Friday, August 9, 2019

Portent Destruction in downtown Salt Lake City. 20 years later.

I know this post might not be politically correct. It also might not be very well received. But that being said I wanted to write about an event that happened 20 years ago this weekend. 

But before I do. I wanted to briefly talk about Marriage.If you look up the definition of Marriage in Webster's Dictionary in 1828 you will read the following:

Quick highlight and summary of Webster's 1828 definition of Marriage:
  • Marriage is union of a man and woman.
  • Marriage was instituted by God himself.
Outdated? Archaic? Old-Fashioned?

Following the printing of the 1828 dictionary, the definition of marriage has changed dramatically over the years. Two completely opposite deviations of marriage has occurred. On the left, marriage has been refined and now become legal to marry someone of the same sex. To the right is polygamy. Anyone who is a Mormon is should unfortunately be familiar with this type of marriage in which someone marries multiple spouses. (Here is Salt Lake City, Brigham Young married up to 55 women)

Both of these forms of marriages has been and still is very prevalent in the state of Utah.

The reason for the post is not to go into depth about these issues but to remember an event that happened 20 years ago this weekend. Sunday, August 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the EXTREMELY UNUSUAL TORNADO that touched down in Salt Lake City. Most people either have forgotten or are unaware about this event. 

There might not be any connection and completely coincidental. But for those who don't know anything about what happened 20 years ago, this might be somewhat interesting.

First of all, it is extremely rare for a tornado to touch down in the middle of city let alone Salt Lake City. Twisters strike predominantly along Tornado Alley — a flat stretch of land from west Texas to North Dakota. Tornado typically form over open terrain. They don't descent out of the sky over a large city. The tornado over Salt Lake City was very unusual. It was almost like the tornado had the precision of surgeon with his scalpel which destroyed very symbolic areas of downtown Salt Lake City. One could say it might have been a portent warning.

It was reported in the news that on August 11, 1999, a freak tornado ripped through the downtown area of Salt Lake City, killing one person and doing 170 millions of dollars of damage. The tornado touched down on the landmark popular gay dance bar on Salt Lake City's west side. This building was blown apart by a tornado and was the first victim in the tornado's path. The funnel cloud hurled bricks and wood from the Sun's roof, hundreds of yards to the west. The Sun was condemned from destruction by the tornado.

Path of Destruction passed through the LDS Conference Center that was being built. The LARGE crane being used in the construction toppled over on top of the Conference Center. The Conference

Center was repaired and dedicated a year later in 2000.

The tornado uprooted and destroyed an iconic tree on Temple Square which was a favorite backdrop for brides' pictures at the Salt Lake Temple. Newly married couples would pose next to this tree after their marriage and sealing in the Temple. It was located on the symbolic southeast corner of the Temple and was nicknamed the "Sweetheart Tree. The tree was a honeysuckle tree, but was gnarled in a manner similar to an olive tree. It is believed to have grown from seeds carried across the plains by the pioneers. 

All of the windows in front of the big Christus statue in the North visitor’s center were blown out. Due to the destruction, Temple Square was closed for two days.  One witness said, "We had shards of glass from the visitors center [windows] that were embedded in soil 12 inches," he said. "The doors on the east end of the Tabernacle blew off -- they were gone."

The tornado ended at Memory Grove.. also a very popular path where those who lived an alternative lifestyle would meet up. Nearly all of the trees in Memory Grove, a park at the mouth of City Creek Canyon near downtown, were reportedly torn out, as well as hundreds of old trees on the Capitol grounds.

Coincidence or Symbolic? Portent or Random?  A Sign for what is to come.. or should we ignore and dismiss the interesting facts?


Anonymous said...

Along with a couple of business partners, including current Salt Lake City mayoral candidate Jim Dabakis, I owned and operated Club Axis a block away from The Sun Tavern. This was years after Denver Snuffer was a regular guest commentator and legal adviser on Jim’s talk show on KTKK. (By the way, Denver is still good friends with Jim.)

Anyway, AXIS enjoyed a far larger gay event population than the Sun due to its size---we were licensed for over 1,000. Both clubs were harmed by the tornado. The Sun was decimated, and the roof of AXIS was mostly ripped off. We would go on to rebuild and host The Last Lap and Mountain Dew Ice Village during the winter Olympics. But that horrible day of the tornado, man that was scary. As the ferocious winds howled and lifted the roof, we found safety inside a walk-in liquor cooler. There we were, three gay men sitting on the floor with our hands over our heads. That cooler saved our lives that day a tornado charted an unlikely path.

And where are we today? Steve is alive and has now been happily married to Jim for over 25 years. Our employee with us in the cooler took his life when he couldn’t reconcile his nature with his smothering Mormon upbringing. And as an openly gay man, live to teach gospel doctrine in Sunday School, serve in the temple, and am blessed to be taught from what Brother Snuffer has written and spoken. (I regret he did not participate in this years SunStone Symposium.)

I thank the Lord that my life was spared on that ferocious day by seeking refuge from the storm in a liquor cooler in a gay nightclub. I have read your blog for several years. Love the new graphic treatment, and always the inspiring, insightful content, but perhaps not today. You are wading into waters that are too deep for your understanding. It is not given you to know.

Janeen said...

Our oldest granddaughter was born on that day. We watched the tornado from the hospital windows. I didnt realize all that had gone on. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

So, the Lord targeted the homosexuals and the LDS Church, but ignored all of the other sinners? He seems kinda....selective in his anger, I guess?

This is somewhat akin to posts I've seen on other blogs making fun of the Angel Moroni being struck by lightning on some temples (again, the Lord seems to only pick on one particular group??)

I don't get it.

Random Person said...

@Anonymous August 11, 2019 at 9:37 AM

Your comment concluded with a statement about waters too deep for the blog poster. And how it "is not given you to know". Which is closely tied to a scripture statement from Jesus about some people not being given to know mysteries of God while it is given to others to know.

If you have light and truth to share, and understand a mystery others do not, and if it has been given you to know, please share your light and truth on the topic or correct others understanding so we can all benefit.