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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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LDS leaders urge Utah Mormons to attend political caucuses

Utah’s churchgoing Mormons are getting the word: Go to your political caucus meetings.

Democratic, Republican, whatever party, is fine with the Utah-based faith; LDS leaders just want their members off the sidelines and in the political game.

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"These precinct caucus meetings are a grass-roots level of political involvement in Utah and are best served by a broad representation of Utah citizens," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ governing First Presidency writes in a letter to be read over Mormon pulpits across the state. "Those who attend play a critical role in selecting candidates for public office."

A similar appeal went out in 2012, boosting caucus participation exponentially.

To make it easier for the LDS faithful to attend the caucus meetings of their choice on March 18 and 20, Mormon higher-ups are asking local leaders to avoid scheduling any church meetings on those days.

"The church once again affirms its political neutrality," the letter says. "Platforms and philosophies consistent with gospel principles may be found in most political parties."

Posted on the church’s newsroom website, the First Presidency letter comes amid Count My Vote’s initiative seeking to replace Utah’s caucus-convention system with direct primaries — in part to achieve wider political participation.

The LDS Church has taken no stand on the Count My Vote movement, but the faith pitched its 2012 appeal as an effort to achieve the "broad representation" referred to again in the 2014 letter.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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