Dieter F. Uchtdorf will speak at Pioneer Days Devotional

Saturday , July 05, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Standard-Examiner correspondent

OGDEN – It’s not every day Ogden area residents have the chance to hear from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Second Counselor Dieter F. Uchtdorf live and in person, but it’s not every day that Ogden Pioneer Days ushers in the open house of a newly renovated temple either.

That is exactly why Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell sent a letter to Uchtdorf asking him to be the keynote speaker at the traditional devotional kicking off Ogden Pioneer Days July 13. The devotional will be at 6 p.m. at the Dee Events Center, 4400 Harrison Blvd. in Ogden.

“This is one of the most unique summers in the history of Ogden,” Caldwell said. “He is a great speaker and a great church leader and will be a great way to kick off our Pioneer Days celebrations,” Caldwell said of Uchtdorf.

Blake Wahlen, LDS church public affairs director for the Northern Utah area, said his group is thrilled Uchtdorf will be speaking to the people of Northern Utah.

Wahlen said Caldwell invited him personally to come and speak, which he believes was great. He too, agrees Uchtdorf will be a great speaker to not only begin Pioneer Days, but to also usher in the open house of the Ogden LDS temple, which begins August 1. “He will be opening the door for the temple open house,” Wahlen said.

Caldwell said Uchtdorf was very gracious to accept the invitation to come and speak in Ogden, considering that July is usually a month that general authorities spend with their families, their church responsibilities being lighter.

“I think he knows how important and unique this time is for Ogden and wants to be here to support us,” Caldwell said. “We already know all the changes that have been happening in Ogden and in the northern area and now we are getting ready for many, many more to see and know what we already know about Ogden,” Caldwell said. Uchtdorf agreed with that also, Caldwell added.

The reaction from many has been great when people have heard Uchtdorf is coming. “Everyone really cheered when he agreed to speak. He is a unique person with a great energy,” Caldwell said.

Wahlen said there have been many great speakers at the traditional devotional, which is followed by a pops concert, and fireworks show at Weber State University’s Ada Lindquist Plaza afterward.

Last year Elder L. Tom Perry came and in previous years it was Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

Wahlen said organizers are used to big crowds at the devotionals, but this year he expects a larger crowd than usual. The doors will open and 5 p.m. and he thinks seats will fill quickly.

Uchtdorf has served in the LDS Church First Presidency since February of 2008. He was sustained as a member of the Twelve Apostles in October 2004 and served as a general authority since April 1994.

Uchtdorf is originally from Germany and is married to Harriet Reich. He has two children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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