedicate the Rome Italy Temple in seven sessions on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Motorists travel near the ancient Aurelian city walls in Rome, Italy on Friday, March 8, 2019.
Full meetings anywhere outside Utah are rare for the 15 senior leaders considered prophets and seers by 16 million church members.
The First Presidency, comprising three apostles, and the Quorum of the Twelve meet together every Thursday in the 125-year-old Salt Lake Temple, but the last time every member of both bodies gathered away from church headquarters was in 2002, when they all attended a temple dedication in Nauvoo, Illinois, according to church historians.
That marked the first time the entire leadership had traveled to one place outside Salt Lake City since 1956, when church historians say they dedicated the Los Angeles Temple, the 10th temple dedicated in the church’s history.
The closest equivalent outside the United States happened 178 years ago, when nine apostles led meetings in Manchester, England, said Ron Esplin, general editor of the Joseph Smith Papers.
Ravell Call, Deseret News
Statues of Christ and the Apostles are displayed in the Rome Temple Visitor’s Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019.
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