Members of a Mormon missionary group might face sanctions from their church for not only planting a flagpole atop a federally-protected mountaintop and securing it with concrete, but also attaching a U.S. flag and a shirt identifying themselves.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that hikers at Mount Olympus discovered the flag and the shirt, bearing the message, “Go Baptize! Only Utah Salt Lake City EAST Mission,” along with the last names of eight of the group’s elders.
The hikers reportedly took the flag and shirt down. The flagpole and the cement used as its base are expected to be taken down soon.
The mountain is located in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, placing it under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, meaning the group’s actions probably constitute a violation of federal law. The agency encourages visitors to wilderness areas like the top of Mount Olympus to leave nothing and take nothing from the area.
“In wilderness it wouldn’t be allowed at all,” a USFS spokesperson told the Tribune.
Jessica Moody, a spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Salt Lake City East group’s parent organization, confirmed that it was behind the flagpole and the other items.
“The mission is looking into this and will address it appropriately,” Moody was quoted as saying.
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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