Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Michael John U. Teh, Philippines Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with Senator Tito Sotto III and Senator Gregorio Honasan on Wednesday, August 29, at the Philippine Senate (GSIS Building).
The purpose of the courtesy visit was to discuss topics of mutual interest and to strengthen the common bridge of friendship between the Church and the esteemed senators.
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Elder Cook expressed appreciation for Senator Sotto’s advocacy on strengthening the Filipino family and upholding family values. He also highlighted the senator’s advocacy on helping the youth fight against drug abuse. Elder Teh also expressed appreciation for his service in the Senate. Sotto responded, “Your kind words to my advocacy on strengthening families inspire me and those from the Senate to do more.” Senator Sotto shared information on the RH bill, its origins and how it will impact the country in the years to come if adopted. He talked of the need to strengthen families and to respect the sanctity of life, both of which are values shared also by the LDS Church.
Elder Cook mentioned that the Church is politically neutral. Although the Church counsels its members to be politically dynamic and active in their communities, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established. The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder Cook expressed his love for the Filipinos having served in the Philippines Area Presidency from 1996-1998. He also views the Filipinos as one of the happiest people in the world despite the different challenges they encounter like natural and man-made disasters.
The meeting with Senator Honasan followed thereafter. Elder Cook highlighted the recent Jubilee celebration of the Church and its milestones during the last 50 years. He emphasized the full name of the Church; why we are commonly known as Mormons, and that, as Christians, we follow the teaching and example of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Senator Honasan recognized the Church’s stand on strengthening the Filipino family, promoting good values, and for preparing a brighter future for children. He said, “We thank good citizens, like you (your members), who are supporting good causes. We want a promising future for our children, thus the need to work together for a common good.”
Honasan also mentioned that, “it is a constitutional principle that the sanctity of life takes precedence over everything else. This core principle is what we stand for.”
When Elder Cook referred to the Church’s close friendship and association with the Catholic church, Senator Honasan encouraged the Church to join a multi-cultural dialogue to address the needs of people from different faith-based organizations (FBOs). He said that issues on preserving marriage, addressing challenges confronting husbands and wives, poverty, education, and productivity are issues that FBOs can talk with and unitedly take a stand.
As the meeting progressed, the conversation naturally turned to children and grandchildren. They lovingly talked of how children brought happiness to their lives and their homes.
The Church presented the two senators with tokens: the “Christus” which is a replica of the statue in the Church Visitor’s Center in Salt Lake City, a framed copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and a 100 anniversary celebration CD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
After the meeting with both senators, Elder Cook and Elder Teh briefly attended and were acknowledged during the session of the senate. They were also able to visit briefly with the Senate President, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, before the session began.