31: Salt Lake City – Mormons and Mountains and Bikes, OH MY!

Despite being a primarily Mormon community kind of in the middle of no where, I was pretty excited when I found out I’d be spending a full day in Salt Lake City. Throw me a mountainous backdrop and foggy weather and you’ve made my day. Upon arriving to the hotel, the area didn’t look like much but it was when I went outside and walked two blocks that I realized it had far more to offer than I’d originally thought.

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The trolley downtown runs in the middle of the street through the surrounding areas, free of charge, and every three or so blocks there’s stations to rent bikes, which I did. I paid the eight bucks to grab a bike and pedal through the cool weather, attempting to wander my way to the mountains. The area was surprisingly green and damp, it had just rained, causing the streets to be less crowded. I passed several temples I’d later explore, more beggars than I thought I’d see, and Temple Square before I realized that hiking on wet, soggy dirt alone probably wouldn’t be the best idea for a Wednesday afternoon leading into the evening.

I stowed the bike just outside Temple Square and entered hoping that I was at least mildly appropriate. I was partially right. Without my jacket on, I had on a shirt that had a exposed part of my back and in turn showed my scrappy bandeau. I didn’t mind because this shirt was my normal attire and, honestly, pretty modest as it was long sleeved with a high neck.

To my surprise a woman rushed up to me “Miss! Miss!” she said as I turned around to see her speed walking in my direction.
“Oh my dear, your shirt! Your,” she leans in to whisper, “your bra is showing. I can try and fix it for you.”
With the patience of the owl, the personality of an asshole and the best poker face I had to not laugh I responded, “I know. It’s supposed to show.”
I think at that moment she started praying for the Lord Almighty to have mercy on my shameless soul as her jaw dropped and she stuttered to find the words, “Oh, okay”.

Lesson 70: if you think you’re showing a little too much skin at temple square, chances are unless your arms, knees, shoulders, back, and dignity are covered, you are.

The madness continued as I entered the Terbanacle Church to take pictures and possibly tour the grounds when I realized that nothing in here came for free. There was a lesson for everything.

Lesson 71: if you want to walk around to see the grounds, they WILL try to get you to consider Mormonism.

I met this lovely Hawaiian sister who told me about her struggle to find a way of life and how the Mormon community took her in and changed her life. “We accept all willing souls”, she said a few times while asking about my job before dropping the bomb, “do you go to temples in Chicago? You would love them, I can refer you to a few.” In the nicest way possible, because she was extremely sweet, I pretended to be in a rush and was able to sneak away to take a couple photos without selling my soul.

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All the skirts hit the floor, everyone’s hair was pulled back, and Mr. Rogers sweaters littered the area but despite avoiding getting dragged into a service, the place was beautiful. The buildings all had high ceilings with detailed paintings and the unique architecture was even more beautiful ranging from old fashioned to modern. The organ inside of the temple was one of the largest in the world with gold tubing and stretching the length of the building.

After more than enough time touring the grounds and looking for the exit my bike was by, I figured it was time to eat, shop and head back to my hotel. The day mostly consisted of biking and exploring but it was enough for me to know that Salt Lake City wasn’t too shabby. It was cute, the people were extremely friendly and although I saw my fair share of Mormons, I met a cashier with a full sleeve and a septum piercing so the city was decently dope. Next time I definitely want to take on some hiking but once heard that there were mudslides on the trail that evening, I think I’ll save it for a dry summer day next year.

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