With floods ravaging Texas after Hurricane Harvey, many pictures of the Houston Texas Temple surrounded by flood waters have appeared on social media.
— Cindi B. (@UtahMomsLife) August 28, 2017
— Joel Hilton (@786Joel) August 27, 2017
This marks the second year in a row the Houston Texas Temple grounds have flooded, following the deadly floods in April 2016. But this time, the temple itself was damaged.
While it's remarkable the Houston Texas Temple has weathered so much and heartbreaking that flood waters did breach the temple, there have been many times LDS temples were tested by natural disasters and survived.
In June 2017, the Eastern Arizona Courier carried a photograph by Diane Drobka showing the Frye fire in Arizona raging behind the LDS Gila Valley Arizona Temple. According to the Eastern Arizona Courier, the fire was one of many wildfires in Arizona that caused the governor to declare a state of emergency.
Image Diane Drobka from Eastern Arizona Courier
In a very rare event, a tornado swept through Utah on September 8, 2002. As it passed Manti, it came incredibly close to the temple, silhouetting it against the dirt and debris. But, the temple managed to miraculously emerge unharmed.
In February 2016, President Henry B. Eyring rededicated the Suva Fiji Temple after Cyclone Winston devastated the area the night before, with winds reaching 175 miles per hour. But the morning dawned clear and calm, allowing the rededication to continue. This followed the temple's original dedication in 1987 when a military coup threw the country into political turmoil and nearly kept the temple from being dedicated. But President Gordon B. Hinckley decided to move forward, dedicating the house of the Lord in a private service on June 18, 2000, while rebels still held the Prime Minister and members of Fiji's parliament hostage.
Image from lds.org
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In May 2016, a bold of lightning struck the angel Moroni atop the Bountiful Utah Temple, blowing off part of the statues head and leaving a hole in the back.
Image from KSL
Image from Deseret News
In addition to temples, many LDS stake centers have weathered their fair share of natural disasters.
In May 2016, with the forced evacuation of 88,000 during a wildfire in Alberta, Canada, entire swaths of land and forest were reduced to ash. Heartbreaking footage and pictures of the devastation have recently been released. Among these was a video captured by CTV Edmonton showing the charred remains of buildings.
At the very end of the video, however, the camera pans to one building completely untouched by the fire: the LDS chapel on Beacon Hill Drive in Fort McMurray, literally right across the street from piles of ash and cinders.
It's also important to note that while many LDS temples and buildings have weathered natural disasters and the Church takes special care to prepare for such possibilities, these sacred structures are not immune to the forces of nature. Much like the Houston temple, during the deadly flooding in Louisiana in August 2016, the Denham Springs Louisiana LDS Stake Center didn't manage to escape the rising waters, becoming submerged in the floods.