Just days before the 2014 Utah legislative session begins, the LDS Church released a statement saying there is no need to reform the alcohol laws currently existing in Utah.
It is uncharacteristic for the LDS Church to get involved in political issues as Church leaders typically encourage members to study the issues themselves. This time the LDS Church decided to get involved to avoid three potential problems: excessive alcohol consumption, underage drinking and DUIs.
In a 10-minute video, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, answers questions on why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is getting involved.
“Some people suppose that the Church takes a position on alcohol regulation in Utah because it wants to impose its beliefs or practices on other people, but there’s really no point in that,” Elder Christofferson said. “It wouldn’t benefit us in any way, or that’s not our interest.
“We do care about the culture and the environment that exist in this state and the people live in because more than half the citizens that live in Utah are members of the LDS Church, but our concern is for the general public, for the general welfare, for the circumstances, the environment that people live in and raise their children in.”
The lengthy statement released included facts and statistics on the alcohol laws benefiting Utah residents. One study by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that Utah has the lowest number of alcohol-related traffic deaths per capita out of all 50 states in the U.S.
The Church’s statement also debunks the belief that Utah is “weird” with its alcohol laws by pointing out other states that have stricter laws or all-together dry parts of their states.
“So what if we’re fodder for a few jokes and ridicule on late-night TV?” Elder Christofferson said. “To me that’s a very small price to pay for one less family that lost their wife and mother in a drunk-driving accident, or one less teenager who’s become addicted to alcohol and all the poor decisions and problems that flow from that.”