It's the day of great exploration for the state of Utah in our eyes. The best place to start is at the State Capitol building. We have used these places of stature to help us develop an understanding of the cities we visit. Utah's capitol building is probably one of the best we have seen. It's stark white stone complete with marble steps and cast iron staircases echo the beauty of simplicity. A recent renovation has done it's job well to complement the people it belongs too. This place sparkles with prestige and class.
While originally built in 1904, this colossus of style retains its vintage charm. It's halls echo the voices of senators and just our mere footsteps reverberate through the corridor. You can go ahead and color me impressed. This place is beautiful.
However there are more impressive things to see in downtown Salt Lake City. In the heart of downtown is Temple Square. Here lies a few of the highest temples of the Mormon religion. Within a block is also the Mormon history museum and the Mormon library.
Mormon temple. Only invited mormons can get in.
In full disclosure Katie and I are not of the Mormon faith. Just because we don't practice the religion does not mean that we are unwilling to learn about the culture and heritage of it's people. To get a better understanding of this we head over to the history museum to see inside the process behind the mentality of it's followers.
This is where things are going to get a little dicey. Now I have a mormon friend and I do not intend to offend him. I'll extrapolate on that and say that I have no intention to offend the mormon faith or any of it's followers. That being said, this place felt a little scripted. It's as if all the volunteers within the museum standing next to the artifacts were there to "educate" us on what happened and why this religion is right over any other in the world. Our entire experience there was pleasant. People were absolutely friendly without being pushy, and a warm smile greeted us at every turn. Regardless of the kindness the museum felt much more like a very well executed marketing campaign than it did a history of it's people. The views of the faith are outside of my realm and it can be a little much to accept.
Follows the basics of Christianity
Families are eternal and stay together forever
A person can obtain godhood by doing work for God
God is a man, flesh and blood
The more you do for the church the higher your status on earth and in heaven.
I think what's even more difficult for me to buy into is the story. The history of the religion starts around 1830 and that is not very long ago.
Joe Smith was fed up with modern Christianity and turned his prayers to god
God answered with an angel who told him where to find buried gold plates in the dirt
Angel taught him to decipher the encrypted plates
Gold plates returned to god after the transcription
Joe Smith is the last saint (latter day saints), and taught his new findings to the people
We had enough of the temple square an decided to trudge onward through the city. Our next stop was Fort Douglas military museum
A room of extra propaganda from WW2
The museum was small and didn't take long for us to stroll through. Outside were a handful of armaments and memorials. A quick twenty minutes went by and w decided to hit the road once more. We were determined to see the true grit of the city and Katie popped open google for a quick search of the worst neighborhoods. As it turned out we were currently in one of them and had already walked down the streets of two others. There were no bars on the windows, no abandoned cars, and no graffiti to even speak of.
Our experience has been an odd one for a metropolitan population. Everywhere you look the people are white. There has only been a couple of hispanics and a handful of asians. Forget about the black folk. Finding them here is like seeing a WW2 vet at a Ricky Martin concert; it's a rare sight. Don't read this as a racist profile. The whole city seems to be missing something. This place doesn't have any flavor. Most big cities exude a vibe of culture and heritage. Typically when we roll down the back alley's of a place like Seattle or Chicago you can feel for what the people here are really like. Street performers, groups of people standing in the park, vibrant signs dotting the business fronts usually makes a place stand out in your mind. Not in Salt Lake City. Here there is no attitude. No Grit. No taco trucks, no chicken stands, no bikers, no bail bond stores, nobody trying to hustle you for cash as you walk the streets. It's a place that only serves vanilla ice cream. What a shame.