September 25th, 2012
05:25 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) - The nation's highest ranking Mormon in elected office said Monday that Republican presidential candidate is “not the face of Mormonism.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made the remarks in a conference call Monday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
“He’s coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church,” Reid said about Romney coming to Nevada. “They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism.”
The 2012 election has seen Reid increasingly critical of the Republican hopeful. Reid has used his office to challenge Romney on issues ranging from taxes to foreign policy.
This, however, is the first time that Reid has attacked Romney based on their shared faith.
During the conference call, Reid reportedly mentioned an opinion piece run in the Huffington Post by Gregory A. Prince, co-author of “David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.” In the piece, Prince argued that Romney has run away from his faith and does not represent the modern Mormon Church.
“Judge Mitt Romney as you will, and vote for or against him as you will; but do not judge Mormonism on the basis of the Mitt Romney that was unveiled to the public this week,” Prince wrote. “He is not the face of Mormonism.”
At last month's Republican National Convention, other Mormons who interacted with Romney while at church vouched for the Republican candidate. Ted and Pat Oparowski, a Mormon couple who knew Romney in Massachusetts told stories of him regularly visiting their son after he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and eulogized him after the child died.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Romney supporter and fellow Mormon, said Reid’s words were out of bounds, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
“Harry Reid seems to be making this way too personal and consequently throwing the religion under the bus for his own personal gain,” said Chaffetz. “That’s not where anyone should be going with this. He’s taking this two steps too far.”
Reid was raised agnostic in Searchlight, Nevada, and converted to Mormonism, along with his wife Landra, while attending Southern Utah University. In an interview with the New Yorker in 2005, he heralded the faith for its emphasis on family.
The LDS Church has largely tried to stay out of the politics surrounding the presidential campaign, even though they have received increased attention due to Romney’s candidacy.
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