The first leader of the Mormon Church was Joseph Smith who, after a series of visions and a lengthy translation of some long buried metal plates founded The Chuch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Smith, said he used 'interpreters' to translate the Book of Mormon from the metal plates. These 'interpreters' he described as a pair of stones, fastened to a breastplate joined in a form similar to that of a large pair of spectacles. Smith later referred to this object as the Urim and Thummim

 

In 1823, Smith said that the angel Moroni, who had told him about the golden plates, also told him about the Urim and Thummim, 'two stones in silver bows' fastened to a breastplate, and the angel intimated that they had been prepared by God to aid in the translation of the golden plates. Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, described these Urim and Thummim as being like 'two smooth three-cornered diamonds'. Thummim is widely considered to be derived from the consonantal root (t-m-m), meaning faultles, while scholars believe that the word Urim simply derives from the Hebrew term, 'Arrim', meaning curses, and thus that Urim and Thummim essentially means cursed and faultless, in reference to the deity's view of an accused - in other words that Urim and Thummim concern the question of innocent or guilty.

 

The original book of Mormon was translated by Smith and transcribed by his wife and other close friends (nobody else was allowed to see them) with the use of a seer-stone. Unlike life in biblical times, Smith was alive in a time when important events are officially recorded. Documents that place Smith in certain places at certain times are at odds with accounts included in his own diaries and writings. Details are allegedly manipulated and altered to fit around his own descriptions of his various theophonis.

 

Despite a great deal of evidence against the possibility of these divine events having taken place as well as Smith's well documented shady past as an alleged treasure hunter and conman, the Church of LDS continues to grow and there are en estimated 13 million followers world wide.

 

As the popularity of this new form of worship grew, there was a distrust of Smith and his fellow Mormons by the followers of the more traditional forms of Christianity. This, and some alleged monetry irregularities, led Smith to be hounded across America from one location to the next, eventually ending up in a jail in Nauvoo, Illinois. In a bloody gun battle he and a handful of followers were shot and killed in their cells. The Mormon cause was taken up by Brigham Young who headed west to find a permanent home for the Church. He arrived in Salt Lake City in July 1947.

 

In 1855 he sent a party of Mormon settlers to Las Vegas to protect the water springs. There they built a 150 square foot fort of adobe bricks to protect themselves in this new oasis. They were the first settlers there after an initial occupation by the army some years before.

 

The Mormon occupation of Las Vegas didn't last long and it grew into the 'sin city' we know today. Salt Lake City remains the spiritual centre of the Church of JC of LDS. So geographically we have two cities that in global terms are very close to each other and are connected by history but stand at opposite ends of the moral spectrum. Both have equally strong but completely opposing doctrines at their core which are consumed by the public in equal measure.