‘Mormon Land’: In wake of Capitol siege, retired Sen. Harry Reid says church needs to warn members about joining ‘fringe’ groups

Nevada Democrat, who rose to the highest federal office ever held by a Latter-day Saint, also sees Mitt Romney as a force for Republican reform.

(John Locher | AP file photo) In this Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 photo, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid speaks with the media before a panel discussion in Las Vegas.

As it prepares to welcome a new president, the United States, a land of prophecy and promise to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stands at a momentous moment.

A defeated, disgraced and divisive president has become the first commander in chief to be impeached twice. A violent mob has desecrated the People’s House, eroding the very foundation of democracy. And, amid threats of more unrest, a shaken nation tiptoes into the future with as much trepidation as hope.

One Latter-day Saint who, perhaps more than any other, can bring insight to this turbulent time is former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid. The longtime Democrat served in Congress for 34 years, including eight years as Senate majority leader, the highest federal office ever achieved by a Latter-day Saint, before retiring in 2017.

On this week’s podcast, Reid recounts his early days as a Capitol Police officer, the pain he felt seeing the place he labored for so many years being ransacked, and why he believes top church leaders, perhaps the governing First Presidency, need to warn members to beware of aligning with “fringe” groups and causes, adding that Latter-day Saints who take part in this insurrection are giving the faith a bad name.

He also discussed his reconciliation with Sen. Mitt Romney after the 2012 presidential election, the role he believes the Utah Republican can play in reshaping the Grand Old Party, and why incoming President Joe Biden — “the nicest guy in the world” — is capable of healing the nation.

As for the outgoing president?

“Donald Trump will go down ... as the worst president in the history of the country. And that says a lot because we’ve had some pretty bad ones,” Reid said. “... So good riddance.”

Listen here: