Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sunday, Sept. 20 - Part II

After our tour of the Conference Center, Lois took me over to Temple Square. This is where the Mormon Temple, the Tabernacle, and other important Church-related buildings are located. There is a high wrought-iron fence running around the Square and it is locked at night. During the daytime it is open and hundreds of Mormon missionaries volunteer there, providing information and leading tours of the Square as well as individual tours of each building. We were happily surprised to see this on a Sunday afternoon (I had been afraid the buildings might not even be open on Sunday!)

These are some of the many flower beds in Temple Square. The flowers throughout the area are dug up and new ones planted every 6 months. Lois says it's an amazing sight. There are "garden tours" but we didn't take any. The colors and varieties, even this late in the summer, were lovely.

This is the outside of the Tabernacle, where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs each Sunday (when they're not off touring the world) and where the program "The Spoken Word" is broadcast from each Sunday, except in the summer months when the crowds are so big they have to use the Conference Center. We got a free tour (actually ALL the tours were free, and there seemed to be many missionary guides available in every building we went into --- and this was late on a Sunday afternoon.). As part of the tour, they demonstrated the amazing acoustics of this building by dropping a pin at one end and we could easily hear it at the other end! The building was designed this way so that a prophet giving a speech could be heard easily by all the thousands of people there to listen to him, before microphones were invented. There is a large organ in here also, but not as large as the one in the Conference Center.

"Temple Square" would not be complete without a Temple, so here is the great Mormon Temple of Salt Lake City. It is not where they go to pray, but rather a very holy place that only the most religious and "good" Mormons can enter for special ceremonies such as baptism or weddings. There is one in La Jolla, California, near my house. I remember getting a tour of the inside after they built it and before the final purification rites were performed, after which only Mormons in good standing with the Church could gain entrance. It was very beautiful and peaceful inside, as I'm sure this one is too.

Here is another view of the Temple. It has 6 spires with a gold-leaf statue of the the angel Moroni on the top of the main one. (Moroni is the one who gave the "Book of Mormon" to Joseph Smith who then started the religion. There is a statue of him on top of the Temple in La Jolla too; maybe it's on all Mormon Temples?

I call this my "artsy" shot of the Temple. There was a nice breeze blowing the grass to the side and it just BEGGED to be the foreground of a Temple picture. So here it is...

This is the Administrative Building for the Mormon Church (more properly called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). It's a big organization!

One of the buildings we were able to get a tour of was called "The Lion House." It is where Brigham Young and his large family lived after he brought his people to Salt Lake City. This is the family dining room.

This is called the "Assembly Building." I was surprised at the Star of David (Jewish 6-pointed star) on this building and asked one of the guides about it. She said it wasn't a Star of David, just a star design that the Mormons sometimes used. She said that the circle inside it made it "not a Jewish star." I'll take her word for it.

After we finished touring Temple Square, we drove a short distance to "Little America," a hotel and restaurant not too far away where we had a lovely dinner and talked for a long time. It was a wonderful visit with Lois and I am very grateful to her for taking the time to show me around this major part of the city. Not only did I enjoy seeing all the famous buildings, but I learned a lot about the Mormon faith which I really didn't understand before. Although all the Missionaries we met were eager to provide information on the religion (with the hope that you would ultimately convert), I did not find them to be overbearing or annoying which I understand they can sometimes be. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and evening.

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