[Marxism] blog post: zion national park

MICHAEL YATES mikedjyates at msn.com
Wed Nov 11 08:16:51 MST 2009

Full at http://blog.cheapmotelsandahotplate.org


“Zion”: A fortress. An ideal religious community. A sanctuary. A perfect place.  Zion National Park is in that part of Utah known as “Dixie.” Brigham Young, looking both to consolidate his earthly empire and to begin cotton production, partly to make up for the lack of cotton fabric brought about by the Civil War, sent colonists into what is now the southwestern corner of the state. Later, Young build a summer home in the region’s largest settlement, St. George, which today is a city of nearly 80,000 people, its rapidly growing population driven in part by warm weather and proximity to Las Vegas.

     Like most of southern Utah, the landscape in Dixie is dramatic, nowhere more so than in Zion National Park. The great Zion Canyon dominates the park, carved deep into the sandstone by the Virgin River, which flows through the canyon at a very steep decline. The canyon itself is surrounded by sandstone cliffs that reach a height of more than 2,000 feet, making them the highest such cliffs in the world.

     The first Anglo to enter the canyon was Mormon settler Nephi Johnson. [Nephi is pronounced Neph-eye, and rhymes with Moroni, the angel who gave the golden tablets containing the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith and whose golden image adorns the top of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. Nephi is an important character in the Book of Mormon. According to the scriptures, he and his brother Laman came from Israel to the Americas, where they had a kind of Abel and Cain relationship. The followers and descendants of the bad brother, Laman, are called Lamanites. Mormons claimed that the Indians with whom they soon came into contact as they migrated west were Lamanites, no doubt justifying their treatment of native peoples, which included forced separation of Indian children from their parents and adoption and conversion by Mormon families.] Johnson’s Indian guide refused to enter what his people considered a sacred place, but Johnson traveled from the mouth of the canyon perhaps to The Narrows, where the space between the towering cliffs narrows dramatically, at point so small that a hiker can touch both walls with extended arms.


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