Lately I've been splitting up posts about single trips into multiple posts, each showcasing a different leg. It allows me to have more blog content, stretching a very thin blog out to respectable proportions. However in reality my real reason for doing so is that now that I'm all into HDR photography, I take about a bazillion photos and have a serious issue with being able to cull them properly. Anyway, Salt Lake City! This is the Salt Lake Temple, home lair of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints or whatever they want to call themselves. Silly buggers.
But I will say that in some small way, walking around Temple Square pleasantly reminded me of walking through some small European town, what with the grandiose religious architecture and people walking around speaking gobbledygook. In Europe of course, the gobbledygook is merely another language which I don't understand. Here it was English, but spoken in a freakish religious dialect completely alien for all of that. I had fun telling a couple of pretty young Mormon girls who tried to bother me while I was taking pictures that I'm an atheist, and that their beliefs are based on nil evidence and a thorough brainwashing. This is the Mormon Assembly Hall.
I mean most religion-speak is nonsense, but next to the Church of Scientology, The Latter-Day Saints take the prize for wackiness without even counting the insanity of that whole golden plate thing. Check this out:
I mean, to a sane person, this reads as batshit crazy. But even looking at it within religion's own internal "logic", why did God have to restore the authority of Baptism? Given the baptismal habits of all of the other practicing sects of Christianity, it doesn't seem as though such authority was ever lost from the Earth. This is the statue in full.
Two guys go off in the woods, see John the Baptist, and found a religion. Man, I see stuff in the woods around my house all the time! Just this morning Jesus and I were all like, kicking back on a stump and smoking a bong. He told me to tell everyone that marijuana was the new sacrament of his coming reign, and ye shall recognize your brethren by the sign of "peace-out, man". Of course, you probably don't believe me, but why on Earth did anyone fall for these con-artist's similar bullshit?
Again, nonsense. If the power of God is manifest, shouldn't people be able to uh, notice it? That's kind of what manifest means. I belong to the priesthood of Messybastards. The power of reason is manifest in all my actions and therefore God has chosen me to lead the world in it's fight against the descent into madness. Can't you see the halo of God's atomic logic hovering over my head? Well, you just don't believe strongly enough, so you're going to the fiery nuthouse in the ground.
The main thing about these statues that gets me is the authoritarian motif. You're supposed to trust con artists like Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery because they are getting authority all conferred up on them by the wonky ghosts of ancient spiritual leaders. Says who? Says the con artists. And you know what? Even if any of those Ghosts appeared to me, and tried to confer authority on me, I'd tell them to take their little 2-inch authorities and shove them up their asses. I don't want their permission to tell people how to live their lives; I'd much rather people used their own brains to figure things out than just accepting the say-so of anyone, including mine.
So yeah, I suppose an anti-religious rant was inevitable. But I was pretty jazzed to go to the Mormon Tabernacle. Not that I'm a huge fan, but their music is pretty. Though I'm not sure what Exxon has to do with anything...?
The Mormons have the largest Genealogy library in the world. I went in to see if they could find my family roots in Europe, but when I told the confident library docent the story of how my great great great grandfather was a stowaway on a Portuguese ship who changed his name to Williams without ever revealing his real name to his family in the New World, his confidence slipped a bit. When I told them that my other ancestor was a horse-thief who named his oldest son after the judge who didn't hang him during the decade where all the census records burned in a fire, they gave up. Guess I really have to embrace this whole disreputable vagabond thing; seems to be a family heirloom. Here's the Salt Temple at night.
The rest of Salt Lake City was fairly uninspiring. It actually looks like a cool city to live in though. The surrounding mountains are pretty and there's stuff to do. And there are bars so it's not really a dry city, despite my misconceptions. Plus, the Mormons make up only a small portion of the population these days. Anyway like I said, I had a couple of other legs to my SLC trip so there's more to come.