I am grateful to the presidency of the Latter Day Saints Church, and to its presiding bishopric, for according me the privilege of speaking within the historic walls of this magnificent tabernacle. This is an honor which I shall long remember.
I am honored, too, to be here with Elbert Curtis, my friend and spokesman in this State. It was here more than a hundred years ago that the great-grandfather of Elbert Curtis declared: “This is the Place.” And here Brigham Young built not only a great tabernacle, famed the world over, but a great State, the heart of a great intermountain region, replacing the barren desert with a land now rich in resources, beauty, and spirit.
Tonight I speak for all Americans in expressing our gratitude to the Mormon people – for their pioneer spirit, their devotion to culture and learning, their example of industry and self-reliance. But I am particularly in their debt tonight for their successful battle to make religious liberty a living reality – for having proven to the world that different faiths of different views could flourish harmoniously in our midst – and for having proven to the Nation in this century that a public servant devout in his chosen faith was still capable of undiminished allegiance to our Constitution and national interest.
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