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Photo: LDS Temple Surrounded by Wildfire (+ Other Amazing Photos of Temples and Natural Disasters)

by | Jun. 26, 2017

Mormon Life

The Eastern Arizona Courier recently 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 has grown to over 29,000 acres as of Friday, contributing to the numerous wildfires in Arizona that have caused the governor to declare a state of emergency.

But this isn't the first time LDS Temples have been tested by natural disasters and survived.

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.

Suva Fiji Temple in a Cyclone

Image from lds.org

Deadly flooding in Houston, Texas, in April 2016 surrounded the Houston Texas Temple, leaving water lapping at the temple grounds but leaving the structure untouched. 

You'll also like: 5 Miraculous Stories of Temples Surviving Natural Disasters

Just a month later, 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.

LDS Temples in the Midst of Natural Disasters

Image from KSL

Temple Struck by Lightning and other Natural Disasters

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. 

But 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. 

Photos of the streets around the Baton Rouge LDS Temple show some flooding, but according to church member Wayne Mangum the Baton Rouge LDS Temple, which was built on high ground, was still safe as of Sunday. No official statements have been made about the status of the temple.

Lead image from Eastern Arizona Courier  by Diane Drobka
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