Salt Lake City – Reach out and touch faith.

I was your casual nerd, film school, tight jeans and a part-time job at the dvd store. For a time, all the rage was the documentary ‘The Secret’, $8 overnight, what a laugh. “The power of positivity”, who needs that in an era of constant connectivity, glued to screens, ‘likes’ by all means and politically motivated memes. Disconnecting seems impossible, when your facebook newsfeeds been personally selected like devine intervention. You’re a marketing genius, you’ve skipped the middle man and sold yourself to a life of material slavery. Every day I choose to disconnect, recollect and start my waking moment with a positive thought, I tell myself “lifes great”, then I proclaim it. Take pleasure in Gods smallest gifts, the way the sun reflects on a constant changing landscape, the evening glow, shelter from the rain. Theres no secret, it just seems the simple free things are cluttered by materialistic desires. Once cleansed of these wants, your needs are met with a contempt heart.

Salt Lake City was no exception, a city to satisfy all your hearts deception. Slick hairstyles for the modernist male with a zionist tale. Conflicting counter culture, collecting communion or commune with demons, there seems to be no middle ground. Theres a feeling of Christ or anti-christ saturating the atomosphere, your either for him.. hold on I mean your either for Joseph Smith or against him. If ever I felt like an outcast, it was walking these city streets. Bars’ neon lights, blind, espresso of every kind, distinct temples towers touch the sky, a holy joe with short back and sides, rub shoulders with opposing tides! Me with my long hair and hand me down robes, christian affliction and artistic distinction, gosh what a city!!

Photo by: The Travelling Todds

Like Vatican city minus the cues and entrance fee, sits a cathedral like building, so holy its doors are closed to the common man. Baptism by water is your passage. My full emersion birth right came in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit on September 1st, 2001, ten days prior to the tumbling twin towers, some thought the final hours. But to be down with the LDS (Latter Day Saints), your baptism requires sanctification from the ordained. Not the Prophet, not one of his twleve disciples, just a man! Someone who’s been passed down the holy right from some guy in pants to tight. Then give or take a year, then and only then, temple doors will be opened to you. Alas, I had the wrong hand caressing my crown in salvation waters and behold thats not the only accusation. While I cant believe or deny Joseph Smith was a prophet, this baptism despute incidentally leaves me worse off than a non-believer! They can be baptised on behalf of an LDS after death. Im left with the choice of a third birth or feel hells breath. All this interpretation from “another testament of the bible” aka ‘Book of Morman’, convenantly interpreted by Joseph in the 1830’s, too place the Americas in the path of Jesus. 

The temples courts are however open for business, casual patrons can take in a modern interpretation of romes holy city by visiting one of two visitor centres. One housing a model of the temples interior, dolls house to turn any fundamentalist mormon girls eyes green with envy. The other a statue of space Jesus pointing towards you as you sit in admiration. If you meet on the hour, underneath the USA flag pole, you will be greeted by your guides. In our case, two un-coincidentally placed pretty female missionaries. After their minor flirting with bystanders we set out too visit the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall and to be sold on the faith. So the story goes, In 1847, after JS translated the book of Mormon and hoodwinked a bunch of believers, they set out to find there promised land. With little chance of food growth and lack of resources they marvelled at the Salt Lake Valley, thought “chucks this sucks, but no one will bother us here”, selected a plot of the desert ground and proclaimed, “Here we will build a temple to our God.

In an age of genetically modified corn, ultra fast wifi porn, petroleum boom, super mega consume, amazon delivers to your door. Northern Utah, resourceless needs not hang there head with land locked blues. The progression of wealth is injected into the architecture of the cities landmarks. The downtown caters too those with pips in there pockets. Trendy shops diversified niche, no money, no deal, ka-piche! I did enjoy the cold shoulder window shopping. Train hopping the local tram found us at the library. A stunning example to showcase a progressive cities swag. While Charlotte poured over books to broaden the mind. I admired concrete, glass and steel poured in an architectural swirl, a hypnotic place to un-wind. 

Flashback Friday, to my blog in Colorado. Pete and Nancy with there generous donation, however it came with a stipulation. Whilst i’ve proclaimed againsr erratic monetary spending, ill keep my word and take Charlotte on a date. This nomadic journey of rumination’s coincidently collides with an artistic admiration of ours. And a night with Conor Oberst was at hand. We scrubbed up clean, sipped fancy espresso froth and dined a little higher than our budget usually stretches. Then like giddy kids joined the typical sea of black that surrounds a Bright Eyes show. The Eccles Theatre, also penned in modern ink, both Conor and opener Tim Kasher paying respects to the artist in the crowd, leaving me with a sense it must be newly erected, making the evening all that much more special. For those un-familiar with Conor Oberst, or better known for his music as Bright Eyes, he’s a lyrical genius! I pay ode to his works all throughout this blog, his philosophical mind and songs are like locks, travelling has been like keys too myself and Charlotte, subtle lyrics I had memorised from songs, immortalised in my mind as they became apparent. One example; “south bound busses, peter pan”. Id never understood its meaning until driving south from New York city and seeing a bus with “Peter Pan” scrawled down the side. Conors never made it into the mainstream, but he’s touched both mine and Charlottes hearts, and our paths always seem to cross by chance. This time no exception as we whisper under hushed lips and mimic his words as our own. His poetry proclaimed as he presses his keys and holds the whole world on his shoulders. We cap the night off, by kicking around after the show. He’s never turned his back on me, humbly dressed in a black merch hoody from his tour, he greets the small group of loyal fans who battle the cold. He’ll put his arm around each and everyone of us and without making you feel rushed he’ll talk to you under whiskey slurs as a friend. Although this the forth time i’ve seen Conor and third time meeting him, the night was as magic for both Charlotte and I as if it was the first.

Ive been objective to the Mormon faith in scribble, only as I have had to wrestle with my own faith. The more I come in contact with collective men around faith, the more I feel institutionalised religion is wrong, but find God in the heart of individuals. I’m more and more ashamed to using the word ‘Christian’ due to the diversified views of people under the banner. And as we travel, those who have come in Christ’s name haven’t reflected his actions, well not as much as the LDS i’ve met. Ive often admitted to Christians that we sleep in our car, but despite Christs instruction to take in travellers, none have even offered. So when we met newly married Hunter and Brenna up in the Tetons, they invited us to Salt Lake, opened there hearts and home and I was overjoyed to bask in there grace. They blessed us with what little they had. And my heart was pricked with genuine curiosity. Only the devine intervention of God and maybe LSD could turn me LDS, but nothing detracts from my admiration towards these soldiers for Christ. How many of us have turned morman missionaries away, not considering these young men and women who sacrifice two solid years of there youth to strict devotion too there faith, all whilst in a foreign land. I switched it up and knocked on their door, sat on the floor afront a fire and we rolled dice with Christ. We agreed on the simplest fundamentals of life, be thankful for the day, its no secret. 

A couple of hikes for my hiking pals.

Ogden Peak – 13.7km /  8.5mi

Fifth Water Hotsprings 7km / 4.4mi

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