596. The Poetry of Places

The Cathedral of The Madeleine, SLC

Here’s the set-up, viewing Salt Lake City through the lens of religion and the buildings & the people who built those buildings and adhere to those religions. When you have such a iconic place as SLC mixed in with the history of one of the only world religion’s created on American Soil (Latter Day Saints) and the diversity of a cosmopolitan city: bam… you got the poetry of places. Let’s see where we go with this.

First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City

In the shadows of The Temple Square lies other buildings, jealous lovers, and yes size matters… not to God so much but to the people that inhabit those buildings to remind themselves of a God that doesn’t really care all that much…

…about the buildings, and their size.

Gargoyle’s of SLC

The Mormons were first to arrive on the Salt Lake scene, at least the first Euro-disco pioneers, 148 in all. Of those only 3 women and 2 kids. No wonder polygamy was a thing.

The Capstone Finished, 1892
The Temple along with what appears to be a giant roast beef-covered dish-server thingee
The Disneyland of Temples

The Mormons got it going on with the whole Temple gig in 1853, along with the Gold Rush, ceding the land from Mexico, persecution, crickets, locust, and what not… the building wasn’t finished until 1892.

Then the Catholics, not to be outdone, started planting stones to a Gothic God, frightening in its Gargoyles to stand watch over sin and guilt and to remind all the parishioners that hell hurts, fire burns, confess your sins, drink whisky. 1890 through 1909. Bam another building right down the street, let’s keep God inside these four walls shall we?

St. Mary’s, A beautiful place

And for a diversion, right across the street is a red sumo wrestler statue in front of the Mountain West Commercial Realty Group.

He faces the Cathedral of the Madeleine as to aggressively want to kick Catholic Ass… maybe they hold too much property or a real estate deal gone bad with the archdiocese… maybe the owner of the Real Estate Group hates that big funny hat the Pope wears!! Who knows?

Rear View, Sumo fighting mad at the Catholics.
Close-up / Sumo Ass, 2021

Back to religion & the Presbyterians.

Not to be outdone still… the Presbyterians… everything predestined and pre-determined to happen just how it happens and happened.

In July of 1871, Rev. Sheldon Jackson visited Salt Lake City and recommended to the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church that a church be organized. On October 1, 1871, Rev. Josiah Welch came to Salt Lake City, and on the next Sunday preached in Faust’s Hall, over Mulloy and Paul’s Livery Stable, to twelve people. Brigham Young had closed to the “Gentiles” (non-Mormons) every hall and public place in the city so this unsavory stable was the only place available. On November 12, 1871, the First Presbyterian Church was organized with twelve members.

– From the Website of the 1st Pres’s
History of 1st Presbyterian, Salt Lake

And in the formative years as a land was forged and men, women, and children planted their Gods squarely inside beautiful buildings, all along God looked on and laughed from the cathedrals of stone and water and wood…

Sit in one of those buildings vs the mountains and feel God sucked out of your soul. The cathedral of stone, ragged and jagged, like life, the baptism of snow runoff streams and freezing lakes cleansing and the shards of splinters of pine and fir… and snow and snow and snow…

…finally God.


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