SALT LAKE CITY – Mormons are gathering in Salt Lake City to listen to speeches from church leaders at a twice-yearly conference.
More than 100,000 members of the faith are expected to attend five sessions in Salt Lake City that span Saturday and Sunday. Thousands more will listen or watch around the world on television, radio, satellite and internet broadcasts.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ conference comes amid an intense presidential election in the U.S. and as members around the world grapple with the increasing needs of refugees.
Church leaders could talk more about their push to be welcoming toward refugees at a time when some others are tightening the hatches.
Mormon leaders sent a letter a year ago urging its members to help and launched a refugee relief effort campaign in March called “I Was A Stranger.” Last month, the church posted a new video on its website showing how members can mentor refugees.
Mormon leaders are not expected to mention presidential candidates by name, but they could advocate again for public civility and compassion.
Their mostly Republican members are trying to decide how to vote in November amid a general distaste for the brash Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump’s inability to connect with Mormon voters has led to significantly fewer Latter-day Saints identifying as Republicans this year compared with four years ago when Mitt Romney, a Mormon himself, was the party’s presidential nominee, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Leaders may also advocate for religious liberty protections, a popular topic in recent years for the faith. Mormon leaders have been preaching the importance of preserving religious liberty while also calling on members to accept and adhere to the legalization of same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court.