With the charge from President Russell M. Nelson to share their experiences at the Rome Temple dedication, Elder and Sister Ronald A. Rasband recounted their thoughts from this historic trip during Sunday’s devotional.
“President Nelson called the Rome Temple dedication ‘a hinge point’ in the history of the Church,” Elder Rasband said. “He said ‘the church is going to have an unprecedented future, unparalleled. We‘re just building up to what‘s ahead.”
Subsequently, Elder Rasband, who called the students at BYU-Idaho his young friends, said what lies ahead for them is unparalleled and unprecedented and extended the charge to take to heart the words spoken by President Nelson. He said the President of the Church was inspired to take the entire First Presidency to the dedication from March 10 to March 12.
This dedication was one of the first times all the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church had been together outside of Utah, Rasband said, according to President Nelson.
Melanie Rasband, the wife of Elder Rasband, said while in Rome one of the highlights was standing in the shadows of the statues of Christ and of the original 12 Disciples or Apostles of Jesus Christ. She said it was moving to see Christ’s hands outstretched, reaching towards those who look towards him.
“In the magnificent moment where the photos of our husbands were taken in front of those statues, we were deeply humbled,” Melanie Rasband said. “Honoring these faithful brethren that we love in their divinely appointed roles as prophets, seers and revelators beside their predecessors.”
Elder Rasband’s experience with the Rome temple began in January with a press conference and tours for dignitaries alongside Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Massimo De Feo, a native Italian. One of the groups granted a tour with the Apostles and General Authorities were Catholic leaders from the Vatican.
These tours took place before the weeks of public open-house tours giving a glimpse inside before a recommend, given to members of the Church who declare themselves worthy to enter what Latter-day Saints call the House of the Lord, would be required to enter.
When asked by a reporter what the temple means to members of the Church in Italy, both Elder Bednar and Elder Rasband turned and looked to Elder De Feo to answer. Elder Rasband said that a tear-filled Elder De Feo said just some two decades ago his family was meeting for church in a small garage. Elder De Feo asked those there to imagine what it means to them to now have a grand temple in the same city his family’s early church experiences began, Elder Rasband said.
“The temple is the great symbol of our membership in our Church, and everything in the temple culminates in eternal marriage and the creation of eternal families,” Elder Rasband said.
Rasband said at first he was a little concerned how the Catholic Church would welcome the Church and the temple to Rome. He said he and his wife quickly learned they came with love and best wishes.
“One of their leaders made quite an interesting comment. ‘Brother Rasband, will you please base this tour on the holy scriptures so we know how to tie this temple work to the scriptures.’ Well I thought to myself, this is what I prepared for,” Elder Rasband said.
While looking up at the exterior of the temple, Elder Rasband said he felt inspired to tell the Catholic leaders that the temple in Rome and all of the temples of the Church did not originate with the Latter-day Saints but have been built since the earliest times as mentioned in the scriptures.
Once the tour reached the baptistery, Elder Rasband said he was asked what basis in scripture directs the baptism of the dead to which he replied with a scripture found in 1 Corinthians, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”
Elder Rasband said that individual said he had never considered that scripture that way before. He said in his heart he rejoiced with that comment.
To listen, read and view the entire devotional visit the BYU-I website.