SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt held meetings aimed at blending his religious beliefs with his state's government, a report based on archival records said.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday that during his tenure as governor, Leavitt held meetings focused on introducing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints themes into state policy and his inaugural address.
The news of those meetings, which took place in 1996, comes out just as the theme of church and state relations has been integral in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Among those affected by the controversial topic has been GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor whose Mormon beliefs have prompted concerns among some voters.
Yet Romney has presented his time as governor as proof he can keep his religious beliefs separate from state policy and has sworn to maintain that balance should he reach the White House.
The Tribune said in the case of Leavitt, the archival transcripts show he intended to use his beliefs to offer Utah residents a message on strong values.