Latter-day Saint Life

See photos and read Church statement following rash of vandalism at several chapels and Orem Temple

The last three months have seen several incidents of vandalism of buildings owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah.

  • In July, three suspects were arrested for vandalizing multiple chapels in Washington County. Over the course of a few days, 14 buildings had windows broken, according to Fox 13 News.
  • In August, six church buildings in Sandy and Draper, along with one in Orem, were vandalized. Graffiti was spray-painted on the buildings in Salt Lake County, and the Orem building was broken into and ransacked. These incidents appear to be a response to an AP News article reporting on Church-related child abuse case in Arizona. The words “Predators welcome” and similar messages were scrawled on the buildings, Deseret News reported.
A vandalized chapel belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Orem in August 2022.
Priscilla Beckstead
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A church building in Sandy, Utah, vandalized in August 2022.
Fox 13 News screenshot

  • And earlier this week, the July 25 fire at the Orem Utah Temple, now under construction, was declared as arson following a federal investigation.
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The ATF released this image of the fire inside the Orem Utah Temple on July 25, 2022. Investigators have ruled the fire was a case of arson and offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
ATF via Deseret News
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released this image of the July 25, 2022, fire in a utility room on the third floor of the Orem Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Investigators have determined the fire was caused by arson and ATF has offered a $5,000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
ATF, via Deseret News
Interior of Orem Temple.
ATF, via Salt Lake Tribune

According to Deseret News, incidents of church vandalism rose between 2020 and 2021. In response to recent incidents of vandalism, Church spokesman Doug Andersen told Deseret News:

“In recent years there has been an unfortunate worldwide increase of violence, vandalism and desecration of religious sites and buildings, including shootings, arson, graffiti, damage to facilities, and more. This has also affected chapels and temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such sites are places of gathering and sacred worship, and should be places of peace and safety. We are grateful for the efforts of local and federal law enforcement officials to investigate such instances and prosecute those who engage in those actions.”

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