A dynamite-triggered explosion that caused extensive damage to the Kamas Utah Stake Center Jan. 16 didn't damage the resolve of stake leaders or members to carry on a normal schedule of church activities.
Though the explosion occurred just one day before the Sabbath, not a single meeting was missed.The 3 a.m. blast at the stake center, set off by 50 to 70 pounds of dynamite, woke neighbors in this tiny Utah town 50 miles east of Salt Lake City and was quickly labeled as "intentional" by investigators. Warrants were issued Jan. 18 for the arrest of Vickie Singer, widow of polygamist John Singer, and her son-in-law, Addam Swapp. Singer was killed nine years ago during a standoff with police, and officials suspect the bombing was an act of vengeance. Shortly after the bombing, Mrs. Singer, Swapp and their families barricaded themselves in the Singer home, located less than a mile from the stake center, and refused to talk with investigating officers. As of Jan. 21 they were still in a tense standoff with dozens of police surrounding the Singer home.
Stake Pres. Robert Rydalch was in St. George, Utah, when he was notified of the blast early Saturday morning. By mid-afternoon he had returned home and gathered the bishops in his stake for a meeting to make plans for the displaced wards and set minds at ease.
The Oakley and Rhodes Valley wards, which were housed in the damaged stake center, have been transferred to other buildings in the stake. Sunday meetings for the 800 members of the two wards went on as scheduled, with only a few more miles of travel for ward members. Stake offices are being moved to the seminary building next to Kamas' South Summit High School until the stake center is repaired or rebuilt.
"Everybody is running quite smoothly," said Pres. Rydalch. "There is great concern over the situation, but everyone has been so willing to cooperate and help us get the Church and its programs back to normal. No meetings have been missed."
Pres. Rydalch also added that the incident around the Singer home is confined to small area, and that life elsewhere in the rural Utah stake has not been disrupted.
Detailed analysis of the damage will be conducted after investigations have finished to see if portions of the building can be saved, or if the structure will need to be totally rebuilt.
In any event, Pres. Rydalch said members in the two homeless wards will go to their temporary places of worship for at least the next year.