Monday, November 25, 2013

Las Vegas Temple Suicide

Scott Bybee was the young man who committed suicide. His father Jay Bybee is a federal judge. Apparently he was plagued by depression for years and decided that he wanted to die in the temple. 

I don't know if you' remember, but as you enter the lobby to the right of the recommend desk there is an atrium/courtyard. A lot of times the youth will spend time in this beautiful place while they wait to go down to do baptisms. The young man (who was wearing a gray suit) entered the lobby and went to the desk, requesting a set of scriptures. He then went into the atrium and sat down.  He took out a teddy bear and a glass figurine and set them beside himself. 

The Peccole Ranch ward youth were there waiting to do baptisms. Most of them had gone down to the baptismal font, but three girls stayed behind as they finished braiding each other's hair. They were wary of the young man, sitting ten feet away from them. They said he kept looking over at them, then looking down at his lap. The girls were distracted when they heard the gunshot. None of them witnessed the shooting. 

Thinking it was a tree breaking in the atrium, they looked up and then around. The young man had fallen backwards into the bushes behind him. Hearing the bang,an adult came into the atrium and looked at the young man. Initially he assumed Scott  had some sort of attack and had bitten his tongue because there was so little blood (he put the gun in his mouth), but then he noticed the handgun beside him. The police were already at the temple because he had called his parents to let them know that he was at the temple and he was going to kill himself so they were at the body within one minute. 

A few miracles I've observed:

1) Those present, including the police couldn't believe how clean the scene was. The blood was extraordinarily contained and none of the temple workers, nor the young women saw any of the gruesome aftermath 
2) The young women who were ten feet away when it happened didn't witness the shooting, and have remained extremely calm. The cousin of my friend initially felt like she should have approached the young man but was constrained by the spirit, and the adults in her life explained that due to his state of mind it was better that she didn't approach him. 
3) We are all given agency, and that night Scott Bybee made the choice to take his life, but Heavenly Father protected those who didn't make that choice, who were in the temple with him. All involved have reported to have felt peace in a tragic situation. 

This has been an extremely difficult week to think about. The Las Vegas temple is my most beloved temple. I've served in it nearly every month for over seven years. It is where I have come to learn so much about my Savior and I've had countless spiritual experiences that I could never forget. After the shooting I spent the next day listening to my "I Feel My Savior's Love" playlist trying to feel peace amid confusion. I was especially touched by the song I Feel My Savior's Love, particularly this part 

"I feel my Savior's love; Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray, My heart is filled with peace." 

Learning about the protection within the temple in the during and aftermath of the shooting, I feel like I am learning even more about the protection and peace of the temple. I am grateful for the miracles that happened that night, and I look forward to returning to the temple in a couple weeks with the Relief Society. I look even more forward to going to the Brigham city temple a week or so after that and being there with Megan as she receives her endowment. There is power in the temple. And that power is priesthood power, and the Love of our Heavenly Father and His Son. 


Sheena said...

Wow I hadn't heard more to this story...that is such a miracle and blessing to those people who were there that they didn't witness anything more. Hope his family has some peace during such a difficult time.

z&jarnold said...

I hadn't heard anything about this suicide, that is unfortunate that the poor boy chose to end his life. The details about it are pretty interesting to read about though, Heavenly Father really is mindful of all those involved and its good to hear that those close by were able to feel peace after such a traumatic experience.

Georgia said...


I've been slow (and bad) about checking Blogger recently, but I'm so grateful I found your post this morning. Thank you for sharing the details and miracles involving this story. I heard about the suicide on the news, but none of the details you shared. I'm glad to know how this came together and read of your testimony concerning the outcome.

It was so wonderful seeing you, Adam, and your girls at Megan's wedding and other events. What a fabulous time for the Marsden family. I'm so grateful for your friendship and I truly love your family!! Have a marvelous year in 2014.