Mitt Romney, a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is perhaps one of the most renowned Mormon politicians. Although he lost the presidential election, the presence of Mormons in Congress is still rather substantial. When Congress reconvenes after the holidays there will be 17 members of The Church of Jesus Christ serving as members of the House and Senate, the most in more than a decade. There haven’t been as many LDS adherents in Congress since 2000.

“It’s really nice to have that kind of camaraderie, to know that there’s that kind of commonality with values,” [Matt] Salmon (Republican representative-elect for Arizona’s 5th congressional district) said Thursday as he returned to Washington, where he previously served as a congressman.

“It’s very comforting to know when you’re that far away from your home like we are, that you can always call on a fellow member to sit down and talk to them or ask them for a priesthood blessing.”

“It’s positive for the faith to be so well-represented in the federal government.”

And, Salmon adds, if they get together, “we know the same primary songs.” [1]

Senator Orrin Hatch MormonMembers of LDS Church will make up more than 3 percent of Congress come January which is nearly double the faith’s 1.7 percent proportion of the population nationwide. During the past few sessions of Congress, members of The Church of Jesus Christ have averaged about 15 members with most serving on the Republican side. The big exceptions are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada and Utah Representative Jim Matheson who are both Democrats. It is of noteworthy interest that Harry Reid is the highest-ranking elected official from the LDS faith in the nation.


Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican and Latter-day Saint, says the number of Mormons in Congress is symbolic.

“It’s representative of the fact the faith is expanding,” Lee said, noting that Mormons feel a calling to be involved in their community and government.

“There is a fair amount of political diversity among us,” Lee added. “Harry Reid and I are both Latter-day Saints, and yet, we don’t always agree.” [1]

Senator Orrin Hatch, also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, who has been re-elected to his seventh term in Congress, says the net result of Mormons in public office is also helpful to the faith’s reputation.

“You can’t have 7 million people in the United States who are as active in their faith as Mormons are without people starting to say, ‘Hey, they’re for real,’ ” Hatch said. “They’re really good people.” [1]

The roster of the strong coalition of Mormons serving in the House and Senate in 2013 include the following (13 of which are Republicans and 4 of which are Democrats): Senator Orrin Hatch (R – Utah), Senator Harry Reid (D – Nevada), Senator Mike Crapo (R- Idaho), Senator Tom Udall (D – New Mexico), Senator Mike Lee (R- Utah), Senator Dean Heller (R- Nevada), Senator Jeff Flake (R- Arizona), Representative Wally Herger (R – California), Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R- California), Representative Michael Simpson (R- Idaho), Representative Jim Matheson (D- Utah), Representative Rob Bishop (R – Utah), Representative Jason Chaffetz (R – Utah), Representative Raúl Labrador (R -Idaho), Representative Chris Stewart (R – Utah), Representative Matt Salmon (R – Arizona), and Representative Eni Faleomavaega (D – American Samoa.) It should be noted that Faleomavaega is one of five territorial representatives in the House, serving as American Samoa’s nonvoting delegate.

The fact that there are 17 members of the LDS faith serving in Congress is a far cry from the early 1900s, when Congress refused to seat a Mormon elected by the Utah Legislature to serve in the U.S. Senate. Congress held three years of hearings on Senator Reed Smoot — mostly focusing on the one-time Mormon practice of polygamy — before finally allowing Smoot to serve.

Additional Resources:

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

Mormon Doctrine

The LDS Church Statement Concerning Political Neutrality


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