Latter-day Saint Life

In 1989, an Attack Was Planned on a Latter-day Saint Temple—Then a Miracle Happened


In December 1989, combat associated with a military coup in the Philippines came dangerously close to destroying the Manila Philippines Temple. As the coup erupted, heavy fighting took place at Camp Aguinaldo, a military base neighboring the temple grounds. The small Filipino staff still inside the temple complex at the time could hear confusion closing in as rebel troops attacked the government loyalists at Camp Aguinaldo, dropping bombs and firing rockets. On the second day of fighting, rebel soldiers breached the temple gates and occupied the grounds. Members throughout the Philippines prayed that the temple might somehow be spared.

By late the next evening, government troops had the upper hand in the battle, but the temple annex and grounds—the last remaining rebel stronghold in Manila—were still in enemy hands. A government commander gave the rebels one hour to surrender and announced plans to attack with heavy artillery at 11:00 p.m. if his ultimatum was not met. The grim circumstance was reported to Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, thirty minutes before the 11:00 p.m. deadline. It was then 7:30 a.m. Sunday in Salt Lake City. Elder Oaks described the events that immediately transpired:

“By a remarkable coincidence—one of those happenings that cannot be coincidental—the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had scheduled an unusual meeting that Sunday morning. At 8:00 a.m., 3 December, just 30 minutes after I received that alarming report from Manila, the assembled First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve bowed in prayer and pleaded with the Lord to intervene to protect His house. Elder Marvin J. Ashton led our prayer. As we prayed, it was 11:00 p.m. Sunday evening in Manila, the exact hour appointed for the assault. “The attack never came. Twenty minutes after our prayer [Area] President [George I.] Cannon phoned Church headquarters to report that the military commander had unexpectedly decided against a night assault. Early the next morning [I received word] that the rebels had melted away during the night. I recorded in my journal, ’I consider this a miracle of divine intervention no less impressive than many recorded in holy writ.’”1

Lead image from


^ Dallin H. Oaks, “Miracles,” Ensign, June 2001, 16.

Excerpted from Holy Places: True Stories of Faith and Miracles from Latter-day Temples by Chad Hawkins. Now available as an eBook on Read more temple miracles in Temples of the New Millennium by Chad Hawkins.

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content