Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Modern Day Sinner amongst the Latter Day Saints

Jay Graham has been on an around-the-world tour for the last year where he has had some magnificient experiences, taken some great pics, and blogged some great memories. If you haven't gotten to know him or read his stories - do so.

I'm a domestic kind of guy myself. Except for a couple of trips over the years to the Caribbean, Bermuda, London, and Rome, I'm pretty much a USA homeboy. So while I'll likely never go to Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rio, Cairo, etc., I'll be content with my own share of domestic travel thankyaverymuch.

Last week took me back to Salt Lake City. Other than a couple of plane changes in SLC returning from Idaho, I was last in Salt Lake 13 years ago. It didn't take long to re-familiarize myself with how rugged yet majestic the Wasatch mountain range is.

The last time I was in SLC I couldn't simply order a drink at a restaurant. Because of the heavy influence from the Mormon church, alcohol could only be served at private clubs. Leave it to legislators who generally create at least 2 problems for every 1 they try to solve and to the ingenuity of business owners, restauranteurs and their attorneys determined customers could join the "private clubs" of restaurants simply by filling out a piece of paper (the club's application) and paying about 5 bucks admission dues. So while not a big deal, it was a bit comical and too bureaucratic.

When I returned this time, all of that was gone. You could order a beer, glass of wine, mixed drink, whatever. Not sure when they did away with the silliness of it all, but I'm guessing it was around the time of the Olympics. Funny how that works - how the allure of tourism dollars by the cubic ton can top the priorities of the supposed moral guardians of the community.

Having said that, I guess some establishments still have to crawl before they walk, or perhaps these challenging economic times have forced hotels to challenge every cost. When I arrived at the Homewood Suites hotel, I laughed when I saw the house beer offered during the afternoon manager's reception. Of course, I had one. After all, it was free! And free is good...always. Collect the soap bars and shampoo bottles and drink a house PBR. I may adopt that statement as the new slogan for this hapless blog.

This was my favorite t-shirt I saw while in Salt Lake / Park City. From what I've gathered, however, the t-shirt is better than the brew itself. Or perhaps phrased in a different manner, the porter is even more tasteless than the shirt.

No trip to SLC is complete without at least a brief visit to Temple Square -- the home, the epicenter, the grand poobah of the Church of Latter Day Saints aka The Mormons.

You can quibble about the tenets of Mormonism. You can compare and contrast the faith and other world faith systems until the cows come home. But two things you can't argue are (1) the genuine friendliness of the "brothers" and "sisters" welcoming you to the property and (2) the unbelievable detail put into Temple Square - including the famed Tabernacle where they got that whole choir thang going.

Now for reasons I still don't quite understand, regular folks like me aren't allowed in the temple itself. At first I wanted to be offended because I thought they might discriminate me for toting a PBR and wearing a Polygamy Porter t-shirt. But I've learned even some practicing Mormons aren't allowed in certain parts of the temples either.

Maybe one of these days I'll study the whole matter more. Until then, I may just crack a PBR, close my eyes, and visualize again the grandeur of the Rockies.



  1. When I did the tour of the temple area the guides were a couple of hotties from Singapore and Russia. Almost made me want to fill out the card if I knew it would be those same two to come and visit me.

    Glad to see SLC modernizing. Not too sure about the PBR......