Salt Lake City Temple

Salt Lake City Temple

Our stay in the centrally located Salt Lake City KOA provided us an opportunity to take a free shuttle to Temple Square. This magnificent three square block contains important buildings related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose sacred Book of Mormon leads the less informed to call believers “Mormons.” The Salt Lake Temple, open only to members, is the central religious structure. A couple of wedding parties gathered in front for pictures. In the South Visitors’ Center we learned about the 40 year building of the Temple. The immaculate Temple Square grounds are enhanced by more than 250 flower beds with thousands of colorful flowers. We toured the Conference Center and its auditorium that holds 21,000 people during the twice a year general conferences. The acoustics are impressive. We were told that interpreters in 94 languages are available for these meetings of delegates from around the world. An impressive sky light was being cleaned during our visit. The four-acre Garden atop the Conference Center provides dramatic views of the Temple Square. The best views are from the 26th floor of the Office Building. The North Visitors’ Center features a replica of the Christus statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen. We toured the Beehive House where we learned more about Brigham Young, the second president of the church who led the pioneers here and the first territorial governor. We were told that he had 56 wives. The beehive is a symbol of industriousness. In the Church History Museum, the “Heavens Are Opened” exhibit told the history of the church from its beginnings in 1820. Other exhibits include memorabilia from the Presidents of the church, an international art display, and a ten foot Angel Moroni that once stood atop a temple in Washington, D.C. The audiovisual presentation of Joseph Smith’s “First Vision” was quite dramatic using a three-quarters surround screen. We stopped by the Family History Library and received help in using their genealogical computer searching software. By visiting on a Thursday we were able to listen to a portion of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal in the Tabernacle. The organ, one of the largest in the world, is said to have some 11, 623 pipes.

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol

The Utah State Capitol sits on a hill about six blocks north of Temple Square. Utah became a state in 1896. Richard Karl Kletting was selected as the architect for the capitol. Construction began in 1912 and was completed in 1916. From 2004-2008, the massive structure was remodeled against earthquake damage by a seismically retrofit onto new footings called “base isolators.” The interior ceiling mural depicts seagulls flying among clouds. The story is told that in 1848 the miraculous arrival of California gulls devoured insects that were destroying the fist crops planted by pioneers. We visited the lavish state reception room nicknamed the “Gold Room,” the Governor’s Suite, the House Chamber, the Senate Chamber, and the Supreme Court Chamber.

We walked through the City Creek Center, an interesting combination of retail, office and residences with a retractable glass roof and open-air design. The City Creek meanders through the complex and spouting water fountains add to the ambience. We lunched on a Nepali and Indian buffet at the Himalayan Kitchen. My birthday dinner was at the Martine Café. Excellent food attractively presented by helpful food staff made for a memorable celebration.

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