Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes referred to by the media or friends of other faiths as "The Mormon Church") has over 16 million members in over 160 nations worldwide. Currently, 161 of its beautiful temples adorn sites in North, South, and Central America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and numerous islands of the sea. There are 40 other LDS temples that have either been announced or are under construction. The relief and humanitarian efforts of the Church have helped bless the lives of millions around the world, regardless of faith, as it follows the example of its Living Head, Jesus Christ. Sadly, The Church of Jesus Christ is still greatly misunderstood, and many myths and falsehoods still exist. We hope that this site will provide information to those who visit hoping to gain knowledge about Latter-day Saints (nicknamed "Mormons"), either on a given topic in Mormonism or simply about Latter-day Saints in general. Articles cover topics about such things as basic Mormon beliefs, Mormon doctrine, Mormon history and leadership, temple work, family life, Mormon literature, controversial topics, and Church organizations and humanitarian efforts.
The Book of Mormon resembles the Bible in that it contains a mixture of stories and sermons recorded by earlier prophets to help us learn about Jesus Christ and His dealings with mankind. It contains the records of several early groups of people who came from the Holy Lands to the American continent. Those who were righteous were led by prophets, just as were the people of the Bible. These prophets recorded the revelations they received about Jesus Christ, their testimonies of Him, and at one miraculous point, their visitation from Him.
There are more than 30,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Italy, with seven stakes and two missions. The Rome Italy Temple will be the first LDS temple constructed in Italy and the 12th temple in Europe. When completed, the Rome Italy Temple will serve members who, according to local Rome Stake President, Massimo De Feo, currently travel to the Bern Switzerland Temple if they wish to do temple work. He also said that the Church has seen a significant increase in requests for baptisms for the living and the dead, and for celestial marriage ceremonies and family sealing ceremonies which officially bind couples or families together for eternity. He also believes that many Italian members who moved away because of inadequate ways to practice their faith will return to Italy once the temple is complete.
Early Missionary Work in Italy
Just three years after the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, the first missionaries arrived in Genoa, Italy, on 25 June 1850, including Elder Lorenzo Snow, who would become the fifth president of the Church. Over the next three years, 221 people were baptized and organized into three branches. But most proselytizing in Italy stopped in the early 1860s in the face of local opposition and because of a request from Church leaders for Italian members to migrate to Utah. An attempt to reopen missionary work in Italy in 1900 was refused by the government. The Church was finally reestablished in Italy in 1951, following the conversion of Vincenzo di Francesca, who happened to discover a charred copy of the Book of Mormon in a garbage bin. The cover and title page was missing, and it took him years to find out the identity of the book and achieve baptism into the Church. Italians who had joined the Church in other countries began to return to Italy during this period. They attended Church with LDS serviceman stationed in Italy in various branches. By the end of 1964, Church records showed 229 members in Italy. That same year, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, an apostle who would become the 13th president of the Church, petitioned the government for permission to resume missionary work. Permission was granted, the mission was re-opened, and missionaries began to proselyte on 27 January 1965.
Rome Italy Temple Site and Design
The two-spired, three-story, 140-foot Rome Italy Temple is located in northeast Rome near the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the circular road (beltway) that surrounds the city, at Via di Settebagni, 376, just 11 miles from Saint Peter’s Basilica, near the village of La Cinquina Bufalotta. Its architecture was inspired by ancient Rome. Architect Neils Valentiner said, "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." He also stated that the temple’s design was inspired by San Carlino, a Roman Catholic church in Rome. He said, "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."
The temple sits on 15 acres and will feature lush gardens, and a 40,000-square-foot temple with floor and ceiling designs to mimic Michelangelo’s Capitoline Hill plaza overlooking the Roman forum. It is part of a religious and cultural center that includes a multifunctional meetinghouse, a visitors’ center, a family history center and housing for visitors. Marble from Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Brazil is being used to decorate the interior and exterior spaces. The exterior finish will be made of Sardo Bianco granite quarried and fabricated in Italy. A charming Italian Villetta, which stood at the highest point of the temple site, was razed to make way for the Rome Italy Temple. The Villetta served for a time as an apartment for the full-time missionaries.
During his remarks to the 500 guests at the groundbreaking ceremony, he said, "My heart is filled with gratitude. Members throughout Italy and the entire Mediterranean area will be able to come here." Senator Lucio Malan commented that it was "A ceremony that profoundly touched me for the sincere and heartfelt appreciation of those attending. A positive day for Italy because those who profess to obey the laws of the state and the laws of God make the country in which they live a better place."
Shortly after ground was broken for the temple, Rome Mayor, Gianni Alemanno, visited the temple site with Elder José Teixeira of the Quorum of the Seventy. According to a report on the Mormon Newsroom website, Mayor Alemanno, an environmental engineer, "was impressed with the Church’s high construction standards and materials, including the systems employed to manage water consumption, electrical production and the low environmental impact of the temple complex." The full story is available on the Italy Mormon Newsroom website.
Church Announces Open House and Dedication Dates
The Rome Italy Temple opened to the public for a free public tour on Monday, 28 January 2019. The open house will run through Saturday, 16 February 2019, excluding Sundays.
Speaking about the temple, President Russell M. Nelsonsaid, "The sacred ordinances performed in this holy temple will unite families for eternity. God loves all His children equally and has provided a way for them to be linked in love, generation to generation. We are thrilled to be able to dedicate a temple in this city replete with historical importance throughout the ages." Of the Rome Italy Temple, the 162nd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Temple and Family History Department said, "It is beautiful. The craftsmanship is expert and perfect."
Humanitarian Aid Updates
Mormons Provide Humanitarian Aid Around the World
Following the admonition of the Master who taught, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40), members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actively engage in the service of their fellowmen in many areas of the world. They are also reminded of the words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon who exhorted, "For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?" (Mosiah 4:19). "And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also" (1 John 4:21).
The service that they render is not limited solely to Latter-day Saints in need, but rather they stand ready, willing, and able to “lift up the hands which hang down, and [to stable] the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:12) of anyone in their hour of need. Thus, as they perform their unselfish acts of service, the words found in the text of King Benjamin’s sermon as recorded in The Book of Mormon resonate with them. Said King Benjamin, “And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another” (Mosiah 4:21).
The Church of Jesus Christ Humanitarian Programs
LDS Humanitarian Services is a branch of the Welfare Services department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The organization’s stated mission is to relieve suffering, to foster self-reliance for people of all nationalities and religions, and to provide opportunities for service.
Throughout its history, The Church of Jesus Christ has always provided for those in need and is perhaps best known for taking care of its own members. In 1842, Joseph Smith organized the Women’s Relief Society, with a primary focus to provide “relief” to suffering members and an ultimate vision of aiding all people. During the Great Depression, the Church organized a welfare program, now administered by the church's Welfare Services Department, to help provide for the needs of its members.
To help as many people as possible, the Church has established various humanitarian projects which operate throughout the world. These programs include LDS Charities, Helping Hands, and LDS Philanthropies. The Church also maintains the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was established in 1991 to “prepare humanitarian supplies for use worldwide and train those desiring to develop employable skills to become self-reliant.”
The Members' Role in Humanitarian Work
The Savior taught, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). We show our love for one another when we are willing to follow the admonition of the Lord to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and those in prison. We are also taught that we are to visit the fatherless and the widow in their afflictions. In his timeless sermon, King Benjamin exhorted the people, “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (Mosiah 4:19).
Members can get actively engaged in humanitarian efforts in several ways. One way that members can become involved is through service in their local community. Service in the community can include things such as cutting a neighbor’s lawn, washing a neighbor’s car, offering to run errands for an elderly person or someone who is otherwise unable to do so themselves, or babysitting for a neighbor. Service in the community might also include taking part in projects that benefit the community. Members should also seek to build community relations by being actively involved in community service projects that may be spearheaded by people of other faiths, or if they identify something that would benefit the community that has not been addressed, they should take the initiative to bring about a solution. No matter how a person chooses to serve his community, and no matter how small the service may seem, the service alone will say myriads about that person and his or her faith.
Too often we notice the needs around us, hoping that someone from far away will magically appear to meet those needs. … When we do this, we deprive our neighbor of the service we could render, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to serve.
Another way that a member can be involved in humanitarian efforts is by donating to the Humanitarian Aid Fund. Donations can be made through a local ward or branch of the Church by filling out a Tithing and Other Offerings slip and indicating the amount on the “Humanitarian Aid” line, mailing a check, or donating online through the Humanitarian Services Giving section of the LDS Philanthropies website. Donations to the Humanitarian Aid Fund allow the Church to help people throughout the world by providing relief and ultimately helping them to become self-reliant.
There are also many members who become actively engaged in community service or helping with relief efforts during natural disasters and catastrophes by volunteering to be a part of the Mormon Helping Hands. The Mormon Helping Hands is a program of The Church of Jesus Christ, under the direction of the Priesthood, which provides community service and/or disaster relief for those in need. The service that is rendered by the Helping Hands helps to establish the name and reputation of the Church by dispelling some of the misconceptions about the Church, and proving that Mormons are Christians who are willing to give of their time and service for the good of the communities in which they live.
Church of Jesus Christ Humanitarian Initiatives
Emergency Response is the part of the LDS Church’s humanitarian efforts of which most people are aware. Funds and supplies in this area are used to help victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes, as well as other disasters such as wars or political unrest. Supplies in this area are gathered and stored before a crisis so supplies can be sent within hours of an emergency. Volunteers are also on call so they can be reached and organized within a few hours if needed. The LDS Church is renowned for its ability to organize its members in various regions of the world to respond to emergency and facilitate distributing goods immediately after a crisis, often before aid programs such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army come to assist. In 2008, the LDS Church responded to 124 disasters in 48 countries.
Wheelchair Distribution is another church program crucial to helping those in need. Studies estimate that only one percent of the disabled in the world have wheelchairs. For the rest, being without a wheelchair means adults cannot provide for themselves or their families, and for children it often means not being able to attend school. By providing wheelchairs to those in need, the church hopes to help people become more self-reliant which is an important tenant of LDS beliefs.
The Clean Water Service provides clean water and wells to people who otherwise would most likely contract deadly diseases because of the dirty water. It is estimated that one billion people lack clean water. The clean water program is designed to partner with local community agencies to provide sustainable clean water.
The Neonatal Resuscitation program sends doctors and volunteers to areas where infant mortality rate is high. They are able to teach people in the area how to resuscitate newborns as well as provide simple medical equipment. This service is greatly needed as it is estimated that nearly 1 million newborns die each year due to birth difficulties. Up to 10% of newborns have breathing difficulties.
The Vision Treatment Training program teaches facilities and medical personnel in developing countries how to treat preventable or reversible blindness. There are 37 million people in the world who are blind, and up to 75 % of blindness is treatable. The vision care program works with local vision health care centers to help treat and prevent blindness for the poor.
North Star - A place of community for Latter-day Saints dealing with issues surrounding homosexual attraction who desire to live in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the values and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The following articles discuss the topic of Religious Freedom:
Dallin Harris Oaks was born on 12 August 1932, in Provo, Utah. He attended both Provo High School and Brigham Young High School. His father died of tuberculosis when he was only eight years old, and three years later he began working to help his mother. His first job was to sweep at a radio repair shop. It was this first job that led the young boy to gain a keen interest in radios. Before his sixteenth birthday, he had earned his radio/telephone license and landed a job working for a radio company. Soon after, he began working regularly as an announcer. It was while he was announcing a high school basketball game that he met June Dixon. They later married on 24 June 1952, while both were attending college at Brigham Young University.
President Oaks worked steadily to earn a degree in accounting and later attended the University of Chicago Law School. His wife recalls him saying that although there were plenty of students at the law school who were smarter than he, none of them worked any harder than he did. He graduated with honors and earned the opportunity to serve as a clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren of the Supreme Court. At the completion of this internship, he and his family moved back to Chicago, where he entered into a private law practice.
In 1961, Dallin Oaks was called to be the mission president of the Chicago stake and was also offered the opportunity to teach at the University of Chicago. Two years later he accepted a calling as the second counselor in the Chicago South Stake Presidency. Along with his responsibilities in the Church, President Oaks had many responsibilities in other areas of his life. He was well known in his profession and had served as the assistant state’s attorney for Cook County, Illinois, as the acting dean of the law school, as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, as a legal counsel to the Bill of Rights Committee for the Illinois Constitutional Convention, and as an executive director of the American Bar Foundation.
In 1970, he was asked by the Church to be the new president of Brigham Young University. While serving as the president, he focused on academic excellence and became a spokesman for private colleges and universities nationwide as the president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities.
On 1 January 1981, Dallin H. Oaks was sworn into the Utah Supreme Court, and he continued to be offered many important federal jobs. At the April 1984 General Conference, when he was sustained as a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Gordon B. Hinckley also announced: "With reference to Dallin Oaks, I should like to say that while we nominate and sustain him today, he will not be ordained to the apostleship, nor will he be set apart as a member of the Council of the Twelve, nor will he begin his apostolic service, until after he completes his present judicial commitments, which may require several weeks. He is absent from the city, and necessarily absent from the conference. We excuse him." When he received this calling, he resigned from the Utah Supreme Court, so that he would be able to focus all of his attention on serving in the Church. This strong desire to serve has never wavered. Just after his calling was announced, the Washington Post’s Supreme Court reporter called him because he was a likely candidate for the United States Supreme Court. The reporter wanted to know if his new calling in the Church would mean that he would no longer be available for the position in the Supreme Court. He affirmed that he was no longer available. He further explained that even an appointment in the Supreme Court did not take precedence over the service he had just been called to give.
President Dallin H. Oaks was married to June Dixon from 1952 to 1998 when she passed away. He married Kristen Meredith McMain in 2000. His daughter is a renowned violinist, Jenny Oaks Baker. He has four grandchildren - Laura June Baker, Sarah Noelle Baker, Matthew Dallin Baker, and Hannah Jean Baker
The oldest sibling, Akashi (born 29 January 1982), is the only one born in Okinawa, Japan. He moved with his parents, Haru and Yoshiko (Yoshi), to Utah when he was nine months old. Kanasa, the older sister, was born on 2 May 1984, in Provo, Utah. Akino (born 29 October 1991, in Provo, Utah), the younger sister, also performs as a solo artist under the name AKINO from bless4 and is best known for singing the theme songs to the Sousei no Aquarion anime series. The younger brother, Douglas Aiki (Aiki) was born on 29 October 1991, also in Provo, Utah. Like his sister, Akino, he also performs as a solo artist and has written a comic book, as well as, a novel in February 2010 titled "Heart Prints〜命の花〜" (Inochi no Hana, the flower of life), written about a friend who died from a drug overdose. He released a solo single with Akashi as the arranger to accompany his book.
Their family moved to Arizona for a time, and it was there that Akashi and Kanasa were Arizona State Taekwondo Champions at ages 14 and 12 respectively. In fact, the entire family was part of a Taekwondo exhibition troupe called the "Flying Dragons," a martial arts group they formed with friends of various nationalities they met through Taekwondo. The Flying Dragons performed at schools and community events, and occasionally their performances were televised.
In 1997, their father, Haru, took his family back to Okinawa after feeling a spiritual longing for his heritage as an Okinawan. In 1998, being inspired by performers such as the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and Britney Spears who were popular in Okinawa at the time, the four siblings picked up singing and dancing. They started performing as the Flying Dragons when playing together as a group and were also known as the Kawamitsu Family when performing with their parents.
After a few years, they were scouted and moved to Tokyo, where they debuted from BMG in May 2003 with the song "Good Morning! Mr. Sunshine." In December 2006, they formed Kawamitsu Arttainment, an independent company, with Akashi as the president.
In 2009, they contributed two songs – "Stitch Is Coming" (スティッチ・イズ・カミング Sutitchi Izu Kami ng?) and "Hitori Ja Nai" (ひとりじゃない?, "You Are Not Alone" for the Disney Animation Studios anime Stitch!, which aired on Tokyo TV and Disney Channel Japan. The song "Stitch Is Coming" served as an ending theme for its first season. They also took first place in the Celebrity A Cappella Championship and third place in the seventh Celebrity Kaeuta Ou Finals.
In May 2010, they held their first Korean tour performing at three different places in Korea, including Seoul, which proved to be a success. In September of that same year, the group released the single "Dandelion" in Europe on the German record label Marabu Records. The song placed #1 on the Radio Berlin International Charts. On 2 February 2005, bless4 released their album All 4 One. On 12 January 2011, they released their album Yumetsumugi (Dream Weaving). The album was self-produced with each member working as staff to bring their music video and album to life. In March 2011, their company became a limited company, and they started their record label Kawamitsu Records.
The Kawamitsu Family have recorded two albums – His Love released 25 May 2006 and On the Wings of Love released December 2009. The members of bless4 now reside in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, and remain followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Akino makes all the stage costumes for the group; Kanasa writes lyrics; Akashi writes the songs, and their youngest brother, Aiki, returned home from his two-year full-time [Missionary|mission]] for the Church on 4 November 2016. The group appears in the "Meet the Mormons" film which shows exclusively in Salt Lake City, Utah, and LDS Visitors Centers.
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