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LDS Church designates representatives for presidential inauguration

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 11:45 a.m. MST

Elder Quentin L. Cook speaks during the morning session of the182nd Semiannual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

When Barack Obama takes the oath of the office of the president of the United States for his second term on Jan. 21, two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be there to observe the event as the church’s official representatives.

LDS spokesman Scott Trotter said Wednesday afternoon “the First Presidency has asked Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Quentin L. Cook to represent the Church at the Presidential Inauguration and accompanying events.”

Four years ago LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson asked his second counselor in the First Presidency, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, as well as Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to represent the church at President Obama’s first inauguration ceremony.

“It is always an honor for the church to be represented at the inauguration of a new president,” President Monson said at the time. “We send our best wishes to President Obama and pray for the blessings of a loving Father in Heaven to be upon him and his administration.”

Ever since church President David O. McKay attended the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, the LDS Church has routinely sent representatives to U.S. presidential inaugurations. During the past 30 years that representation has included then-Elder Henry B. Eyring for the second inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1997, then-Elder James E. Faust for the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993, President Ezra Taft Benson and President Thomas S. Monson for the inauguration of President George H. W. Bush in 1989 and President Benson and Elder Joseph B. Withlin for the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been invited to perform at six different presidential inaugurals, including 2001 for President George W. Bush, 1989 for President George H.W. Bush, 1981 for President Ronald Reagan, 1973 and 1969 for both inaugurations of President Richard Nixon, and in 1965 for the inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

And in 1953, then-elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participated in inaugural ceremonies not as an official church representative but as President Eisenhower’s designated Secretary of Agriculture.

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