SALT LAKE CITY — Bruce L. Olsen, press secretary to The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has released the following statement:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes no apology for its participation in the legislative process concerning the legal regulation of alcohol in the State of Utah. The Church has both the right and the responsibility to let its voice be heard on this important issue. The First Presidency has repeatedly declared that the regulation of alcoholic beverage consumption is a moral issue.
“Accordingly, the Church has a long history of making its views on the subject known to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and the Legislature. We believe the Church’s position represents the views of many individual Utah citizens, including many who do not belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We further believe that significantly lower social costs from the abuse of alcohol in Utah than in other states justify this continuing concern.
“For several years, the Church of Jesus Christ has engaged a registered lobbyist, Mr. Jerry Fenn, to represent it before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and the Legislature. We did not originate the current legislation. Rather, representatives of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, hospitality and alcohol industry members, and others developed the proposal. Mr. Fenn certainly participated in that process by providing our perspective on the broad array of issues contained in the proposal. At all times he — and his client — have acted above reproach.
“We expect that elected officials will examine the proposal and will vote in accordance with their informed views as to the best interests of the people of Utah. We sincerely hope the Church’s views will be weighed carefully. This is the democratic process.”