Recently MormonMentality interviewed one of the candidates in Jerusalem’s upcoming mayoral elections. Of all the many issues to be addressed — such as homelessness, affordable housing, sustainable development — the topic close to the candidate’s heart soon became clear.

“The real issue is the fundamental question: What kind of city should Jerusalem be?” Stavi says. “A celestial city or a cosmopolitan city? A city that reflects the values of one particular social group or the value of pluralism, which is fundamental to the modern experience? The latter option is more economically viable, and, more importantly, interesting.”

Evidently the millenia-old city, sacred to three major world religions and home to several significant sites of worship, isn’t interesting enough. Stavi’s solution?

“Jerusalem should become the city it has the potential of becoming: a city of saints as well as sinners. A vibrant, pulsating, alive, cosmopolitan city.”

This will be accomplished by revamping the city’s liquor ordinances– “outdated” according to Stavi — and clustering restaurants and taverns.

I don’t think there’s any one thing that will send a signal that there will be more tolerance and respect for people of all kinds than to reform our liquor laws.”

Yes indeed, there’s no tolerance or respect like public nuisances — such as public drunkenness, urination and vomiting. Not to mention the parallel increase of public dangers such as drunk driving and assault. Look out, Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Your new neighbors aren’t likely to be the quiet, respectful kind.

It’s not a perfect parallel I know. However, speaking as a “Mission-field Mormon” (I’ve only seen Salt Lake City once in my life), the comments in this Salt Lake Tribune article seemed awfully close.  Downtown Salt Lake City is a center of worship.  It’s home to the Conference Center, the Tabernacle and the Temple.  Just because these buildings aren’t as old as the ones in Jerusalem doesn’t mean they’re any less hallowed.

Why is it that we have to prove our tolerance by letting them do as they like yet they never prove their tolerance by respecting our laws? Why are they even moving to the heart of Mormondom in the first place? Some of them are probably moving for jobs but all of them? I’m not sure I can believe it. I’m sure many of them are moving there for affordable housing and safe neighborhoods — the latter of which would seem to me to be a product of the very liquor ordinances they’re trying to pull down(1).

It’s Nauvoo all over again. We build it. We make it beautiful. We make it thrive. Then come the outsiders who promptly get their nose out of joint because we do things differently.

My husband points out that there is little we can do. In a democratic society people have the right to vote in the laws they want. But this is Salt Lake City. I am no more sanguine about these people and their changes than Rome was about the Visigoths outside the gates.

(1) From Deseret News: Utah (or the local agencies reporting to it) averaged 26 violent crimes per 10,000 residents between 2002 and 2006.

That was 85 percent lower than the national average for 2002-05. The national average for violent crimes during that time was 48 per 10,000 residents.