Goodbye Phoenix, Hello Salt Lake City

I’ve kept this “secret” for a while and by “secret” I mean I’ve been talking about it for months: I’m moving to Salt Lake on July 28th.

Yes… Goodbye Phoenix, Hello Salt Lake.

Deep down, I knew I wasn’t going to be in Phoenix forever but I didn’t think I’d move quite so soon. I am sad to leave because the desert was my first true love and I’ll miss it, but a new chapter of life is about to begin. I will be starting grad school at the University of Utah, working on a Masters in History. Plus there is a more powerful reason- I’m madly in love and he lives in Salt Lake. I’m moving to begin a life with him. Love makes us do crazy things I guess.

Moving back to Utah is almost like a homecoming. Almost.

I was born in Provo, Utah. The family lines for both of my parents have roots in Utah dating back to the 1870s when our ancestors joined the Mormon Church and emigrated to Zion. I lived in Utah until I was nearly 9 years old (I don’t consider it the place where I did my “growing up”) but Utah has been the one and only constant in my life. I’ve been in Utah for one reason or another every single year of my life since moving away. Growing up in Southern California and Arizona, I often shied away from telling anyone where I was born because it was always followed by the accusatory statement, “So you’re a Mormon.” It wasn’t until after I came out as gay that I was able to fully come out as a Mormon. I now embrace both of these aspects as integral and important to who I am. I consider both to be a blessing.

My grandparents backyard in Provo.

Now it’s 22 years later and I’m going back to the Motherland where I fit right in. Salt Lake and Utah County (shudder) are not unfamiliar to me.

I left Utah as a boy, a newly baptized, believing member of the Mormon Church. I’m going back as an out and proud gay man, a non-believing Mormon who has had his name removed from the records of the Church.  Decisions made by straight, white, elderly men in Salt Lake were the catalyst for my activism that began in 2008. Salt Lake is now the epicenter where two of my main interests (Mormonism and LGBT rights) intersect. I’m already cooking up some projects in my head that will most likely come to fruition in Salt Lake.

At Temple Square. One of the many, many times we went. I was 14 in this picture.

Salt Lake and Phoenix are both in the category of places people think are not that cool but are actually pretty damn cool. In places where political oppression and fear dominate, the counterculture and underground thrives. I’m looking forward to exploring it and being involved in all things related to Downtown Salt Lake the way I have been in Downtown Phoenix.

On Friday I went to my last First Friday. I’ve been going to First Friday downtown since 2007 (before light rail when it was a total pain to drive) and oh my how First Friday has grown! I walked east along Roosevelt Row through crowded streets full of people. People people people! Everywhere crowds and music and food and art and noise and people walking around Downtown Phoenix. It felt like Downtown put on her best face for me Friday night. I stopped into the Nash, the new jazz performance space downtown, I went to the Bodega, and to my delight I passed by the new park next to Carly’s where there were people sitting in the grass, throwing frisbees, exploring the new art installation, and listening to music. I bumped into friends on the street and I thought, “I’m going to miss this.” Phoenix has been good to me.

To quote Dr. Suess, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

I’m smiling a lot.

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  • David Bickford
    July 9, 2012

    What an eloquent farewell. Best of luck in SLC and keep Phoenix in your thoughts.

  • tom chapman
    July 9, 2012

    The best of everthing to you both. Come back and visit often, Hugs TNC, Oh what is your new phone #?

  • Dean Scott
    July 9, 2012

    Beautiful post, Seth – interesting comment about coming out as gay and Mormon at the same time. I had an enjoyable couple of hours on Temple Sqare taking pictures on my last visit, a few weeks after I resigned. It felt good to be at peace with who I am.

  • Michael F.
    July 9, 2012

    It’s nice when “madly in love” is a two-way street. You have my heart in your hands, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

  • Benjamin Shaw
    July 9, 2012

    Very nice farewell Seth :) I look forward to seeing your posts about SLC. I love it there. Such a strange feeling that you’re in a theocracy lol!

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      July 10, 2012

      Kind to trees, sweetie.

  • katie elvin
    July 9, 2012

    You will be missed! Don’t change the name of your blog! It could be my only claim to fame. Unless of course takes off. However, I’d probably have to actually write it for that to happen. I’m really going to miss you and have many childish names to call you but I’ll wait until I see you. Much love always for you and your chaz face!

  • Trev
    July 10, 2012

    Good luck! I look forward to seeing what you do up there.

  • sandi miller
    July 10, 2012

    ::tears!:: cheers to new adventures, to counterculture and the underground, but especially to love. i wish you all the happiness in the world, my amazing friend.

    • J. Seth (I go by Seth) Anderson
      July 10, 2012

      I’ll miss you. :(

  • Rustam
    July 10, 2012

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh! now i know why you leave AZ and move to SLC… :) it is all about LOVE!)
    so much happy for you J Seth.
    Keep me posted, man

  • Jeff
    July 10, 2012

    I am smiling because it happened, but it’s over (kinda) so I can’t keep from crying.

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