Can You Believe I Live Here? A Photo Essay

One of my all-time favorite posts is "I Can't Believe I Work Here: A Photo Essay," from a couple years ago.  I had a blast putting that together.  Well, here's a sequel.  Not quite so humorous, but every bit as extraordinary as purple walls and caving ceilings--to those outside Utah, that is.  Those of you who have spent some time here will not be surprised at all, though you may find cause to think again about something you've grown accustomed to seeing.

It's always hard to describe to "outsiders" how dominant the LDS (Mormon) culture is here in the Provo area.  Where words fail, pictures may succeed.  So, on a recent bargain-hunting excursion to Savers thrift store, I happened to have my camera along, and on the spur of the moment decided to capture some images from Mormonland.  Here's what I came up with.

1.  Decorative stack of books, including three of the four considered inspired Scripture by the LDS Church.  A nice touch to any mantlepiece in Utah Valley.
2.  A couple quintessential wall decorations for any Mormon family: a picture of a temple (the Jordan River Utah Temple is my best guess), and a child's mirror framed with, "I am a child of God and he loves me."

3.  A popular portrait print of the Prophet Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS Church.

4.  And then there are the kindly faces of the modern-day prophets.
5.  "Strong Testimonies Are Reachable"!  Incidentally, I just typed "testimony" in the Google search bar of my browser and 9 of the top 10 phrases that came up were references to the LDS usage of the term.  It's a very Mormonish word.  Also, notice the Halloween decoration.  Halloween is The Holiday here; bigger than Easter and Thanksgiving put together, maybe even on the same plane as Christmas.

6.  A framed verse from Doctrine and Covenants (or "D&C" if you're in the know), complete with hand pressed wildflowers.
7.  "'Choose the Right'--it's more than a hymn title, more than a slogan.  It's the only path to happiness.  L. Tom Perry."  He's an apostle in the LDS Church, and "choose the right" is a popular motto, especially among youth.  "CTR" appears on rings, ties, bumper stickers, you name it.  I'll admit, it's a whole lot easier to rattle off than "WWJD?" but pretty sure Allen Iverson isn't sporting a CTR wristband.

8.  And since we're on an acronym kick, here are a couple LDS DVDs, OK?  The bottom one is from aging Mormon boy band Jericho Road.  If nothing else, they win cool band name points.
9.  And lastly... there were plenty of Mormon Tabernacle Choir (or Mo-Tab) tapes, CDs and records to be found.  But I selected this one because of its ironic placement on top of a Weird Al cassette-- never know what you'll find at a thrift store!  Although in Utah Valley, there are some pretty safe guesses, and as you can see, they all have to do with Mormonism.


Of Starchy Tubers

Sweet potatoes and yams are two different things.

This is the sort of thing an ignorant Midwesterner learns when eating lunch with Kentucky friends at an Applebee's where the manager recognizes them as fellow Southerners and wastes no time in bringing out a slice of decadent sweet potato pie he crafted himself.

Yams are more red and less stringy.  The best sweet potato pie is actually made out of yams; who woulda thunk it?  Next those Southerners will tell me that shoofly pie does not contain shoes and flies.