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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended January 19, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 16Jan01

By Kent Larsen

Temple Arguments Boil Down to Religious Necessity of Steeple

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- Lawyers for the LDS Church and for neighbors of the Boston Temple argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Court Friday over the Temple's steeple, with the Church claiming that a steeple is a religious necessity while the neighbors argue that the Church is trying to use the state's Dover Amendment to get around zoning laws. It is not known when the court will issue a ruling in the case.

In its arguments, Church lawyer Paul Killeen claimed that a steeple is more than just a design element of the Temple. "The aesthetics of the steeple ... serve a religious purpose. They believe the design is by revelation." said Killeen. "The design is intended to send a message to the world."

The neighbor's lawyer, Arthur Kreiger, claimed that the religious importance of the steeple isn't crucial, "Don't give us this standard stuff from Salt Lake City, and then say we're a religion and this is magic," Kreiger argued. But at least one Justice questioned his line of thought. "Wouldn't it be unreasonable to say to a church that you can't put on top of it the one architectural feature that will identify this to everyone as a church?" asked Justice Martha Sosman.

Kreiger went on to argue that if the court decides that the Temple's steeple is permissible while others have built their steeples within the law, it would violate the constitutional separation between church and state. "If that doesn't get this court into assessing doctrine and comparing religions, I don't know what does. They [the LDS Church and the town of Belmont] don't just open the door, they barreled through it."


Mormon temple debate heads to state's highest court
Boston Globe (AP) 12Jan01 N1
By Steve Leblanc: Associated Press

See also:

Mormon News' Coverage of the Boston Temple Challenges

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