The Mountain of His House…
Yesterday I saw with my own eyes for the first time in more than fifty years the Grand Tetons towering over Jackson Lake in Wyoming. I think I have never seen mountains more majestically set, carved by the hand of Jehovah as only He can create. I came upon them as the descending sun from behind set the peaks ablaze in a glorious display of red, orange, yellow, gold and pale blue. It was an awe inspiring, yes, even a spiritual experience, as if God Himself was in His mountain.
I felt my heart drawn to the lighted peaks of God’s mountain, yet in tender mercy and sweet sorrow I also felt God’s blessing on the ground on which I stood, for His work was not yet for me upon His mountain, but upon His fertile valley soils. There is much to do in this place, prints to make in earth with my boots, foundations to establish and work to be done for those whose boots trodden this ground before me, and all the generations here and to come.
Nevertheless, we can climb still the Lord’s mountain and not delay our coming unto Him, but we can do it upon the mountain of His house, in the corridors and sacred rooms and alters of His holy temple. As the fire of His countenance burned brightly before Moses on the mount, so it does now burn brightly in His house, upon the mountain of the Lord, or on any other ground where upon His house stands dedicated.
In April 1971 General Conference Elder LeGrand Richards declared of the house in the mountain of the Lord, “Isaiah saw the mountain of the Lord’s house established in the top of the mountains in the latter days,… ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 2:3). How literally that has been fulfilled,… This temple, more than any other building of which we have any record, has brought people from every land to learn of His ways and walk in His paths.”
The fire of His countenance was also with Elijah, and Elijah not only received heavenly assignment to prepare for the day when the Lord’s house could be built, sanctified and filled with the faithful, but before the house can be entered, the hearts of the children must be turned to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers must be turned to their children. As even the Risen Lord spoke to the children of Lehi and Sariah, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (3 Nephi 25:5-6).
Today I visited the small Wyoming community of Kelly where my father spent many of his boyhood and youthful years. In the spectacular vista of the Grand Teton Mountains I sat with my cousin Dawn who still lives in Kelly and presides over the family heritage. Although we have corresponded in the last many years, we have neither seen each other nor spoken since I was 5 years old attending her grandmothers funeral. Ten years my senior, she helped me to fill in some gaps in my memory and the stories I have heard over the years.
Her grandmother, my Aunt Anne, was a loving caretaker to my father after the passing of both his mother and grandmother in 1948, when he was only 16 years old. To listen to Dawn’s stories of the pioneering women of our family, share photographs, and to walk through the community and countryside where my father spent his formative years, is part of that heart turning mission of Elijah being fulfilled. I treasure the time spent today, and in days past, turning my heart to my fathers and mothers, and knowing that their hearts are turned in favor and guidance to me.
As I walked in restful solitude looking up at God’s mountain, and on soil where my father and his fore-bearers trod, I could not help but ponder the word of the Lord recorded in 3 Nephi 20:40.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!”
May we go forward in faith and gratitude , turning our hearts to our fathers and mothers. May we have the sensitivity to feel their prayers on our behalf. And may we heed the call of uniting the great family of our Eternal Father in His house, on His mountain, knowing that “the Lord will go before us, and the God of Israel shall be our rearward” (3 Nephi 20:42). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.