The tabernacle was erected toward the end of the 1880s, employing a unique design of red brick and a gabled roof. The building also features wooden pews built by Utah’s early settlers, hand-crafted stained glass windows, winding staircases, and a stunningly beamed nave. The site is listed in National Register of Historic Places, which helps draw tourists to the area.
“With the lack of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, available girls, dancing or any kind of mainstream ‘fun,’ it’s hard to get people to come to Provo,” a city spokesperson told reporters. “Now I don’t know what we’ll do. We’re considering suing HBO for that ‘Big Love’ show. Otherwise, the city’s reserves are going to dry up faster than an Applebee's bar on Sundays.”
Although preliminary investigations uncovered no suspicious activity, authorities now say the fire was set accidentally by a regular member of the church. Ken Clerkschilde, devastated over the incident, told officials that he had followed the voice of God to the church when things took a turn for the worse.
“God came to me in a dream and told me that Moroni, the son of the prophet-warrior Mormon, was rallying the spirits of the Nephite people to shepherd in the final revelation of Christ,” Clerkschilde explained.
“He also said that a bunch of Indians would be there too. So I got up and went to the tabernacle. While I was standing there waiting for a sign, God forced my hand to drop the cigarette that He ordered me to light, even though it’s forbidden to smoke. All of sudden, one of the bushes burst into flames. Well, I know my biblical prophecy, and I understood that God was going to talk to me just like He did to Moses. But then, just as plain as you please, I heard a roar overhead and looked up to see a UFO streaking across the sky. I knew that Jesus had seen aliens too. But then this fierce wind kicked up and fanned the fire right over the church. It went up like a house made of matchsticks.”
Clerkschilde said he pondered the omens for many hours before he realized the message God was trying to impart. He now says he’s converting to Scientology.
“I’m just heartbroken over the destruction of the tabernacle, but I’m not going to question God’s plans. Obviously, He’s plenty ticked off with the LDS over something. Maybe it’s all that money they raised to fight gay marriage in California instead of installing fire alarms at the tabernacle. I can’t rightly say. At least with Scientology, I’ll have similar restrictions about what I can eat, drink, do and think, but I won’t have to go see that court-ordered psychologist now. Religious objections and the like, you know.”