Friday, April 3, 2015

President Barack Obama Huddles With Four LDS General Authorities In Salt Lake City

President Barack Obama visited Utah for the first time on April 2nd, 2015; he has now visited 49 of the 50 states since becoming President (perhaps he's waiting to be chiseled up on Mount Rushmore before he visits South Dakota). His visit included a 20-minute huddle at the Salt Lake Sheraton Hotel with four General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Presidents Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, and Elders L. Tom Perry and D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve. According to Mormon Newsroom, President Thomas S. Monson chose not to participate, desiring to preserve his strength for the remainder of the 185th Annual General Conference. President Obama expressed his appreciation for the Church’s leadership role in balancing religious freedom and nondiscrimination and praised the Church’s worldwide humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts, and asked for help in fixing America's broken immigration system. Church leaders expressed their appreciation to President Obama for the example he and his wife provide through their healthy marriage and family life.

The visit with LDS officials was part of a larger visit in which Obama met with Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Orin Hatch, Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Rob Bishop (all Republicans), and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker (Democrat). Certainly the Republicans showed considerably more hospitality towards Obama than then-Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson did towards George W. Bush on August 30th, 2006 when he led an antiwar demonstration against Bush during the President's command visit to Utah. Ultimately, Anderson disgraced himself and his city by refusing to show the professional hospitality expected of an elected official during a Presidential visit.

It is not the first time President Obama has met with LDS officials. President Uchtdorf was among a group of religious leaders from various denominations who spent time with Obama in the Oval Office in April 2014 to give their input on immigration reform. And in February 2008, Michelle Obama visited Church headquarters in February 2008 on behalf of her husband, who was campaigning for his first presidential bid at the time, meeting with Elders Quentin L. Cook and M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. Also, in July 2009, President Monson and Elder Dallin H. Oaks journeyed to Washington DC to present Obama with a leather-bound, five-book record of Obama's family history.

Rank-and-File LDS Reaction:

-- Discussed at Millennial Star. One commenter thinks President Monson was "sending a message" by not showing up to meet with President Obama.

-- Discussion thread on the LDS Freedom Forum. Most participants critical of Obama.

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