SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — President George W. Bush met with the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday morning at the Church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City.
This was President Bush’s fourth visit to Church headquarters and his first meeting with the new First Presidency. President Thomas S. Monson, along with his two counselors, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, visited with President Bush for just under an hour.
“He meets with [the First Presidency] regularly and thinks that they have a good role to play in America, in terms of spreading the word of love,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said yesterday, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune. “I don’t think the president would ever pass up an opportunity to meet with the president of the Mormon church.”
Over the past eight years, President Bush has maintained a close relationship with the Church and its leaders. In 2001 he followed in the footsteps of his father, President George H.W. Bush, by inviting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at his inauguration.
In 2002, the president was greeted by the First Presidency before he attended the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games. He made subsequent visits to Utah in 2005 and 2006.
In 2004, President Bush awarded former Latter-day Saint leader Gordon B. Hinckley the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Washington, D.C.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is politically neutral but has friendly relations with many leaders of government in the United States and internationally. Mormon leaders encourage Church members to seek out candidates whose values and positions reflect members’ ideas of good government. The Church’s 12th Article of Faith states that Mormons, “believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”
Many of the meetings Latter-day Saint leaders have with government officials focus on humanitarian and community needs, including ways to strengthen families. In 1995 the Church issued a proclamation regarding families that called “upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at lds.org.