Pope Francis attends the traditional greetings to the Roman Curia at the Vatican on Dec. 21, 2018. (Filippo Monteforte/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope meets with Mormon leadership in Rome to dedicate temple

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis met Saturday (March 9) with the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first such meeting of its kind, on the eve of the dedication of the church's huge new temple in Rome.

The Vatican offered no details of Francis' audience with the church president, Russell Nelson, and other leaders. The Latter-day Saints said it was the first-ever meeting between a pope and head of their church and said the two men discussed religious liberty, family and youth, among other topics.

"We have much in common," Nelson tweeted afterward. "The differences in doctrine are real_and they're important_but they're not nearly as important as the things we have in common."

Nelson and the 14 elders who make up the leadership of the church, widely known as the Mormons, are in town for the dedication Sunday of their new temple. The lush complex features an oval-shaped marble house of worship crowning a hilltop and a visitor center featuring a larger-than-life marble statue of Christ surrounded by smaller statues of the apostles.

The Latter-day Saints said the visit to Rome was the first time their entire leadership had gathered outside the U.S.


  1. “We have much in common,” Nelson tweeted afterward. “The differences in doctrine are real_and they’re important_but they’re not nearly as important as the things we have in common.” So-called “ecumenism” makes liars of everyone involved.

  2. Good. The Church should love its heretics… but not give them an authoritative teaching position.

  3. You were once not sure that Catholics are Christians, and said so. Are you referring to the Mormon opinion of the Catholic Church, or the catholic opinion of the Mormon church?

  4. Hey, we both hate the gays, so despite the fact that our theologies contradict each other at just about every particular, we can get all cozy and bro-ish together over that.

    but nohomo!

  5. No. What I said was, not all Catholics are Christian. If you are going to repeat what I said please get it correct.
    The Mormon assembly is a cult

  6. Perhaps Jim, but his caring gives authenticity to a cult

  7. Ben’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  8. Backdoor Universalism. This is another one of those signals Francis has been sending.

    Nothing official, nothing scandalous, no atomicatomic. Just a nice easy breezy “the differences don’t really matter” kind of announcement, like this one.

    Just a small easy push in a new direction. The religion of Universalism.

  9. When you can be fired from your job for being gay, or kicked out of your apartment for being gay, or beat to a pulp for being gay, as happens all the time, that’s persecution. At this moment, only 21 of the 50 states have statutes on the books to protect gay people from such treatment under threat of penalty. That means for the majority of states gay people are vulnerable to being fired, evicted, or even killed for being who they are. That’s persecution.

  10. It must be awful being a White liberal elistist with an entire political party at your Beck and call. Unbelievable hardships you fellas face.

  11. So you agree with ol’ sandi here, and Catholics are not Christian? Or that some Catholics are not Christian? Or that she or you have the right to declare that people you don’t know are not the right kind of Christian? Or that Mormons are actually a cult?

  12. The definition of a cult (Doubleday) is a “system of extravagant religious observances and devotions to a person, cause, or thing.” In this case that person being our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Why wouldn’t the Pope or any decent person care about that?

  13. No Michael – a cult in this instance is of satan, trying to emulate Christianity. Cults typically follow an idol – islam for example.

  14. Actually, both churches LOVE gays and have hopes for their salvation. Gay SEXUAL BEHAVIOR is the huge SIN against nature that offends God and man, and has to be repented of, or avoided.

  15. OR, the “so-called ecumenism” makes everyone involved LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

  16. With love like that, I have no need of enemies.

  17. Catholics are more perfected Christians…we have the full set of Sacraments that God intended us to have.

    You never seem to be able to put together a good piece of logic Ben, and you should ask yourself why?

    What in your education and formation or genetics is missing?

  18. Someone who says “catholics are more perfected Christians” followed by a completely unsubstantiated claim that “we’re more godly” in a response to a comment to a person who has claimed that Catholics are not Christians…
    should probably not be making baseless attacks on others. You have a nice day, dearie.

  19. Islam has no idols, and in fact forbids them explicitly. Catholicism has a lot of statues of gods, demigods, angels, saints, and so forth, though it claims that these statues are not idols.
    It sounds like one more time, you are damning anyone who isn’t you, while shining forth as a paragon of intolerance and ignorance.

  20. Ah..I said you don’t do well here. Show me where I said “we’re more godly” or just go away.

  21. Sure.
    Sandi has denounced you and other catholics, but it’s ok, because she’s antigay. That’s what matters to you, not her attacks on your faith and the Christian faiths of others.
    I used “we’re more godly” as shorthand for “Catholics are more perfected Christians…we have the full set of Sacraments that God intended us to have.” But since you insist that that isn’t what you were saying, I’ll wave goodbye.

  22. You don’t understand the meaning of perfected apparently in the philosophical/theological sense. But that’s ok.

  23. Islam follows two idols – Muhummad and what they call Allah

  24. nope. I can see who the enemy is. Too bad the other Christians who are not the right sort of Christian, people that you so willingly condemn as being cultists, don’t see who you are. but I can. And this, dear lady, is why your faith is being busy destroying itself from within.
    Not my problem. I’ll just watch you do it, and enjoy some of my schadenfreudelicious popcorn.

  25. You forget Ben, when you chose homosexuality, Christ allowed it and turned you over to a reprobate mind to do that which is not good. That is why your perceptions cannot be trusted.

  26. He also cannot seem to understand people’s comments
    Thomas – reprobate mind,

  27. Not true, but you really don’t want to know the Truth, which originates in Jesus Christ and is communicated to us by the Holy Spirit. (I’m only writing because Disqus hasn’t deleted my account yet).

  28. Atheists are anti-theists/Deists and Anti-Christs. You will never win them over: ALL religions are cults to them. As far as each of the four main branches of Christianity are concerned (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant/Reformed, Restorationist), mostly they considered each other to be heterodox heretics.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Pluralist.

    Question: Why would the true church of Jesus Christ be comprised of only a small percentage of the population of the Earth?

    “Christ specifically mentioned to His followers that they were the “salt of the earth”

    No matter how many member of the Church there may be at any time inhistory, it appears that being the smaller number among a largerpopulation has long been the problem of the Gospel. This may be why Christ specifically mentioned to His followers that they were the “salt of the earth.” To modern English speakers, that idiom is used to mean good, average people, but that wasn’t what Christ meant. He was speaking to very few who believed him. Those who believed were to do for the earth what salt does to a pot of stew or soup. A little seasoning nevertheless plays an important part.

    Luke 13:20-21:

    And again he said, Wherefore unto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

    Christ never answered the specific question of why there were so few believers, but he did tell those few believers that they played an important role.

    An angel showed Nephi a vision of the last days and the Church numbers were described as few in comparison to the rest of the world

    In 1 Nephi 14:12, an angel shows Nephi a vision of the last days and the Church numbers were described as few in comparison to the rest of the world.There’s no reason to believe that Latter-day Saints will ever out number the largest religions (Catholics 1.4 billion, Sunni Muslims 1.4 billion, Latter-day Saints about 15 million, Seventh Day Adventists about 15 million) based on this vision.

    Remember that when the gospel is finally preached in all the world, the Second Coming will occur and the end of the current condition will follow. Latter-day Saints believe that all mankind will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel but that most of the population of the Earth will hear it in the Spirit World (Afterlife/Paradise for the righteous, the spirit prison/Hell for the wicked). Those who had no opportunity to hear it in mortality will have that opportunity then. When you consider the small minority of the earth’s population throughout all of history that even knew about Jesus Christ at least 10 billion people have lived on Earth), it should not surprise us that many in our day will not hear about Him either. Latter-day Saints believe that God is just and is concerned about all of His children. He will see to it that all mankind are taught and judged justly [and mercifully]

    [We are not “Mormons” – Mormon was an American Christian Prophet who lived circa 400 AD/CE. He abridged The Book of Mormon. We do not worship Joseph Smith Jr or any of his successors, including Pres. Russell M. Nelson.

    We worship Heavenly Father/Elohim/Man of Holiness (each time Jesus is called “Son of man” in the NT, “Man” should be capitalised), in the name of God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ (Yeshua the Messiah).

    The name change began towards the end of Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley’s ministry as the 15th President-Prophet of the Church (1995-2008)].

    “Many of the goals of the Plan of Salvation are achieved even without being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Among the most important “purposes of life” according to the Plan of Salvation are the following:

    1. Receiving a physical body.

    2. Experiencing trials, pain, and other challenges, and having the opportunity to try to overcome them.

    3. Experiencing joy and happiness.

    4.Developing Christ-like attributes.

    Developing Christ-like attributes is vital to our eternal happiness and development, and living a mortal life accelerates us along that path. All of these experiences are perfectly and regularly attainable without being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, they are perfectly attainable without even being a Christian. For some, they are even attainable without believing in God. (on quora.com I upvoted the values of three Asian Indians).

    That being said, there are tangible and extremely advantageous benefits to being a member of the LDS Church, and more specifically of knowing and understanding why we are here. Those advantages, though, are not necessary for a successful experience in mortality. The saving ordinances and covenants we make through proper priesthood authority
    accelerate and magnify our purposes for being here, and eventually they will be available to all people whether in mortality or post-mortality.

    In the meantime, billions of people are here living out the plan of salvation with a bit of ignorance about it, but happily and successfully nonetheless.” FAIRMormon (c) 2019

    I thought most of you people were reasonable. You wouldn’t know a cult if it bit you on the arse.

    (I am only posting because disqus hasn’t deleted my account yet).

    This nonsense pretending to be robust and vigorous debate is nothing more than ignorance and bigotry. I am glad to have requested disqus to delete my account.

  29. Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    If you’re seeing hate, you’re looking in a mirror.

  30. “Catholicism has a lot of statues of gods, demigods, angels, saints, and
    so forth, though it claims that these statues are not idols.”

    Unfortunately for you all comments like that appeal to are people as ignorant as yourself.

    Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all share a belief in orders of beings not human.

  31. He dulled his knife.

    Decency forbids explaining how.

  32. You “should probably not be making baseless attacks on others”.

  33. To non-religious outsiders it makes no difference. They’re man-made philosophies. Some are older and larger. Some have what might be define as sillier rituals and beliefs. The term cult is used as a slur.

  34. The point is that all religions are cults, there’s no real difference. Any religion that isn’t yours, you call a cult. And the adherents of those other religions think the same of yours.

  35. Christianity follows idols as well – Jesus, and what they call “god”, and what they call “the holy ghost”, and Mary, and what they call “saints”, etc., etc., etc.

    All religions are cults.

  36. I wonder why RNS selected for the article an unrelated photo of the Pope by himself with a somber expression. Photos of the meeting with gracious smiles are easily found on the internet.

  37. Ted, thank you for the beautiful letter you wrote to me, but Disqus/RNS did not post it on this site. Maybe it was too long. Anyway, we agree: the truth originates in Jesus Christ, and is communicated to us by the Holy Spirit. But we have to ask for this knowledge with sincerity, believing, doubting nothing. Each person has to prove this to themselves. Many are called, few are chosen. Christ is perfect. Thanks again, Ted.

  38. Not in this instance. They are cults.
    1 John 4:2 – 2By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world at this time.

  39. Yes, they are, by definition: a cult is a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

    Christianity is a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure, Jesus Christ.

    Ergo, Christianity is a cult.


  40. No. Christianity is not a cult, but thanks

  41. Words mean things. You don’t get to redefine words to suit your own biases. Your religion, just like all others, is a cult. SorryNotSorry.

  42. How is it not? It meets the criteria laid out in the definition of a cult. Ergo, it is a cult, whether you like it or not.

  43. Jesus told us to love one another as He has loved us, to turn the other cheek in our missionary endeavours (which is often misinterpreted that we shouldn’t defend ourseleves from physical attacks, that men should allow their wife, mother and daughters to be raped and killed), to revile not against the revilers, to be patient and long-suffering. Thus, we should not be making baseless attacks on others. One of Jesus’ Apostles said, “If a man says he loves God, but hateth his brother is a liar. Revelation and other NT writings tell us that liars will go to Hell. Remember that we are all sinners, and that we should remove the beam of wood from our own eye, before trying to remove a speck of dust from another person’s eye. The scripture in Matthew about judging others, means “not to judge unrighteously, to repent of our own sins before judging others, then judge righteously with justice, compassion and mercy.”

  44. Philosophy and Theology/religion are not the same thing. Philosophy is the invention of the human mind, and may or may not contain Eternal truths and principles, and theoretically may expose a person to Absolute Reality. However, Satan is the “father of all lies” and the “author of contention.” I have read all of the great philosophers, and much of it was a waste of time. I love Plato’s Dialogues, but they are not of the same value as the Holy Bible. With hindsight, I would have preferred using the time to study the Bible.

    Christianity, on the other hand in comparison to philosophy, is built on a foundation of Eternal truths and principles, and reveals these to those who are in tune with the Holy Spirirt, the Ultimate Reality of God. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. But first we must have a desire to believe. Our brains are hardwired, according to an article in TIME magazine, to believe in God. The NT tells us that hearing the Word of God arouses something inalienable in both our Collective Unconscious and Personal Unconscious. Practising the Lord’s doctrines while still in the desire to believe stage, enables the Holy Spirit to start changing that basic desire to believe into Faith.

  45. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to (1) love our neighbour as ourselves; (2) love one another as He has loved us. Arguments over doctrine leads to hate, as each denomination tries to prove that it is the “True Bride” of the “Bridegroom”, which He will claim at midnight when He arrives at the “Wedding Feast”.

    Neither Pope Francis I or President Russell M. Nelson are liars. You are drawing a long bow with your unrighteous judgement.

    The Latter-day saints were subjected to genocide attempts in both Missouri and Illinois, when the Governors of both States – Lillburn Boggs and Thomas Ford – signed extermination orders against them.

    I am of Irish descent. I am well aware of Oliver Cromwell’s response to the uprising of 1641. Cromwell was not even a “real” Christian let alone a faithful Puritan, when he slaughtered the Irish who surrendered. And despite the efforts of some good people e.g. Queen Victoria, The Society of Friends (Quakers), the Choktaw Native Americans, etc., to help the Irish during the Irish Potato famine aka The Great Hunger, absentee landlords in England wanted the genocide of their Irish tenants. They spoke about it openly in the House of Lords.

    That Catholics and Latter-day Saints are able to engage with each other as loving disciples of Jesus Christ.

    Would you prefer that the Catholic Church go back to the Inquisitions and Witch Trials?

    Or as a disciple of Jesus Christ, would you rather follow the Lord’s commandments?

  46. St Paul, in Romans 1-2 in particular, makes it plain that homosexuality and lesbian practices are an abomination to the Lord. Jesus loves the sinner, but hates the sin. Jesus is also opposed to same sex marriage. Adam and Eve was the ordained relationship of man and woman in marriage to bring forth children, and be friends, lovers, companions.

    Same sex and same gender attraction are not a sin as long as you don’t act on those impulses.

    Everybody wants to be loved. My favourite TV show is Touched By An Angel. Every episode reminds me that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us deeply. Finding joy in Jesus Christ is much more satisfying than anal sex between homosexuals, and the use of vibrators, clitoral wands, and dildos by lesbians. The fact that some heterosexual couples also do these things doesn’t make it okay with God: no unclean thing can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Personally, I believe that the unholy and impure sexual practices of heterosexuals, including videotaping their sexual relations to use as “home-made porn” to sexually arouse each other, is much more of an abomination to the Lord than those who experience same sex attraction and feeling lonely or whatever, engage in homosexual/lesbian practices. Though repentance is often hard, I think that the LGBTQ community is more likely to repent and change their lifestyle, than heterosexual couples who engage in the same sexual practises.

    The Lord says, “I will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all people.” And how many times are we to forgive? 70 times 7.

  47. You only have to forgive someone 490 times? After that what?

    Remember, readers, if you are touched by an angel report it to the police.

  48. Jim, we were getting along so well. Why are you posting a smart-alec answer? It belittles you. You know perfectly well what Jesus meant when He said to forgive 490 times: it is largely metaphorical in the sense of who is going to keep track of how many times they forgive someone? Even someone with OCD would find it difficult to keep track of how many times they had forgiven the same person.

    As I have met Angels, I think that you are being a bit silly about my favourite TV show. Angels are not pedophiles, otherwise they would not be Angels. So no one is going to “cop a feel” or “a touch up” from one of the Lord’s messengers.

    Maybe you’re just in a flippant mood, and are just taking the piss out of me.

  49. Did that sermon make you feel superior and all warm and gooey about yourself? Because that was it’s only purpose.

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