Tour of Utah: Hole in the Rock

In case you didn’t know already, Utah is home to some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In case you also didn’t know already, I am LDS. As such, I’ve been taught about the history of the church’s founding, the persecutions the early members faced, their various relocations in order to build their Zion, and the fun they had settling Utah.

By Charles William Carter; American (London, England 1832 – 1918 Midvale, UT) – Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library, 119.1976.1501

Upon reaching the barren, harsh, dry, uninhabitable area now known as Utah, the Mormon pioneers knew they’d found a winner. Not long after establishing Salt Lake City, Brigham Young (their leader) sent groups off to set up nearby areas. I learned that he sent those groups about a wagon’s ride away from each other, but can’t find a source for that information. Whether he did or not, there are towns all down our interstate and this makes present-day gas station stops very convenient.

What does that potentially-inaccurate history have to do with a hole in a rock? I’m glad you asked!

Sometimes, the early settlers of Utah faced challenges. Hordes of crickets threatened crops in the Salt Lake Valley in the first full year of planting. Tropic, Utah could only get irrigation after building a ten-mile long canal. And, weary members of the San Juan Expedition attempting to find a route to the southeastern corner of Utah found impassable cliffs -then, miracle of miracles, stumbled upon “a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river” (Wikipedia).

By G. Thomas at en.wikipedia – Own work, Public Domain

They named it Hole in the Rock. Promptly thereafter, they began chipping away in order to move 250 PEOPLE, 83 WAGONS, AND OVER 1000 HEAD OF LIVESTOCK through this hole. I kid you not.

Six months later, they were “ready;” for, the wagons still needed assistance. They used ropes, plus wooden beams supported by posts jabbed into holes they drilled in the rock walls to carefully lower the wagons.

This is another famous site I have not visited, but my son has. His youth group camped nearby and hiked the area, reimagining and experiencing what their pioneer ancestors did. If you want a similar vacation adventure, Hole in the Rock is about seven hours south of Salt Lake International Airport (or 100 hours if you walk).

Author’s note: there is also a tourist destination called Hole N” The Rock, located near Moab. It’s worth a kitschy gander.

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Here’s this week’s breakdown:

Wednesday, September 16: “Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake.” It’s iconic!

Thursday, September 17: Wrote an example of funny poetry for that week’s contest: “Chuckie Bob and His Award.”

Friday, September 18: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Hobbo.

Saturday, September 19: Opened the A Mused Poetry Contest! The subject is seasonal haiku (senryu). Results to be posted soon!!!

Sunday, September 20: Scratched a nagging discomfort with “R.B.G. and Why It’s Difficult to Be a Woman.”

Monday, September 21: Shared a quote about not worrying about The Joneses.

Thursday, September 24: Wrote my own seasonal poetry, “A Mused Seasonal Haiku…” for this week’s theme.

The winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest will be posted by this evening!

©2020 Chel Owens

Utah Mormons: What Do You Want to Know?

I am a Utah Mormon.*

If that shocked you, you may need to spend more time plowing thru -okay, you’re right: I don’t mention it much. I mostly don’t bring up my location or religious affiliation because of The Box Phenomenon. People are so keen to categorize that they will automatically assume things about my character, things that are probably not true.

There are, however, many characteristics or behaviors or habits or lack of cuss words that are true because of my Utah LDSness.

Like

  1. I don’t drink alcohol. Never have, and I mean never.
  2. I have not done recreational drugs.
  3. I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
  4. I have no tattoos. Never have.
  5. I wear one set of earrings, in my ear lobes.
  6. I lived a very clean dating life and my husband is the only man I’ve known.**
  7. I don’t swear, unless it’s the morning after the children have not slept and they will damn well hear about how frustrating they’ve been after the umpteenth time -in which case, it’s still only “damn” and “hell.”
  8. I attend church every week and (before I was pregnant) voluntarily worked a ‘job’ in our ward.

The list could go on, I suppose, but that’s why I’m writing this post. I am naturally curious about how other people live their lives, and assume others might be curious about mine. I specifically wonder if everyone else starts the day with a cup of coffee. Does everyone else flip off bad drivers on the freeway? Does everyone slip on a tank top and short shorts and call themselves dressed?

I don’t.

And so, what do you wonder about MY day-to-day life or views based on my location and religious leanings? Within reason, what questions do you have? Do you have any?

I’m no official representative of my faith and will not purport to be so, but am willing to answer what I can.

Try me. I’m curious.

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*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has officially stated that its members are not ‘Mormons,’ but are ‘members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.’

**You know, in the biblical sense.

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Besides a question, you may also be interested in my writings of last week:
Wednesday, November 13: Made some important announcements about the blog’s schedule in “I’m Having a Baby (I Think).”

Thursday, November 14: Attempted an homage to Geoff’s style with “A Tribute to Geoff LePard of TanGental.”

Friday, November 15: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Matt Snyder!

Saturday, November 16: Announced the 52nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! Happy birthday to bad poetry!! The theme is BIRTH, and is the last contest of the year. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, November 17: “A Confusing Session,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, November 18: Shared LA’s astute assessment of life and its responsibilities.

Tuesday, November 19: “Since the Bombs Fell: Five.”

Wednesday, November 20: Today.

I also posted a poem on my motherhood site, “Is There an Echo?

 

Photo Credit: Michael Hart

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Welcome to Utah; Wanna Stay?

I’ve lived in Utah for most of my life. If you don’t know where Utah is: just go West of that big, open, flat area in the middle of The United States of America to the Rocky Mountains; but stop before you can gamble or make it to the beach.

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Given my druthers, I think I’d prefer somewhere like Boston in the fall. With dogs. And no dishes or laundry. Ever. Those who know me might wonder why I’m living in The West with 4.5 children and housework ’round the clock, but we’re not going to climb aboard that psychologist’s couch right now.

I bring up my location and innermost desires because I often wonder why people come to my little speck of the world. Why do they stay? What do we have to offer here?

For me, the attractions include:

    1. The Mormons. Okay; okay: the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
      When I traveled with our music group in high school, other kids we met in the hotels would always ask two questions: Where are you from? immediately followed by Are you a Mormon?
      We may have stood out for lack of cussing and cut-off jeans, but mostly Utah is just known for its Mormons. I’m not bothered; there are a lot of us here. Mostly I get bothered by those who are bothered by that fact. I mean, it’s a little obvious that LDS people might live in Utah. They kind-of settled it.
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      Anywho: being mostly LDS myself and not minding the culture surrounding it, I find the placement comforting more than not.
    2. The people.
      Personally, I feel this ties into Reason #1, but I knew many people would go digging for ‘Mormons’ once I mentioned ‘Utah.’ Whether it’s because of the huge number of LDS and families or not (trust me, it is), the people here are generally friendly and kind.
      I remember watching the American Idol episode they filmed here in 2009. Contestant after contestant on the show responded to the judges’ negative assessment with a smile and a, “Thank you.” The judges were weirded out by the positivity (watch at about 15:37).

  1. The Scenery
    Since I live in the Salt Lake area, I can always see mountains. Mountains, mountains, mountains. They’re beautiful, and I totally take them for granted. It’s not till I’m lost in Oklahoma that I realize how wonderful those natural compasses and rocky beauties are.
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  2. Destinations
    Utah is also home to plenty of hiking/biking/camping/ATVing areas. There are even a few spots with swimmable water. I’m too lazy to look up what percentage of the state is Federal or State land, but it’s sizable. Utah’s home to Zion’s, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley….
    I am also not very grateful for how close and easy these destinations are, or the millions of unnamed camping and hiking areas. If we want to go on a quick hike, there are several within half an hour’s drive. There are even nice areas to walk around within walking distance of our house.
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    Utah is also known for its skiing. I haven’t had time or money for the sport since high school, but publicists are not lying when they say it’s The Greatest Snow on Earth -though I’d amend that it might be the greatest this side of the globe. I’d love to try the Alps.
  3. My family nearby
    You all aren’t going to enjoy the benefit of this; but having grandparents, siblings, cousins (lots and lots of cousins!) close enough to visit is very nice. Home is where the heart is and all that.

I was born with an odd curiosity for where other people call Home. Specifically, I often want to experience their day-to-day lives. So: what do you like about where you live? What do you see? Visit? Eat?

If you’ve lived several places, what have been your favorite aspects of some of them?

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While you consider and respond, read what I wrote this past week:
Wednesday, September 4: Discussed a bit about the fun and games of selling dice.

Thursday, September 5: “A Thoughtful Poem.”

Friday, September 6: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb!

Saturday, September 7: Announced the 42nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Do you know where your towel is? PLEASE ENTER!

Also, “I Give Myself Two Thumbs Down” over at The Bipolar Longname Blog.

Sunday, September 8: “True Grit?,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, September 9: An inspirational quote by Paulo Coelho.

Tuesday, September 10: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Three.” Sorry, Wil.

Wednesday, September 11: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “‘Work at Home,’ They Said,” “Parents, Put the Phone Away!!!,” and “The Boy Mom Poem.”

 

Photo Credit:
John-Mark Smith
Michael Hart
Justin Luebke
Mitch Nielsen

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Many Hands Make Enlightened Work

We walked across the summer courtyard, two t-shirt youth among many, to stand before the spacious building. Stairs upon stairs climbed to the fountain’s zenith and proposed rooftop garden.

Commands came and we moved to assemble ourselves, each teenager on a stair, an arms-width apart. You: a little more. You: a little less.

Then, hand to hand to hand we passed a bucket’s brigade of grass. Smiling volunteers moved sod and flower from truck to tippy top.

Now, years later, our children look up. They marvel at roof-ledge bush and sky-reach trees, and the story that grew them there.

Conference Center

Photograph by Craig Dimond © IRI

Remembered for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week.

June 13, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the work of many hands. Is it a cooperative effort or something else? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by June 18, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

What Do I Believe?

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“If you go with the Calvinistic or traditional Christian notion, after Adam’s fall, everybody is totally depraved, and often virtues are just masked vices, and even a good deed done is grace. A personal relationship with God is the right thing… As far as people are concerned, yes, there are a few people who will stand by you, come what may, and they’re worth finding and keeping.”
-Nitin, Fighting the Dying Light

There are frequent times I am faced with a question I’d rather not answer. These queries all seem to fall beneath the subject of categorization.

How old are you?

Where do you live?

What are your political leanings?

What is your writing experience?

What do you believe?

For one so inclined to choose brutal honesty in conversation over tact, my hesitancy to answer these questions might seem odd. I also participate in an online community that may very well be read across the street -or, across the world. Why hold back on some issues?

I might choose to remain in obscurity. Who would care, really? However, many of the writers I follow have recently come out in declarations of belief. If I admire their honesty, surely others will not desert me based on what I admit.

So, what do I believe?

The truth is that I grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A few years ago, however, I read the very entertaining The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. If one ever needs his faith dissolved in a few peals of educated laughter, he is welcome to read it.

This is not to say that Dawkins is fully credited with my disillusionment and departure. His voice merely allowed for more enlightened means by which I might attain answers to forever-niggling doubts and concerns. I have since realized the human mind passes through many ‘ages;’ many changes of perspective. I believe that doubt and a removal from the faith of our upbringing happens to most, if not all.

As a child, I was very much susceptible to the explanations and teachings I was given by my parents and religious instructors. These ranged from paranormal to superstitious to wonderful. I trusted that the doubts I had would, as I was told, be resolved with time and faith.

My pre-teen years were spent in rigid conformity of a self-imposed nature. I was, in colloquial terms, a Molly Mormon. I was a Christian Girl, controlling my thoughts and feelings and emotions to the extreme. I exulted in my perfectionism and delighted in my absolute obedience.

That all changed around the teenage years of hormonal outbreak. This may all be tied into mental issues, but the pendulum of perfectionism swung a bit to the opposite side…

As I said, I’m a very honest person. At times I have thought to not attend church because of my personal feelings. I have prayed, consulted scriptures, and argued with a God who sometimes answers.

Most of the time, I withdraw.

I believe my decision to consider atheism may not have been the best, because it seems driven by a desire to self-protect. Others may read about God and conclude that He loves them and holds their life in His hands. I, instead, wonder at the birds He not only allowed to fall but also burned to death in the breath of His voice or the wrath of His hand.

I truly do wonder why bad things happen to good people, or to any people.

I have come back to faith, but from a wary distance. When I think of trusting The Almighty I often feel sick inside. He might take away those I love, remove my health, smite me blind, or cause any number of calamities. And I am expected to say, “Ah. It was God’s will.”

Where I stand on the faith spectrum is somewhere in-between.

Yes, I know that is the lukewarm place where adherents will be spewed out. Yet I also know it is where I am. A toe here or there causes me to shrink back protectively. The middle is the safest place.

Which may also answer a query regarding political leanings.

If one is to set my person on a judgment stand, to vote whether he may or may not listen to my thoughts and opinions, hear this: we are all of us human. It is human to doubt, to question, to make mistakes, and to act based on feelings. It is human to change; to hopefully grow.

My religious life may have its ups and downs, but I’ve come to some revelatory conclusions because of that path. And, as much as I tried to deny it, those conclusions could not have been solely my own.

People like to sidestep a bold embrace of the idea of God by saying, “God,” “A Spirit,” “Your happy feeling,” “Nature,” or, “Whatever you believe.” Fine. None actually knows for certain what is out there. I mean, for certain certain. One can only know based on his personal feelings affirmed by a core spiritual feeling of closure -and that same feeling can be experienced in another person about a completely opposite issue.

And so, like a child, I wait. I trust. I fully expect The Answer of our eternal end will involve a breaking of our consciousness into reusable matter of a collective-mind sort -but, of course, I do not know for certain.

Now that I’ve borne my religious soul, what about all of you? Do you still talk to God? What have you concluded?