Latter-day Saint Life

What President Reagan Had to Say About Mormons


President Ronald Reagan held Latter-day Saints in very high regard. In fact, he was the U.S. president with the best relationship with the Mormons and surrounded himself with Latter-day Saints in his administration.

"President Reagan knew and loved the Latter-day Saints and held the Church in highest regard," remarked former LDS Reagan aide Stephen M. Studdert.

"From his days as governor of California, the doctrines and the principles of the Church drew his frequent interest. As president, he often asked about Church programs. He recognized the Church's moral leadership and social influence, even declaring, 'A Mormon contribution to American life is beyond measuring.'" 

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Video Companion
President Reagan Talks About Mormons

In 1982 President Reagan toured the Church's welfare services, praising the Church for its incredible resources.

“You know that I’ve talked for a long time about Americans doing for themselves, about the private initiative, about citizens’ groups doing so many things that government thinks only it can do," said Reagan. "And I have just toured a cannery—part of the program of the Latter-day Saints for meeting the needs of their people when they have to have help.”

President Reagan also noted that what makes the Church's welfare system so successful and unique is that it focuses on helping the needy not only provide for their immediate needs, but it gives them the experience, satisfaction, and opportunity to become self-sufficient. 

“It’s an idea that once characterized our nation," he said. "It’s an idea that should be reborn nation-wide. It holds the key to renewal of America in the years ahead.”

Aside from the Church's welfare services, President Reagan also praised another icon of the LDS Church: the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Reagan was the first president to term the choir "America's Choir." 

 “At my first inauguration as president of the United States, I wanted very much to reignite the fires of liberty and re-inspire the American spirit. And no one sings the anthems of America quite like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” President Reagan said.

“The Choir’s singing was a highlight of our inauguration, as we knew it would be. I’m sure I speak for all Americans when I say thank you for saying so well what all of us feel about this land of the free and home of the brave. There is no more inspirational moment for any American—and that includes Ronald Reagan—than to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah, His truth is marching on.’”

Lead image of President Gordon B. Hinckley taking President Ronald Regan on a tour of the Ogden Area Welfare Service Center on September 10, 1982. Picture from Deseret News. 
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