Elder Christofferson Speaks on Truth and Integrity at Washington, D.C., News Summit

Contributed By Danielle Christensen, Church News staff writer

  • 17 January 2019

Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post, speaks to Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during "Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today" at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles clearly remembers the day he heard the Watergate tapes along with Judge John Sirica, the U.S. district judge who presided over the trials.

Speaking about his experience during “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today,” an event held by the Deseret News on Monday, January 14, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Elder Christofferson said it was “a blow to the gut” when he first listened to the recordings.

“I remember the shock that both the judge and I felt in that moment,” he said. “We were so discouraged, we went home early that day. We had no heart to do anything else. We knew what would happen several months later.”

Joined by legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and president of the Pew Research Center Michael Dimock, Elder Christofferson explained how listening to the tapes at first shook him so much, he questioned his own career choice. However, while initially discouraged and disillusioned, the experience ultimately strengthened his convictions, the Deseret News reported.

“I resolved to be more committed to the teachings of my youth,“ Elder Christofferson said.

Adding that there’s danger when people think the rules don’t apply to them, the Apostle emphasized the value of accountability and integrity in society—both during the Watergate trials and in the world today.

Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post, speaks to Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, before speaking at “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.

“Watergate was an assault on the integrity of institutions that are crucial for society. But it didn’t have the ultimate effect of destroying them because good people, people of integrity, came to the fore and exercised their influence,” he said. “People who had integrity defended the institutions and the processes and our society, and I feel like we’re obligated in our time to be the same kind of people, to be the kind of people that we’re asking the rest of the world to be.”

 

Boyd Matheson, opinion editor of the Deseret News, left; Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post; Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Michael Dimock, president of the Pew Research Center, speak during “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.

Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post, speaks to Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, before speaking at “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 14, 2019. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.