Thursday, July 23, 2015

Temple Square in Salt Lake City

We knew that with the weather forecasts we've been seeing and temperatures sitting at 100*+ every day, that we probably weren't going to be getting a break in heat any time soon. We had already been in the Salt Lake City area for about two and a half weeks, at this point, and really hadn't done any 'touristy' stuff yet, so we planned a tourist day! Jamie had said something to me, on our drive into SLC, about the Temples and how extravagant they are and he really wanted to see them. I didn't even know what he was talking about so I researched them a bit, even with us not being religious people, there's no way you can pass up the opportunity to see them in person.
Our friends dad (J.D.) is a big History buff and even more so a HUGE Temple History buff, so we invited him to come with us and he accepted, he even drove! Since he is Mormon, he knows more about these Temples than you could possibly dream, he's been inside the biggest Temples and was baptized in the Salt Lake Temple (a place you cannot go into unless you are invited). Going to Temple Square was sure to be a full day of information and History, that's a fact! Today will be a History lesson for all...Learning is Fun!

First off, Salt Lake City is a great city; the people are very friendly and it's probably the cleanest city I've ever visited. Having spent A LOT of time at Disney World growing up, it totally reminded me of The Magical World of Disney! The air is clean with smells of trees and flowers, NO trash on the sidewalks or streets, people saying hello and smiling, even the Salt Lake Temple looks like Cinderella's Castle...all we were missing were some Characters singing and dancing & the rides! Although we did get a tour!
Our first stop of "Tour de Temples" would be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 
This building is pretty dang tall! J.D. used to work here years ago and wanted to bring us up to the observation deck on the roof-top, that would have been a great view, but they now close it off to visitors for security reasons and you have to have a coded card to even step onto the elevator. There was so much to see so, we moved on and out of the building, placing us in front of an artistic type of water fountain that winds you right in front of The Salt Lake Temple (the one you can't go in). 
The Salt Lake Temple is very majestic, probably even more so since you can't go in it! It is absolutely gigantic, to me, it looks like something out of a movie!
The walkway leading around and to the Temples are very vibrant and colorful with so many flowers, trees, plants and's absolutely gorgeous. I kept falling back because I couldn't pass up all of the photo opp's, so excuse me if my 'facts' aren't all there (or right) but you'll get to see purty pictures!

The next building we entered looked like any well-kept historical building from the outside but what a difference once you're inside! This building is what used to be the Hotel Utah, built in 1909~opened in 1911, now known as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. {During its 76 years as a hotel, the Hotel Utah was internationally recognized for its elegance and world-class service, attracting people from US presidents and celebrities to tourists.} 
It is now a social center where many weddings are held as well as banquets, conferences, lodging and learning. There is also a theater (shows are free but tickets are required), a genealogy research center (free to use, with volunteers to help you), 3 restaurants and many reception rooms. Just the lobby of this building can make you stand in awe for a very long time (make sure to look up), the features include an art glass ceiling, gorgeous chandelier, massive marble pillars and grand staircase. 

My pictures totally don't do this place the justice it deserves. I felt like I should have had a beautiful gown on waiting for the arm of my man to come whisk me off to a romantic dinner, overlooking Temple Square.

Snapping out of it...

To pay tribute to the Latter Day Saint Movement, there is a bigger than life statue of Joseph Smith in the lobby of the building. Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church in 1830 in New York, he was killed in 1844 by a mob in Illinois. After the Hotel Utah closed in 1987, the name of the building was due to Church leader Gordon B. Hinckley who saw there were many monuments for Utah's founder, Brigham Young but none for Joseph Smith.

We walked out of the Memorial Building and into another building, I can't remember exactly what it was called (maybe a Visitor's Center?) but it definitely had a museum type feel to it with exhibits, short videos and cut away models of the Temples. There was a cut away model of the Salt Lake Temple, I made sure to take a picture...this would be the closest we were going to get to seeing the inside of it!
The Baptism Pool
Next up, The (Domed) Tabernacle...which we were able to go inside...finally! The organ in that place was amazing, I've never seen a musical instrument like that before, nothing like the organ at church when we were kids! 
The acoustics are awesome in there, one of the tour guides got on stage and started talking, then ripped a piece of first I had no idea why this was so amazing, then J.D. told us that the acoustics were built so well no one needed microphones. When she ripped the paper, it sounded like she had 200 mics right at her fingertips, it was so crisp, it was crazy!

We left there and went into the next building which was another Visitor's Center. The bottom floor is full of hands-on exhibits, huge paintings with descriptions and volunteers answering any questions you may have. 
To go up to the top floor, there is a circular walkway which leads up to a room, that (to me), felt more like we were in a Science Center than a Mormon facility. I found this room to be very odd and didn't really understand the meaning but took pictures anyway. *While writing this I did some research on the meaning of this room, there are many many different viewpoints on this room and what it stands for. If you are interested ,I would Google Utah Christus Statue yourself and see which description fits your beliefs.*
Next we would be led through the Conference Center by a tour guide. It was cool but I kind of already felt like we had a tour guide...and she wouldn't let me lag behind to take pictures, so that made me a little salty...but I still got some pics!

We went into the 'church' part of the building which is underground, actually most of this building is underground and freaking HUGE!!! 

The organ itself is astronomic. Our tour guide told us that we can only see 144 of the 7,100 pipes, most of it is behind the wall...that also moves!

Sorry, it's blurry...I was being rushed!
 There are three floors to the congregational area, seating 20,000 people. When we were there they were just starting to tear out the original carpet...meaning they will have to take out all 20,000 chairs and then put them back in! She said it will take them many many months to do this...I guess you can say, Job Security! haha

Pic of the original carpet!
We DID get to go up on the roof of this building though and the top of the building also has 'history' built into it. The sun lights represent the Mountains, the fields of grass and flowers represents the deserts and forests. You can see the Capitol building from the roof-top as well as most of downtown Salt Lake. This was part of the tour that I didn't hear very much of because I wanted pictures, so excuse me for not really giving you the whole schpeel of what she was saying. Plus, I had limited focus at this point, my blood sugar was dropping and mama needed food!

 So...we made it through Touristy Temple day. I'm glad we went so we could scratch that off the "list". 
Now it's time to get on outta this heat. 
Next stop...The Uintas, where it'll be beautiful and the temperatures will match the scenery!
Fingers crossed!!


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