DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Acting in his role as President Pro Tempore, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch invited Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to join him in opening the Senate floor Wednesday with a prayer.
Christofferson is the first LDS apostle in United States history to offer an invocation on the Senate floor, opening a session of the Senate. Hatch also invited Christofferson to speak of his testimony of the Book of Mormon at the Library of Congress in an event honoring the book’s special place among influential works of American literature.
“As President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, I was eager to ask Elder Christofferson to offer our invocation and grateful that he accepted my invitation,” Hatch stated. “This was a historical moment for the Church and a proud occasion for many people in Utah.”
When introducing Christofferson to speak before a group of scholars, legislators, and leaders of other faiths assembled at the Library of Congress, Hatch called Christofferson a “special witness of Jesus Christ.”
“Elder Christofferson is a dear friend whom I respect deeply. Before turning the time over to him, I wish to emphasize the importance of his apostolic calling. The rank of apostle is one of the highest Priesthood offices in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Just as in New Testament times, an apostle is called to be a special witness of Jesus Christ,” Hatch said.
“Elder D. Todd Christofferson has fulfilled this calling admirably for nearly a decade. He is beloved by millions of members of our church—both here in the United States and across the globe. Having devoted the greater part of his life teaching others about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, he is remarkably qualified to speak on this subject today.”
According to a story published in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Book of Mormon was highlighted Wednesday as one of America’s treasured tomes at the Library of Congress, which displayed several rare editions as well as the 1829 copyright record filed by church founder Joseph Smith.
Hatch is quoted saying that the Book of Mormon is “one of the most important books of understanding the basis of America and what it means and why this land is so precious to all of us.”
In a 2016 Library of Congress online poll, The Book of Mormon places fourth in a list of the top 40 “Books that Shaped America.”