Art piece depicting alien as Mormon missionary draws complaint in SLC

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SALT LAKE CITY -- It's a high flying piece of art in Downtown Salt Lake City, and it's getting some attention--not all of it positive.

The art piece has been in place for several months, and the piece titled "Zion / Rocky Mountain Alliance" is getting some mixed reviews.

The white dress shirt, tie, and customary name tag are the giveaways that the main characters in this "Flying Objects" themed art piece are Mormon missionaries. The twist is that one of them looks like a blue alien, and both missionaries are inside a UFO. That has Nathan Zaugg offended.

"I kinda feel like it's derogatory towards both the LDS religion and more specifically Mormon missionaries," Zaugg said.

Zaugg explained that the art was funded by taxpayer dollars and sits on public property. He believes the art targets a protected class of people, and questions the message it sends to the tourists who may see it.

"We have enough problems with maybe strange liquor laws and other reputations that the state has. To add this kind of thing is just not appropriate," Zaugg said.

But, not everyone agrees with Zaugg. Joy Dantine is a Salt Lake City resident who told FOX 13 News she likes the piece.

"I had to smile the first time I saw it," she said.

Dantine says the piece does send a message, but not an offensive one.

"We have more things to worry about than that. I am LDS and I am not offended by it," Dantine said.

The art piece is part of a dozen other sculptures picked as part of this year's "Flying Objects" series. Karen Krieger, Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Arts Council, said she's happy that public art in the city is creating a conversation.

"It's colorful, it provides interest to the street, and it gets people talking, and, yeah, that's a lot of the great stuff that art does," Krieger told FOX 13 News.

All of the sculptures were picked and approved by a citizen review board, along with members from Visit Salt Lake, the Redevelopment Agency, Salt Lake City Corporation and others.

Zaugg told FOX 13 News he is working with an attorney to file an injunction to have the art piece taken down.

62 comments

  • Wilson

    I thought it was just a light-hearted take on how far Mormons would like the gospel to be shared. I assume it’s a given that if there were an alien species to proselytize to then Mormons would do so – and those alien members would also serve missions. That just makes it a harmless bit of futuristic sci-fi.

  • Rory Siwik

    Pissy Mormon complains about a humorous , and TEMPORARY contraption. That’s the same type that gossip about You when You try to go to church…PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. The LDS people that take this with a grain of salt and suffer through, or laugh off the temporary run.. props to You.

  • Ross

    I am LDS and not the least bit offended. I think it is clever and humerous. Lets not take offense when no offense was intended.

  • Stan Jennings

    What did I think when I saw Zion / Rocky Mountain Alliance on television? My first thought, it shows how wonderfully all-encompassing the Mormon religion and be — I am NOT Mormon. My second thought, it is wonderfully funny.

    No one should be offended.

  • Mistie F

    I love it! Made me giggle. I am also so tired of having to be so “politically” correct that we can’t even poke fun at ourselves or others anymore for fear of offending some one. It is obvious to me that this sculpture was done tongue is cheek and in the spirit of humor and fun. Even if it was scheduled to come down next week I think Salt Lake City should leave it up indefinitely, just to make a point. If it comes down now many will think it was because of the complaint of one. If he is so offended by it he doesn’t have to look at it and he doesn’t have to drive by it. I’d love to have it in my front yard. For the record, I’m LDS too.

  • Paui in Carson City, NV

    The LDS church preaches inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance.
    Let’s “walk the talk” folks!
    I am LDS and happy to allow all forms of free expression – I just don’t have to agree with them.

  • rogerdpack

    That thing is hilarious, we just gotta learn to be able to laugh at ourselves every so often LOL.
    Plus, this just goes to show that our missionary work to proselitize alien race forms was wildly successful 😉

  • matt1138

    Mr. Zaugg. Wouldn’t it be safe to say that when life is discovered elsewhere in the universe. The Mormons will be sending missionaries?

  • Trish Ramirez

    Ah, Fox13. Running low o REAL news? Let’s talk about the mormons – that’ll bring the readers out in droves. First, those offended by this artistic expression are of the same ilk that disgustingly and posthumously baptized Anne Frank in a religious slap in the face heard ’round the world. They are the same ones who believe magic cotton undies embroidered with masonic symbolism (aka tokens) will protect them from harm. They pray to an alien sky daddy but are offended by the idea of an alien missionary. They are irrational and therefore their illogical stances should be disregarded – but not ignored. It is of imperative importance that their collective insanity and utter herd irrationality be kept in the spotlight and headlines at all times – this will ensure that if a Romney again attempts to infiltrate the White House people will vote liberal in droves to protect Americans from being forcibly baptized while they are still alive to protest. Apparently the mormon church has no qualms with erroneously adding the unwilling to its ranks once they’ve shed their mortal coils – perhaps the next Clinton to take office in 2016 can do something to protect our souls once we’ve passed on…

    • Paul in Carson City, NV

      Trish,
      Unless you believe in the efficacy of baptism for the dead, thus recognizing the priesthood authority by which such baptisms are conducted, then what possible effect could such things have on you, or any of the others who object to them? If Eric Holder should decide to deputize all my ancestors a s US marshals, and I don’t recognize his authority to do so, why should I even care?
      So, if you really believe that baptisms for the dead have an effect, thank you for recognizing LDS priesthood authority.

      • curtispenfold

        It’s pretty disrespectful to posthumously baptize a victim of the Holocaust as Mormon/Christian who died for her religion, especially when you realize that for many Jews, respecting the memory of those who passed on is pretty important.

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