Elder Todd Christofferson is one of very few LDS leaders given the opportunity to conduct the morning prayer at the Senate.
Keeping in line with the tradition as followed by the US Senate, the Senate meeting was opened by a prayer by a religious elder. This time, the prayer was offered by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, one of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The Elder asked for God’s grace to help the Senate make the right decisions so that every party which is contingent on these decisions would be affected in a positive way.
Although the prayers are usually led by the in-house chaplain of the Senate, it’s not the first time that a guest chaplain has been invited to lead the Senate into prayer, however, it’s one of the few times and LDS leader has given the prayer. The Senate sessions have been opening with a prayer ever since the 1700s.
The prayer was offered on two themes. One, it was an appeal to God to give the senators the wisdom so that they make decisions that will contribute to the welfare of everybody, including other nations whose futures depend on the outcomes of the meeting. Secondly, the Elder reminded the gathering of those who had fallen at the Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by the Japanese forces. The Elder asked the gathering to remember the sacrifices that the fallen heroes had made to safeguard the liberty of America, and invoked the blessings of God upon their descendants. The Elder also prayed that the democratic and libertarian values of the United States would be preserved forever. This year is the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing.
The prayer was followed by an address by the Elder in which he spoke about the Book of Mormon that was displayed at the Library of Congress. The book has been placed there as part of the “100 Books That Shaped America” exhibit. Elder Christofferson spoke about the importance of this book in being part of the American history. The Book of Mormon, considered as a scripture by the Mormons, is the source for a large collection of literary works and plays. The Elder pointed out this fact and reminded the gathering of how the book had been so important to the nation’s cultural heritage. He also said that a person needn’t be religious or even believe anything that the book says to appreciate its value.
LDS Church elders have been invited to conduct the Senate’s opening prayer in the past as well.