A new plaza, built on a section of Main Street by the Mormon Church, is seen from the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building during the 170th Semi-Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in this Oct. 7, 2000
SALT LAKE CITY - Just outside the wrought-iron gates of the historic temple here, a Baptist preacher from Southern California politely hands out leaflets urging passersby to give up the Mormon faith.
"Don't count your temple tradition greater than Jesus - repent your sins," reads the text.
It's not easy work. Kurt Van Gorden's attempts to convert members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to his kind of Christianity in the shadow of its holiest site is met with stony silence and glares. He is often photographed by church security guards. His efforts last spring in Main Street Plaza, owned by the church but with public walkways running through it, landed him in jail for an afternoon, although no charges were filed.
"I'm sure I'm a pain to the Mormon Church," admits the Victorville resident, who says he makes the 1,200-mile round trip to Salt Lake City about once a month to...