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Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

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Now Mormon Democrats are calling for a fast

In September, Mormons circulated an email urging church members to "fast and pray" for Republican Mitt Romney to do well in the presidential debates.

The LDS candidate did better than most pundits had predicted — even winning the first one, according to most accounts.

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Now the LDS Dems Caucus is making a similar heavenly appeal but with a decidedly less partisan goal. The group announced plans for a nationwide fast Sunday — not for their winning candidate but for their country.

"In this season when we have chosen new leaders for our nation and our communities, and in the spirit of following the counsel of the [LDS Church’s] First Presidency," caucus vice chairman Steve Olsen said in a news release, "we would like to encourage our fellow Latter-day Saints, and all Americans of good will, to join us in fasting and prayer on December 2nd for our country."

For Mormons, the first Sunday of the month is "fast Sunday," when members forgo food and give money to the poor. It seemed like an appropriate time to be seeking divine assistance for the U.S., the Democrats believe.

"Given that a fellow Latter-day Saint was just defeated in a hard-fought election for president, we believe Latter-day Saints are in a unique position to lead the nation in healing the divisiveness that has plagued our nation the last few years," Olsen said. "We hope this special fast might be a starting point."

On election night, after Romney had conceded the race to President Barack Obama, the church’s First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles issued a statement urging Americans to unite.

"It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations," they wrote in the news release. "We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the president, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times."

So, although Mormons in both parties have now played the "fasting" card, the Utah-based faith itself remains neutral in partisan politics.

Peggy Fletcher Stack

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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