For the first time in 22 years, a top leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is scheduled to speak at the National Press Club, one block from the White House in Washington, D.C.
David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will speak May 26 at the club’s Headliners Luncheon, which begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT, according to a National Press Club news release.
Elder Bednar is a senior member of the quorum, the second highest governing body of the church, whose members are sometimes referred to as Mormons. He is also the past president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.
The late President Gordon B. Hinckley, then 89, was the president and prophet of the church when he spoke at the National Press Club in March 2000. He received a standing ovation. The transcript of his remarks is available here. The Q&A transcript is here.
C-SPAN’s video of President Hinckley’s presentation, “Stand Up for Something,” can be viewed here.
Among those on the dais with President Hinckley that day were legendary Washington Post owner, publisher, and president Katherine Graham, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Nevada Senator Harry Reid, and President and CEO of Marriott International, J. Willard Marriott.
Elder Bednar is expected to speak about the church’s response to the war in Ukraine, its efforts to address food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa, and how it educates nearly one million young people through year, according to the press release.
It would also be natural for Elder Bednar to note that the church’s Washington D.C. temple — 10 miles north of the National Press Club and a regional landmark — is open for public tours until June 11, the first time that the public has been able to see inside in 48 years.
Elder Bednar recently led the first media tours of the Washington DC Temple in 48 years. CBS Sunday Morning aired a five-minute segment about the tour he led for a CBS News crew.
He also posted an article on Medium answering questions about Latter-day Saint temples.
Luncheon keynote speakers are selected based on their topicality related to current issues, national or international stature and influence, and exclusivity – how available a speaker is to the press.
Elder Bednar has traveled the world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, organizing the Church, and speaking to international organizations.
For example, he addressed the 2020 G20 Interfaith Forum, which originated in Saudi Arabia. Last fall, he traveled to Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, where he visited Expo 2020 in Dubai.
He was at the forefront of efforts by Latter-day Saint leaders to bring understanding to Muslims and root out prejudice against Islam. He also helped oversee the church’s family history efforts, including FamilySearch and RootsTech.
At the 2019 RootsTech conference, he presented a $2 million donation from the church to the future African American Museum’s International Center for Family History.
The club’s press release says The Church of Jesus Christ is one of the fastest growing religions in America and has nearly 17 million members worldwide.
Elder Bednar, 69, was born in Oakland, California. The former high school quarterback earned a doctorate in organizational behavior from Purdue University and served as a professor of business management at Texas Tech University and the University of Arkansas.
An apostle since 2004, he has authored or co-authored at least six books, two on organizational behavior and four on the gospel of Jesus Christ, learning, and personal development.
Elder Bednar’s remarks to the National Press Club are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. sharp. A question and answer period will follow. Questions for Elder Bednar can be submitted in advance by sending an email with the subject line LDS to email@example.com. The deadline for submitting questions in advance is May 26 at 10 a.m. EDT.
Luncheon tickets are $25 for National Press Club members and $45 for general admission. Members must log on to press.org to purchase discounted tickets.
Visitors to the National Press Club must present proof of vaccination upon entry.
Past Headliner Luncheons have been streamed live on the National Press Club’s YouTube channel.
Last month’s headliner was Fran Drescher, actress and president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union – which represents film and television actors.
Other recent speakers include members of Congress, journalists like Dan Rather and Scott Pelley, and Ambassador John Bolton.