Jul 22, 2022 - News

"Jesus Saves" signs pop up illegally around Des Moines

"Jesus Saves" sign along 10th and Cherry streets.

"Jesus Saves" sign on a utility pole at the intersection of 10th and Cherry streets. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Recently, I was looking up in the sky downtown and there I saw it on a pole — a poster board-sized sign that said, "Jesus Saves."

  • I didn't think much of it, except that someone must have a really tall ladder.
  • But then I saw the same sign on East University and got curious: Who the heck is climbing utility poles to put these up?

State of play: A peek at the back of the sign brought me to jesussavessigns.com, which brought me to [email protected], which brought me to Brent Farley of Charlotte, N.C.

Details: Farley, who I spoke with on the phone, didn't give many personal details, except that he was an atheist 13 years ago, found God and then decided to produce signs saying, "Jesus Saves" as a way of spreading his new-found faith.

  • He said some of the tactics have included handing them out to street preachers, showing up to political rallies, and going to spider-monkey heights on utility poles.

Zoom in: So, I asked about the Des Moines ones and who put them up (fyi — there are way more than the ones I found.)

Farley let me know that he was in the city a month ago, but, "I don't know which ones you're talking about."

  • After further pressing, he simply said, "I put signs up wherever I go."

Between the lines: Google searches showed the signs were very prominent in Charlotte — prompting news headlines like, "Is this man trying to share Jesus’s love with protesters? Or is he just being a nuisance?"

  • Farley said his goal is to remind people that "the Lord saves." Some Charlotte residents have other thoughts.

The bottom line: Des Moines officials said signs are not allowed on right-of-ways and they are deploying staff to get them down.


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