Besides visiting the Great Salt Lake, we also wanted to spend a little time at Temple Square to see the Mormon Tabernacle and the Temple. Our unexpected pleasure came in discovering that while we had checked in north of the city some friends from home had checked in just south. Gotta love Facebook. It brought us together.
Bob and I started out early and arrived at Temple Square about 9 a.m. That's when things begin to open and it worked out perfectly. We started out in the South Visitors Center which houses a historic display of Brigham Young's arrival in Utah and his pioneering efforts to get it to become a territory.
What we found most fascinating however was the scale model of the Temple, the only building we were not allowed into. Only members may enter its doors. The model had a cut-away showing the inside rooms and an interactive screen in front of it that you could touch to hear about the areas of the Temple you were interested in. We found the Celestial Room and the Baptistery most interesting. If you'd like to take a virtual tour, there is a website for that--Moroni's Latter Day Saint Page.
At the center we learned that we could go to the 26th floor of the Office Building on the Square and view the Salt Lake Valley. That sounded like an excellent idea so we headed off in that direction pausing only to stop and take pictures of the Temple and some of the gardens. The whole area is full of flower gardens and it is a joy to walk among them.
At the office building, we went to the information desk where we were assigned a hostess to take us to the top She was a wonderful lady who was originally from Michigan. She laughed when we said we wouldn't hold that against her. There were two glassed balconies from which we could observe the Square below and the capital building as well as the university with the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
When our hostess discovered Bob liked genealogy, our hostess explained how we could get information from the Joseph Smith Center where so many family records are kept. They have an extensive website as well which he has already explored. The Mormons believe that it's important to find all of your family members, who have passed on without the opportunity to be sealed as an eternal family. Sealing ordinances can be performed in proxy at the Temple thereby keeping the family together in the hereafter.
It was almost 10 a.m. by this time and we were to meet our friend.s soon. While we waited, we enjoyed the flowers near the Beehive house where Brigham Young lived and started the offices of the church. After their arrival, we all took a tour of the house which was named the Beehive because Young felt all his workers and followers were busy as bees building the Temple and the new city. Tours are free and are led by missionaries of the faith. It was an interesting time of historical information about the house, the furnishings, and of course the faith--always with emphasis on asking them questions about the faith. They truly were missionaries.
Our next stop was the Tabernacle which houses the famous choir. It is a huge oval building with a domed roof. Two more missionaries out of several assigned to tour groups led in a demonstration of the acoustics of the building. We sat 2/3 of the way back and could distinctly hear her tear newspaper and drop small nails onto the podium. It was amazing. There is free admission to choir practice on Thursday nights and organ recitals happen at noon in the building. Unfortunately we weren't there on THursday and couldn't stay for the recital. We were on our way to our first national park. After all that's what this road trip was all about.
We said goodbye to our friends and promised we would catch up again at home. We only live across town from each other but this was the first we'd connected in a while. Their road trip was half over. Ours was just getting started.