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LOGAN WILL DELETE TEMPLE FROM LOGO

Mayor Russ Fjeldsted issued an executive order Wednesday demanding all city departments immediately alter or remove the part of the city's logo bearing an image of the Logan LDS Temple.

"We have been advised by legal counsel to immediately remove all city decals from vehicles, letterheads, cards, notices, etc., which depict the Logan Temple landmark," Fjeldsted said."We are redesigning the logo and will replace them when the new design is ready," he said.

The mayor said the decision was made to avoid "any legal hassles" with those who object to the temple on the city's symbol.

"We've reanalyzed the legality of it and we don't want to take any chances," he said.

Logan wants to avoid the same type of costly legal battle St. George recently fought with residents who objected to use of the LDS Church's St. George Temple on that city's logo and city subsidization of electricity that allowed the temple to be lighted at night, Fjeldsted said.

Last week, St. George agreed to pay $85,000 in attorneys' fees to the residents who maintained that the practice violates First Amendment guarantees of a separation of church and state.

The agreements followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision in April letting stand a lower court ruling that the city violated the First Amendment when it gave free electricity to light the temple.

Pastor Danny Royer, from the Logan Assembly of God Church, had written a letter to the editor published in the Herald Journal newspaper that urged responsible Mormons and others to write to the city complaining about the logo.

Royer said the logo was not fitting because the temple is off limits to all residents except faithful LDS members. Only members of the church in good standing are allowed inside the building for such religious ceremonies as baptisms and marriages.