Mormon church issues sweeping defense of Utah liquor laws ahead of legislative session

The Mormon church has issued a sweeping declaration that opposes efforts to relax Utah's famously strict liquor laws.

The move comes ahead of the upcoming legislative session and draws a line against the tourism, restaurant and bar industry supporters who have helped ease the state's alcohol regulations in recent years.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted to its website this week a robust multimedia policy statement, featuring a lengthy explanation of the church's stance, a video interview with one of the faith's top leaders and graphic presentations of supporting statistics.

The church is strongly urging lawmakers to keep rules that they say reflect the state's morals.

Political pundits say the LDS Church's statement could have a chilling effect on efforts to change liquor laws this session.