PROVO, Utah (AP) — America is a target-rich country, leaving potential terrorists with many options besides Utah and its abundance of Mormon churches.
Multiple government buildings, large cities, McDonald’s restaurants and tourist attractions are more apt to become targets of international targets, said Gregory Dunn, the managing director of security for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The state Department of Public Safety confirmed little intelligence has been found that makes Temple Square or other LDS Church sites terrorist targets, said spokesman Derek Jensen.
Dunn said church buildings in other countries are as safe as they are in Utah.
“It turns out the church just isn’t really that well known in the places where the risk is greatest,” he said. “The church carries a lot of anonymity in many places of the world.”
The biggest risk to church members is being in the “wrong place at the wrong time” in other places of the world, but this risk should not prevent people from traveling, Dunn said.
Those who travel, especially out of the United States, must assess the risks of every place they go, just like LDS Church security officers scope out international countries and cities before sending church leaders anywhere.
Dunn said church leaders are often called to visit places such as Nigeria, which has 90,000 members, several church buildings, a nearly completed temple and daily acts of violence.
“We do huge amounts of preparation,” he said. “The brethren go to the places they are assigned to go to, but sometimes the members don’t know a high-profile person is coming until they get there.”
The best way to travel in an uncertain world is to be informed and smart, Dunn said.
“Almost always when we have something happen with a missionary in a foreign country it is because they cut a corner or took an alley they didn’t have to take,” he said.