It was a normal workday for me, but some of my kids watched the Days of ’47 Parade on TV in commemoration of the official entry of Mormon settlers into the Salt Lake Valley. I caught brief snippets of the parade, which seemed infused with history about Mormon pioneers and the LDS Church.
(Incidentally, my Mom-in-law and her sister reported to me that as they viewed the parade, they thought that the overweight crowd was more than well represented both among parade participants and parade attenders. There could be a variety of reasons for this observation, and it may be simply anecdotal, but I thought it should be mentioned.)
I couldn’t help but think about my friends that are opposed to public mention or displays of religion of any kind, unless it is something out of the mainstream—you know, from a group that could be considered in their minds to lack adequate social standing, and are, therefore, worthy of their tolerance. I could almost sense these friends cringing.
The fact is that no matter how you slice it, the history of the state of Utah is inextricably intertwined with the history of the LDS Church. You don’t have to like it, but if you are going to have any kind of honest study of Utah history, the LDS Church and its adherents are going to feature prominently. Like all history, it has portions that are not at all pretty, but it is what it is. And in my humble estimation, it is worth studying if you are planning on spending an appreciable amount of time in the state.
Unlike some of my neighbors, I had no ancestors that arrived in Utah in those first couple of decades of settlement. My parents are not from Utah (my Dad is not from the U.S.) But my parents moved here to accept a job offer when I was quite young, and Utah has been my home for most of my life. As a longtime citizen of Utah, I feel that my study of state history—including the wonderful, the less-than-wonderful, and the LDS Church—has been worthwhile.