Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) compared President Donald Trump to a figure in the Book of Mormon at an Arizona rally on Wednesday, causing a strong backlash from some of the religion's followers.

Lee, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), told a crowd that the president is like Captain Moroni, a heroic figure from LDS scriptures.

"To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni," Lee said at an LDS rally for Trump. According to the church, there are 436,521 LDS members in Arizona.

According to the Book of Mormon, Captain Moroni was a “righteous Nephite military commander who lived about 100 B.C.”

The Book of Mormon also added that “Moroni was appointed chief captain of all the Nephite armies,” and that he “Inspired the Nephite soldiers to fight for their freedom.” 

Lee said he sees the parallels with Trump more than two millennia later.

"He seeks not power, but to pull it down. He seeks not the praise of the world or the fake news, but he seeks the wellbeing and the peace of the American people," Lee added.

US President Donald Trump campaigns in Arizona, promising a Republican victory US President Donald Trump campaigns in Arizona, promising a Republican victory Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski

After Lee's statement, his comments gained traction on Twitter, and the name "Captain Moroni" was heavily trending on Twitter this morning.

The group Latter-day Saints for Biden-Harris accused the opposing group, Latter-day Saints for Trump, of exploiting the LDS faith, in response to Lee's comparison.

"The good news is that many Latter-day Saints, including Jeff Flake, Tom Udall, Evan McMullin, and the 1,600 Latter-day Saints who have publicly endorsed Joe Biden, know that it’s time for a change," the group wrote. "That our great country deserves a leader who cares for us, who will fight for our families, who will honor the sacred trust of the presidency, who will do his best every day to be honest, wise, and good."

Lee also faced major backlash on social media. 

Evan McMullin, a former GOP policy director, and a 2016 independent presidential candidate tweeted: “I can't believe Mike Lee is now comparing Trump to a righteous leader from the Book of Mormon. What a disgrace. Mike knows that Trump is a threat to the republic, but chooses to enable him anyway because doing so serves his personal ambitions in Washington.”