A woman in my ward just won a church party game by naming the most things she had never done, which everyone else had done. The topper was that she had never been to Utah .
Yeah, yeah, I know all the statistics about all the members all over the world, but it’s still rare to meet one living in the U.S. , who has never set foot in Utah . We stream into that state as if pulled by magnetic force. And there seems to be no off-season. Between unparalleled skiing, April Conference, BYU games, balmy summers, Education Weeks, October Conference, weddings, and the myriad family reunions there, we just can’t seem to go often enough.
And yet, I for one, find the difficulty of getting into Utah somewhere along the lines of storming the Bastille, or bursting into Buckingham Palace . You’d think I were a party crasher trying to get into the White House in a wrinkled tuxedo, or a joker on stilts, trying to attend a Tall Man’s Convention. For me, Utah seems surrounded by a force field which deflects my efforts to enter, the way Superman’s chest deflects bullets.
I’d even be willing to make a few promises. I promise not to disgrace your better ski resorts with my rusty California style. I promise not to whine about how cold it is, when I didn’t bring a winter coat. I promise not to drive in California Survival Mode. I promise not to introduce your teenagers to trendy sayings that probably originate on our beaches and include such intelligent offerings as, “Sick,” meaning wonderful.
I’ve tried to fly in and have twice been thwarted by fog, once deposited in Phoenix , and another time plunked down in Salt Lake while my skiis and baggage rested happily in Denver . My luggage, all by itself, has accumulated enough bonus miles to warrant a trip around the world.
It isn’t as if it’s a bargain to get there, either. On three separate occasions when I realized it was cheaper to fly to New York (thanks to the Airline Who Knows Who It Is), I did just that, instead.
Driving isn’t any easier. We always have the ceremonial overheating and breaking down of the car in Nevada . This is following by a scorching, sweaty wait in a landscape that looks, for all the world, like the moon.
If I make it to Southern Utah, I’m sure to get pulled over near Cedar City , by highway patrolmen with beehives on their doors and a definite sting in their approach. These officers who prey upon passing tourists are generally unimpressed by the statistics you give them about the unreliability of radar guns which have been found to clock a quaking aspen going 60 mph.
If I can get through such roadblocks as these, and through the dense fog which swallows up road signs, dotted lines, and even the roads themselves, I have a bare chance of slithering through the icy winds and black ice at the point of the mountain. This area offers an apt view of the state prison, and makes one ponder the chances of ever getting out again, as well.
I’ve never tried approaching from the north or east, but I suspect one could encounter crazy drivers trying to set records on the salt flats, or get hopelessly lost driving back and forth between Kamas and Samak. Or was it Kanab and Banak?
And let’s not even discuss what gruesome fate could await a lone traveler in Dinosaurland.
I tell you, the fact that so many “outside” Latter-day Saints make it in at all, is a tribute to our fortitude and ingenuity. It just goes to show you, that where two or more are gathered, there will not only be diaper bags and PPIs, there will be miracles. Sheer miracles.