SALT LAKE CITY – The formation of a national organization supporting Democratic members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was announced Thursday.
Members of the LDS Dems, a group started in Utah last year, announced in a press conference Thursday the creation of the LDS Democrats of America. At its launch the group already consist of ten chapters throughout the county, and is meant “provide a home for LDS Democrats everywhere,” National Chair Rob Taber said.
Taber said the LDS church has a long and rich history in being “anxiously engaged in the Democratic Party and progressive cause.”
Over the last 40 years however, that has changed, lending to “a common misconception inside and outside the church that there is only one way to be involved in political life as a good Mormon, and that’s as a Republican,” Taber said.
The group was also created to highlight the fact there is a diversity of thought and political opinion within the membership of the LDS church, though Taber emphasized the fact the group doesn’t speak for the church in any way.
Mormon Democrats are sometimes afraid to identify themselves, particularly in Utah, he said. The term “Democratic” itself is sometimes treated like a four-letter word, he said.
“One of our biggest problems is the feeling of isolation that sometimes comes with being an LDS Democrat,” said Crystal Young-Otterstrom, LDS Dems of America vice chair. “So it’s great to have the strength of such a large organization behind us.”
Along with organizing Mormon Democrats and giving them a place to gather on the national scale, LDS Dems of America will also seek out and support candidates who are “honest, wise and good,” Taber said.
The organization will support good Democratic candidates whether they are Mormon or not, he added.
“We invite all – Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, conservatives, and moderates; fellow Latter-day Saints, friends of other faiths, and friends of no religion – to join us in our local communities and online,” he said said.
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