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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Business is Thriving in Salt Lake City

Last month, we had the opportunity of spending a day in Salt Lake City.  As we drove up State Street, we couldn’t help but notice the many tattoo parlors, smoke shops, bars, and pawn shops. We took pictures as we drove north on State Street. 






























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—
 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.
 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.
 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?
 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.
 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:
 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

Here’s what the Bible has to say about religion, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27 

“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

7 comments:

  1. I am so saddened by this display of Babylon, but so grateful that you and others blog about it, the message is loud and clear. We thought the "True Religion" brand jeans said a lot, likewise there is one of the pictures that looks so much like the inside of our temple...the 5th picture from the bottom reminds me of the entrance to the temple here in Adelaide. I am thankful with all this, that HIS arm is stretched out still and that there are TRUE PROPHETS crying repentance right now.

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  2. I had a thought while reading this post. I wonder if we truly followed Christ, shouldn't we see thousands of homeless descending upon Salt Lake and Temple Square, and then the thousands who came to attend the temple or conference would impart of their substance to the needy, the sick, the homeless. Wouldn't that be a beautiful sight? Instead of anti panhandling laws, we could allow the homeless and needy unfettered access to all of temple square so as to more readily see to their needs.

    I think of Moroni's words in Mormon 8:39. He said we suffer the needy, the sick, the naked to pass us by and we notice them not.

    I love your posts. I hope things are going well for y'all.

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  3. I tried to leave a comment but it was too long...LOL. Could I email you? I agree with your assessment completely. I am enjoying your blog. Thanks for taking a stand for truth, even though others may not want to hear it.

    Peace be unto you,

    Ashley

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  4. I thought instead of email I could just post my comments in more than one post...

    Hello Jennifer. :) Just checking out your blog. It's interesting because it's like I keep seeing our awful situation on greater and greater levels. It's very scary because just how long do we expect the arm of the Lord to stay stretched out?

    As I was reflecting on our situation today the Lord opened my eyes in a whole new way. I was suddenly able to see even more clearly the big picture and how we got to this point. It is amazing now when I read the scriptures how clear it all is and I wonder how I didn't see it before?

    I was contemplating over the chicken or the egg predicament. Was it the blindness of leaders that started it or the over all hardness of heart of the people? As I was reflecting on the scriptures and the words of Joseph Smith I remembered that God closes the eyes of the leaders when the majority fail to hearken to His voice. The Lord gives the people what they want until they have less and less light and they are ripe for destruction.

    That train of thought opened up a whole new view to me about why we are where we are and what it will take for things to change.
    It is clear that the saints rejected the fulness in the very beginning. Joseph has such a hard time getting the minds of the Saints prepared for the greater things back then. And they had Joseph Smith who is the epitome of a true Prophet.





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  5. Because of their choices and how they failed to really hearken to the words of Christ Joseph was taken away from them and was Martyred along with Hyrum. Then, they instead got Brigham Young who was certainly not a Prophet in the same sense that Joseph was. They received a leader who's eyes were somewhat closed. The heavens were certainly not open to him in the way it was with Joseph so it was like the Heavens withdrew a good bit from the church.But the Lord in His mercy still had His arm stretched out to them. Then some really terrible things happened in the church. And the darkness and blindness only increased once the people were left more to themselves with a church President who only saw through a glass darkly.

    Since then it has only continued to get worse. As long as the majority are in their slumbers and are not hearkening to the Lord's own voice, it only will continue to get worse. Most church members I have talked with say they don't need to understand the deeper levels of Christ's gospel. And in fact, they say if you strive to understand the deeper things then you are on the slippery slope. They say they need no more and they are content with what they have and where they are.

    The Lord is not going to raise up another Prophet like Joseph within the church when that is the attitude of the majority of people. And at the same time, its partly the attitude of most people because of what they are being taught or not being taught through the church. So we find ourselves in this present situation with many stuck wondering in the dark and completely ignorant that they are even in the dark.

    But now the dawn has begun to break and more and more are becoming aware of our situation and yet the majority I believe are still sleeping. What I realized is that it would take a lot more of the people to WANT MORE of the word of God and to NOT be content with the way things are in order for anything to really change. So, in the mean time the Lord is forced to raise up nobodies and the weak to preach repentance and speak His words.

    We really are no different than those we read about in the scriptures and in reality we are exactly the same as them. How often the Lord curses the people to the third and fourth generation in the scriptures for their idolatry. The Israelites were cursed to the third and fourth generations as well because of the tradition's of their Father's.

    This is exactly what I believe has occurred with our people. And I believe individuals are beginning to come out from under that condemnation and curse. The Lord has stretched out His arm once more. Whether collectively this church will come out from under that curse I am unable to say. But if we don't it will not be long before we are truly ripe for destruction.

    Sorry, for the REALLY long comment... lol.

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  6. "Judge not that ye be not judged."

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Thank you for posting