Flashback Friday - Salt Lake City, UT

In keeping with the "Mormon" theme from yesterday, I thought it would be a good time to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. We were enroute from Arizona to Washington, and decided to make a stop in Salt Lake City because we had never been there before. I was surprised at how small the downtown area was, and the majority of it was taken up with Temple Square, the Mormon's headquarters. Our campground was located just down the main street, a couple of miles from the square. We were told of a free concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir being held on the evening of our arrival. So we quickly set up the trailer, ate some dinner then went down to hear the choir.

Normally the choir sings in the Tabernacle. It is the oval-shaped building.

But the Tabernacle was closed due to refurbishing, so the concert was held in the Conference Center, which seats 21,000.

Inside the Conference Center - the auditorium

The stage. Imagine all those seats filled with choir members.

When we visited, the choir was practicing all Disney songs - they were going to record a CD within a few days. I don't know why I don't have a video of them singing, unless we weren't allowed to videotape them. Here is a clip of the organist warming up. I didn't know how to edit it, so just listen to a small portion if you like.

Jim and I returned the following day and took a little tour of Temple Square. The first thing I noticed was the flowers. They were EVERYWHERE.  They were in flowerbeds.

They were hanging from the walls.

They were planted around trees. They were beautiful.

People were very friendly, smiling, saying hello. Nobody tried to convert us at every stop. I truly was surprised.

We first went to the Visitor's Center. Inside is a huge display of Jerusalem A.D. 33

Upstairs are large open rooms, where you can sit and listen to tapes or speeches. This is one of the statues in the room.

In the basement are a couple of rooms that you can watch films. They tell the history of the religion. I think we watched only one of them. Also, on one wall is a picture of all the "Prophets", men who are chosen to lead their people.

Two young women asked us if we would like them to give us a tour of the square and we said, "Sure!"

They took us to Assembly Hall, which was built by the Latter Day Saint pioneers in 1877. Now it is used mostly for a concert hall.

Our young tour guides were from other countries. Both were serving on their 18 month mission for the church. During this time, they cannot communicate with their family by phone, except for special occasions. I couldn't believe this. It was near Mother's Day when we were there, and I said, "You mean you can't call and wish your mother a Happy Mother's Day?" My eyes welled up. (Jim just rolled his eyes and thought, "Oh here she goes!"

One girl replied, "Oh, no, no, we can call our Mother and wish her a Happy Mother's Day!"

"Okay!" I said, a little relieved.

Of course, at this point, I think the girl would have said anything to calm down this loony tunes.

We left Assembly Hall and walked across the street to the Conference Center where we heard the choir sing the previous night.

This building is huge. What is so interesting about this building is the roof. Looking at the picture above, you can see a little bit of greenery sticking up. That is because they have a garden up there. Well, not really a garden, but it looks like an open prairie. Like this.

I am standing on the roof, on grass, looking at the other buildings of the city.

Now I turn my body in the other direction, and this is what I see.

They wanted it to tell a story of how the Mormons came over the mountains and settled in Salt Lake. This is a beautiful water fall system that starts here and runs all over the top of the building.

The water eventually runs down the side of the building here.

Here are some of the views from atop the Conference Center:

Church Office Building
Joseph Smith Memorial Bldg
We were not allowed in the Temple. (Only Mormons.) The Temple took 40 years to build, and was completed in 1893. Granite was hauled in by wagons pulled by oxen from a canyon 20 miles away. It took four days to travel back to the temple site.

And finally, here is the Family History Library. It has the world's largest collection of genealogical information. In 1894 the Church founded the Genealogical Society of Utah to gather records that help people trace their ancestry. As new methods of preserving records are discovered, the library is able to store more and more information. Today the library has records of more than 2 billion names in data bases; 2.4 million rolls of microfilm; and 278,000 books. With the help of more than 4000 family history centers (branches) in 88 countries, the Family History Library is constantly expanding its prized collection of  records. courtesy of http://lds.org/placestovisit

All in all, it was a very interesting visit, and if you are ever in the area I would encourage you to visit Temple Square, too.
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