On Sunday, an anonymous source released 15 videos on YouTube under the name "Mormon Leaks."
The videos, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, show "presentations made to members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the second-highest governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
One of the videos shows former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) addressing the panel. Smith, whose family owns a Pendleton frozen food business, served in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2009, losing his seat in 2008 to now-U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
Smith is the last Republican to hold statewide office in Oregon. He now serves as the executive director as the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, D.C.
The 48-minute video was first reported in Oregon by the Salem Statesman Journal. It was apparently filmed in February 2009, the month after Smith left the Senate. In the video, Smith talks about the relationship between his politics and his Mormon faith.
Ralph Hardy, the Mormon elder who introduces Smith in the video, notes at 4:20 that although Smith's Senate staff was light on Mormons, it was "church broke"– i.e., very attentive to church needs.
"In fact, not many months ago, his legislative director called on the phone and he said 'Ralph, you haven't called us for six weeks—what are we supposed to be doing?'"
At 5:22, Smith compares the relative significance of the panel he's addressing to his former Senate colleagues and presidents of the United States.
"Brethren, I'm honored to be in your presence," Smith tells the panel at 5:20. "My parents, Milan Smith and Jessica Udall, raised me with a fundamental principle—and that is to follow the brethren."
"So while I'm somewhat accustomed to speaking with U.S. Senators and even presidents of the United States, I stand humbly before you because I know who you are and I know my covenants and I know the role you play in this world."
He refers to himself at 8:25 "as one who regards his temple recommend as more important than an election certificate."
And Smith's faith guided him on hot-button issues such as the Iraq War.
"I voted for it because I felt the Lord's hand in it," Smith says of the war at 13:19.
At 26:50, he outlines Iran's nuclear program, noting in an aside "some of this may be classified still."
Smith touches on same-sex marriage (he opposed it) and the environment.
"My own experience with a radical environmental constituency in Oregon is that environmentalism, as noble as it is to a point, at a point becomes a religion," Smith says at 29:15. "And it is the worship of the created rather than the worship of the creator."
A church spokesman told the Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday that the videos were authentic.
"Presentations are routinely received from various religious, political and subject matter experts on a variety of topics," church spokesman Eric Hawkins told the Tribune. "The purpose is to understand issues that may face the church, and is in pursuit of the obligation church leaders feel to be informed on and have open discussion about current issues. This is an informational forum, not a decision-making body."