This morning, several hundred members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints gathered on the steps of Salt Lake City’s Matheson Courthouse and on the lawn of the Salt Lake City and County Building across the street to express their dismay that District Judge Denise Lindberg was considering ordering the United Effort Plan trust, which contains a great deal of church property, dismantled and sold.
I’m not going to engage in much more commentary. Three JI’ers – myself, Christopher, and Jared – arrived on the scene just as the rally was dissolving into trickles of families, quietly and carefully gathering up their coolers, signs, and trash and making their way across State Street to the courthouse parking lot. Here are some photos.
What appeared to be several dozen non-FLDS joined the protesters, bringing signs and banners of their own.
For a protest, even the tail end of one, the rally was remarkably peaceful; the FLDS talked quietly among themselves and, in best Boy Scout tradition, left the lawn cleaner than they found it. Men shook hands, women hugged what were presumably old friends. Some sat placidly in lawn chairs in the shade, and greeted cameras with bemused and weary smiles.
This should probably not be surprising anymore, but we were surprised to see some young girls with Heely’s roller shoes, dozens of women with elaborate hairstyles, long dresses, and cell phones – and even a few FLDS tourists, taking photos of our world as we did of theirs.
With an assist from Ardis Parshall, we decided to bring the MHA Presidential Seerstone to witness this small collision of history.
This was an unusual group of protesters. It was composed of families of three generations – grandparents holding small children, pre-teenagers chasing each other around, mothers with infants, fathers hauling lawn chairs. The whole event had a distinctly Utah feel to it – as though it were the great wrapping up of some 24th of July parade, families fleeing the lawn for their SUVs and escape from the wearying summer sun.
Mediocre photography by Matt Bowman and Christopher Jones