Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pew 2010 Forum Study Confirms 15 Latter-Day Saints, Mostly Republican, In The New 112th Congress

On November 4th, 2010, I published an update on how candidates belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fared in Congressional elections on November 2nd. It showed that the new 112th Congress would include 15 Mormons.

This has just been confirmed by the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life, which released a breakdown of the faiths and denominations of the members of the incoming 112th Congress on January 5th, 2010. It reveals that the percentage of LDS members in the new Congress is up slightly from the last session, although still greater that the percentage of Mormons in overall society. The number of Mormons increased from 14 to 15.

Latter-day Saints now comprise 2.8 percent of the body vs. 1.7 percent of the American public. LDS members make up 5 percent of the Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and 2.3 percent of the House (the latter also includes Eni Faleomavaega, the non-voting delegate from American Samoa).

-- Read the full list of members of Congress and their religious affiliations HERE, alphabetized by state.

(1). U.S. Senate:
-- Michael Crapo (R-ID)
-- Harry Reid (D-NV)
-- Tom Udall (D-NM)
-- Mike Lee (R-UT)
-- Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

(2). U.S. House:
-- Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
-- Wally Herger (R-CA)
-- Howard McKeon (R-CA)
-- Raul Labrador (R-ID)
-- Mike Simpson (R-ID)
-- Dean Heller (R-NV)
-- Rob Bishop (R-UT)
-- Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
-- Jim Matheson (D-UT)
-- Eni Faleomavaega (non-voting delegate from American Samoa)

The Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized LDS) is also represented in Congress in the person of Leonard Boswell (D-IA). Though having just a fraction of the Utah-based LDS membership, the Community of Christ is fairly strong in Missouri, southern Iowa, and Illinois.

The LDS Church is officially committed to the principle of political neutrality. The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The LDS Church does NOT:

* Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
* Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
* Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
* Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

The LDS Church further states that "Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position. While the Church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they were elected to represent".

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