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Lao-Americans celebrate the largest Buddhist temple newly constructed in Utah

Posted at 4:21 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 23:53:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Lao-Americans from across the country celebrated at the Capitol today to recognize and bless the newly constructed temple.

The Wat Lao Buddharam Buddhist temple, constructed in West Valley City, will be blessed by the Lao-American Buddhist Monks Council in this year’s 2022 Annual General Conference.

It is currently the largest buddhist temple in the entire state.

State legislators attended the event, including Senator Luz Escamilla who spoke at the event to commemorate the milestone for the interfaith community in her district.

“I represent the most diverse senate district in the state and I’ve been from the ground breaking ceremony for this specific temple,” said Sen. Escamilla. “I’ve seen their growth and this is kind of like a cycle in that process.”

“That was the exciting part to welcome so many from other parts of the country,” she said.

The Lao-American Buddhist Monks Council consists of monks from across the country with Utah being selected for this year’s conference.

According to Escamilla, the conference lasts for four days with yesterday spent entirely speaking with the LDS church.

“Interfaith conversation can happen in a respectful way,” she said. “We’re a very religious state, family oriented. Those are the very same values that our Lao-Buddhist brothers and sisters share.”

The meetings will continue into tomorrow, with celebrations at the temple following into Saturday and Sunday.

“For many individuals, our country is where they get to worship and practice their religion more freely than in their country of origin,” Sen. Escamilla added. “The welcoming of their faith means a lot to them.”

“We just get reminded how blessed we are in this country to be able to do that,” she said.