With Whoopi Goldberg recently confusing Mormons with Quakers, suggesting that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints couldn’t fight for our country, we can expect other media figures, particularly those opposed to the election of Mitt Romney to continue to misrepresent the largest faith indigenous to the United States of America.
Our blog reader bfwebster addressed that misunderstanding in a recent blog post where he reported that not only did Mormons serve in Vietnam, but that a disproportionate (to their percentage in the United States population) number made the ultimate sacrifice for their country:
During the period of the Vietnam War — say, 1965-1974 — the total US population was around 200 million. During that same period of time, LDS Church membership grew from roughly 2.4 million to 3.4 million. That membership is men, women, and children of all ages, both inside and outside of the United States. I have not yet been able to find the actual United States LDS membership for that period, but I will assume that it was on the order of 75% of the total LDS membership, or about 2 to 2.5 million — just a bit over 1% of the US population.
Furthermore, probably only about 50% (if that much) of that membership within the United States represented actively practicing and attending members. So the ratio of active LDS members living in the US to the US population at large during that period was probably on the order of 0.5%, perhaps less.
So, how many self-identified Mormons were killed in Vietnam? 589 out of 58,193, or just over 1% of all US military deaths. In other words, Mormons were at least proportionately represented by population among US military deaths in Vietnam and were likely over-represented.
Seems Mitt Romney comes from a tradition which teaches not only service to one’s neighbors, but also to one’s country.