In 2005, I made my first trip to Utah. I took a flight from JFK Airport in New York to Salt Lake City International Airport. I came over to visit my friend who studied at Provo's Brigham Young University, one of the biggest private schools in the country. He picked me up at the airport and we drove to the city of Provo along Interstate 15, which took about 40 minutes. It was a scenic drive, particularly at the end as we passed through a valley between Utah Lake and the Wasatch Mountains.
When we finally arrived in Provo, I was inspired by the modern campus of Brigham Young University (BYU), which is overlooked by the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. We actually watched a football game at the 65,000 seat capacity LaVell Edwards Stadium and cheered on the Cougars. There was a beautiful contrast between the peaceful mountain peaks and the tens of thousands of screaming fans.
During my trip to Provo, I quickly discovered the strong influence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the city. BYU is actually owned and operated by this Christian denomination. I was equally amazed by the Provo Utah Temple, whose modern museum-like architecture blends in well with the surrounding mountains and clear blue sky.
Don't think that Provo is some backward community full of religious zealots. I discovered plenty of high technology and retail firms such as Action Target and Novell. Provo Town Centre is one of the premier shopping malls in the Salt Lake City Metro area, with anchor stores such as Sears and JCPenny. Provo's streets are full of modern commercial spaces and homes, and I would never have guessed that the city's history goes back to the mid 19th century.