Sunday, September 9, 2007


Last summer, our family enjoyed a Mormon Film Festival in our backyard and living room. It all started like husband was looking for good family films, and on a whim, he typed "Mormon" into the search box on Netflix. The result was an interesting assortment of films for families, each with a Latter Day Saints theme.

No, we are not converting. But the films not only provided us with entertaining weekends, but also helped us to learn a bit about the history and beliefs of Mormons. Since we had some time on this crazy road trip, after we hit the elk, and Wyoming nights were getting quite cold (30s!!), we drove south to warm, dry, sunny Salt Lake City. While there, we paid a visit to Temple Square, which Don called "The Mormon Vatican," to see the real thing.

We were greeted by a young missionary woman (missions are optional for women), and she took us on a tour of all the accessible parts of the Temple Square. Since we are not LDS, we could not go into the Temple itself, but the history and museum information, as well as the genealogy records are all available to anyone.

The coolest thing in the whole place is the Christus, an amazingly impressive statue of Jesus. Curiously Latinized Greek title for the statue...hmm.

No visit to Salt Lake City would be complete without a visit to the Great Salt Lake. It's salty! And nothing lives there, except brine shrimp and brine flies. The former are cute sea monkeys, and the latter are scavengers, but mostly harmless. Swimming in a body of water without flora or significant fauna is strange. The buoyancy is more strange. Don and the two younger kids floated for a while, then then tried to dunk each other.

One thing they don't tell you about the Great Salt Lake is that it stinks, especially in areas where birds congregate. Still, it was worth the visit for the float, and for the birding. I have never seen so many grebes in one place before.

We attended Mass on Sunday at the Cathedral Of The Madeleine in Salt Lake City. Mass was packed, and the music was good, with the cantor leading a Communion Antiphon rather than a hymn--perfect! Great Gargoyles, too. Do click on the link above for a "tour" of the architecture.


Alice Gunther said...

So interesting, MacBeth. I've really never read much about this.

Mariposa said...

We enjoyed visiting the Mormon temple and the Salt Lake last summer. I use to live in Salt Lake, but I don't recall ever visiting the cathedral. It is gorgeous, so next time we will have to visit.

Sharon in UT said...

Hi McBeth, I'm an occasional lurker over at the CCM list and was thrilled to see you had a blog and had recently visited Salt Lake City. One thing I wanted to point out is that while indeed the Christus in the visitors center is beautiful, sometimes the LDS tour guides omit the detail that it is actually a replica of Bertel Thorvaldsens's world-renowned original which stands in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark. People often have the misconception that an LDS artist created this amazing image. As a convert from mormonism to Catholicism I just thought I'd share. (You may have already known all this :))...and yes, the great Salt Lake IS stinky!...But what about those Wasatch Mountains? After all these years they still take my breath away! I look forward to your blogs! God bless!

MacBeth Derham said...

Hey Sharon! Thanks for the info. I had not heard that the statue was a replica. It is stunning. Now I want to visit Denmark.

Alice Gunther said...

Wow, that is incredibly interesting info from Sharon! I need to do an image search now!