Between formal functions, I caught up on the lives of my extended family; there are tales of tragedy and redemption, of senseless waste and heart-warming inspiration. As a born storyteller, my natural instinct to share them in journal entries - but ultimately, they are not my stories to share - so I leave you with photos and my own observations about my adventure into the heart of Mormon Country.
A Gentile Among Latter-Day Saints
The first thing you notice about Utah is the overwhelming density of young parents - at the airport, I saw a woman barely out of her teens pushing a carriage, with a toddler in tow ... belly full in the late months of another pregnancy. My cousin and his new wife, both 21, are considered the norm in a culture that expects their adolescents to remain chaste before their vows, and encourages large families from their married couples.
And so everywhere you look - tiny humans ... in strollers pushed by young mothers studying for their midterms at BYU, holding hands with older siblings crossing the street ... an entire city, teeming with new life in ways like no other metropolitan area I've ever seen.
The most distinct element of Mormon weddings is the 'sealing' ceremony, where the groom and bride are 'sealed for eternity' in a private room within the temple; only the couple and their parents are allowed to witness this rite before exiting to the more-public parts of the celebration. At any given moment, there were a dozen or so sealing ceremonies happening at once, and the exit of the temple were filled with guests of different wedding parties, all waiting to cheer their newly-sealed couple as they emerge from the door.
Family portrait in the lawn.
My beautiful and talented cousin, K-Bear. Sorry guys, she's already taken.
Utah is packed with absurdly gorgeous white women. For whatever reason, this
guest reminded me of the lovely furchild ... maybe it's because neither
would give me the time of day ... ;)
"I got mine!"
BF of aforementioned cousin, and a certified photo pimp. Have Canon, will travel.
Famous quote: "You forgot the most important person ... me!" ;)
Outside the reception area ...