Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fun In Salt Lake City

Dan's post.  We are now in Salt Lake city doing some tourist activities before reporting tomorrow to the church Missionary Training Center in Provo for two weeks.  We have had great fun!  After 5 days of hot and backbreaking cleaning at home it was nice to get into the car and drive.  Arriving in Salt Lake about 6pm Thursday we headed directly for the family history library, which is right next to our hotel.  It is one of the largest genealogy libraries in the world.  We had fun Thursday evening, Friday, and Saturday working on our genealogy.  We both found major new items that were exciting.  I was taught how to get onto and use a Norwegian family history website.  I found some cool Norwegian records about my great grandpa Norman.  Lezlie found more information about her Virginia clan that we will be researching while in Virginia.  We also have taken several nice walks around Temple Square, which has spectacular flowers right now.  On Friday we got to have a short visit with the Military Relations Department in the church headquarters building.  We had a nice chat with the head of the department and his wife who works there too.  It gave us a better feel for what we will be doing.  They took us up to the 26th floor for a spectacular view of the city and then to lunch. We got to hear the head of the church music department play delightful piano music throughout lunch.  Friday night we went to a small outdoor concert of a family Japanese rock band.  The crowds, the beautiful park, and the music outside were all great fun.  In addition to spending a lot of time in the library, we also attended a temple session in the beautiful Salt Lake temple, very nice.  Today we were able to go to Music and the Spoken word, a Sunday morning broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (see pic below).  It was in the church's conference center, which is a spectacular auditorium that seats 21,000.  The music was beautiful and the spirit uplifting.  During the announcements before the choir sang we heard about a garden tour of Temple Square that would take place right afterwards.  So we went on the tour, and heard about the amazing gardens all around the temple.  They have flowers, shrubs and trees that have been brought in from all over the world.  The gardens were simply gorgeous.  We then made our way to the nearest chapel, about 4 blocks, and went to church.  The services were excellent, and folks made us feel welcome.  As Sunday School started, the teacher seemed quite familiar.  Then I recalled that he had been the featured speaker in a special military video the church made.  It is called "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled," and addresses the potential conflict some servicemen have of trying to "love thy neighbor" but being a part of the military that might send them off to war.  This man, Lance Wickman, had been an Army officer for two tours in Viet Nam.  He later became a lawyer and a general authority of the church.  He is now the General Counsel/Head Lawyer for the church. The video was excellent.  I got to meet him, and he said that serving a military relations mission is one of the most rewarding service opportunities in the church.  It was a very nice experience.  Finally we have returned to the hotel to rest, pack, and get ready for the real work to begin as we report for training tomorrow.  We have felt an amazing joyful spirit here as we toured the spectacular grounds, listened to the tabernacle choir, and sat in the beautiful Salt Lake temple.  It makes us feel very humbled to be a small part of the magnificent work the church does. 


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