SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles – the second-highest governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – hosted the Rev. Al Sharpton and his associates at a dinner Monday night, concluding Sharpton’s visit to Church headquarters.

The evening before, Elder Ballard greeted Rev. Sharpton upon his arrival to Salt Lake City and gave him a personal tour of Temple Square.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shake hands after eating dinner together Monday evening. © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“I was very touched,” Rev. Sharpton said of his first visit with Elder Ballard. “He took me over to the square, where we both visited the Christus statue, which is a very moving thing for me.”

Rev. Sharpton had the opportunity to attend a family home evening at the home of Jorge and Debbie Beccera. He was able to see firsthand the Monday-night tradition where Mormon families gather together to have spiritual lessons, discuss issues important to the family or simply enjoy a fun activity.

“It was an honor to have the Reverend Sharpton be a part of our family,” said Debbie Beccera. “I will never forget looking up and seeing the Reverend Al Sharpton sitting with my family, taking his turn reading from the scriptures.”

The family night concluded with everyone singing “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Charlie King met with the Beccera family on Monday evening to conclude his visit to Salt Lake City. © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sharpton’s visit to Salt Lake City came following a personal pledge on his radio network to learn more about the Church firsthand.

Church leader Elder Robert C. Oaks, one of the presidents of the Seventy hosted Sharpton and his associates on Monday. The group was able to tour the Humanitarian Center – from which the Church’s relief supplies are sent worldwide – as well as Welfare Square, the Family History Library, the Conference Center and the Tabernacle.

Talking to reporters after his tour, Sharpton said his visit was an effort to find “common ground” and “things we should know about each other that we did not know and areas, possibly, we can work together for the betterment of humanity.”

This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at