The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

The July 25 late-night fire at the under-construction Orem Utah Temple is being investigated as arson, with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives now offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

In an AFT news release issued Tuesday, Sept. 6, the bureau announced a reward of up to $5,000.

The day after the fire, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked for the bureau’s assistance in the investigation.

“In recent years there has been an unfortunate worldwide increase of violence, vandalism and desecration of religious sites and buildings, including shootings, arson, graffiti, damage to facilities, and more,” said Church spokesman Doug Andersen in a Sept. 6 statement. “This has also affected chapels and temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such sites are places of gathering and sacred worship and should be places of peace and safety.

“We are grateful for the efforts of local and federal law enforcement officials to investigate such instances and prosecute those who engage in those actions.”

Shortly after 11 p.m. July 25, neighbors and motorists driving on nearby I-15 called 911 to report seeing flames inside and smoke coming from the top floor of the temple, being constructed at 1471 S. Geneva Road.

Arriving firefighters found only light smoke and minimal fire activity in a third-floor utility room. “Foam was used to extinguish the fire as much as possible, which limited water damage to the construction site,” said Andersen at the time.

However, the incident caused “significant smoke damage throughout the entire temple,” according to the ATF, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.