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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 02, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 28Feb01

By Kent Larsen

Olympic 'Identity Crisis' in Salt Lake City says Christian Science Monitor

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Today's Christians Science Monitor says that Salt Lake City is feeling an identity crisis as the 2002 Winter Olympic Games approaches. While the city has long been more moderate and diverse than the rest of the state, its religiously-based traditions are "under some attack," leading to an identity crisis as it decides "Is this a Mormon town, or a modern American 'everycity' that is ready to party?" The attacks come because almost everyone agrees that Salt Lake is more Mormon than "everycity."

But not everyone wants the city to stay that way, and the Olympics is demonstrating the different views. According to the Monitor, Mormons see the coming Olympics as an opportunity to show the world that Mormons are, as LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley put it, "not weird." But the city's non-Mormons have a different, and somewhat incompatible, goal -- showing that Salt Lake City is "everycity." LDS Church member Rick Cantrell puts it this way, "The [Mormons] want the Olympics to correct misunderstandings about the church. Others want Salt Lake City to be seen as a typical American city." This difference means, says Cantrell, that "the tension is overt."

One of the issues where this tension is manifest is alcohol sales. Utah's liquor laws are stricter than any other state in the US, leading non-Mormons to chafe at the restrictions. Bruce Albertson, Iomega Corp.'s president, recently lashed out at the laws in a recent interview. In the interview he blamed the LDS Church for the restrictions, "I just wish they wouldn't run other people's lives," he said. While Albertson is not an LDS Church member, many Iomega employees are, including, Mormon News is told, Albertson's boss, Iomega Chairman David J. Dunn.

In the article, the Montior examines several other issues that have caused tension among Mormons and non-Mormons in Salt Lake. The issues include the LDS Church's purchase of the Main Street Plaza, the legal battles over the ownership of the Salt Lake Tribune, and the lawsuit by former University of Utah theater student Christina Axson-Flynn claiming that the University forced her from the program because she refused to use profanity in a part.

Also covered in the article is Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who is seen by many as "a counterweight to the political might of the Mormon church." While the Monitor observes that Anderson has consistently weighed-in on the side of the non-Mormons, the Monitor doesn't mention Anderson's Mormon roots.


Salt Lake City wrestles with its Mormon roots
Christian Science Monitor 28Feb01 S1
By Paul Van Slambrouck: Staff Writer of the Christian Science Monitor


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