3. William Howard Taft
Photo courtesy of Ronald L. Fox
President Taft first addressed an audience in the Tabernacle on a Sunday morning, September 26, 1909. He started by saying:
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this expression of welcome and good will. I have been oppressed since I have come into this magnificent structure with the thought that you had gathered here in part to hear me, and that I have nothing to address to you worthy of such magnificent presence. . . . Yet I have felt that on this Sunday morning it was necessary for me to make such effort as I could to follow [my predecessor] in something that may sound a bit like a sermon. And as sermons are begun with the quotation of a text, having more or less relation to what follows it, I am going to give you the text from Proverbs: 'A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.'”
Towards the end of his speech, he added:
“My friends, I can not in the presence of so great an audience as this, an audience that inspires one with higher thought of country and patriotism, fail to refer to the depth of feeling that has been awakened in me, of gratitude for your welcome, of an appreciation of the basis of that welcome which is loyalty to your flag and country.”
During President Taft’s second visit to the Tabernacle in October 1911, he spoke to a gathering of elderly Utah residents. At that gathering, the Tabernacle Choir provided most of the music while Bishop C. W. Nibley conducted and introduced the President.