Dear readers, I have just returned from a journey to Salt Lake City in Utah. In case you are unaware, Salt Lake City is the Home of the Mormon Church and Not Much Else. As a result, while my fiancé was off doing important work-related things, I spent a lot of time staring into the mountains and pondering the meaninglessness of existence. But when I wasn’t doing that, I wandered over to look at the LDS temple, the grounds of which were massive, well-groomed, and full of cringe-worthy statues. The statue that caught my eye the most, however, was the Seagull Monument.
This is the monument.
If you do an image search for “Mormon seagulls” (and who wouldn’t?), you’ll find pictures like this:
Golden seagulls! So majestic! They’re practically eagles, but with a greater penchant for eating out of a dumpster!
The problem is that when you first approach this monument from the main walkway in the middle of the temple square as I did, this is the view you get:
Basically it looks like one of the seagulls is taking a massive dump on its majestic sphere perch.
The images on the bottom of the monument show the Mormon pioneers looking forlornly at fields with their oxen. So as an uninformed outsider, my actual thought on looking at this monument was that the pioneers must have arrived at this horrible place with like 90% salt content in the soil and had been unable to grow anything until these seagulls arrived and fertilized everything with their guano.
It turns out the story is actually even better than this.
Indeed, the pioneers were having trouble with their crops. Then these crickets came along and were eating what little they had managed to farm. But all of a sudden, a flock of seagulls miraculously appeared, and everyone started rocking really weird new-wave hairstyles.
Wait, sorry. This flock of seagulls appeared and started eating the crickets. Then, the gulls went to the stream, vomited, and went back to eat more crickets, and continued this cycle until all the crickets were gone. So basically the Mormon pioneers were saved by bulimic seagulls. And the water supply was never the same again. Inspirational!
I will leave you with this painting I found in looking for info on this story, attributed to the “International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers.” It appears to depict an alternate history in which the pioneers are about to be devoured in an invasion of giant man-eating gulls.