Walt's Look Around: Salt Lake City - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Salt Lake City

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You immediately get a feel for how big our nation is and how diverse it is when you go somewhere that is so unlike where you live. It's difficult to realize that this is a part of our country, too, if all you're used to seeing is rolling hills and pine trees or flat Delta land. But it takes no special permits or passports to go where exposed solid rock is the rule, not the exception, like it is back home.

We started our journey to the canyons out west from Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or more commonly known as the Mormons. And if the only contact you've had with Mormons are the young missionaries who drop by your house from time to time, you may be surprised that I didn't see anybody in Salt Lake City wearing a white shirt with a black tie. That's not to say the church doesn't exercise a great deal of influence over the city and the whole state for that matter, but it's not a religious enclave by any means. Matter of fact, we were told that in the city itself, the population isn't but about 20% Mormon. Proportionally, we have way more Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterians here.   

The heart of the Mormon Church is in Salt Lake City at Temple Square. The Mormon temple is on the east side of the square. Construction started in the mid 1800's and it took 40 years to finish it. Behind the temple to the west is the better known Mormon Tabernacle. It was built in the 1860s and is the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We, and about 7,000 other folks from around the world dropped in for the regular weekly broadcast of the choir's live radio and TV program the Sunday we were there. I was amazed that they allow flash pictures and even video recording of the rehearsal of the performance. 

To the south of Temple Square in downtown is the open-air Town Creek Mall. It fills with shoppers and people milling around and tourists all day and into the evening with musicians playing on the street corners and in front of stores and children playing in the fountain.  

The Wasatch Mountains loom up to the east of Salt Lake City. We would later in the day pass through the Wasatch, some 50 miles to the south at Provo, on the way to our next stop and our first look at the sandstone arches at Moab. And then we returned to Salt Lake City 10 days later to catch our return flights home. And a little later, we'll do another story from there. But we have many miles to go first. 

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