Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, New Harmony, Utah

Three tall sandstone mesas jut up majestically ahead in morning light, justifying the name of this Zion National Park, Utah, name: Kolob Canyon, home of God.
In Mormon theology, Kolob is where God lives. And seeing Kolob Canyons at Zion National Park, you can believe that, yes, you’re coming into His presence, His home.

Just to clarify, though, Mormon’s don’t think God lives here in Kolob Canyons. No, to them, Kolob is a star or planet elsewhere in the universe where God and his wives live, and where we were all born as spirit children before being reborn as humans on Earth.

Fun fact: Glen A. Larson, the guy who created the original “Battlestar Galactica” series, is a Mormon and informed the series with Mormon theology, it’s “Mormons in Space,” right down to naming humans’ ancient planet of origin Kobol, an anagram of Kolob!

But I can und
erstand why this place got named Kolob Canyons. You feel as if … as if you’re in the presence of something majestic and holy, as if God Himself might be standing just atop one of the mesas. The sandstone formations throughout the canyon are more uplifting, more awe-inspiring than any petty human church, mosque, or temple.

This is coming from an atheist, mind you. Yet in a place like Kolob Canyons, I can’t help but feel everything around me is alive. Call it pantheistic drivel, but the very earth and air *knows* me, has personhood. Is that so crazy? Humans before me have felt this way about natural places, and some cultures have included that perspective in their religions. If this is crazy, I think it’s the good kind of crazy.

I actually visited Kolob Canyons twice. On my way down to Virgin, Utah (near the Zion National Park entrance) from Parowan Gap the day before, I stopped by in the morning. But I realized later that I hadn’t left a milkweed seed ball. At camp in the evening, I knew that was an oversight that needed fixing, that Liz would have demanded I come back. So I did on this afternoon. And Kolob Canyons was no less inspiring the second day.

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