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Mormon Apostles To Attend Trump Inauguration

Lee Hale
Elders Todd Christofferson and Gary Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will attend Trump's inaguration at the U.S. Capitol on Friday, January 20th.

Two Mormon apostles will attend Trump’s presidential inauguration next week. Elders Todd Christofferson and Gary Stevenson continue a tradition that goes back more than a century.

General authorities have had a presence at presidential inaugurations since 1873. This includes a visit in 2013 from Dieter Uchtdorf of the First Presidency as President Obama was sworn in for a second term.


But following a highly divisive election anything touching the presidency seems to stand out.


“This one’s a little bit more high profile because of the unusual election of Donald Trump. And also because it is a change of power," says Matthew Burbank, professor of political science at the University of Utah.


Burbank says the switch from one political party in the White House to the other is always significant, especially with an administration like Trump’s moving in. But that doesn’t change the fact that the presence of church leaders is simply business as usual.


“This is not really about public policy or about who’s going to get what under the new administration," says Burbank. "This is just the celebration of a new president and the changing of powers.”


In a statement released Friday morning, Elder Todd Christofferson wrote, “A presidential inauguration is a civic ceremony that transcends the person being inaugurated. It is an act of state, not of politics.” End quote.


Next week’s inauguration will also include a performance from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The decision was a controversial one and LDS church leaders have stressed it does not imply support for Trump or the Republican Party.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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