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Seven Church leaders recently met with South Carolina Gov. David Beasley to thank him for his efforts to "put families first."

Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy and first counselor in the North America Southeast Area, along with five stake presidents and Pres. David Maxfield of the South Carolina Columbia Mission, took the opportunity to explain the Church to the South Carolina governor. The stake presidents participating were Earl Sanders of the Greenville South Carolina Stake; James Cole, Florence South Carolina Stake; Joseph Stubbs II, Charleston South Carolina Stake; and Edward Bass, Columbia South Carolina Stake; and Lloyd South, Augusta Georgia Stake, which has units in South Carolina.Elder Carmack said the meeting was well received. "

The ChurchT is a major part of the South Carolina community," he said. "We have some 25,000 members here. The governor is interested in serving his citizens and the citizens are interested in being good citizens."

Elder Carmack called the meeting an education for both government officials and Church leaders. "It gave our people a chance to get acquainted with the governor and his positions on moral and family matters," he said. "It gave him a chance to know of the interests of the Latter-day Saints who live in his area."

The Church leaders let Gov. Beasley know they are always available to help him strengthen families in South Carolina, said Elder Carmack. "I think he felt good about that and we felt good about letting him know our primary concerns."

Jerry Branham, Columbia South Carolina multi-stake public affairs director and a former government official, arranged the visit. "I thought we ought to build a bridge - . . . help our stake presidents in South Carolina become acquainted with Gov. Beasley."

Brother Branham explained that Gov. Beasley has stressed the importance of families since his inauguration two years ago. He organized the "Putting Families First Foundation" in the state.

During the meeting with the governor, the stake presidents took 90 seconds each to explain the Church's family proclamation and family home evening program, as well as the Church's stance on gambling and abortion. Elder Carmack presented Gov. Beasley with the book, "The Mission," which was inscribed to the governor and his family from the "25,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Carolina." The governor also received a framed copy of the proclamation.

Gov. Beasley thanked everyone for their support to strengthen families in his state. He expressed appreciation for the gifts and spoke of the many programs the Church has to help each other and to strengthen the individual and family.

Pres. Maxfield called the meeting a success. "[Gov. Beasley] was excited to talk about the family," Pres. Maxfield said. "He was excited to talk about our view of the family. . . . I think he has to realize that we are here doing good."