‘The Rundown’: Dog whistle or mistake? Utah legislator used LDS Church PowerPoint template for committee presentation

Rep. Steve Christiansen, who is employed by the LDS Church, used the same template that has been used for multiple Church presentations around the globe

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Dog whistle or mistake? Utah legislator uses LDS Church PowerPoint template for presentation

During his presentation on election integrity to the Judiciary Interim Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Steve Christiansen used a PowerPoint presentation on a template that seemed very familiar to some people viewing the hearing.

Slide from presentation by Rep. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan.

It turns out, Christiansen used a PowerPoint template that seemingly came from his work with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A look at the properties of the document uploaded to the Legislative website shows it’s titled “Salt Lake Temple Alta Club Exchange.” The owner is listed as Dean M. Davies, a General Authority who passed away last month.

Properties of a presentation used by Rep. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan.

The title appears to reference a 2017 land exchange between the Alta Club and LDS Church.

Under the advanced properties tab, one field explicitly identifies the owner as “LDS Church.”

Properties from a document uploaded by Rep. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan.

A Google search finds this exact template has been used for several other Church-related presentations around the globe:

It’s not clear whether Christiansen lazily used the template from his position as Director of Presiding Bishopric Projects for the Church or if it was meant as a deliberate signal to other Church members who would recognize the familiar look of the slide show.

Christiansen has been an outspoken proponent of auditing Utah’s 2020 election results.

Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning

🚨 A U.S. Justice Department report says Davis School District officials intentionally ignored “serious and widespread” racial harassment in its schools. Black students said they were called the N-word and were threatened with lynching for years. [Tribune]

⚖️ Utah A.G. Sean Reyes is looking to hire attorneys to help with the state’s legal challenge to the order from President Joe Biden restoring two national monuments in the state. [Tribune]

🏛 The U.S. House voted mostly along party lines to hold Steve Bannon in contempt for ignoring a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. [WaPo]

  • All four of Utah’s House members voted against holding Bannon in contempt. Rep. Chris Stewart called the investigation “political theater.” [Tribune]

  • Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene confronted Liz Cheney and Jamie Raskin on the House floor during the vote. Cheney mocked Greene for her “Jewish space lasers” comment. Greene asked Raskin why Democrats weren’t doing more to investigate violence during the Black lives matter protests. [CNN]

➡️ The head of the Iron County Republican Party was one of more than 300 Utahns on a leaked membership list of the Oath Keepers, a group characterized by federal law enforcement officials as an anti-government militia. Volney Morin says he joined the group when he lived in Arizona but has not been active for several years. [Tribune]

🏛 President Joe Biden said he was open to altering the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation during a town hall. [Axios]

🏛 Democrats are considering cutting paid leave from 12 weeks to 4 weeks as they try to find the votes to pass their economic package. [WaPo]

⚖️ The Justice Department has added two top prosecutors to the investigation into sex trafficking allegations involving Rep. Matt Gaetz. [NYT]

💵 Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson’s new budget proposal includes a $15/hour minimum wage for county employees. [Tribune]

📊 A new report says the COVID-19 pandemic did not increase suicide rates in Utah. [Tribune]

🦠 The COVID outbreak is getting so bad in Moscow that residents over the age of 60 have been ordered to stay home for four months. [CNN]

❄️ NOAA’s winter weather outlook says it will be a mild and dry winter across most of the country. It will be stormy and cold from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes. [WaPo]

🧅 The CDC is warning of a salmonella outbreak related to onions. [NPR]

Friday morning’s Utah news roundup


  • Salt Lake City IT employee accused of trading sensitive police information for sex. [Tribune]

  • Husband of local bakery owner Thy Vu says crash that killed her shouldn’t have happened. [Tribune]

  • Weber County Republican Party Leader steps down — forced out, she says. [Standard-Examiner]

  • Dr. Phil sued over alleged sexual assault of teen by staff member at Utah ranch. [FOX13]

  • Experts say use of force by police is an important conversation society needs to have. [FOX13]

  • Utah task force sees growing trend of adults buying naked photos from children online. [KUTV]

  • Homeless population growing in Washington County. [ABC4]


  • Utah reports 53% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. [Tribune]


  • Online enrollment in Utah’s K-12 schools increased slightly this fall. [Tribune]


  • ‘Crisis’ in first responders’ mental health gets legislative airing. [Daily Herald]


  • Power generation on the Colorado is drying up. [Tribune]

  • Is it really time to build islands on Utah Lake? [Deseret News]


  • Utah lawmakers who undermine faith in elections should resign their seats, Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]

  • Trevor Jones, Tom Moyer and Lindsay Beebe: Utah cities have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to slow climate change. [Tribune]

  • Aaron Kressig and Joro Walker: Utah action on ozone should include accelerating electric vehicle use. [Tribune]

  • Levi Thatcher: Utah’s urge to build more highways only makes life here worse. [Tribune]

  • Sarah Stock: Regional Haze Rule is important for our community and must be enforced to do the most good. [Tribune]

  • Priscilla Feral: Utah shamelessly supports BLM’s wild horse extinction plan. [Tribune]

🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!

Happy birthday on Saturday to Ric Cantrell, chief of staff at the Utah attorney general’s office and Tim Chambless, associate professor at the University of Utah.

Rep. Paul Ray and former Reps. James Gowans and Curt Webb celebrate birthdays on Sunday.

Is there a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.

— The Tribune’s Connor Sanders contributed to this report.