Harry Reid, My Brother

 

 

From left to right, at the Embassy of the Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Washington DC: Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Marwan Muasher (then Jordanian ambassador to the United States), Senator and Mrs. Harry Reid, Elder Merrill J. Bateman (then president of Brigham Young University), and the Rt. Hon. Zeke Zilch (then honorary consul of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick)  Click to enlarge.

 

I’m a serious, committed, political conservative with libertarian leanings.  Senator Harry Reid and I disagree fundamentally on virtually every political controversy.  Moreover, I’ve found not only his policy positions but some of his specific comments extremely trying.  Still, I’ve always resisted the tendency of some of my Latter-day Saint fellow-conservatives to demonize him.  And former Utah senator Bob Bennett — author, by the way, of the excellent book Leap of Faith: Confronting the Origins of the Book of Mormon — explains a significant reason why:

 

http://trevorprice.net/2012/11/15/bob-bennett-says-harry-reid-furthers-gods-work/

 

I’ve heard the same thing from other sources.  Senator Reid, they’ve told me, has been the most willing of any of the Latter-day Saints in the Senate and the House of Representatives to step forward to help the Church when foreign governments were harassing it or causing it difficulties. He’s almost always been helpful to BYU at events in and around the District of Columbia.  He is, to the shock of many, an active and believing Latter-day Saint.

 

Humans, and all things human, are complex.

 

 

  • Chris Baker

    Indeed.

    One of my own quirky little beliefs is that the Spirit will teach different people different political beliefs, not necessarily because they’re true, but so that people learn to still love each other.

    I don’t know if it’s true, but I prefer to look at it that way so that I can learn tolerance. XD

  • Darren

    Several years ago when I first jumped into rhetorical political activism (blogging), I found out that Harry Reid was LDS. I admit I was a bit dismayed but knowing the LDS Church is God’s true church on the earth and guided by living revelation and knowing that their policy of political neutrality is the correct policy to take, distancing Harry Reid from the LDS faith was never a practice of mine. I know he is active in the LDS Church and does a lot of good things for the Church. Good for him. I’ve no problem sharing any of this with anyone. One’s politics should not be a factor in the Saints fellow shipping one with another. But it goes both ways.

    I found Harry Reid’s proclamation to have “heard” that Mitt Romney may have committed federal crimes in hiding his money off shores (something Romney was pathetically bad at countering) and then later saying that Mitt Romney did not represent authentic LDS beliefs was enormously disheartening for me. Lying about a fellow Saint in order to gain political advantage is despicable. Was Harry Reid honest in his dealings wait a fellow temple-attending Latter-day Saint? Did Harry Reid place temp,e worship above that of politics? I make no conclusive judgement upon Reid for such is The Lord to judge and for Harry Reid to make right with God if Reid was less than honest about Mitt Romney; but I seriously wonder about this.

  • John P

    The church used to say a lot about communism during the Cold War. I wonder why they don’t speak out any more. It seems a lot of what Harry Reid is trying to accomplish is diametrically opposed to what the church used to say about these issues.

    • WhiteEyebrows

      The Church is so different now than it was in the ’50s. It’s a worldwide organization that has to focus on teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not waste its time in political sideshows. The fact is that there are good latter-day saints of all political stripes, even socialists.

      I think it’s a slight embarrassment to go back and look at the quotes from that era, in which some church leaders even theorized that the equal rights movement was actually a communist plot to take over America. There’s a cautionary tale there for current church leaders. We should not pretend to know things that aren’t central/core to the Church’s mission.

      I’m grateful to belong to a church that is lazer focused on helping its members become better people and live the Gospel, not telling people how to act politically.

      There is a great section in the book “David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism” which elucidates the internal changes and concern around church leaders who were focused on American politics.

  • Bruce Webster

    We attended the same ward as Bro. & Sis. Reid for six years (1999-2005). Like you, I have strong political differences with him, but I consider him a faithful Latter–day Saint and know him as one who serves the Church in ways public and private. I suggest that those who criticize him personally do so at risk of their own standing before God.

  • Laralee Nelson

    When I try to understand how Latter-day Saints can have such differing views about politics I’ve come to a conclusion that seems appropriate for me.

    We need differing viewpoints to help us see a wider range of possibilities. We need diversity in political opinion to help keep us from the lure of unrighteous dominion when we decide we know what’s best and others need to do it our way as well.

    We need opposition to help us see the good and the bad and to recognize that different need not be wrong. We need diversity to learn to see the good even in those with whom we have very little in common. It also gives us great opportunity to work on that pesky ‘judge not’ injunction.

    And until we have a theocracy where the Head is perfect, none of us fallible mortals will know all the right answers.

  • RaymondSwenson

    Back around 1896 when Utah was finally admitted to the Union as a state, after years of persecution by the same Republican Party that had managed the Reconstruction of the former Confederate states, the Church disbanded its Peoples Party and asked its members to register with one of the national political parties. Naturally most tended to favor Democrats, so much that it threatened the strategy of playing off the two parties against each other so both would want Mormon support. One of the apostles visited a stake in Southern Utah where he announced that voter registration would be held during the lunch break. When most people registered as Democrats, he got up in the afternoon session and announced “Brothers and sisters, the Lord wants some Republicans, too.” Oscar McConkie Sr., Democrat and Speaker f the House in the Utah legislature, told his sons (including Bruce and Oscar Jr) “And ever since then, the Republicans have thought they were God’s chosen people!”

    (I heard this from Oscar Jr., who was Utah campaign chairman for JFK).


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