SALT LAKE CITY — Soon after Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney said "the nation chose another leader" and conceded the presidential election to President Barack Obama, the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church issued a press release congratulating the re-elected president.
The church's leaders also invited members of the faith to pray for Obama and other national leaders.
"After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together," the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a joint press release in which they also congratulated the re-elected president. "It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times."
Romney congratulated Obama by phone Tuesday night before doing so again in a concession speech in which Romney himself twice mentioned praying for the president's success.
In the opening of the speech, Romney included a phrase the Christian Post described in a headline as a prayer offered for Obama.
"This is a time of great challenges for America," Romney said, "and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation."
At the end of the speech, Romney inferred that those who voted for him naturally would pray for President Obama.
"... the nation chose another leader," Romney said. "And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation."
Obama sounded an inclusive tone in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning as well, and said he wanted to spend time with Romney to learn how they might work together.
"I just spoke with Gov. Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign," the president said. "We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight. In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Gov. Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward."
The president said he was better for having learning during the campaign from both his own supporters and those who voted for Romney.
"...whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead."
He also called on Americans to work side by side despite disagreements and differences.
"I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions... ."
He also frequently described common American hopes.
"I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting."109 comments on this story
The full release from LDS Church leaders, published on the church's official web site, read:
"We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States.
"After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together. It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people.
"We also commend Governor Romney for engaging at the highest level of our democratic process which, by its nature, demands so much of those who offer themselves for public service. We wish him and his family every success in their future endeavors."