Vacation Journal – I know, I know – it feels like we were on this trip for a month instead of a week, right? But we’re almost done …
We drove past polygamy town, Colorado City, to St George, Utah. The next morning we needed to drive to Las Vegas to meet my dad, but when I learned that St George was home to the oldest US Mormon temple (built after they fled persecution in Nauvoo, Illinois), I knew I had to visit.
We walked around the grounds, where we encountered a friendly landscaper who stopped to talk to the girls about a bug they had spotted. This confirmed my stereotype of the nice, friendly Mormon folk.
Also reinforced were my impressions of the “differentness” of many Mormon ceremonies. I don’t know if you can make it out in this photo, but here we have the “wedding exit” and the “baptism entrance.”
We stopped in at the on-site visitors’ center. It was staffed by more of those over-the-top-nice Mormons, who asked first if we were church members. Upon learning that we weren’t, they offered to escort us to several rooms which were showing various films about Joseph Smith, etc. We declined that, and continued looking at the little models of the temple site and other things. A further room featured a large statue of Jesus, flanked by the Bible and – natch – the Book of Mormon.
We asked whether we could actually visit inside the Temple, and were told that only “worthy church members” could do that. Shucks! The friendly gentleman told us that most of the people entering at the moment were there to be baptized as proxies for dead folks in the hopes that those folks could end up in heaven, or with their own celestial planet, or whatever it is Mormons see as eternal bliss – I knew this at one time, but am a bit rusty. This man then told us the Bible verse that he claimed supported this practice, and I had a moment of oh no, we’re never going to get out of here. I could see my husband was chomping at the bit for a good theological argument, which would most assuredly not be brief.
I had to step in, so I told our host how interesting that was, but how we needed to meet my dad (I omitted that the location was Las Vegas, that seeming just too sinful) in two brief hours.
And with that, we were off.