Mormon temple flooded in Houston suburb; LDS missionaries to help in Harvey cleanup efforts

Tropical Storm Harvey sent up to half-a-foot of water into the Houston Temple over the weekend, forcing closure of the structure. (Photo courtesy of LDS Church)

Mormon missionaries in Tropical Storm-ravaged Houston will assist relief and cleanup efforts as floodwaters subside, the LDS Church says.

Eric Hawkins, spokesman at the faith’s Salt Lake City headquarters,confirmed that all the area’s missionaries are safe, though many of themhave been relocated due to the torrential rains that have hit Texasover the past several days.

Once conditions permit, missionaries plan to join in communities’ cleanup and recovery work, Hawkins said in a news release.

On Monday night, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that floodwaters had breached the Houston Texas Temple after a nearby creek rose by more than 20 feet.

“It appears water to the depth of 4 or 5 inches has gone inside the temple,” temple President Marshall Hayes said in the release. “That includes a baptistry, a marriage waiting room, dressing rooms, kitchen and laundry. We haven’t been able to go inside, so we really don’t know the extent of the damage.”

Hayes said it’s dangerous to even try to approach the temple, due to the strong current.

The temple, located in the community of Klein, has been closed since Saturday morning as the wind and rain approached the Houston area. It was dedicated in 2000.

In addition, several Houston-area Mormon chapels were flooded and were forced to cancel Sunday services.

Hawkins says some LDS meetinghouses may be used as shelters or to stage relief and cleanup supplies, as determined by local leaders.

The Utah-based faith was quick to act as the severity of the cycle of Harvey’s storms became evident. The church began Friday sending truckloads of water, hygiene and cleanup kits to the Houston region’s LDS Bishop’s storehouse complex, working with other relief organizations aiding those in peril.

And of course, Mormons worldwide are “praying for the people of Texas,” Hawkins stated. “[We] invite others to join us in those prayers.”

Anyone wishing to specifically assist the faith’s Humanitarian Fund in relief efforts can make a donation at this website: http://bit.ly/2wf04U6

The LDS Church had joined with other relief organizations in shipping tons of supplies to flood-ravaged Houston. [Photo courtesy of LDS Church)

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