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Sign critical of LDS destroyed by fire

Homeowner blames a 'small-minded individual' for blaze

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 6:48 a.m. MDT

Signs posted in a yard near 900 East and 800 South in Salt Lake City were set ablaze Thursday. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Signs posted in a yard near 900 East and 800 South in Salt Lake City were set ablaze Thursday. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
Signs critical of the LDS Church posted in front of a Salt Lake home were set on fire early Thursday.
A fire department crew happened to be driving by 800 South and 900 East when they saw a poster board-size sign on fire, said Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan. The fire was put out quickly and damage was limited only to the sign itself.
The sign that was burned read: "LDS — Stay out of other people's lives." A sign next to it that was not damaged read: "Tax Lobbyist Churches."
A third crumpled sign that appeared to suffer some fire or water damage had the letters "LDS" printed in large bold letters with the words: "Love Demands Separation" next to them. On the back of that sign was another message: "8th commandment Thou shalt not steal love from another."
The signs come in the midst of the continuing controversy over Proposition 8 in California that banned same-sex marriage. Since Proposition 8's passage, there have been protests nationwide directed at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of its large support and members' financial contributions in support of it.
Nathan Bergstrom, who lives at the home, said he carried the signs during a protest at the LDS temple last week and decided to post them in his yard.
"The message we are trying to convey is, we have a secular government and in order for it to continue to protect our constitutional rights (religious freedom among them) churches must not take an active role in politics," Bergstrom wrote in an e-mail to the Deseret News. "We bear no ill will against the church or its members, we simply want the church to keep their ideas of morality on the pulpit and not in legislation."
A hammer, presumedly used to put stakes into the ground that the signs were posted on, was nearby in the grass as well as an empty beer bottle. The signs were also next to a flagpole that had an American flag and a flag of a skull.
Bergstrom said the fire was "obviously done by a small-minded individual with no concept of freedom of speech."
The house was surrounded by numerous empty beer bottles and cans Thursday morning and had several stickers on the front door, including one that said, "Got Satan?"
The case remains under investigation, police said.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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