We were on our way to see the new City Creek that’s been the topic of many conversations.
Amid a devastating condo crash and high office vacancies across the U.S., one of the country's largest downtown development projects is taking shape in Salt Lake City. . . The driving force here is not economics, but the desire of Salt Lake's most powerful institution, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to salvage its immediate neighborhoods. "The church's primary notion is to protect the Temple Square and the headquarters of the Church," explains Mark Gibbons, president of City Creek Reserve, the church's development arm. "That's first and foremost. This development would not have been done just on a financial basis, I can tell you that." . . . Instead the City Creek project represents the ultimate in back-to-the-future city planning, a reversion to the ancient ideal of building a city around its essential "sacred space." Forbes
I wonder if the environment surrounding State Street was a motivating cause behind the City Creek development?
On the morning of its grand opening, thousands of shoppers thronged downtown Salt Lake, eager to elbow their way into the stores. The national anthem blared, and Henry B. Eyring, one of Monson’s top counselors, told the crowds, “Everything that we see around us is evidence of the long-standing commitment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City.” When it came time to cut the mall’s flouncy pink ribbon, Monson, flanked by Utah dignitaries, cheered, “One, two, three—let’s go shopping!” Business Week
Look at the name in the background. Have we asked Him to stand back and let us shop?
Watching a religious leader celebrate a mall may seem surreal, but City Creek reflects the spirit of enterprise that animates modern-day Mormonism. The mall is part of a vast church-owned corporate empire that the Mormon leadership says will help spread its message, increase economic self-reliance, and build the Kingdom of God on earth. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attends to the total needs of its members,” says Keith B. McMullin, who for 37 years served within the Mormon leadership and now heads a church-owned holding company, Deseret Management Corporation (DMC), an umbrella organization for many of the church’s for-profit businesses. “We look to not only the spiritual but also the temporal, and we believe that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom spiritually.” Business Week
Is City Creek attending to the needs of the beggars? Why are guards set over those who beg on the streets outside City Creek? Why would the state of Utah have an anti-panhandling law?
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? James 2:5
Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor. Ecclesiastes 4:13-14
Who are the heirs of the kingdom?
Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth; D&C 109:72
Is the kingdom going to be built by the hands of men? Is economic self-reliance going to build the Kingdom of God on earth? Has Christ asked us build a massive Babylonian Empire? Is this how we prepare for His return? Is this an acceptable sacrifice? Moses 6:3 Is building big business synonymous with building Zion?
Is it true “that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom spiritually”?
2 And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel—
3 Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart.
4 Now, as Alma was teaching and speaking unto the people upon the hill Onidah, there came a great multitude unto him, who were those of whom we have been speaking, of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.
5 And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do?
6 And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word.
7 Therefore he did say no more to the other multitude; but he stretched forth his hand, and cried unto those whom he beheld, who were truly penitent, and said unto them:
8 I behold that ye are lowly in heart; and if so, blessed are ye. Alma 32:2-8
In Alma’s day, who blossomed spiritually? The Rich? The impoverished? Why are the poor despised? Why more especially by the priests? Why were they cast out of the synagogues they labored to build with their own hands?
Bishop David S. Burton commented, “City Creek would not be nearing completion, nor would we be able to be active in community endeavors, without the vision and support of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their unwavering commitment to this community is enduringly expressed in the resources they have provided to renew and revitalize downtown and to care for those in our community least able to provide for themselves. I am grateful to President Monson and his counselors for their considerable and constant support.”
How did the First Presidency obtain such resources? How does City Creek “care for those in our community least able to provide for themselves”?
McMullin explains that City Creek exists to combat urban blight, not to fill church coffers. “Will there be a return?” he asks rhetorically. “Yes, but so modest that you would never have made such an investment—the real return comes in folks moving back downtown and the revitalization of businesses.” Pausing briefly, he adds with deliberation: “It’s for furthering the aim of the church to make, if you will, bad men good, and good men better.” Business Week
EzraTaft Benson taught “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”
Will shopping malls revitalize Salt Lake City? Will City Creek change human nature and take the slums out of people?
It is a beautiful shopping center. They were able to architecturally tie the new mall in with Temple Square and the Conference Center. If you stand between Tiffany’s and Rolex and look north, you’ll see that the flowerbeds on Temple Square mirror the fountains at City Creek. At the end of this line of vision is the waterfall that comes off the Conference Center.
"We think it's important that we create the kind of atmosphere that people remember, like and observe in Salt Lake City," he said. "That's an intangible … but it's important. Because Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah, it's important that it is 'dressed appropriately.'"
Bishop Burton said that the major objectives of the initial project vision have been met by the architects and design engineers, making the site a warm, interesting and inviting space that people will want to visit again and again as well as introducing new elements to downtown, elements he said represent the values of the LDS Church. Deseret News
Why is it important to be “dressed appropriately”? Is it all about the appearance? Or is it the heart that matters? 1 Samuel 16:7 What are the new elements that represent the values of the church?
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. Mormon 8:37
What would happen if we sold it all and gave the proceeds to the poor? What would happen if we gave our tithes, offerings, and surplus to care for the needy? Would we walk with God? Would he dwell in our midst? Would we be received into God’s own bosom? Will we be gathered out before the impending destruction? Moses 7:69 Where did Zion go? Why did Zion flee? Who left?
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? . . . Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. Mark 10:17, 21
Is Christ really interested in heading up a multi-billion dollar kingdom?
Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! D&C 56:16
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? Mormon 8:38
We were walking around City Creek on a Monday afternoon. We noticed that most people did not have shopping bags. It might have just been a slow time. The food plaza was quite full, but the stores were almost empty.
I wonder if the storeowners are making a profit. Merchandise is expensive. How many families have the means to spend money in this luxury shopping center? It was fun to visit, but the only things we bought were lunch and some batteries for our camera.
If some of these upscale stores end up leaving because Salt Lake City doesn’t have the wealthy base to support such extravagance, I wonder if any of the tattoo parlors, smoke shops, bars, and pawn shops will be invited into the mall?
The larger than life poster advertising “True Religion Brand Jeans” advertises the message of the mall. It’s an interesting revelation. What is our true religion? What do we mean when we say the church is true? “It’s perhaps unsurprising that Mormonism, an indigenous American religion, would also adopt the country’s secular faith in money.” Business Week
“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” Moses 7:18