Sunday, July 19, 2009

LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, Accompanied By Senator Harry Reid, Presents President Barack Obama With Family History During July 20th Visit

Update: Title of post changed to reflect one of the previously-unannounced purposes of the visit

Politico, the Salt Lake Tribune, and KSL Channel 5 report that the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday July 20th, 2009 at 1:30 P.M. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), who is not only the Senate Majority Leader, but is also LDS, will accompany President Monson. It is the first time the two leaders have met personally. Additional analysis posted on the Washington Post Voices blog. Updated KSL news video of the actual meeting now embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

No proposed discussion items or agenda were disclosed in advance, although KTVX Channel 4 described it as a "courtesy visit". Considering that President Monson heads up a global church of over 13 million members, the meeting is likely to be more than a typical "grip and grin" session. One item which might be discussed is the proposed hate crimes bill to be voted on by the Senate this week; many religious leaders fear it might hinder their ability to speak out against sin, in particular, homosexuality.

Two top church leaders, Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Russell Ballard, attended Obama's inauguration in Washington in January 2009, and also joined the president for a prayer service the following morning at the National Cathedral. In February 2008, while her husband was still a mere candidate, Michelle Obama met with Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Twelve Apostles during a campaign stop in Salt Lake.

Update: During the 30-minute visit, President Monson presented President Obama with a copy of the Obama family history. In a brief statement, Obama said he enjoyed meeting the Mormon leaders and appreciated their gift. "I'm grateful for the genealogical records that they brought with them and am looking forward to reading through the materials with my daughters," he said. "It's something our family will treasure for years to come." The meeting, arranged by Reid, was closed to the press.

Additional commentary from the Bloggernacle provided by Millennial Star.

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