From Russia Today:
Mormons to build temple in Rome
October 6, 2008
The Mormon Church has announced the construction of their first temple in Rome. The building will bring the number of Mormon temples in Europe to twelve.
The planned temple will also be the first in the entire Mediterranean region.
The LDS Church, with around 13 million followers, has rapidly expanded in recent years and constantly seeks growth. It also plans to build temples in Calgary and Alberta in Canada, Cordoba, Argentina, Kansas City and Philadelphia.
There are presently 128 temples throughout the world, with another 17 in some phase of planning or construction, which will bring the worldwide total to 145.
Mormon temples, unlike conventional church buildings, are used by followers only for the most sacred ordinances and, unlike churches, are not open to the public.
The LDS movement was established by Joseph Smith, on April 6, 1830 in New York. Smith also published the Book of Mormon. Followers believe it is a translation of God's word written on gold plates buried near Smith's house and was revealed to him by the angel Moroni. Smith's followers, known as Mormons, moved westward in the 19th century, fleeing prevalently negative sentiments. In the 1900s Mormons eventually settled in the Utah desert.
Twice a year, in April and October, Mormons gather for the General Conference in Salt Lake City, U.S.A. The event is broadcast live to millions by satellite and over the Internet.
The first congregation of Latter-day Saints in Italy was set up in Brescia in March 1966. The first Italian mission was opened in August that year, but the church didn't have formal legal status until 1993.
In the United States, the LDS Church is considered to be an official religion.
The Vatican says that even though the Mormon baptismal rite refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the church's beliefs about the identity of the three persons are so different from Catholic and mainline Christian belief that the rite cannot be regarded as a Christian baptism.
For its part, the Orthodox Church has adopted a more radical stance and openly says Mormons are a sect.
"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey
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