Thursday, August 21, 2008

A.G. Visit with President George W. Bush

Dear Supporters,
An email has been circulating around the web about A.G. Mark Shurtleff's attendance when President Bush was in town. Many have asked if A.G. Shurtleff actually wrote that email. WE WANTED TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. HE DID WRITE THIS EMAIL (which is the same one that has been circulating) and we wanted to share it with you.
-Jessica Fawson
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff 2008

May 2008
From Attorney General Mark Shurtleff:

I had an extraordinary experience this week with President Bush's visit and wanted to share it with you. I was on the host committee and, because I was able to raise a couple hundred thousand from friends, I was able to be at all the meetings and with a small group that welcomed him. He spent over two hours in two appearances speaking and answering questions and the most common remarks people had of the experience was that (1) he seemed so relaxed, happy, and "at peace," and (2) he is nothing like what the media portrays him to be; in fact, he was articulate, personable, and very spiritual.

I believe he was in such high spirits because he knows that Utah is one of the few places where he still has a favorability rating above 50 percent. He joked that he was surprised by the friendly welcome. "In fact, while I was driving up here in my motorcade, most of the people were waving at me with all five fingers!"

Cynics say that we here in Utah still look favorably on him only because we are "sheeple" not "people" and used to "blind obedience," or that we must not be educated enough. I believe that, in fact, we here hold the office of the president in high regard because we are led by the example of our prophet to pray for President Bush and to support him in a very difficult task. I know he felt that special spirit while he was here. In over two hours of comments about such pressing national issues such as the economy, war on terror, energy crisis, immigration, etc. he spent a lot of time talking about faith, religious freedom and prayer!

When I greeted him at the Stewart mansion for his luncheon appearance, I had a moment to speak to him and told him that we here in Utah love him and are praying for him. I told him my brother had served recently in Afghanistan and that he had informed me that the troops support him. He seemed very touched by that and, as I said, he spent a lot of time while here speaking about spiritual matters. Members of his entourage said that was unique--that he didn't often speak so much about religious things.

He spoke of the importance of religious freedom and emphasized that "it didn't matter whether we were Mormon or Catholic or Jew or Vegetarian..." He paused while people chuckled, and then he said with a wink, "See, this is why I didn't let cameras in here." I know that Vegetarian isn't a religion, but if someone had been filming that, the only news out of my entire visit to Utah would be how stupid Bush is for thinking Vegetarian is a religion" He laughed and then got serious again.

"My point is, it...doesn't...MATTER! What matters is that we are FREE. You see, that's what makes us so different from our enemies in radical Islam. They want to kill those who have different religious views. And that is why we must persist in our war against them. THEY MUST NOT PREVAIL!"

He spoke about the relationships he had developed with world leaders and that he often bore his testimony to them. (That's right, our president!) For example, he spoke of his relationship with the communist leader of China, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

He said, "I wanted to impress upon him how positive religion can be." He said, "I told him that God had changed my life. I was a drunk, Mr. Prime Minister! I had a serious problem and, if it hadn't been for God, I would not be here today. He saved my life! He had a little help from Billy Graham who was his messenger, but it was God who helped me with my addiction and turned my life around. Religion can make your people better, Mr. Prime Minister! Won't you please consider giving them their religious freedom?"

Isn't that extraordinary? Let me share another special story. He talked about King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He invited him out to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, because he felt it was important to get to know him and develop a relationship of trust and a spiritual bond. He said that King Abdullah, of course, is a strict practicing Muslim with many wives, just like his father and grandfather before him, but noted that the King's son and heir has decided to have only one wife. He said he wanted to impress upon the King that, as a Christian nation, we are not enemies of Islam and that we have much in common. He told King Abdullah, "I am a believer. I believe in God. I believe he is the same God as Allah. Now, we differ a little in that I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God and my Savior and Redeemer, while I know you consider him to just be a prophet, but we are 'People of the Book,' like you." King Abdullah wasn't really responding so he felt impressed that they needed some time alone so he invited him to go for a ride in his pickup truck around the ranch. The two got in alone and started down a dirt road (can you picture all the staff and security scurrying after them?)

President Bush was pointing out different trees and his cows when they came around a corner, and there stood the biggest tom turkey he had ever seen in the middle of the road just looking at them. He said that he was surprised because he didn't raise turkeys and had never seen a wild turkey on his ranch. King Abdullah sat upright and was suddenly very interested. They stopped and King Abdullah asked, "What is that?" "That my friend, is a turkey!" answered Bush, "and I've never seen one on my ranch before." "What is it's significance?" asked the King. President Bush said all he could think of was to tell him that Benjamin Franklin once wanted to make it the symbol of our nation, but we chose the eagle instead.

"I will tell you what it means," replied Abdullah as he touched President Bush on the arm. "The turkey is sacred in my religion, and Allah has sent it as a sign to me that you are a believer and a good man!"

Pretty cool huh? President Bush talked a lot about his difficult decisions and became very emotional when he admitted he has made mistakes and bears the terrible burden of knowing that his decisions have led to the deaths of thousands, and then he got very quiet and said that he doesn't think he could go on without the prayers of the people. He said that, when he was a young man and heard people say, "I pray for you," he didn't give it much thought. But, at age 61 and the President of the United States, he said it means the world to him to know that millions are praying for him. He said, "Like it says in Second Corinthians, 'I am filled with Comfort'!" And he thanked us for that and said he would try to listen to the promptings and make the right and best choices for our nation and our people.

I want to bear you my testimony that whatever your politics or criticisms of President Bush and his decisions and the way he has prosecuted this war, he really is a good and decent man who believes in our Heavenly Father, who recognizes the terrible costs of his mistakes, and who seeks to do the right thing, and is buoyed up and supported, comforted, and guided by our prayers. He loves this country and is dedicated to service and has tried to do the right thing to keep us safe and to help others enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty.

He spoke of his strong relationship with the Prime Minister of Japan and how important they are as friends and allies--notwithstanding that, when his father was 19, he was fighting them as mortal enemies and nearly lost his life in that war when he was shot down in the South Pacific. And now, just 65 years later, Japan has a vibrant democracy and is our friend. He told the graduating class at the Air Force Academy just prior to flying to Salt Lake that he believed that sixty years from now, their children would be friends and allies with Arab and Muslims around the world because we stood up to oppression and evil today in the quest for freedom and peace for all.

I am very blessed to have had this experience. Please remember President Bush in your prayers tonight.

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