Thursday, September 08, 2005

Belly of the beast

I am in Salt Lake City. And no this is not a vacation. Salt Lake City was right up there with Rock Springs, Wyoming with places I wanted to see before I died (incidentally I have been to Rock Springs). I am here because I was asked to speak at a conference here at the Grand America Hotel.

I grew up in Southern Idaho, so I am quite familiar with the Mormon Church. To this day, while driving I involuntarily swerve towards anyone I see riding a bike with a backpack wearing a short sleeve white shirt and a tie.

I don't like dissing on other people's religious beliefs. But I'm sorry, the Mormons are more of a cult than a religion and this city was built by the Mormons. First there is a Book of Mormon in my hotel room drawer. Second, there isn't a coffee maker and the mini bar doesn't have any booze in it. Is that sick or what?

I went for a brief stroll past temples and church administration buildings and banks of Zion and the Dessert Book Store and was stunned at the influence of the Mormons here. I went past a souvenir shop that had a t-shirt with a smiley face on it that read, "I like Mormon Girls." I'm not making this up. It was right next to a shirt that read, "LDS Basketball games: Where prayer comes before the brawl."

I haven't tried to get a drink here, but apparently you have to join a "social club" and pay a fee in order to have a drink at a bar. And nothing is open past midnight.

And the people...there are these wholesome looking young blond men and women everywhere. The hotel is like something out of Stepford Wives. It's really starting to freak me out.

But I have to go back to the conference now. Pray for don't pray for me, please!
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