Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites
Salt Lake City, Utah
After traveling for nearly a year, Seminary Sam
finally entered the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.
Seminary Sam's visited was hosted by students
from the West High School Seminary in Salt Lake City. The high
school (shown below) is a few minutes walk from Temple Square and
downtown Salt Lake City.
Seminary Sam's visit to Salt Lake City has
been organized into six separate sections:
Encampment in the Salt Lake Valley
The Church History Museum
Two of Brigham Young's Salt
Lake City homes
(the Lion House and Beehive House)
church headquarters area
(in downtown Salt Lake City)
"This is the Place" Heritage
Park and Old Deseret Village
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
The first pioneer company to travel to the Salt Lake Valley left
Winter Quarters on April 5, 1847.
This group consisted
of 143 men, 3 women, and 2 children. They traveled with 72 wagons,
93 horses, 52 mules, 66 oxen, 19 cows, 17 dogs and some chickens.
Others later joined this group, while some returned East as guides.
(Deseret News 1997-98 Church Almanac, page 114. Referred to
hereafter as Almanac.)
The main body of this pioneer company reached the
Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847 and camped near where Emigration
and Parley's Creeks come close together. Other members of the
company were in various locations. Brigham Young and almost three
dozen pioneers entered the Valley two days later on July 24, 1847.
First Encampment Park is dedicated to the
pioneers in the first pioneer company--especially those who spent
the first night in the valley.
The pictures that follow show some of the rock
monuments dedicated to those who stayed at the First Encampment.
Orrin Porter Rockwell "became
a good friend of Joseph Smith, Jr. He was baptized early in 1830 in
Fayette, Seneca County, New
York... In the west, he gained considerable influence with the
Indians, and often helped avoid troubles. He became a terror to the
lawless elements and would ride a thousand miles in the harshest of
weather in the interests of the Church. A volume of folklore has
accumulated about his service as a deputy marshal of Salt Lake City.
He also rode for the Pony Express and his house, 25 miles southwest
of Salt Lake City, was a station for them."
(Almanac, p. 147)
George Albert Smith
was a cousin of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. "He helped with the
Kirtland Temple, hauling the
first loads of rock. He took part in Zion's Camp in 1834... On the
journey westward, unknown to anyone else, he locked away 25 pounds
of flour. As the journey wore on, "I issued my reserve flour, cup by
cup, to the sick, some of whom attribute to this circumstance the
preservation of their lives."... In 1868 he was called as first
counselor to Brigham Young. He was active in territorial government
and is considered father of the southern colonies, the largest of
which, St. George, is named in his honor." (Almanac, p. 149)
was "a valued scout and was a marksman and hunter. After his arrival
in the Salt Lake Valley, he helped explore the regions around Salt
Lake, Utah Lake, Cedar Valley, and Tooele Valley. ... He later
helped found Bountiful where he constructed a pond, built a sawmill
and sawed lumber." (Almanac, p. 138)
Willard Richards was baptized by
his cousin, Brigham Young, in 1836. "A year after his baptism he was
sent to England with Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde. Shortly after
his return, he was ordained an apostle and in 1841 was appointed
clerk to Joseph Smith and to the Church. He was with the Prophet
during the martyrdom. ... Upon
arriving in Salt Lake Valley... he was appointed to lead prayers,
consecrating and dedicating the land to the Lord. He returned to
Winter Quarters where he was chosen as second counselor to Brigham
Young, in Kanesville, Iowa.
... He later served as secretary to the government of the State of
Deseret, postmaster of Salt Lake City, and member of the Perpetual
Emigrating Fund committee. He was the first editor of the Deseret
News. (Almanac, p. 146)
was baptized in Nauvoo on November 13, 1844. "He received a
patriarchal blessing by John Smith in Nauvoo in 1846. Although he
was one of the original pioneers, he remained in the valley just a
short time. He traveled to California [in 1850 where he]... died
later that year... while mining
for gold..." (Almanac, pp. 126-127)
joined the church in England in 1840. "While crossing the muddy
fields of Iowa near what is now Corydon, he wrote the famous hymn
"Come, Come, Ye Saints" which has since become well-known around the
world. As scribe and historian of the pioneer journey, he recorded
many of the events of the historic trek. Along the way he built a "roadometer"
to count the revolutions of a wagon wheel to thus record distances."
(Almanac, p. 128)
was born in 1828 "a slave of African descent. ... At age 20, he was
given as a gift to James Madison Flake. He was baptized in the
Mississippi River near Nauvoo...
He was selected to be part of the advance company that entered the
valley July 22, 1847. His carriage, however, is believed to be the
one that carried an ill Brigham Young into the valley. The carriage
was returned to Winter
Quarters that fall, but he remained and built a cabin in the
Cottonwood area... He remained in the area as a devout Latter-day
Saint for many years." (Almanac, pp. 133-134.)
Return J. Redden
was baptized in the Ohio River in 1841. "He was closely associated
with the Prophet Joseph Smith and was one of his body guards. ...
After arriving in Salt Lake Valley, he assisted in planting and then
returned to Winter Quarters
with Brigham Young. He brought his family west the following year."
(Almanac, p. 146)
was killed by Indians in 1853. "After reaching the Salt Lake Valley,
he helped in the erection of the fort and building the settlement."
(Almanac, p. 130)
was baptized in 1831 in Fayette.
"He was captain of the police in Nauvoo and once intercepted an
attempt to kidnap Joseph Smith. ... he was one of three men to plow
the first furrows in the Saints' newfound home. ... He crossed the
plains five times to assist poor immigrants. He was one of the
founders of Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Association [zCMI]." (Almanac,
Truman O. Angell
and his wife joined the church in 1833. "He helped build the
Nauvoo temples. After crossing
the plains with the original company, Angell returned the same year
to get his family. ... He built the
Beehive and Lion Houses, and he traveled to England to learn how
to build a sugar factory in Sugar House, and to study architecture.
He was the architect, although not the designer, of the Salt Lake
Temple. He devoted 37 years almost exclusively to the construction
of the temple in Salt Lake City. He also supervised the work on the
Salt Lake Tabernacle and the St. George Temple." (Almanac, p.
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
Seminary Sam was excited to be visiting Temple
Square in the heart of Salt Lake City. Like other
original Salt Lake City blocks, Temple Square is ten acres in size.
Temple Square is the architectural center of Salt Lake City, sacred
ground for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a
primary point of interest for millions of visitors annually. Within
the square are the Salt Lake Temple, the tabernacle (home of the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir), the Assembly Hall, two visitors centers,
several historical statues, and well-kept grounds. Its appearance
today differs sharply from that of the treeless desert that greeted
the first Mormon pioneers in 1847. (Encyclopedia
of Mormonism, Vol. 4)
Seminary Sam is posing in front of the replica of
the Christus statue by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen that is
located in the north visitors center on Temple Square. "It depicts
the Savior with arms outstretched inviting all to come to him. The
Christus represents the central focus of the Church's beliefs and
worship: Jesus Christ." (Encyclopedia of Mormonsm, Vol. 4)
These sister missionaries from South Korea are
two of the many missionaries on Temple Square who stand ready to
assist visitors and teach gospel principles.
The explanatory panel at the base of this statue
Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood
John the Baptist, the biblical prophet who
baptized Jesus Christ, conferred the Priesthood of Aaron upon Joseph
Smith (left) and Oliver Cowdery (right) on May 15, 1829, on the bank
of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. The priesthood, which
holds the authority to baptize for remission of sins and entrance
into the kingdom of God, had been absent from the earth for
centuries. Its latter-day restoration by John the Baptist made the
blessings of baptism again available to all mankind.
Seminary Sam is shown posing at the statue
honoring the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon: Oliver Cowdery,
David Whitmer, and Martin Harris.
This statue (above ) honors the memory of the
almost 3,000 pioneers who walked from Iowa and Nebraska to Utah
pulling wooden handcarts loaded with food and family belongings.
Sam is held up in front of the southwest corner
of the world famous Tabernacle. "Construction of the Tabernacle
began in 1863. It was in use four years later and dedicated in
1875." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 4)
"A decade later the Assembly Hall was built to
accommodate smaller gatherings. This building holds approximately
3,000 people and is often used for overflow of the Church's general
conferences." (Encyclopedia of
Mormonism, Vol. 4)
Seminary Sam admires the beautiful Salt Lake
Only days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley,
President Brigham Young identified the site for the temple. It was
originally planned as a 40-acre block but was reduced to ten acres
"for convenience." The ground-breaking ceremony for the temple was
held on February 14, 1853, even though the ground was frozen and
covered with snow. Construction continued for forty years, and the
temple was dedicated on April 6, 1893.
(Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.
Seminary Sam is standing in front of decorative
doors of the Salt Lake Temple. The beehive, symbol of the state of
Utah and LDS industriousness, is molded on each door knob.
A marker on the south side of the Salt Lake
Salt Lake Temple
The temple is used by Church members for
marriages and other sacred ordinances designed to strengthen
families, both now and for eternity. Begun in 1853, it was completed
forty years later. Granite rock used in its construction was hauled
twenty-three miles by ox-drawn wagons from Little Cottonwood Canyon.
The walls are nine feet thick at the ground level and narrow to six
feet thick at the top. The east center tower is 210 feet high and is
topped by a statue of an angel heralding the restoration to earth of
the gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter days.
City planners often marvel at how well organized
downtown Salt Lake City is. The "base and meridian" from which all
roads in Salt Lake City are measured is shown above. A nearby plaque
Great Salt Lake Base and Meridian
Latitude 40°46'04" -- Longitude 111°54'00"
Altitude (sidewalk) 4,327.27 ft.
Fixed by Orson Pratt assisted by Henry G. Sherwood, August 3, 1847,
when beginning the original survey of "Great Salt Lake City," around
the "Mormon" temple site designated by Brigham Young July 28, 1847,
the city streets were named and numbered from this point...
Sam's journeys are continued on page
Click here to follow Seminary Sally's travels
Click here to follow Seminary Sasha's travels
© Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights