Warmth and Goodwill Mark Meetings with Honduras President
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
Just 48 hours before the dedication of his nation’s first Latter-day Saint temple, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo accepted an invitation to have breakfast with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and other visiting Church leaders at the temple annex building.
The Honduran leader must have enjoyed the company; he invited President Uchtdorf and the others to join him the next morning for breakfast at his presidential palace.
Perhaps this budding friendship between President Lobo and the Church is to be expected. His wife and first lady, Mrs. Rosa Elena Lobo, has visited with the First Presidency in Salt Lake City in the past to discuss humanitarian issues. And the president and first lady both toured the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple during the early days of the public open house.
The March 15 gathering at the Church offices was marked by warmth and goodwill. During the breakfast, President Uchtdorf called meeting the president “a pleasure and a privilege.” He spoke of his excitement to be assigned by President Monson to attend this historic temple dedication and the cultural event in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in which 4,300 LDS youth from all over the country would be participating
He also saluted the first lady’s efforts to assist the poor.
President Logo regretted that he and his wife could not attend the cultural event since they would be attending the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome. President Uchtdorf then congratulated the Catholic community in Latin America for the election of one of them as the new pontiff.
“Of course, I might miss my fellow German pope,” he said with a smile.
He asked President Lobo for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be treated as equals with other religions in Honduras, including important tax rules. He then presented him with a statuette of Christ.
President and Mrs. Lobo then gave President Uchtdorf a statuette depicting an indigenous family.
In his comments to those gathered for the breakfast, President Lobo said all religious organizations in his country have a right to be heard. He also reaffirmed his opposition to religious discrimination.
At the conclusion of the gathering, President Lobo offered to broadcast the cultural event on the national TV channel and invited President Uchtdorf, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, and the other visiting General Authorities to breakfast the next day at his presidential offices. The invitation was immediately accepted.
The breakfast marked an eventful week for President Uchtdorf. Just days before dining with President Lobo, he had joined other American religious leaders on March 8 for a meeting at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss immigration issues.