Recently, I was in Salt Lake City doing some training for work. I spent a total of two different weeks there, just in the last month. I’ve always wanted to go there. Well, let me rephrase that, I’ve always wanted to go back there. A few years ago when I moved from Seattle, WA to West Palm Beach, FL, I drove through Salt Lake City. However, it was 2 o’clock in the morning when I drive through, so I didn’t see much. I just remember thinking, “Man, this is a really clean city.” That was it. That was all the memory I had of it.
Fast forward to 2011, and there was that whole Mormon.org campaign that started going around the country. The campaign, if you’re unaware of what I’m talking about, was basically just trying to express to us the viewers, that Mormons are just like everyone else. They are doctors, they are firemen, they are teachers, etc. etc. Whether or not that campaign was a direct result of Mitt Romney running for office, I knew it had to have something to do with it. Because I’m sure the Mormon church was completely aware of the negative stigma that goes along with Mormonism, and they didn’t want that stigma to sway the Republican nominee process. When the billboards started going up in Seattle, I remember staring at them thinking, “Why are they trying so hard to prove that they’re just like everyone else? Isn’t it already assumed that they are? Mormons are people. Why wouldn’t I think they were normal?” It was an interesting campaign. Which just begged the question, “If they’re trying so hard to prove they’re ‘normal’; I wonder what everyone else knows about them that made them believe they needed a multi-million dollar ad campaign to prove that they were in fact… ‘normal.’” Obviously there was something there. If there wasn’t, than why the ad campaign? Everyone is entitled to believe what they want, right? The fact that everyone believes in something different in this country, makes you the same, because we’re all already “different.” You see where I’m going with this?
As you can see, the Mormon.org ads have been bothering me for quite awhile now. So when I was in Salt Lake City, I had some questions. But since I was there for work, it was hard to get these questions answered. I didn’t know EXACTLY what Mormons believed, but I have been curious. So I headed down to the world-famous Temple Square, there in downtown Salt Lake. My first impressions were something along the lines of, “Wow!” Being the architectural photographer that I am sometimes, this was one of the more amazing churches/temples I have come across. It really was quite beautiful. I was however, pretty bummed out to find that I wasn’t allowed inside, since I wasn’t a member of the Mormon church. So photographing the outside would have to do. I didn’t have much to complain about though, it was a nice 65 degrees out, around 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon; it was a pretty nice day. Apparently a bunch of young Mormons thought so too. In the hour I was there, I saw 4 completely different recently married couples getting their wedding pictures taken in front of the Temple. 4! 4 different couples. In one hour. On a Tuesday! I wonder how many I’d see show up on a nice Saturday afternoon. I continued walking around the Temple Square trying to be a wallflower, trying to not get noticed by the Mormon missionaries that were also walking around. I had to avoid them. Because if I started to talk to them, I was going to ask some pretty deep questions. And since I was inside their house, there in the Temple Square, I thought it would be pretty disrespectful to do so. So I did the “smile & nod” when we’d make eye contact.
I tried to take in everything I could. And like I said, after an hour, I felt I had done so. So I walked across the street to another building that appeared to be some other Mormon touristy type of building. I checked it out from the outside, it said it was the Mormon History & Art Museum. I’m not one for museums, so I decided to just photograph the outside of the building. Above the museum’s entrance was a giant piece of artwork that someone had carved into the concrete. It had all sorts of different things going on in there. There was a globe, a bunch of hieroglyphic looking people, and just a bunch of different symbols. I used my DSLR for these shots since I needed a zoom lens to look closer at some of these symbols. And then I saw it. Tucked up in the very top left of the artwork, almost always covered in the shade, there it stood in plain sight, a pentagram. I just stared at it through my camera lens. Really? A pentagram?!? What on earth was a pentagram doing here? I had to know right then and there why there was a pentagram. So what does anyone do when they need an answer really quickly? I did what we all do, I whipped out the good ole’ iPhone and immediately googled “Pentagram Temple Square Salt Lake City.” After reading through some of the sites, apparently that pentagram wasn’t the only troubling symbol hanging around Salt Lake. Hmmm… This trip just got interesting. Now I was on a scavenger hunt to find all of these items.
My search led me back to the Temple to find a bunch of upside down stars over a lot of the windows. And sure enough, there they were. All of the middle windows had upside down stars over them, while the windows that are on the corners of the building had right side up stars. So, it wasn’t for continuity sake, only some of the windows and all of the doors had upside down stars over them. Why bother? Why not just make them all the same direction? Then there were all of the carvings of the sun & moon. And supposedly these symbols had more Occult meaning as well. After looking at all of the carvings of the sun & moon, I did find them a bit curious, but I wasn’t so quick to attribute them with “Occult” status as some of the websites had hinted at. I checked out the rest of the supposed “Occult symbols” throughout Salt Lake, but none of them bothered me as much as that original Pentagram.
Surely there had to be a reason for this pentagram. Because as far as I’ve always known, the pentagram is associated with the Occult and Satanism. I should know, I even dated a Wiccan/Satanist girl back when I was just out of high school. She gave me all sorts of knowledge about the pentagram back then. And ever since, I’ve noticed that symbol being used by all sorts of black metal bands that supposedly “worship” Satan. But, maybe the Mormons knew something that I didn’t. I didn’t want to peg them that quickly. This little symbol led me into weeks and weeks of research of the Mormon religion. Because after I read one answer about why there was a pentagram there, that led me into another question, and then another, and then another. But every answer I got, the whole thing just got more mind-boggling. What was going on here? If you look into it, you will find that the pentagram wasn’t always used by Satanists or the Occult, it actually was a symbol used in Christianity. However, once the Occult started using it, the Christians dropped it and used the cross as their symbol. That was back in the medieval times that that transition took place. But, the Mormon religion didn’t even get started until the early 1800′s. However, the Christian history behind the pentagram, is the reason that the Mormons use for why that pentagram and all of the other upside down stars around Salt Lake are there. That’s where I draw the line. There has to be some respect for what something has become. Up until the Nazis used the swastika as their symbol, it was used by China, Japan, India and Southern Europe. It was used by many cultures throughout the past to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck. But the Nazis used it and ruined it, right? Of course I’m right. You don’t see people getting it tattooed on their arms and telling you that they only got it because it means good luck. No, people understand that since the Nazis used it, that meaning is now gone. It became a symbol of murder & hate. And everyone understands that when they see it. And in my opinion, it’s the same with the pentagram. Most people know that when you see a pentagram, the person that is either wearing it as jewelry, or spray painting it on the side of a building, they are not using the symbol as a symbol of Christ; no, they’re using it because they believe it to be a symbol of Satan or the Occult. And that’s my point. Why on earth was there a pentagram etched into that building? And why is the Mormon church totally ok with that symbol, even though they are completely aware of the association that the Occult has with that same symbol?
Again, more questions. I got a lot of answers from my research. Answers that I’m glad I have now. And if you think that this is going to be the only thing you hear of Mormonism in the next several months, think again. Just wait and see. The Mormon religion is going to get completely picked apart from the news media with the recent Republican (almost) nominee given to Mitt Romney. I believe that the media is going to rip him apart, using the “what he believes in” as the only leg they need to stand on in their argument. Which is why, I would urge you to do your own research. A lot of people are Mormons, and they’re really good people. I haven’t met a Mormon yet that I didn’t like. But I believe it’s important to know what people believe. I could spend hours and hours telling you about what I believe and why believe it, but it’s only my opinion. You should always do your own investigation. An actual investigation. Talk to your friends or neighbors, do some online research, read a book or two. One of the things that I found incredibly interesting while doing my research was reading testimonials from ex-Mormons, even the testimonial from Sandra Tanner, the great grand daughter of Brigham Young. Their testimonies blew my mind! Because while the Bible is taught that it is one of the many Holy books in the Mormon religion, apparently Mormons are taught that they should “avoid it;” that the “Book of Mormon” should be their go-to book. The Bible has had zero revisions (thus The Dead Sea Scrolls), while the Book of Mormon has been revised (depending on who you ask) hundreds to even thousands of times. One site claimed that it has been revised at least 3,913 times. Including a revision in 1981 to 2 Nephi 30:6. Go ahead, look that one up, it’s an interesting read. It wasn’t just a grammatical revision or anything, I’d say it was a pretty significant revision that drastically changes the entire verse. All in all, to sum up these testimonials, the bottom line came down to this, these Mormons went out in search for the truth.
The truth. Such an interesting topic. I believe with all my heart that for those that are in search of the truth, and they are open to hear what that is, they’ll find it. I believe that it’s in the heart of every man & woman on earth, that we all want to just know the truth. But don’t expect it to come knocking at your door (pun intended), go out and look for it. Somebody once told me that the two biggest questions to ask myself were, “Who was Jesus? And why did He die?” I still believe to this day that those are the most important questions you could ever ask. So do your own research. Look stuff up. Because, what if there really is more to this life than what it appears to be?