jaypl.com - JPL

Features > Salt Lake City, Utah (Jan 2009) > SLC & Arches Park

I traveled to the city of the Salt Lake for work in January 2009, saw it's sights including those of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints (that's how it is written on their nametags so obviously there is something very important about that exact name so I shall use it here) and also Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. Below are the photos - have fun!

Sections - Salt Lake City & Mormons | Golden Spike & Park City | Arches National Park

I stayed by the airport and I-80 and the views of the mountains were still quite beautiful despite the electrical lines

Co-Workers at the Salt Lake facility

First stop was the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints Visitors Center (what a mouthful) which is a very well organized operation as usual and holds lovely concerts of their Mormon Tabernacle Choir (I guess the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints Tabernacle Choir name was already trademarked), this was the rehearsal - also open to the public. Although large bags (like camera bags) are not allowed into the Tabernacle building (decorated here with hanging Christmas lights), there is a nice lady waiting to take your bag over at the South Gate. Even though the square as all LDS things are laid out in a VERY logical fashion, it was raining and my friends from work had already gone in so I proceeded to try EVERY OTHER gate than the southern one, but process of elimination eventually paid off and I was back at the concert hall building to enter bag-free.

The choir rehearsing inside

The choir and orchestra rehearsing - they aren't paid for their time

The director welcomed the visiting past members (this member was planning on going to Bob Jones University after)


We sat right next to the sound control panel/etc

Those speakers are a bit frightening...but I suppose in such an old building you can't really put them elsewhere

The Salt Lake template and US Flag - I suppose of most religions that place flags on their altar/etc at least the Mormons have more right to it since it was founded in upstate New York


Ashley and Tola from work also attended the rehearsal with me

Zion's Bank is right nearby, primarily serving the Southwest market, the stock has done better than Citigroup or Bank of America but worse than U.S. Bancorp or Wells Fargo

Door number 9 to the tabernacle

I-80 and other highways make a trip from work to downtown quick, the valley and intermountain position of Salt Lake make winter inversions common, where the colder air sits underneath the warmer air above and all the pollution stick in place below in a massive smog cloud. This was a good day, the bad days you couldn't see ANY mountains around and only when a storm came through of sufficient size would the system be cleared out. The most potent example of inversion is the Great Smog of 1952 in London which killed 4,000 people from 5th to 9th December that year and resulted in the canceling of plays as the audience could not see the stage. This event was a key start to the modern environmental movement.

Right near the airport...

Beautiful Salt Lake City - the streets a very wide and all numbered in an almost mind-numbingly logical way around the Temple Square

This is a electrical pole in a very good condition

The famed Salt Lake City temple, the largest of the Mormon temples and 4th oldest contains the holy of holies of the Mormon Church and during the Utah War between the federal government and Mormon Church, the foundation was buried and made to look like a plowed field to prevent suspcions of the federal troops. The building took 40 years to complete.

This is the famous...office building...of the church - hmmm...maybe this shouldn't be labeled, it makes the church seem a bit corporate

Eagle Gate was erected in 1859 at the entrance to Brigham Young's land and although rennovated since then, now weighs 4,000 pounds

Tola, Avi, and I went to Sawadee and they had some great (and amazingly cheap) food!

The Union Pacific Depot was built in 1908-09 at a cost of $450,000 but due to decrease in rail travel the building now houses a restaurant and music venue

Mountains really are very pretty...

Members of the GE Healthcare/Money GLBT Alliance after watching the Focus Features film, Milk

I bet you didn't know that Snickerdoodle was back - well it is! This is Ben's Cookies which evidently is world famous after being started in Oxford. This is the only US location, others are in UK and 2 in Saudi Arabia (I hope there's enough water to be had after cookies...or better yet milk).

The Gateway is a mall and general upscale development/condo area where Tola lives

This is the conference center across from the Mormon Visitor's Center and there's an impressive waterfall system in it

This time, Tola and I were headed to the Mormon Visitor's Center itself to look around

Jesus has a big statue in a heaven-like painted area with a giant ramp, bright lights, and a voice-over that the tour guides offer to play

It's a bit dramatic, but I guess ya gotta make an impact!

Tola and I also went through a brainwashing...er...display area with a group of other people and two nice tour guides. It showed the life of a family in various rooms with elaborate mock-ups of house scenes/automated lights/fancy voiceovers with the general lesson of how important families are, that people die, and that they found a way you can be with grandma in the afterlife if you are a Mormon. They also handed out pamphlets after and postcards asking us to sign up for a copy of the book of Mormon and suggest the address of someone they should also send the message to. Thankfully we avoided having to fill out the card, I thought it was probably a better use of resources since their pamphlet kinda made it clear my family wasn't really a family to them.

I think that's ok - everyone is due their opinion and the people I met in SLC on the whole Mormon or not were very polite and it's certainly a safer place than most in the US with a thriving economy with wonderful examples of strong families. However, that doesn't mean I appreciate the 45% of out-of-state contributions against gay marriage came from Utah alone (3 times more than any other state). I'd prefer the people of the actual area decide the politics of the place, I'd hope Mormons can at least understand that given their own long fight for a place to belong and against violence/oppression. I'd say the past and ongoing descrimination of Mormons especially amongst other conservative religions is also fairly extensive.

I'm not sure why religious opinion should shape public policy in areas of equal protection under the law. Progress should be made in Utah and elsewhere in the US on things like domestic partnership, consistent hospital visitation rights, and taxation/inheritance rights that would prevent undue hardship on gay taxpayers and to my mind would not bring material harm to non-gay people. Overall, I wish the more than $30 million spent on the campaign by both sides could have been directed towards a more productive or humanitarian use.

On entrance to the visitor's center the first thing you see is....
A. A statue of Joseph Smith
B. A statue of the Angel Moroni
C. A giant Book of Mormon
D. A layout of Jerusalem
If you guessed D you're right, in fact anything related to the Book of Mormon or Mormonism is relegated to the basement on one side. This isn't a bad idea considering the center's main purpose is to introduce people to the church (and potentially convert them). The best way to do this is start with the shared element of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism - Jerusalem. It's very familiar and non-threatening.

I believe this is Mormon's son, Moroni compiling the gold sheets on which the Book of Mormon was supposedly written

There was a neat display showing the various languages that the Book of Mormon had been translated into, here's Sign Language! Although they don't say if it's American Sign Language and such, I'm amazed the whole book could be on one VHS tape, but maybe it's more symbolic of the overall collection in sign language.

And there's one in Haitian!

Don't forget Arabic

Tola poses with the Books of Mormon

IMG_6207br> Here is a pamphlet - I knew the internet held the answer to the meaning of life!

A replica of the plates

What a clever phrasing...there were several neat audio-visual displays and booths where one could listen to various teachings

I'd even settle for a civil marriage

A very generous practice in the Mormon Church is a fast offering for 2 consecutive meals once per month and the money from that is offered to help the needy, usually within Church membership at the local level. In 1985-86 a special fast over two days generated $10.5 Million in donations to help communities in Africa.

We started on our way to the Golden Spike National Historic Site. Tola went down the wrong road (which didn't even exist on the GPS) but it was a very pretty road called Legacy Parkway and at 12 miles it only cost $700 Million - what a legacy!

Tola and her huge shades!

An oil refinery!

I'm not quite sure why these air conditioners are on the roof of these houses, perhaps due to high ground heat retention in the desert terrain, but they're all covered up for winter it seems

What a pretty HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane

Believe me when I say the LDS Church is well prepared for emergencies - This is a grain storage facility owned by the Church and paid for by members who are required and/or urged to keep in their homes and storage 1 year of food at all times.
From the website of Deseret Mills, sure the good old global catastrophe door delivery service...
In the event of an emergency, how would I get my food? - You can either pick up your food at our store for free, or for a small fee we can ship the food to your house. In the event of a global catastrophe, we will deliver your food to your door.

Tola's fancy car had fancy tunes

Pretty mountains



Tola's black sheep and clogs

Happy Sun!



A real cowboy or cowgirl!

Audi cars go fast...

Darn - we forgot to get authorization from M-90B Ext 2385, guess we won't be visiting the MISSILE TEST SITE nearby. Coincidentally, Tola's cell phone stopped working just before we passed by that and started working just after...

As we approached the national historic site we saw this cute little....creature...of some kind

Winter wheat?


Sections - Salt Lake City & Mormons | Golden Spike & Park City | Arches National Park

Return to Features

JPL - jaypl.com Copyright 2009 Jay Langhurst
[email protected]
This homepage and all the images are copyright Jay Langhurst
and may only be used under the author's express permission.
Photographic Portfolio Features About Jay P. Langhurst Links