Hi, I'm Julie, and I'm a Mormon.... at your service to clear up any rumors you've heard about our church before you arrive here in Utah. We Utahns are not technically "Mormon," as that nickname was given to the church by others. It's more correct to say I'm a Christian who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A Saint, you say? Is that why I'm glowing? In biblical times, the "saints" were simply the dedicated followers of Christ. We're no different, just the believers here in the latter days.... The Latter-day Saints. (That's LDS, not LSD. No recreational drugs here!)
Some are still under the impression that Mormons are mainly in Utah. That was true back when this town of Escalante was settled by Mormon pioneers in the late 1800's. Back then, new members of the church from Europe and elsewhere were eager to travel to Utah to live among the saints and enjoy the blessing of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. These days, young missionaries (about 70,000 annually) are spreading the gospel around the world. By the year 2080, with current growth, the church is expected to be among the top 4 worldwide religions (Wikipedia). Things sure have changed!
When people visit our churches, they're often surprised to find a church full of sincere and dedicated Christians. "But we heard Mormons are not Christians!" Yep, we've heard it all. Are you Amish? (No, not related). Do you wear make-up? (On good days, yes, but no tatoos). Do you believe in the Bible? (Yes, as far as it is translated correctly.) Do you believe people of other churches are going to hell? (Um, NO! God judges our hearts.) Are you trying to work your way to heaven through good works? (As if that were possible, really?) What about Polygamy? Poligamy is illegal - and we're law-abiding - so we don't practice polygamy (except for some rebellious break-offs of our church). When it was legal, some members were allowed to practice this law. As in Old Testament times, there are righteous and unrighteous ways to practice polygamy, and it certainly can be better than widows and single moms living in poverty (as in the Book of Ruth).
Looking for a real Utah experience? Church is at 9:30 and all are welcome, even in your hiking clothes, though we dress up if possible. Schedules may vary on occasion, such as when the prophet and apostles speak from SLC by worldwide Satellite broadcast. You can listen to that and learn more at LDS.org or ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Or, on Amazon, download a free kindle version of Saints: The Story of The Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days