Kolob Terrace, Zion National Park, Part 2… A Mormon Concept of Heaven?

Road in to Kolob Terrace just before it begins its climb onto the terrace. Photo by Peggy Mekemson.
The road had been gradually climbing since we started our exploration of Kolob Terrace in Zion National Park. It was about to get serious as it made its way up to the terrace above the cliffs. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

We are continuing our exploration of the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park as part of our full-time experience of living on the road.

I am always curious about how things get their names. I wasn’t familiar with Kolob. Was it a Native American name? Was it the name of an early explorer or pioneer? Turns out it comes directly out of the Book of Abraham, a sacred text of the Mormons that Joseph Smith supposedly translated from an Egyptian papyrus scroll. I wonder if he used his rose colored glasses. I should have guessed the Mormon connection. Utah is Mormon country and has been ever since Brigham Young brought his band of followers into the state in 1847 to escape religious persecution in the east. Kolob is either a star or a large planet in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy close to the throne of God. Some Mormons believe that is where they go when they die. It shows up in the Musical, The Book of Mormon where the lyrics proclaim “I believe that plan involves me getting my own planet.” The modern church has challenged the assumption.

Imagining Kolob to be a rather pleasant place from a Mormon perspective, I can understand why the early pioneers gave its name to the terrace. Peggy and I also found it pleasant. Actually, I’d much prefer to go there when I die rather than the biblical Heaven where the ‘streets are paved with gold.’

We pulled off the road frequently to take photos on our way up and down.

Peggy uses the cab of our truck to photograph the cliffs below the terrace.
An F-150 parked in the Kolob terrace section of Zion Canyon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.
Where our F-150 was parked when Peggy took the photo…
Photo by Peggy Mekemson taken from the road into Kolob Terrace, a section of Zion National Park.
Peggy’s photo. If you have ever wondered how the impressive rock bridges of the Southwest are formed, this is potentially one in progress.

More photos that I took on our way up to the terrace…

Photo of Kolob Terrace by Curtis Mekemson.
Photo of towering cliffs in Zion National Parks Kolob Terrace by Curt Mekemson.
She brush and pines provide striking foreground in the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park.Photo by Curt Mekemson.
Photo by Curt Mekemson on the way up to Kolob Terrace, Zion National Park.
View along Kolob Terrace Road taken by Curt Mekemson
Private road below towering cliffs and interesting rock formations in the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park.
I’ll conclude with this photo of a private road winding its way below the cliffs. I was intrigued as to where it went and could easily imagine Peggy and me living there. My next post will feature photos we took up on the terrace.

14 thoughts on “Kolob Terrace, Zion National Park, Part 2… A Mormon Concept of Heaven?

  1. We nearly crossed paths there, Curt. I loved Zion and those magnificent rocks. All that exposed geology! There are a lot of biblical names there, but I didn’t think Kolob was one of them. That was a new tidbit of information. Great photos too. Enjoy!

  2. It’s been fascinating to watch the Mormons “santitize” their beliefs a bit over the years. That year I spent in SLC — including close associations with many of the faithful — presented quite a different picture of Kolob and other associated beliefs. Enough said, I suppose, particularly since this is about the landscape rather than the mindset!

    One of the most interesting details of the photo that includes your truck is the way some of the rocks show vertical striations, and others show horizontal. There’s a lot of activity going on out there among the rocks!

    • I was thinking that too. I am not one of the faithful now, but when I was a kid I had to go to the Mormon church because my mom did. While active members, we were there when the Prophet Kimball received a message from God that people of colour would now be allowed to come to church. Talk about a shift…

  3. These photos are outstanding, and I just can’t get over the blue sky (as it rains here day after day). Zion has always been a favourite National Park and the photos from you two do it justice here. Just gorgeous. Also interesting to hear about the name Kolob, which I did not know, even though I was a Mormon from age 7 to age 16.

    • I don’t think we saw any daytime rain in our trip through the Southwest. Crystal. There was one day of mist where it might as well have been rain. I think that is one of the myths that the Church wanted to distance itself from, along with its original stance on blacks and women. –Curt

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