SALT LAKE CITY — A former Utah House speaker will be the Mormon church’s chief lobbyist at the state Capitol.

Spokesman Doug Anderson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Marty Stephens will serve as a volunteer as director of community and government relations for the church.

The Salt Lake City Tribune ( ) reports that Stephens replaces John Q. Cannon, who recently was hired by the Legislature to head the legislative staff office that provides legal and policy review for proposed legislation.

Cannon had previously worked for that agency before working as a church lobbyist.

Stephens was elected House Speaker in 1998 and served in that role until 2004, when he ran unsuccessfully for governor.

Stephens also served as the House majority leader and chairman of the Executive Appropriations Committee.