Thursday, January 22, 2009

Latter-Day Saint Officials Dieter Uchtdorf And M. Russell Ballard Attend President Barack Obama's Inauguration, Urge People To Pray For Him

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially represented at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20th, 2009. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the church's Quorum of the Twelve spent two days in Washington D.C., witnessing not only a historic national event but also countless examples of graciousness, hope and unity.

Primary media stories:

-- LDS leaders feel deep emotion at inauguration, Deseret News, January 22nd
-- LDS church leaders attend President Obama's inauguration, LDS website, January 20th
-- Two LDS Church leaders say Obama brings them hope, KSL Channel 5, January 21st
-- Uchtdorf and Ballard attend Obama prayer service, KTVX Channel 4, January 21st

The two attended Tuesday's inauguration of President Barack Obama on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and joined him and other new national leaders at Wednesday morning's National Prayer Service in the National Cathedral. President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard were seated front and center some four-dozen rows from the presidential stage for Tuesday's inauguration and then just a couple of yards away from Obama and his contingent for Wednesday's prayer service.

"We could feel the deep emotion around us — we were surrounded by people of all colors, of all creeds and of all languages," said President Uchtdorf before returning to Utah. "It was a great experience we had — to see a unity there that I hope will last on and continue throughout the years of this administration."

Elder Ballard dispensed some important counsel. "I left with a feeling that the people of America are going to unite behind this new president and his administration and that we need to pray for him," Elder Ballard said. "We need to exercise our prayers and help him accomplish the great objectives that he has set."

President Uchtdorf was also favorably impressed with the unity of different faiths as they joined Muslims, Jews and others of different Christian denominations at the prayer service. President Uchtdorf added: "We felt we were in the right place with all these whom we call brothers and sisters, to pray for this presidency, for this administration, and with them to pray for all the governments around the world to bring again peace and prosperity and unity to all countries."

The Millenial Star blog has an open thread on the 2009 inauguration that provides more insight on LDS reaction.

The counsel proffered by President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard is fully in keeping with the LDS Church's Twelfth Article of Faith, which states, "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law". Unfortunately, some comments posted to the media links provided above indicate that this counsel has not yet been fully digested. Consequently, Barack Obama's politics will not be discussed in this post.

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