The following is excerpted from the Church Newsroom. To read the full report, CLICK HERE.
“We feel like we’re coming home,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Rasband and his wife, Melanie, were taking advantage of a break in the rainy skies to walk the grounds of the Paris France Temple on Friday, April 14, in Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt, France.
Located less than two miles from the famed Palace of Versailles, the temple is the Church’s House of the Lord in France where the faith’s highest sacraments uniting families are performed.
“Look at those colors,” Elder Rasband’s wife, Melanie, exclaimed as she pointed to a tapestry of tulips and spring flower beds welcoming visitors. Towards the center of the gardens, the Apostle and his wife stopped to ponder the purpose of their visit in front of the marble arms of a replica Christus statue.
Elder Rasband is embarking on a ministry to France, Germany, Armenia and South Africa this month.
First on his schedule was a sit-down interview with a French journalist in which Elder Rasband explained his responsibilities as a special witness of Jesus Christ and shared a copy of what he described to be one of his most cherished possessions.
The Apostle was carrying with him a copy of The Book of Mormon, a key book of scripture embraced by The Church of Jesus Christ as a witness of Jesus Christ and a companion to the Bible. Its worn pages bore the signs of years of study which Elder Rasband said to the journalist made it of invaluable worth.
“We believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be the word of God,” he explained. “I brought for this interview my missionary Book of Mormon that I used over 50 years ago [1970-1972] when I was a young missionary in New York City. I read this book many times, on my mission is where I gained my own belief of the Book of Mormon.”
Elder Rasband expressed similar sentiments during a meeting the following day with the mayor of Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt who first toured the temple during its 2017 open house prior to his mayorship.
He welcomed Mayor Richard Delepierre to the visitors center where they discussed the temple’s impact on the region and future opportunities for collaboration with local and religious communities.
Mayor Delepierreexpressed his admiration for its architectural workmanship and grounds. He said that the sacred building has become a part of the greater community.
“The architectural quality of the [temple], has some of the finest of French workmanship
which aided in architectural integration,” Mayor Delepierre said during an interview after his meeting with Elder Rasband. “After [its opening], we quickly saw that everything that once concerned residents [was resolved], there were no complaints, traffic issues or other matters. You are, without a doubt, among the calmest neighbors in the area.”
Local church leaders also participated in the meeting including Elder Rubén V. Alliaud, who currently serves in the Europe Central Area Presidency, and Area Seventy Elder Franck A. Poznanski.
To them, the mayor expressed his desire to preserve religious liberties in the public sphere as part of his mayoral responsibilities.
To read the full report, CLICK HERE.