Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Passing Parade

With me not having to work today, we decided to do some driving around and found ourselves at the 'Mt. Olivet' (stupid name but pleasant place) cemetery up by the U. I mistakenly thought important people were buried there but we found out they were all up at the Salt Lake City cemetery which is in the avs.

We headed over there via a really winding route that took us past several gorgeous homes that were inhabited by a broad assortment of cultural types ranging from lesbians to somewhat older lesbians. Anyway, we finally landed at the (other) SLCC and set off looking for noteable church leaders.

Along the way we saw a great many Romneys, Eccles, and even a 'Noble.' Beautiful headstones; very diverse. The first person we recognized was Wilford Woodruff, but it turns out we had the wrong one and that Wilford Woodruff was apparently as popular a name in the 1800s as 'Logan' is today.

We found Orson Pratt nearby, and surmised he was related in some way to Parley P Pratt. We were frustrated to not have any kind of map and there was apparently no building anywhere that looked like it was handing them out, so we were on our own. Consequently we were there probably 2 hours or so.

We found George Albert Smith, and that was cool. We looked in vain for Joseph Fielding Smith, who was apparently nearby thanks to a very unhelpful map on Google. Eventually we made our way to the west side, parked, and got out.

We found David O. McKay, whose gravestone is absolutely enormous. I know the stone is determined by his family and is meant as a tribute to him but I don't think he would have preferred something big enough to keep East and West Germany separated. But very close by to his was President & Sister Hinckley's grave.

I will have to post the picture tomorrow of Jan and Mads by the marker but it was a very special experience. Sacred ground-everything was extremely peaceful and quiet there. It's under a very large tree and it looks out at the entire valley. The stone is also pretty large but I think extremely warranted given the legacy he left and the degree to which he was and is beloved.

We also noticed how the grass in front of his marker is almost completely worn down-this is a popular spot, I think. A marker on the back of the stone reads that the stone was made from extra stone from the quarry where they made the SLC Temple and the conference center (which I still think should be named the Hinckley Center, but maybe he asked that it not be?).

We tried in vain thereafter to find Spencer W. Kimball and couldn't, and also struck out on Howard W. Hunter, Ezra Taft Benson, and Neal A. Maxwell, even though we had a picture of NAM's gravestone and thought we could make out the angle and discern its location. Afterwards when we got home and could look things up proper it became apparent that the cemetery continued across the street to the North and that most everyone we were looking for was up there. We'll have to head back again soon.

Spending that much time amongst the non-living definitely has the effect of making one contemplate their own mortality. It also leads to some great jokes and puns, particularly one I made when we turned down a street that was a dead end. Still, the experience made me extremely grateful for a knowledge of things as they really are. Life would be pretty bleak and without purpose otherwise. It's still astounding to me how many people can be led to miss something as blindingly obvious as the sun at noonday. People are trading eternity for about 5 seconds of being considered intelligent by people who are just as insecure as they are. Why the desperation and fear behind the need for reinforcement of such beliefs is not apparent to everyone is a mystery.

No comments: