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Intellect

Sen. Harry Reid speaks of faith, family and public service

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) spoke on his faith, family, and public service at a Brigham Young University forum Tuesday, Oct. 9.

The forum will be rebroadcast Sunday, October 14, at 6 a.m. on KBYU-TV and at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on BYU Television. His speech is available online.

Reid discussed his winding journey from Searchlight, Nev., the place of his birth, to his present position as majority leader.

Growing up in a small, rural community in a home with few modern amenities, Reid learned that his situation couldn't keep him from succeeding. "Because of America, it didn't matter the economic station of my parents, the color of my skin, my non-religion, or the size and place of my home," Sen. Reid said. "I am an example of this. If I made it, anyone can."

Reid's first experience with politics came when he was elected junior class treasurer. Friends that he met in Henderson, Nev., introduced Reid to seminary and the Church in high school, and it was also during that time that he met his wife, Landra.

While attending Utah State University, Reid and his wife were baptized and joined the Church. "The Church has been a blessing to us and our five children," Sen. Reid said. "All have attended BYU."

After speaking about his testimony and the influence of faith in his life, Reid turned the discussion to politics. Regarding his political position, Reid said, "It is not uncommon for members of the Church to ask how I can be a Mormon and a Democrat . . . I say that my faith and political beliefs are deeply intertwined. I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it."

Reid described a sign that hung in his childhood home that quoted Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "We can, we will, we must." He explained that Roosevelt represented his parents and the workers of America. "President Roosevelt is the basis of my political direction," he said.

While outlining many of his political stances, he briefly mentioned the war in Iraq. "I say the invasion of Iraq was the worst foreign policy blunder in our country's history. Some say this war of choice was our only reasonable alternative." On the topic of abortion, he clearly stated that he was pro-life. "I am pro-life and for the 25 years I have been in Congress have always been pro-life." Also, in regards to the current presidential race, Sen. Reid said, "I hope that Mitt Romney's presidential bid is determined by his political stance, and not his religion."

With the many blessings that BYU students enjoy, Reid told those in attendance that they must "accept the responsibility to go a little further than others." He advised them to "work to be productive, to be happy" in their careers, reminding students that when they served others, they served God.

Ending his talk with his testimony of prayer, faith and the restored Gospel, he then encouraged students to create a better world and to "represent the Church and make people like the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley proud of you and what you are doing."

Writer: Alexis Plowman

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Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU Photo

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