Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Hey Campers:

July 24. Well, it is time to move on. We left the red country for the great highways. On TV this week we saw that Salt Lake City was having Pioneer Days. We thought this would be a great way to immerse ourselves in the Mormon Culture to see what it was all about. You may ask what the Pioneer Days are. Well, it is a celebration of why and how the Mormons came to the Utah area. It is a true state holiday. All of the state and city offices are closed and the day is treated better than July 4th. We started with a country fair in the city of West Jordan. People were dressed up in their pioneer duds. Many vendors were there selling their wares. The chief of police was there with his officers and the K-9 crew giving demonstrations. There was a tent where anyone could sing for the audience. One guy was really good. Some people should not even look at a mic if you know what I mean. Think s-c-r-e-e-c-h-i-n-g. They had a petting zoo, pony rides, a cool inflated zip line, climbing wall, a dinosaur that was just too cute. They also had a cool thing of being inside a bubble ball. They put it in the water and you could just roll around. They also had a bubble that you got in and rolled on the ground.

Later on that evening they had barrel races and shooting contest.

At the night program, Merrill Osmond had a musical play about the Pioneers and how they came to Utah. This was a cast of 100+. The emcee was country western star Nathan Osmond. Yep. Those Osmond’s stick together. They did a tribute for local people who have made a contribution to the state. They also did a special tribute to the 19 firefighters who recently lost their lives. To start the program off they had a 11 year old girl who blew the National Anthem. She was really good. Her name is Lexi Walker. YouTube her. I would expect to see her on American Idol when she is old enough. They also had the Ogden Parachute group parachute down to the arena with the state and American flags. They had a prayer given by a local pastor. How refreshing to have a program start with prayer.

They had a special carriage with Justin Osmond in it. He had his girl friend come out to the arena where he proposed. Of course she said yes. How romantic.

Nathan gave a mini concert. He has been nominated as the new country star for 2013. He actually is a good singer. He came into the audience to let some sing. His father Alan was there and sang some. He also did a duet with Lexi. The song was “The Prayer”. The two of them were awesome.


Justin also had a special that included 3 kids that had hearing lost. They were given new hearing aids. Justin grew up with only 10% hearing himself before he got help. He has the Olive Osmond Hearing Foundation.

Finally, the show started. It was very informative. They discussed how Joseph Smith and Brigham Young became prophets. On the end they introduced all the cultures that are a part of the Mormons. Lo and I thought it was a little odd that the African Americans were not introduced. Hmmm. I know we were considered children of Cain. However, it was changed in the 80’s. Oh well. We are use to being left out. (Maggie, they even introduced the Chinese).

 Then came the fireworks. They were great.

We met several nice people where we were sitting. They wanted to know if we came to program because we had kids in it. We let them know we were just visiting. Now you know I had to ask about why the African Americans were not introduced. They looked at us and said they never thought about it, but said it needed to be changed. On our way out of the stadium, we met a couple who knew the Osmond’s. Craig was Nathan’s Boy Scout leader. He told us he would introduce us to Nathan. So he bought a CD and had Nathan signed it and take a picture with us. Now that is connections! Since, I had Nathan there, I asked him to talk to his uncle about putting the African American culture in. He thought it was a good idea. We drove to our hotel for a goodnight sleep.

July 25. We decided to go to the LDS Temple Square. Did you know that the center of Salt Lake City is the temple? It is four square and everything is based on how far from the temple the street is located. So if the street is 90000 So., it means that it is 90 blocks to the South of the temple. The temple was started in 1853 and finished 1893. It was the last building to be completed. The Temple is closed on Sundays because every member is supposed to be in their own ward church.

We went inside the rounded tabernacle. It has a huge organ. It is played by only 5 organist and they each have a PhD in music. The organ has over 1,000 pipes. It is 170 feet from the organ to the rear of the tabernacle. We were lucky to attend an organ recital at noon. This is the same place where the Mormon Tabernacle group sings. You must audition to sing in the group. Most people never get in. You can only stay in the group for 20 years.

We went to the visitor center. It took you step by step on how LDS started until the present. It includes all the records on how the temple was built. The Mormons built the temple the same way Moses did in the wilderness. Members gave of their times and wealth to see the temple built. There was a  replica of what the temple looks like inside. Only baptized Mormons can go inside the temple. There are a lot of Mormons who have never gone inside.

Family life is very important to Mormons. They believe in, from before the cradle to after the grave. This means family is for life. Even after death you are still a part of the family and are prayed for. There a creeds and affirmation that must be upheld.

We decided to go and take a train ride to find the ”real people”. We took all the lines. We rode to the airport, to the University of Utah and to the south of town. What a ride.  A lady came on with luggage. As we were speaking with her I kept seeing eyes in the bag. It turned out to be 2 cats. I was just glad it was not another kind of animal like a snake. Now ya'll know I would have been out of there.


We found the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner and called it a night. Another one off the bucket list to go to. Yahoo.

July 26. Since this is our last day in Utah we decided to go to Provo to tour Brigham Young University. We started at the John Franklin Shelley Visitors Center in the Gordon B. Hinckley building. We were given an amazing tour in a golf cart of the campus by Emily our tour guide.

Here are some interesting facts:

The school was started by Brigham Young. It was called the Academy. Young asked Karl Maeser to be the principal. It stated with 29 students. The school struggled for years. But education was and still is very important to Mormons. The Academy burned down and some thought that would be the end of the school. But Maeser said he had a dream “I have seen a Temple Hill filled with building- great temples of learning.” That building still stands today. The LDS church took over running the school in early 1900’s.


There are currently 33,000 students and 2,000 faculty members on Provo campus. 92% of the students are Mormon. There are 3 other campus, Provo, Hawaii and Idaho. There is a big mission training center in Mexico. 70% of students take a foreign language so they will be ready for mission work. 50% students will go abroad as missionaries for 18 months.

The tallest building in Provo is the 12 story geology building on the campus.
As a young Mormon growing up each student will go to Mormon school for 1 hour before you go to regular school. Every student on campus will have 14 hours of religion. This will include studies of most religions of the world.

Because they have so many students, they use the class rooms as churches on Sunday. Their churches are called Wards.

BYU has a unique way of testing the students. Each teacher sends their test to the Herbert J. Grant building. A student has 3 days in which to take the test. It is felt that the teacher does not have to waste class time on testing. This works for test that are scantron and bubble. They put the test in the machine and get their scores immediately. Now that is innovative.

The library is 4 stories high. 2 stories are underground. It is well lite by several skylights.
There are no fraternities. They use to have some in the 1970-80’s. The church felt it was not a good representation of the school, so they discontinued it. There are clubs that are similar but not exclusive.


Did you know that Harvey Fletcher, Engineering Professor was the father of the hearing aid and developed sound on sound? BYU is one of the top schools of Engineering.
The school of Computer Animations works with Disney and Pixar on many projects. They were part of the Awards ceremony for Kung Foo Panda.

The Marriott Corp sponsors has a sports center. Have you ever noticed that every Marriott hotel room has a book of Mormons along with the Gideon bible? Check it out at your next visit.

Ezra Taft Benson was Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower. His building is called the “fishbowl”.

The Business School of Accounting is 1st in the nation. 99% of the graduates have jobs before graduation.

BYU is known for it’s baseball and football teams. All 49er fans know that Steve Young, the Quarterback was a graduate of BYU. The stadium seats 65,000. Students can buy a season pass for $100 and see any sport the school has.

The school has its own broadcasting station BYU TV. It can also be check out online.

The cost to go to school here is $4,500 for members $9,000 for non-members.

As you travel the I-15 freeway you can see the big Y on the mountain. The original Y on the mountain was constructed in 1906. It measured 322 x 120 feet on 280 acres purchased or the project. Whitewashing the Y became an annual tradition of Y days beginning in 1907. It was made out of rocks. It is now made of concrete. You can actually walk to the Y in 45 minutes. It has 12 switch back trail. Forget this on hot days like today.

We ended our tour with a movie about the school and a tour of the visitors center. This is a very well planned and laid out school on 500 acres.


Well campers left Utah and spent the night at our favorite hotel in Elko, NV. We are on our way to So. Lake Tahoe Campmeeting.

See you soon.

Lorenzo & Bren