News Release

At New York Banquet, Elder Cook Honors Former US Sen. Joseph Lieberman

“He is a man of faith and character, honest and exemplary in his conduct and exceptionally capable,” Elder Cook says

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined about 400 others Thursday night at Riverside Church in New York City to honor former United States Sen. Joseph Lieberman for his lifetime of public service.

“He is a man of faith and character, honest and exemplary in his conduct and exceptionally capable,” Elder Cook told the assembled members of the New York Latter-day Saint Professional Association (NYLDSPA). In his 24 years as a senator and six years as attorney general of Connecticut, Sen. Lieberman was a leader of high moral standards. “In a world where there is so much dissension and where people often are choosing [bad] roads … it’s wonderful to see somebody who through their career has tried to choose the good road, the righteous road, the road that is the one that should be traveled,” the Apostle said. “We are grateful, Sen. Lieberman, that you have always attempted to do that.”

Downloadable B-roll & SOTs

“[Sen. Lieberman is] somebody who, even if you were to have differences, you would be friends,” Elder Cook added. “And he did it from a position of character and conviction, not for some frivolous reason or just politics. … I thank Senator Lieberman for his exceptional accomplishments.”

Each year, NYLDSPA gives a member of the local community an award for visionary leadership. Sen. Lieberman was this year’s recipient, receiving the honor from another former senator, Gordon Smith.

“I’m honored [to receive this award] because of my tremendous respect and affection for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Sen. Lieberman said. His affinity for the faith comes in part, he said, from his Latter-day Saint friends who “in their lives reflect the best values of the Church.” Those people include Sens. Gordon Smith, Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney, the late Harry Reid. Each, Sen. Lieberman said, embodies the Jewish idea of “kiddush hashem” — the sanctification of God’s name.

“You don’t really do that by going to synagogue or church or temple,” the senator said. “You do it by the way you carry yourself in the world.”

Sen. Lieberman praised the “great transformations” he has witnessed between Christians and Jews in the United States. Walls of suspicion have been replaced by a recognition of common ground, he said. “And really,” he added, “there’s no Christian denomination that that is more true of, where the transformation has been warmer, deeper and more meaningful, than the relationship of Latter-day Saints with the Jewish American community.”

The bulk of Sen. Lieberman’s 28 minutes of remarks focused on the interplay of religion and public policy. He quoted a 2014 general conference talk by President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the Church’s First Presidency: “The Savior taught that contention is a tool of the devil. That surely teaches against some of the current language and practices of politics. … When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries.” To which Sen. Lieberman responded, “Oh, how right you are Elder Oaks.” The senator also read the line from 2 Nephi 31:20 that teaches us to have “a love of God and of all men.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with his wife Mary (right), share a laugh with Rabbi Joe Potasnik, executive V.P. of the New York Board of Rabbis (left) and three-time New York Attorney General Bob Abrams (center) at an award ceremony to honor the accomplishments of former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman at Riverside Church in New York City on Thursday, March 3, 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download Photo

Sen. Lieberman concluded by saying America’s greatest strength is not in its divided politics but in the religious faith of its citizens. It is in our houses of worship, he said, that we find “guidance and values” that yield “a sense of unity and common action.”

Elder Cook, speaking after Sen. Lieberman, said he has admired his friend from Connecticut for many years. Their relationship goes back to at least 2011, when the leader from Connecticut spoke at Brigham Young University about the values essential to the founding of the United States. The duo, along with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, were also part of a delegation of Jewish and Latter-day Saint leaders who gathered in Jerusalem in 2016 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Orson Hyde’s prayer to dedicate the Holy Land as a gathering place for the Jewish people.

While in Jerusalem, they placed a wreath on the memorial dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.

“It was a deeply emotional experience for me — one I will never forget,” Elder Cook said. “Many of you have close personal ties to the victims of the Holocaust (including Sen. Lieberman’s wife Hadassah). It is my prayer that the world will never forget the Holocaust atrocity.” 

Elder Cook concluded with a plea “that all religions work together to defend faith and religious freedom in a manner that protects people of diverse faith, as well as those of no faith. Catholics, Evangelicals, other Christians, Jews, Muslims, Latter-day Saints and other faiths must be part of a coalition of faiths that succor, act as a sanctuary and promulgate religious freedom across the world.”

Previous honorees of NYLDSPA’s leadership award include New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan and former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.