From Rome’s Temple Square

From Rome’s Temple Square June 1, 2024


The actual layout of the Rome Italy Temple complex today is exactly as this 2013 model represented it to be be prior to construction. The temple, of course, is immediately recognizable by its two spires. Directly in front of it is the Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center. To the left of the temple is the building for temple missionary and temple patron housing. Partially visible on the right is the stake center, in which today’s FAIR conference was held. (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

These new articles went up yesterday on the Interpreter Foundation website.  My apologies for being late in calling attention to them; the eight-hour time difference between Rome and home throws me off my routine in some ways:

“The Seven Women Seeking the Bridegroom: Isaiah 4:1 as Transition Point in a Redemption Allegory,” written by Jared T. Marcum

Abstract: Nephi laboriously copied many of the words of Isaiah in hopes that his readers would rejoice in Christ. While Isaiah 4:1 (2 Nephi 14:1) is generally not viewed as Messianic, there may be an allegorical interpretation that would place this verse among Isaiah’s other Messianic writings. A pre-Nicene patristic writer, Victorinus of Poetovio, interpreted the seven women of Isaiah 4:1 as representing the seven churches of the Apocalypse and the one man as Christ. Victorinus’s Christ-centered interpretation of Isaiah 4:1 has received very little attention in modern scholarship. This paper uses textual analysis to determine if a Christ-centered allegorical interpretation may be considered a strong reading of the verse and the surrounding text (Isaiah 3–4). The results of this analysis show that Isaiah 4:1 may symbolize Zion’s turning point in a doctrinally rich allegory of Zion’s sin, sorrow, repentance, and redemption through Jesus Christ.

“Interpreting Interpreter: Seven Women Take Hold,” written by Kyler Rasmussen

This post is a summary of the article “The Seven Women Seeking the Bridegroom: Isaiah 4:1 as Transition Point in a Redemption Allegory” by Jared T. Marcum in Volume 61 of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. All of the Interpreting Interpreter articles may be seen at An introduction to the Interpreting Interpreter series is available at

The Takeaway:  Marcum explores a Messianic interpretation of Isaiah 4:1—the prophecy that “seven women shall take hold of one man.” He concludes that the verse may mark a point of transition in an allegory of Zion’s path of sin, sorrow, and repentance as she takes hold of Christ, the “one man,” and is redeemed by his mercy and grace.

Moroni with Roman bishops
Several years ago, our friend Dr. Ugo Perego (second from left) sent me this photo of what he termed “the bishops of Rome” — he knows that my one ecclesiastical ambition has always been to bear that title, “bishop of Rome,” which he himself held at the time — posing near the still-under-construction Rome Italy Temple with the statue of the Angel Moroni, which was placed shortly afterward on the temple’s highest tower. We had dinner tonight with him and the other speakers from today’s FAIR conference.  Ugo is now bearded and living mainly in Nauvoo, Illinois.

A standard claim of atheist polemicists is that Christian belief, or religious belief in general, grows out of ignorance, is out of touch with new developments in science and scholarship, or is simply out of date, and, therefore, should be tossed out. The argument, such as it is, is seldom overtly stated. More often, we are presented with a proposition that pretends to be either the obvious and undeniable conclusion of an unstated syllogism, or, simply, intuitively apparent to all Deep Thinkers. The well-publicized “Jesus Seminar,” for example, announces that “the Christ of creed and dogma, who had been firmly in place in the Middle Ages, can no longer command the assent of those who have seen the heavens through Galileo’s telescope.”[1]  Why this should be so, and what Galileo’s primitive little telescope has to do with the central doctrines of Christianity, is never made clear, although the Seminar (in a rather obvious bout of self-congratulation) dedicates its book to the Italian astronomer’s memory. But one can hardly fail to be reminded, in this context, of an exchange in C. S. Lewis’s early novel The Pilgrim’s Regress—a novel that seems more prescient with each passing year. The conversation revolves around the “Landlord,” who, in Lewis’s allegory, represents God:

“But how do you know there is no Landlord?”

“Christopher Columbus, Galileo, the earth is round, invention of printing, gunpowder!!” exclaimed Mr. Enlightenment in such a loud voice that the pony shied.

“I beg your pardon,” said John.

“Eh?” said Mr. Enlightenment.

“I didn’t quite understand,” said John.

“Why, it’s plain as a pikestaff,” said the other. “Your people in Puritania believe in the Landlord because they have not had the benefits of a scientific training. For example, I dare say it would be news to you to hear that the earth was round—round as an orange, my lad!”

“Well, I don’t know that it would,” said John, feeling a little disappointed. “My father always said it was round.”

“No, no, my dear boy,” said Mr. Enlightenment, “you must have misunderstood him. It is well known that everyone in Puritania thinks the earth flat. It is not likely that I should be mistaken on such a point. Indeed, it is out of the question.”[2]

[1] Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997), 2.

[2] C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1992), 20-1.

English poster. eked excel
The English-language poster for today’s gathering

We held the first of the three European FAIR conferences today.  All of the presentations except one were quite good.  Attendance was fairly sparse at first but it picked up later in the day.  Happily, the speeches were not only live-streamed but recorded.  They will be up on the FAIR website in a while.  Probably, though, not for a month or two.  One of the principal people who will put them up is over here with us right now, and she’s pretty busy.

Italy's most sacred building
The Rome Italy Temple, the most sacred building in all of Italy, as shown in a photo that was taken some time ago by our friend and neighbor Kent Flack.

Here are a couple of shockers that I’ve lately drawn from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™:

Someday, theism’s reign of terror will end.  Not yet, though.

Posted from Rome, Italy



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