Is Zion’s pull so strong Part 1

For many people I have talked to in Canada, certainly in Southern Alberta specifically, there is a great deal of thought about Zion.  Not Zion, as in the New Jerusalem or the old one or even Enoch’s place.  No this Zion exists in one very specific place and it is found “In the tops of the mountains”.

If you have not guessed by now I am referring to Utah.  Lately I have been reading an older book, which I will reveal in Part 2, which discusses Zion as SLC and surrounding area.   For many of these Saints Zion was a critical place.  One that they must unite with as soon as possible.

It seems in Southern Alberta this feeling is also felt.  My Stepfather in law was always trying to figure out a way to go to Utah.  In fact they came very close to doing so but could not sell their house at the time in a deep recession so they stayed put.   As it would turn out later, this was a big blessing as he was diagnosed with Cancer and the cost of the procedures which failed to prolong his life would have been through the roof.

But there are a number of people in Canada, who went to BYU, or BYU Idaho.  They attend these schools with plans to possibly return home, yet many stay.  I have found to some extent I have felt that bug.  I at times have felt a very strong push to return to the USA.  So far the answer has been a firm no.  Each time I go off in a completely different direction.

Yet, that pull for me seems to some extent still exist.  I think now I would be less likely to move to Utah than some other western state but by the same token I understand how saints from other countries felt in the 1800s as they felt the pull to Zion.

While our leaders say stay, it is obvious that among a great number there is a feeling of longing for a centre place.  Many in Britain, in small wards and Branches, seem to some extent envy that closeness which we have in our big centres.

Which brings me to my second point.  Why do we think this pull is so strong?  It is a feeling that effects old long time members, and the newly baptised.  While I will willingly say that many do not want to move to the centre stake, their reasons maybe because of previous exposure to Utah or to the sense you get talking to others.

Coming from Southern Alberta often I have felt that Utah is a magnified version of the Mormon belt in our area.   Which is both a compliment and a detraction.  Yet the pull of unity, of community certainly is in the back of my mind at times.  It amazes me to have it pop up now and again.

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5 Responses to Is Zion’s pull so strong Part 1

  1. Michael says:

    I got over “Zion’s” pull a long time ago when I saw how commercial, crass, and eager Utahns were to destroy their environment, fill their valleys with billboards and oversized signs that pay homeage to Larry H. Miller (and his offspring) or Ken Garff. How relentless they were to recruit me into MLM and how closed minded they were on fully desiring the depth of Zion instead of the shallow marketing version of Babylon disguised as Zion.

    Now I seek to find Zion in my home stake in Florida.

  2. BruceC says:

    My father was born in Salt Lake, but he corrected the problem as soon as he could. He never looked back, though he does visit from time to time. I don’t want to live there, for reasons similar to Michael’s. I do feel the pull though. I look at it the same way I look at Nauvoo. I love to visit, but I don’t want to live there.

  3. Steve says:

    I moved to Utah with my family nearly 30 years ago, and I’ve been wanting out ever since. The echo chamber and the culture drive me nuts. If it weren’t for the recession, I’d be moving to Phoenix right now.

  4. The three preceding comments are what I have come to expect whenever Utah is discussed. Begging your pardon, but there are no billboards in other parts of the country? And people who can’t make themselves happy in Utah are somehow magically going to be able to make themselves happy elsewhere? Take it from me: we are actually quite happy that you are quite happy elsewhere. May you remain so — happy and elsewhere — the rest of your lives!

    Jon’s OP, however, is something I almost never see — an expression of understanding why those of us who make Utah home *are* at home here. There is indeed a unity here among the Saints. It’s the same unity I found growing up in Las Vegas, where the Saints knew and supported each other while surrounded by everything that makes Las Vegas what it is. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, while surrounded by the jaded, the whiners, the cynics, and the non-Mormons. We not only find the same unity that other Saints do elsewhere, but we do it where we have ready access to everything the institutional church has to offer.

  5. Jon W says:

    Hi guys just got home from work to see there was some posting on this one.

    Well, let me be clear here, not to take one particular side. I think there will be expectations and a downside to anywhere. I have myself seen this in the UK. When we got to the UK we loved it. I loved the faith of members not caught up in a culture of dominance. I loved the fact that things were so friendly and kind. People actually talked to you on a bus, everything seemed lovely, enough so that for at least five years later we still miss it.

    Now on the same token, Welsh people would ask two questions:
    Where are you from?
    Why on earth are you here?

    In other words to a Welshman and woman their own country did not compare as favourably as Canada. I had people go on and on about things in Australia, Canada and the USA. They saw grass and felt it was greener. Maybe they were right, I will not judge anymore. I suggest Utah is not dissimlar. It is what is your cup of tea. I know people who love it and people that hate it. Some who have been there and some who have not and both of these groups represent the hate/love aspect.

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