WASHINGTON, D.C. — Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles began his presentation to the National Press Club on Thursday with a statement about the mass shooting deaths of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

“As representatives of the Fourth Estate, I appreciate your work in reporting the stories of our day,” Elder Bednar said. “Sadly, the news of our day is filled with heartache, including the tragic events and the loss of life most recently in Texas.

“We mourn with those who mourn and pray for all those impacted by this senseless act of violence. My prayer and my blessing is that we will be guided, comforted and helped in our important work, and that victims, families and nations might be granted the peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace that comes from Jesus Christ.”

Elder Bednar, 69, is a senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve, the second-highest governing body in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members at times are called Mormons. He also is the former president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Elder Bednar spoke days after returning from Guam. He dedicated the church’s new Yigo Guam Temple on Sunday.

Thursday’s event at the 114-year-old National Press Club, one block from the White House, marked the first time a senior Latter-day Saint leader from the quorum had addressed the group. The late President Gordon B. Hinckley, then 89, was the church’s president and prophet when he spoke at the National Press Club in March 2000. He received a standing ovation. For a transcript and to watch the video of his presentation, click here.

The time President Gordon B. Hinckley had the National Press Club laughing out loud

Thursday’s event was attended by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Donna Leinwand Leger, president of DC Media Strategies and past president of the National Press Club; Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo; and Michael Soto, executive director of Equality Arizona.

You can watch the entire presentation and question-and-answer session here.

Elder Bednar also invited listeners to visit the open house of the church’s Washington D.C. Temple — 10 miles north of the National Press Club and a regional landmark — which ends on June 11. This is the first time the public has been able to see inside in 48 years.

Elder Bednar recently led the first media tours of the Washington D.C. Temple in 48 years. CBS Sunday Morning aired a five-minute segment on the tour he led for a CBS News crew.

National Press Club Headliner lunch speakers are selected based on newsworthiness related to issues of the day, national or international stature and influence, and exclusivity — how much a speaker is available to the press.

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