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Bad Habits

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Last year’s Christmas Eve City Weekly cover story "Swap Meet" profiled an unusual Salt Lake City church. Eden Church, run by pastor Cindy and her husband, is a hedonistic order dedicated to the non-traditional sexual lifestyle known as swinging. Some among the church’s circle questioned the wisdom of publicity to both Cindy and the reporter working on the story.

As the article made clear, many Utahn swingers are fearful of public exposure bringing retribution from neighbors who look upon such sexual practices as immoral. Cindy set up her church two years ago so she and other like-minded souls could have somewhere to swing without interference from the state.

However, last Saturday at 11 pm the state decided to put her thesis to the test. Three armed police officers in plain clothes — one of whom identified himself to Cindy as a cop — accompanied a representative of the fire marshal’s office as he entered the church. But if they wanted to catch people involved in sexual acts, they were to be disappointed.

The fire inspector repeatedly asked Cindy where her business license was. She explained several times that a church didn’t need a business license. He asked to look around. She refused. It was a private party, she told him. It would be a violation of people’s privacy. He would have to arrange to come back at another time.

After 15 minutes, the four men left. In a later conversation with the fire inspector, he told her he and the other officers, presumably off-duty albeit with their weapons clearly displayed, went on a lot of bar inspections. Which just adds to the mystery. Anytime you open a new business, Cindy says, you get a fire inspection. Yet for two years no one came to their door to check for violations.

“And since when do you do building inspections at 11 pm?” she asks.

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