Ensign Peak

By: Chris Roberts

I grew up in the L.A. area and Ensign Peak was forgotten until I moved into the Salt Lake area in 1997. At this time the "Faith in Every Footstep" Utah Sesquicentennial programs were in full swing. I was asked to go with the boy scouts to hike up Ensign peak one Saturday. So I said sure, and drove a group of rowdy scouts to downtown Salt Lake City.

The entrance to the Ensign Peak trail is located North of Temple Square and the State Capitol on the bench in a quiet neighborhood. A small park is located at the trail head with historic plaques and information to be read for the visitor to learn more of the history.

In the scriptures some of the prophecies of "last Days" state:

Isaiah 5:26
And he will lift up ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold they will come with speed swiftly.
Isaiah 18:3
All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains....

"President (Brigham) Young , in the company with several of the Twelve and others, ascended a peak in the north. It was suggested that this peak was a fitting ensign to the nations, so Brigham Young named it "Ensign Peak" It was the ensign of Christ's Kingdom. To the Saints gathered upon the peak it seemed that the ancient prophecy of Isaiah was about to be fulfilled."
See Isaiah 2:2-3
The Restored Church by :W illiam E. Berrett , Deseret Book Co. 15th ed. 1973, SLC Utah p.265

Inspired by this Parley P. Pratt later wrote:

See on yonder distant mountain
Zion's standard wide unfurled,
Far above Missouri's fountain.
Lo! it waves for all the world!....
Sacred and spiritual songs by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1851, London p.102

As I said before all this was somewhere in the teachings of my childhood but I had burred it with the baggage of years and lack of understanding. The hike takes about ten minutes and is a real hike on an unimproved trail that at points almost vertical, I would recommend a small container of water and not your Sunday best for the hike. Not remembering any of the history of this peak as I climbed on, I enjoyed the beauty of the springtime grasses and flowers along the side of the trail and the hike itself being a hiker myself.

At last we rounded a rocky skree and we were there. Upon the top of the peak was a cement area with a pillar of sand stones. Each sand stone had etched in it the name of a Utah Stake/Ward that placed the stone there.

A member of our Stake Presidency then read to us the history of the peak, and I was touched to be on the peak that is the ensign to the nations. I remembered that Brigham Young was ill just a few days earlier and to make this trip up this which must have been hard for him and difficult as it was for me. I marveled at the Pioneer sprit of the people who settled this valley and I caught a glimpse of the hardships and the beauties they had as part of their lives and it made me grateful for them and their sacrifices.

To stand in the place where prophecy was fulfilled touched me as few experiences in my life I remembered my Danish ancestors "flowed unto" this valley not long after the ensign was raised.

I will remember that trip all my life as a faith promoting experience and a testimony to the fulfillment of prophecy. That day on the peak I received a witness of the Sprit that this place was the place that Isaiah foretold of in the scriptures and I will never deny it.

Christopher W. Roberts Sr.