National Geographic : 1996 Jan
amazing about this view is neither the build ings nor the lake. Instead, it's something far more personal. This vista is the same one the original Mormon settlers saw in 1847, when they arrived in this valley with their leader, Brigham Young. Williams, 40, is a fifth-generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also called the Mormon Church, for the Book of Mormon, an additional text to the Bible). A poet, author, and the resident naturalist for the Utah Museum of Natural History, she says that like many Mormons she owes her identity to Utah. "It's more than history or religious affilia tion, or even this landscape," she says. "It's all these: Family. Religion. Place. They can't be divided." To grasp what Williams is talking about, it helps to know the history of her church. In 1846, after nearly two decades of religious persecution in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois-where the church's founder and Prophet, Joseph Smith, was killed by an angry mob in 1844-a party of 148 Latter day Saints headed west in search of their promised land. The church's new leader, Brigham Young, Utah: Land of Promise, Kingdom of Stone Rhinestone cowgirl Amber Trapp sparkles in Salina's Fourth ofJuly Parade. A college stu dent, Trapp believes her central Utah home town is immune to the growing pains-crowds and crime-that afflict cities in northern Utah. "We're a real churchy community that sticks together," she says. "Thatbig city stuff can't reach us down here." guided the faithful on a rugged journey toward the barren valley of the Great Salt Lake. Once there Young was convinced the Saints could make the desert bloom. On July 24, 1847, legend has it, Young led his followers through a gap in the Wasatch Range called Emigration Canyon; he pointed to the broad valley below and said, "This is the place." In reality, things were less dramatic. Ac cording to historical documents, an advance party had arrived a few days earlier, and Young, who was "ill with mountain fever," did not see the valley until they had already planted crops. Still, the legend persists, and a monument to the pioneers stands at the mouth of the canyon, complete with a bronze likeness of Young, his hand stretched toward the Mormon Jerusalem.