I have lived and worked all over the Western United States, spending vast amounts of time in what are considered the worldly cities of LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, and Phoenix. However, it was not until I arrived in the Salt Lake valley that I saw more billboards for plastic surgery than I have anywhere else, not even what is considered the plastic surgery capitol of the world, Los Angeles.
When mentioning my observations to others, I would get staunch denials insisting that those other cities were substantially more in your face with these things. I couldn’t imagine that I had spent all this time in all these other cities and never noticed it until I got to Utah. Was I just expecting “Zion” to be completely pure and blowing out of proportion anything that compromised that perception? Not me!
I started doing some digging on the internet, which (as usual) proved I was right! As it turns out Forbes ranked Salt Lake City the “Vainest City in the Nation”. Salt Lake City has the most plastic surgeons per capita at six per 100,000 residents – that’s even more than New York City and LA! You don’t get service providers without people wanting a service, especially when 66% of those surgeries are elective and 80 percent of them are cosmetic in nature.
Why is the capitol of Mormonism the vainest city in the world with the biggest demand for elective plastic surgery per capita in the Nation? Maybe it’s unrelated, maybe I am jumping to irrational conclusions, but I thought it was interesting that Utah was also the highest consumer per capita of pornography.
Some of the observers have said that perhaps this is because it is less available on the retail level than other places. However, I doubt that is true since it is just as unavailable in states like Idaho and Montana, but Montana is on the exact opposite end of the list being the lowest subscriber to pornography. Others claim it is because Mormons are repressed, but that doesn’t make any sense either because Utah didn’t reach this level until 2009. If sexual repression was really the cause, Utah would’ve been at the top of one of these types of lists since its inception, but that is simply not the case.
Are the women in Utah trying to live up to the false standards set by so much pornography consumption? But why the high levels of pornography consumption and why now? Is it because of the constant bombardment from television shows with the boundaries being tested, which then lead to a desire for more and more? I think it would be interesting to do a study on those that have decided to not watch television and compare it to those that do and see if there is a substantial difference.
To protect ourselves and our families from these destroyers of body and spirit, I suggest we remember and follow the council of Elder George Q Cannon when he said:
“If the breach is daily widening between ourselves and the world . . . we may be assured that our progress is certain, however slow. On the opposite hand, if our feeling and affections, our appetites and desires, are in unison with the world around us and freely fraternize with them . . . we should do well to examine ourselves. Individuals in such a condition might possess a nominal position in the Church but would be lacking the life of the work, and, like the foolish virgins who slumbered while the bridegroom tarried, they would be unprepared for his coming. . . .” (Millennial Star, October 5, 1861 [vol. 23], pp. 645-46)
For we are truly in the time foreseen by Elder Heber C. Kimball when he warned:
“Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills . . . but I want to say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God. Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming.” (Orson F. Whitney, The Life of Heber C. Kimball, 1888 ed., p. 456-57)