Photography By Scot Facer Proctor, Text By Maurine Proctor
Morning sun glinted off the soaring spires of the Washington National Cathedral Wednesday morning as a diversity of religious leaders gathered in the Fifty-Sixth Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service to pray for the nation, hear song and sermon, and wish President Obama well in the heavy responsibility he has assumed.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve attended, representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The congregation also included representatives of Greek Orthodox, Islam, Hindu, Jewish, Baptist, Episcopalian and many other Christian faiths, united for this hour in a common sentiment.
Elder Ballard said of the event that it was a “unified statement,” and a testament to the ideals of the nation for all religions to come together to pray for the new president, vice-president and congress in such a grave and important time. “President Obama has a lot of work to do,” he said.
He said the service was “very nice.”
President Uchtdorf said they supported the president, just as they do all nations of the world, with their prayers. “We pray for his success to bring prosperity, peace and protection to this country.”
He reminded the press that the Church was politically neutral and mentioned that the Doctrine & Covenants laid out our duties as citizens in whatever country we live.
He said that it is great to be in this country where there is so much diversity, and that working together we can face the economic and moral challenges we face.
He said these challenges can be overcome if we live those principles of the gospel that Jesus Christ taught.
He noted that President Obama spoke of hope and optimism in facing the difficulties of the world and said that the Church offered the great message of hope to all the people of the world.
“We reach out to all nations, all people of the world with the message of strengthening marriages and families.”
President Uchtdorf said that he had noted that President Obama had a strong family and that is a good example for the country.
Elder Ballard said that President Obama’s call to people to assume responsibility was an important message. “We all have a responsibility to help this great nation recover.”