SALT LAKE CITY — A Mormon lawyers organization will honor retired Democratic Nevada Sen. Harry Reid this week for his decades of public service.
Reid will receive the J. Reuben Clark Law Society's Distinguished Public Service Award on Friday.
Mormonism lost its highest-ranking elected official with Reid's retirement this month after five terms in the U.S. Senate, including eight years as majority leader and two as minority leader.
Bill Atkin, a law society international board member, said Reid would be honored for his service to the country and his state as well as his "unheralded" global assistance to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Reid, 77, will be recognized on the same day that Republican President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in.
The senator recently posted on Facebook that Trump's election and coming inauguration are forcing people to make tough decisions.
"Many Americans, who would normally want to celebrate democracy during the inauguration of a new president, feel they cannot do so without also endorsing Trump's racism, xenophobia and misogyny," he wrote.
Reid said he understands the choice Jan Chamberlain made to leave the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rather than perform at Trump's inauguration Friday.
"Jan refuses to be part of the wave of hatred unleashed by Donald Trump. She should not be castigated or repudiated for acting on her sincere beliefs," he wrote.
Elder Lance B. Wickman, general counsel for the LDS Church and an emeritus General Authority Seventy, will present the award during the law society's annual fireside at the LDS Conference Center.
The society consists of 262 student and attorney chapters throughout the world. Most of its 20,000 members belong to the LDS Church.
Reid's spokeswoman did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.
Reid's liberal politics often put him at odds with conservative Mormons.
During a speech at BYU in 2007, Reid talked about being a Democrat in a faith whose members associate more closely with the Republican Party.
"It is not uncommon for members of the church to ask how I can be a Mormon and a Democrat," he said. "Some say my party affiliation puts me in the minority of our church members. But my answer is that if you look at the church membership over the years, Democrats have not always been the minority, and I believe we won't be for long. I also 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 shepherded President Barack Obama's signature health care law through the Senate. Republicans in the new Congress are now working to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
He advocated for land conservation in Nevada during his tenure in office. He lauded Obama's designation last month of Gold Butte in the southeastern corner of the state as a national monument.
Reid went after fellow Mormon Mitt Romney in 2012, accusing the then presumptive GOP presidential nominee on the Senate floor of not paying any taxes for 10 years. Romney stated categorically that he had paid taxes and that Reid was wrong.
After the election, Reid called the attack "one of the best things I've ever done."60 comments on this story
Reid was elected to two terms in the U.S. House before winning the Senate seat in 1986. He announced his retirement in 2015.
He worked as the Henderson city attorney before being elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1968. He later served as Nevada lieutenant governor and head of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Reid attended Southern Utah University and graduated from Utah State University where he majored in political science and history. He earned a law degree from George Washington University.
He and his wife, Landra, joined the LDS Church while living in Logan. All five of their children have gone to BYU.