ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 08 Dec 2001   For week ended December 07, 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Sent on Mormon-News: 03Dec01

By Kent Larsen

In View of Temple, Graffiti Again Seeks Dorothy's Surrender

WASHINGTON, DC -- If you visit the Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often, you've probably seen it. On a railroad bridge, as you approach the Temple from the East on the Capital Beltway, is scrawled in graffiti words that say so much about how the Temple is misunderstood. "Surrender Dorothy" they read.

Or at least they did, and probably will again. For more than 20 years, if this reporter remembers correctly, the words have adorned that bridge, just as a driver gets his first glimpse of the Temple rising up out of the ground as you top a hill. Oz is appearing before your eyes.

"I hear people talk about our temple as though we were Disneyland or something like that," said temple administrator John Laing, who laughs at the graffiti. Laing says he, and many other Church members, frequently hears fairy-tale comments when he tells acquaintances that he mentions the Temple. But, he adds, most LDS Church members in the area laugh too, "We find it kind of amusing that people don't know any more about us than that." But he doesn't want to encourage the graffiti, but only because it defaces property, not because of the Temple.

The words aren't always there. Periodically the Maryland State Highway Administration removes the message, and they were there again at 10 a.m. last Friday, removing the latest iteration, "We've fought an uphill battle for years with people putting graffiti on that bridge," said state highway spokesman David Buck. The maintenance crew last week had to shut down two lanes of traffic for about an hour while workers scrubbed the yellow spray paint from the bridge. And its sometimes the same workers that remove the graffiti each time, Ronald Shifflett says he remembers clearing the words five years ago, and again two years ago

Buck admits that the Highway Administration doesn't remove everything put on bridges and along roadways. Since September 11th, signs, flags and other messages have proliferated along the highways, and the agency has had to determine which ones must go, "It's a case-by-case thing," Buck said. "I think anything that poses a distraction we want to take down."

Apparently they consider "Surrender Dorothy" a distraction, because they keep cleaning it off the bridge. But even so, they don't clean it off as often as they would like, "We don't want to just close the Beltway over and over again," Buck said. "We hope people won't continue to do this."

Both the Temple and the graffiti are in prime spots. The Beltway loops around the building in a nearly 180-degree circle. And coming from the East, the building seems to rise out of the ground, right before you see the bridge. The Highway Administration says that some 260,000 cars pass the Temple, and the graffiti, each day.

For the Temple, at least, its good advertising. Laing says that people often stop by the Temple because they have seen the building from the Beltway. And, he adds, the Temple is equiped to deal with that, "When they don't know you, people seem to think you resemble Oz." he said. "That's why we have a visitor's center."


Bridge pranksters return; Vandals' wicked wit tarnishes Oz
Montgomery co MD Journal pgA1 2Dec01 D1
By Sara Michael: Journal staff writer
Pranksters spray-paint railroad bridge near Mormon Temple


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information