Someone painted “racist” on Brigham Young statue at BYU

Jun 19, 2020, 3:44 PM | Updated: 4:15 pm
BYU statue vandalized...
BYU campus police report a statue of Brigham Young was vandalized on the campus early Monday morning. Photo credit: BYU Police

SALT LAKE CITY — Sometime in the early morning hours on Monday, BYU police say that somebody vandalized a statue of Brigham Young by painting the word “racist” at the base of the statue. It is located behind the Abraham Smoot administration building and faces the campus.

BYU police say they believe two people, if not more, were involved in the vandalism sometime between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Monday, June 15.

Brigham Young Police Lt. Rich Christianson says besides the word “racist”, red paint had also been tossed onto the statue and that a red “X” was scrawled over the words “Abraham Smoot.”

Christianson says the vandalism was captured by surveillance video. He said that two people are seen in the video, although not clearly enough to identify them.

The paint has already been removed.

Police ask anybody with information to contact them by calling 801.422.2222.

History of race and the Church

According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1852, church president Brigham Young announced that black men of African descent could “no longer be ordained to the priesthood.”

After Young’s death, leaders of the Church continued to restrict black people from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Despite these restrictions, the Church reports that black men and women continued to join the Church through baptism.

“Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions,” according to the
“None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.”

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Someone painted “racist” on Brigham Young statue at BYU