LOS ANGELES – Letters containing a suspicious white powder were sent to Mormon temples in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City that were the sites of protests against the church's support of California's gay marriage ban.
The temple in the Westwood area of Los Angeles was evacuated Thursday before a hazardous materials crew determined the envelope's contents were not toxic, said FBI spokesman Jason Pack.
The temple in downtown Salt Lake City, where the church is based, received a similar envelope containing a white powder that spilled onto a clerk's hand.
The room was decontaminated and the envelope taken by the FBI for testing. The clerk showed no signs of illness, but the scare shut down a building at Temple Square for more than an hour, said Scott Freitag, a spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department.
None of the writing on the envelope was threatening, and the church received no calls or messages related to the package, Freitag said.
Protests in recent days have targeted the Mormon church, which encouraged its members to fight the recently passed amendment banning gay marriage in California.
Authorities are looking into several theories on who sent the letters and why, Pack said.
Anthrax mailed as a white powder to Washington lawmakers and media outlets killed five people and sickened 17 just weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Periodic hoaxes modeled on the anthrax mailings have popped up since then but usually prove harmless.