Coming back into Salt Lake City, we made a visit to Temple Square, one of the most important locations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, of the Mormon Church.
Inside of Temple Square, there are several places inside that you can learn more about the church and the origins of their beliefs. While it does give a great context of what they base their beliefs on, it does tend to be more of a recruiting center seeking to have more people join their church. Not to say that there is anything wrong with it, but it is good to know that you may have a few elders or sisters attempting to persuade you to join the church.
You can also see the building which hosts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. While in the building, you can occasionally listen to the music of the organ which is a beautiful piece of musical equipment.
Throughout the square, there are statues that they have to present the qualities which they find to be an important part of their life, such as being industrious, or an emphasis on family.
One of the fascinating things that I have noticed about Temple Square is the number of statues that pay tribute to the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith. I find it fascinating in the sense that when you compare it to the beliefs and teachings of Islam, you would never find statues of Mohammed anywhere since it is against their beliefs for him to be represented in picture or statue. In fact you wouldn't find such statues because of the Islamic belief that doing so would have people Idolize someone other than God. While I wouldn't say that people of the Mormon Faith idolize Joseph Smith over God, it is interesting to see how prominently he is featured throughout the area of Temple Square.
We also made a stop to the Beehive House, the Salt Lake City home of Brigham Young, who became the leader of the Mormons after Joseph Smith's death.
Our tour was lead by two women whose names I have forgotten, but I recall one of them was from New Zealand, and the other from Honduras. It had not really dawned on me until taking the tour that all of the women who were serving as guides around Temple Square were in pairs, which led me to believe that this was their mission that is a part of the Mormon faith. I didn't think to ask if some women will go on similar missions as men do, such as when they go door-to-door on recruiting tours.
As for the tour itself, it was a really neat house, and fascinating to find out the Brigham Young had a background as a sort of craftsman as he had made several pieces of furniture in the home himself. While the tour did give some interesting information about Brigham, much like the museum from earlier, this tour was more of a recruiting tool for getting people to join the church. Not that it was over bearing or uncomfortable, but you could tell that was their primary objective. Still worth a visit though.
The highlight of Temple Square is the Salt Lake Temple. It is an incredibly beautiful building, and the grounds around the temple really add to the setting. On one hand, it is a shame that not being members of the church meant that we were unable to go inside to see what the temple is like. I would have loved to be able to do so as I do enjoy visiting churches and cathedrals as they are some of the most beautiful buildings in a city. On the other hand, I understand that it is a part of their beliefs and their rules, so I'll respect it. At least we got to enjoy it from the outside.
On the bright side, there is a display in one of the visitor center buildings where they have a model of the temple so those who are not able to enter can still get a little sense of what it is like. I have to admit that there was a part of me that was surprised by the complexity of the floors, especially with the various chambers inside.
For dinner, we went to a place called Bruges Waffles and Frites. A waffle and fry shop that had some really unique varieties, including the one that several of us had, which was a waffle with pieces of chicken tender cooked into the waffle, a "side" of chicken tenders with whipped cream and maple syrup on top. This was actually really good! The flavors actually went well with each other as the whipped cream and maple syrup gave a slight hint of sweetness to counter the breading of the chicken.
It was a great day for historic and cultural sites, and next will be a place for wildlife and a shameless coaster credit in Idaho.
See more of Coasting with Culture's 2017 Utah, Idaho & Wyoming Tour:
1: Arrival Day / 2: Golden Spike National Historic Site / 3: Driving Trail & Brigham City / 4: Temple Square /
5: Yellowstone Bear World / 6: Snow King Mountain / 7: The Great Salt Lake / 8: Lagoon Amusement Park /
9: Smith's Ballpark