Isaiah 5:26 Fulfilled
Joseph Smith taught the Saints many times of the gathering in the Rocky Mountains. After the Prophet’s martyrdom, George A. Smith recorded:
“President Young had a vision of Joseph Smith, who showed him the mountain that we now call Ensign Peak, immediately north of Salt Lake City, and there was an ensign [that] fell upon that peak, and Joseph said, “Build under that point where the colors fall and you will prosper and have peace.”
On July 23, at the top of Big Mountain, Brigham first saw the Salt Lake Valley. He wrote in his journal that the “spirit of Light rested on me and hovered over the valley, and I felt that there the Saints would find protection and safety.”
Wilford Woodruff then recorded,
On the twenty-fourth I drove my carriage, with President Young lying on a bed in it, into the open valley, the rest of the company following. When we came out of the canyon, into fill view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, so that it was open to the west, and so that President Young would more easily arise from his bed and take a survey of the country. While gazing on the scene before us, he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon the occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of the mountains. When the vision had passed, he said, “It is enough. This is the right place for I have seen it in vision. Drive on.” So I drove to the encampment already formed by those who had come along in advance of us. The next day was the Sabbath and so we rested. The following day President Young pointing to the hill later named Ensign Peak, “I feel fully satisfied that that was the point shown me in the vision.11 Two days later and still weak from the effects of mountain fever, President Young insisted on climbing to the summit with the Apostles. He testified that this view of the valley and the peak confirmed his earlier visionary view-a remarkable confirmation that the Saints were in the right place: “I knew this spot as soon as I saw it.”
Heber C Kimball adds,
“We left our horses about two-thirds of the way up, and after a rocky climb we succeeded in gaining the summit. Wilford Woodruff, the first to reach the top, assisted Brigham Young in the hike. Still wearing the travel-worn clothing from our 1,300-mile journey across the plains our small group now stood on the peak. Brigham Young had seen in vision before we left Nauvoo. Using a spy glass we surveyed the valley, stretched out 1,000 feet below us. Streams flowing fl’om the eastern canyons, looking like ribbons of willows, emptied into a river which Brigham Young named the Jordan River. On the west glistened a large lake. We could see sturdy timber in the surrounding mountains with which to build our homes and barns. From this vantage point on top of the peak we began to lay plans for the future city.
Brigham declared: “We will build a temple down there at the base of this peak, and the stream below will be known as City Creek, because we will build a city right where it runs. This is the place where we will plant the soles of our feet. Here in the midst of the Rocky Mountains, we have found the place where Joseph Smith prophesied we would prosper and find peace.” Heber C. Kimball tied his bandanna to the end of Willard Richards cane lifted it to the sky and shouted, “An ensign to all the world!”
Serving a mission in the South Pacific, Addison Pratt was unable to receive his Temple Endowment in Nauvoo. In 1849, he was called on a mission to French Polynesia and so President Young dedicated the peak and officiated the ordinance for Pratt at Ensign Peak. The Council House and Brigham Young’s Office were also used for Temple ordinances until the Endowment House was built and dedicated.
There’s an 18-foot-tall monument on Ensign Peak, placed there on July 26, 1934, by the Salt Lake Ensign Stake Mutual Improvement Associations. Stones gathered from all along the Mormon Trail are incorporated into the rock monument. Although many inscriptions on the monument are no longer visible, such lettering as “Kolob” and “Logan Temple” are still legible.