Friday, May 2, 2008

Utah part 2

So here are some more Utah pics. One of the days I was there, I was very privileged to take a tour of BYU. Let me first say that BYU is a HUGE campus, and it is incredibly well maintained. It doesn't look like any college I've ever seen before, but it is a most impressive campus. One of the best parts of the tour, is that you get driven around in a golf cart by a tour guide. Our tour guide was a 1st year student named Dave, who you could tell really wanted to do a good job, and was all ready to give us the "typical" tour. I would imagine that Dave quickly figured out that I was not a normal tourist, given my initial squeal of glee to find out we would be riding in the cobalt blue golf cart rather than a white cart. Anyhow, he was very sweet, and despite my barage of questions and comments, he was able to give us a great tour of campus. I have more pics that I e-mailed myself, but at this time they are lost in cyberspace. I will post them when I find them.

Here is their baseball field. It is huge and brand new, thanks to it being entirely donated by a famous sports player whose name I can't remember! Emily, if you are reading me out!

A shot of one of the many campus lawns, strewn with students who were in the middle of finals week. I'm wondering if the word strewn lends itself to sounding like they were dead or something, but I assure you, they were all alive.

Here is a statue of Brigham Young, which I believe was carved by one of his grandkids. Sorry about the picture of the woman photographing it, but she just didn't seem like she wanted to move. You should have seen the odd positions she was in prior to me taking this picture with her in it! After seeing the statue, I couldn't help but wonder if one of my offspring will ever make a carving of me. I doubt it, but who knows?
See all those windows on that building? I asked Dave whose job it was to do the window washing, and much to my surprise I find that students actually do it! Most of the chores or jobs that need to be done on campus are done by students, who get paid for their work. I don't think I would like washing those windows!

As I said, I'll post the other pics when I find them. I think by the time Dave was done with me, he was probably ready to quit being a tour guide. One of the questions I asked him that might have potentially bugged him was where the on-campus coffee house was. Now for those of you who don't know, it is the position of the Mormon faith that they do not partake of caffeine, or alcohol of any kind. I was simply fooling around with poor Dave when I asked that question. I did not ask him if there was a campus bar nearby! I do have limits, you know. That being said, 3 out of the 5 days I was in Utah, I was able to procure Starbucks! (And, I gave Em her first Starbucks drink, but I assure you it was only a peppermint hot chocolate). I am such a bad influence. For that I am not apologetic, but unabashedly proud.
So, I think that because I asked so many questions of Dave, I was rewarded for my curiousity and he took Emily and I to a movie viewing room to watch a movie about the history of BYU. That was all fine and good, but I was a bit concerned when he shut the doors when he put us in the room. I guess he wanted to make sure I didn't get distracted. Additionally, he got me some paperwork to tell me more about BYU. I felt a little bad for Emily to have to suffer through all of this, because she is BYU alumni. But, she was a good friend and put up with it for my sake.
BYU is actually a pretty hard school to get in. Their avg. GPA of students accepted is 3.78, and they only accept a percentage of those who apply. 98.5% of the folks that attend BYU are of the Mormon faith, which only intrigues me to wonder what I would be like as the 1.5% minority who went there. My guess is that they would either see me as an opportunity or they would simply get sick of me.
Anyhow, it is a very impressive school, with tons of different majors, student activities, and unique opportunities for their students. I really enjoyed my tour there and I can only surmise that Dave wishes we would come back for a second tour.
Ok, there is one thing I would like to say about the whole Mormon thing, and I hope in doing so, I do not offend Emily or any of her friends that read this blog. I would first like to clarify that the stuff you have been hearing on the news about this FLDS Mormon ranch/compound (with all of the wives in prairie dresses, and the hundreds of kids, etc.) has absolutely NOTHING to do with the mainstream Mormon (Latter Day Saints) congregation. It is some wacko group that broke off from the church long ago and who insist upon living in a fashion that the real Mormon church denounces. Just wanted to clear that up.
Also, I would like to say that while the Mormon church is very different from other Christian denomination churches I have attended, like Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, etc., I think they are widely misunderstood and sometimes categorized as being "weird, fanatical, crazy", and unfortunately endure other gross generalizations. I think that as a society, we tend to become very judgemental and territorial about our own religious backgrounds, which of course is very normal, but it also has the propensity to cause a lot of dissent that doesn't need to happen. I have been friends with Emily for over 6 years now, and have had the opportunity to attend several Mormon church type functions with her, and I can honestly say that I have found the church to be very welcoming, kind, and that in general, we have similarities in our faith. We also have many differences. I will not say that I agree with all of the Mormon church's teachings, and I know that they too disagree with some elements of my faith background. I have chosen to just focus on what we all have in common, and simply respect their right to believe and worship as they see fit. Emily has done the same for me. I just feel bad because it seems like in the media, the Mormon church tends to get portrayed in a very negative way, and it simply is unfair to them. So, let's just all remember, "I'm ok, you're ok" and remember to keep an open mind. Oh yeah - and those rolls I made the other day? They were Mormon rolls. Well, the recipe is Mormon. Go Mormons!
That being said, Emily, I hate to say it, but I am about to go make a huge pitcher of margaritas to share with my friend Diane H., who is coming over soon. Sorry about that! But, we'll raise a toast in your honor. Tomorrow when I have my Starbucks latte, I will give a shout out to you all out in Utah. But I won't do it for the FLDS, promise.
Comments welcome! Please join in the fun!


Megan said...

Found your blog by clicking "Next Blog" at the top...

Loved your post as a BYU alumnus myself! Glad you gave your tour guide a chance to really earn his paycheck! LOL!

I wish more people would be as kind toward our religion as you. To paraphrase Gordon B. Hinckley, our faith helps good people become better.

Hope the margaritas were good! :)

Deb said...

Hi Megan,

Nice to have you visit Debland. I hope you'll come back again! Welcome.

The margaritas were excellent. Sadly, I didn't get to Starbucks today. :)