ROME, Italy — One of the many doors opened by the Tabernacle Choir since its concert here last summer was to the office of President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, president of the Italian Republic.
The recent meeting with President Scalfaro was arranged by Franco Messina, adviser to the Italian president who attended the choir concert and VIP reception.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Seventy and president of the Europe West Area presented the Italian president with a leather bound, inscribed copy of the Book of Mormon and a porcelain statue of the family.
Attending the presentation with Elder Uchtdorf were Area Authority Seventy Raimondo Castellani, Pres. Leone J. Flosi of the Italy Rome Mission and Giuseppe Pasta, public affairs representative of Italy.
President Scalfaro has long been familiar with the Church in Italy. In 1993, he was instrumental in helping the Church receive legal status.
During the recent meeting with Elder Uchtdorf, President Scalfaro reiterated his interest in the Church's support of families and for its encouragement in family and personal prayers. "He showed every courtesy and helpful concern for the Church's growth in his country," said Elder Uchtdorf.
The growth of the Church in Italy has been steady in recent years, with now more than 18,000 members in three stakes and four missions. President Scalfaro expressed his appreciation for the good offered by the Church and its members in Italy and pledged his support for the purposes of the Church, according to Elder Uchtdorf.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Church officials viewed the many art treasures of the Quirinale Palace, home of the president, including "The Lady with the Ermine," by Leonardo Da Vinci.