By now, you’ve probably heard that Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed for the Deseret News about why Utahns and LDS Church members should elect her over her rival, GOP nominee Donald Trump.
In her opinion piece, she made reference to several Mormon leaders, including Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, a prominent LDS leader who oversaw the church's Primary program from 2010 to 2016.
She also referenced a 2014 general conference speech given by Wixom, and praised recognizable LDS names like Brigham Young, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson for their acknowledgements of “the infinite blessings we have received from the Constitution of the United States.”
Clearly, this is a big moment for Clinton and Mormons. The Democratic nominee hopes to swing Mormon voters — who generally have disdain for Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric — in her direction. Her appeal may in fact make Utah turn blue for the first time since Lyndon B. Johnson was elected in 1964.
That’s why some say Clinton’s latest column is actually a way for her to “pander” to the Mormon crowd.
But this is far from the first time Clinton has made reference to Mormons. In fact, she wrote about the LDS Church in her 1996 book, “It Takes a Village,” which she mentioned in her op-ed piece this week when she wrote, “When it comes to religion, we strive to be accepting of everyone around us. That’s because we need each other. And we know that it so often takes a village — or a ward — working together to build the change we hope to see.”
This is not unlike the title of her book. In fact, Clinton directly referenced the LDS faith in the text, too, as she discussed how much she appreciates Mormon family values, like family dinners and activities.
"I admire the way Mormons set aside one night a week for family activities. When Chelsea was small, Bill and I adopted this idea. We took turns deciding what we would do. We went miniature golfing (guess who picked that?), rented movies, took long walks, played in parks, and did other simple activities,” she wrote.
For the uninitiated, this is a reference to family home evening, an activity-based event Mormon families have where they talk about the gospel and engage in some sort of social activity with friends and family members.
Clinton also tells a story of her own FHE-like moment.
“One memorable night, Chelsea wanted us to go buy a coconut,” she wrote. “She had never tasted one, but they were featured frequently in the Curious George stories she loved. We walked to our neighborhood store, brought the coconut home, and tried to open it, even pounding on it with a hammer, to no avail. Finally we went out the parking lot of the governor’s mansion, where we took turns throwing it on the ground until it cracked. The guards could not figure out what we were up to, and we laughed for hours afterward."
Though this is the only reference to Mormonism in her book, an LDS Dems blogger who read “It Takes a Village” said Clinton focuses a lot on family values throughout her entire autobiography.
“Hillary Clinton argues passionately that our communities need to do a much better job of supporting traditional families and the precious children than live in those homes,” the blogger wrote.
But Clinton and her children aren't the only ones who support Mormon values. In fact, President Bill Clinton said in 2012 that he once investigated the Mormon church. He said he met two or three missionaries who outlined the different degrees of heaven to him, an idea he liked, accoridng to BuzzFeed.
He said he "admires the church for its high ethical standards and belief in a celestial kingdom but said the idea of being in heaven without his non-Mormon friends was too much to give up," according to Politico.
Clinton, though not a Mormon convert, has spoken on his wife's behalf on numerous occasions during the ongoing presidential campaign to try to win her votes.
Still, it's unclear if he will help his wife win the White House. After all, Hillary, even though she talks about family values and may have written an op-ed to appeal to the Mormon crowd, still trails Trump, who leads 37 to 25 percent in the latest Utah polls.
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.