Thursday, October 19, 2006

8:15 PM Thursday, October 19, 2006

We spent part of our first full day in the Salt Lake City area touring Temple Square and photographing the Utah State Capital. The rain abated long enough for us to walk around, get a bite to eat and enjoy our tour. SLC has nice wide streets and we didn’t find any one-way streets so it is very easy to find your way around.

Here is an interesting tidbit of LDS history related to us on our tour: Everyone has heard about how the seagulls came to the early LDS pioneers rescue by flocking in by the thousands and eating the hoards of crickets that were devouring the crops, right? Our tour guides told us that the really odd thing was that the seagulls couldn’t digest the bugs so they just ate till they were full, drank water and then regurgitated them so they could eat some more; hence each bird ate many more times the amount they would have eaten to satisfy their hunger.

To be fair, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia states "... critical analysis of the whole story says many pioneer journals recount the frosts, the swarms of insects, but no seagulls. From these differing accounts it seems that seagull intervention might have occurred in relatively isolated places. Nonetheless, by fall several Mormons credited the seagulls and divine intervention for having any crops left at all. This story was quickly incorporated into Mormon lore.

Also, other more mundane events may have helped save the crops. Some pioneer diaries recount success had by forming lines and thrashing through infested fields together. This forced all of the crickets into adjacent areas. Some of these accounts also describe seagulls at the edge of the field pecking away at the exodus of bugs. With or without seagulls, this technique may have saved much of the Mormon's first harvest in Utah. Historical evidence furthermore suggests that the gulls arrived after much damage had already been wreaked by frost and drought and that the "miracle" was not commonly recognized as such until after it occurred."

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