Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850]


MR No. 843—Geological Field Conference—1981

Scenery Near Moutier, Switzerland—May 21. We have rested well through the night. We found accommodations in a very nice hotel in the village of Moutier. This is a very beautiful valley. It has seemed as we are winding our course through the defile of the mountains that we should come to where the mountains would block our way, but the road winds on through the openings of the mountains. 10MR 367.1

The scenery through which we passed was altogether too majestic, too awfully grand, to give anything like a description that can compare to the scenery as it really is. The battlements of rocks—the time-worn rocky walls that have stood since the Flood, washed with the mountain torrents—stand out smooth as if polished, while rocks diverse from these in shape are seen in regular layers as if art had fashioned them. Here on this ride, from three o'clock until past six, we viewed the most interesting, grand scenery that our eyes ever looked upon. The rocks ascend higher and still higher from the earth and growing from these rocks are beautiful, dark-colored pines intermingled with the lighter and most beautiful living green of the maple and beech. These rocks are covered to the very summit with their garment of rich foliage which nature has furnished. In the heart of these mountains of rocks are tunnels, one after another, many of them close together. 10MR 367.2

We have thought we should see nothing more grand and striking than the towering rocky heights of Colorado, but this scenery far exceeds anything we there witnessed. Such wild grandeur, such solemn scenery, carries one back to the period when the waters rose to the highest points of land, and the unbelieving antediluvians perished for their great wickedness, in the waters of the Flood. 10MR 367.3

As we look upon the openings in these rocks—the caverns that open to the sight, the deep channels worn by the mighty cataracts—and the rocks of every conceivable shape, we say, “How wonderful, O Lord, are Thy works in all the earth.” The softening, subduing touches penciled by the great Master Artist in the beautiful arrangement of dress of dark and living green, this beautiful combination of colors to cover the rugged, time-seamed rocks! Then the deep gorges, the noisy, fast-rushing streams, and the grand mountains covered with forest trees in their beautiful summer robes! The view is grand in the extreme, and presents to the senses such high and holy and strong and sacred ideas of God our Maker. 10MR 368.1

And then the thought that we may call Him Father! We will not look upon the magnificent works of His almighty power and forget God. This the inhabitants of the world before the Flood did. The giant forests—trees that knew scarcely anything of decay—the blooming gardens resembling Eden, the bubbling fountains, the running streams, the beautiful lakes, the rich minerals, the precious metals—gold and silver and precious stones—were given of God to enrich the earth for the good of men. But all these things did not inspire them with love, with gratitude to the Giver. They looked upon all these precious things of the mountains and the glorious things of the valleys as exclusively their own, as if they themselves had brought them into existence, and the very treasures God had given them as a means of remembering Him, they made the means of forgetting Him. 10MR 368.2

My meditations were traveling back. In my mind's eye, there was the picture that had been presented to me of the Eden glories. Marred because of sin, yet although the blight of God was upon it, the curse did not rest heavily. As after the curse man set himself to devising ways and means to indulge in sin and disobedience and forgetfulness of God, the Lord sent the message by Noah that at the end of one hundred and twenty years He would send a flood of waters upon the impenitent inhabitants of the earth. Oh, if they had only repented, God would not have destroyed the inhabitants of the old world! 10MR 369.1

But I looked upon deep gorges, the seamed and cleft rocks, the varied shapes and structures, and then thought how the people had brought all this curse upon themselves because of ingratitude to God and disobedience to His law. The torrents of rain descending from the heavens above, the fountains of the great deep broken up, the trees which men had enjoyed and idolized, uprooted and swept away with the inhabitants, the groves, the palaces, the costly works to satisfy the pleasure lovers—all swept away. Those places where men had placed their idols and worshiped the works of their own hands were filled with masses of rubbish and earth, and rocks which were concealed under the surface of the earth were thrown up above the earth covering the most lovely places that man had adored and glorified. The fruitful trees, the shady avenues, the beautiful forests and gardens they had enjoyed were utterly destroyed. The lovely home God had given to man was turned to a broken, uneven surface, and the earth was a frightful solitude. Here before me were the evidences of the destruction of the old world by a flood because the law of God was not observed.... 10MR 369.2

We can never describe the scenery, for it is indescribable. This view of Switzerland by carriage ride makes me desire to travel more by private conveyance. We have roads that cannot be excelled. The public roads are kept in excellent condition. Men are employed and make it a business to break up stone very fine. This crushed stone is kept constantly applied, and these roads are white as limestone and as level as the floor. There is not a bad depression, not a hole, not a rut or anything of the kind. When it rains, men have it as their business to scrape all the mud from the road. It is left in piles along the roadside, to be taken off in a cart. There is seldom much dust flying, because of the care taken of the roads, and this is seen in Europe everywhere. We are traveling in a low, heavy, covered coach with four persons, and luggage that makes the load equal to five persons, but the carriage rolls so easily on these roads that one horse easily draws such a load.—Manuscript 56, 1886, pp. 1-5, 7. (Diary, May 21, 1886.) 10MR 370.1

World Was Far More Beautiful Before the Flood—If everything in God's works looks to us so beautiful, and the majestic mountains and towering, stern, old rocks have attractions, how far exceeding it in beauty, in grandeur and loveliness, was the world before the Flood, which was destroyed because of man's sinfulness. God had surrounded them with the precious things of earth because He loved them. But these blessings were turned into a curse, and they used the precious things of earth to gratify their pride and to glorify themselves until the Lord destroyed them and the earth which was defiled by their violence and corrupting works. Even now, if the curse of sin were not corrupting the earth, it would be a happy place, but every place inhabited by human beings is debased with sin. 10MR 370.2

The rocky mountains rise abruptly and seem to tower upwards reaching to the very heavens. At my left is a grand old castle standing upon the mountaintop, and in the distance rises another mountain far above. The peaks reach almost to the heavens—a mountain that to human eye appears inaccessible, rising thousands of feet above the level, and on the very summit is a tower. It may be for observation. The ambition of man will not be restricted. We come to scenery that appears to our senses as indescribably grand. Mountain peaks rise above mountain peaks, the massive, curiously splendid shaped rocks that were heaved up by mighty agencies and sculptured by the storms of ages.—Manuscript 62, 1886, pp. 26, 27. (Diary, 1886.) 10MR 371.1

The Days of Noah—Because of his holy integrity and unwavering adherence to God's commands, Noah was counted singular indeed and made himself an object of contempt and derision by answering to the claims of God without a questioning doubt. What a contrast to the prevailing unbelief and universal disregard of His law! 10MR 371.2

Noah was tested and tried thoroughly and yet he preserved his integrity in the face of the world—all, all against him. Thus will it be when the Son of man shall be revealed. The saved will be few, as is represented by Noah and his family. The world might have believed the warnings. God's Spirit was striving with them to lead them to faith and obedience, but their own wicked hearts turned aside the counsel of God and resisted the pleadings of infinitive love. They continued their empty ways as usual, eating, drinking, planting, and building, up to the very day Noah entered into the ark. 10MR 371.3

Men in Noah's day were not all absolute idolaters, but in their idolatry they professed to know God, and in the grand images they had created, their plan was to represent God before the world. The class who professed to acknowledge God were the ones who took the lead in rejecting the preaching of Noah and through their influence leading others to reject it. 10MR 372.1

To every one comes the time of test and trial. While Noah was warning the inhabitants of the world of the coming destruction, it was their day of opportunity and privilege to become wise unto salvation. But Satan had control of the minds of men. They set light and truth for darkness and error. Noah seemed to them to be a fanatic. They did not humble their hearts before God but continued their occupation the same as if God had not spoken to them through His servant Noah. But Noah stood like a rock amid the pollution and wickedness surrounding him, and wavered not in his faithfulness. He stood amid the scoffs and jeers of the world, an unbending witness for God, his meekness and righteousness shining brightly in contrast to the crime and intrigue and violence surrounding him. 10MR 372.2

Noah connected with God, and he was strong in the strength of infinite power. For one hundred and twenty years he daily presented God's warning in regard to events which so far as human wisdom was concerned, could not take place. The world before the Flood reasoned that for centuries the laws of nature had been fixed; the recurring seasons had come and gone in regular order. Rain had never yet fallen, but a mist or dew had fallen upon the earth, causing vegetation to flourish. The rivers and brooks had never passed their boundaries, but had borne their waters safely to the great sea. Fixed decrees had kept the waters from overflowing their banks. The people did not recognize the Hand that had stayed the waters, saying, “Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.” 10MR 372.3

Men began to feel secure and to talk of the fixed laws of nature. They reasoned then as men reason now, as though nature was above the God of nature, that her ways were so fixed that God Himself would not or could not change them, thus making God's messages of warning of none effect because, should His word be fulfilled, the course of nature would be disturbed. The men before the Flood sought to quiet their consciences, which the Spirit of God had aroused, by arguing how impossible it was for the message of Noah to be true and a flood to deluge the world, which would turn nature out of her course. 10MR 373.1

The same reasoning is heard today. “Why, the world will not be destroyed by fire.” The siren song is sung, “‘All things continue as they were from the beginning.’ No need to pay any regard to this preaching that the world's history will soon close. Why, the laws of nature show the inconsistency of this.” He who is Lord of nature can employ it to serve His purpose; He is not the slave of nature. 10MR 373.2

They reasoned that it was not in accordance with the character of God to save Noah and his family, only eight persons in that vast world, and let all the rest be swept out of existence by the waters of the Flood. Oh, no. There were great men and good men on the earth. If they did not believe as Noah did, Noah was deceived. It could not be otherwise. Here were the philosophers, the scientific men, the learned men. All could see no consistency in this message of warning. This fanciful doctrine was an illusion of the brain. If this was the truth the wise men surely would know something about it. Would all of these learned men perish from the face of the earth and Noah be found the only one worthy of being spared? ... 10MR 373.3

But the days before the Flood steal silently on as a thief in the night. Noah is now making his last effort in warnings, entreaty, and appeal to the rejecters of God's message. With tearful eye, trembling lip, and quivering voice he makes his last entreaty for them to believe and secure a refuge in the ark. But they turn from him with impatience and contempt that he should be so egotistical as to suppose his family are the only ones right in the vast population of the earth. They have no patience with his warnings, with his strange work of building an immense boat on dry ground. Noah, they said, was insane. 10MR 374.1

Reason, science, and philosophy assured them Noah was a fanatic. None of the wise men and honored of the earth believed the testimony of Noah. If these great men were at ease and had no fears, why should they be troubled?—Manuscript 5, 1876, 1-4. (“The Days of Noah,” cir. 1876.) 10MR 374.2

Medicine Bow Range—As we passed rapidly down the grade through the snowsheds and granite cuts into the great Laramie Plains we got a full view of the Diamond Peaks of the Medicine Bow Range. Their sharp-pointed summits reach heavenward, while their sides and the rugged hills around them are covered with timber. When the atmosphere is clear, the Snowy Range can be distinctly seen clothed in its robes of perpetual snow. A chilliness creeps over you as you look upon them, so cold, so cheerless, yet there is an indescribable grandeur about them.... 10MR 374.3

Green River Formations—Scenery viewed on Friday while nearing Ogden: At Green River is the place where specimens of fossils, petrifications and general natural curiosities are seen. Shells and wood in a petrified state can be purchased for a trifle. There is a high projecting rock, in appearance like a tower, and there are twin rocks of gigantic proportions. The appearance of these rocks is as though some great temple once stood there and their massive pillars were left standing as witnesses of their former greatness. There is a rock called Giant's Club, and in proportion it is a giant. It rises almost perpendicularly and it is impossible to climb up its steep sides. This is one of nature's curiosities. I was told that its composition bears evidence of its once having been located in the bottom of a lake. This rock has regular strata, all horizontal, containing fossils of plants and of fish and curiously shaped specimens of sea animals. The plants appear like our fruit and forest trees. There are ferns and palms. The fishes seem to be of a species now extinct. A large flat stone was shown us in which were distinct specimens of fish and curious leaves. The proprietor told us, on a previous trip, that he brought these two large rocks on horseback eight miles. The rock did not look so far, but he said that was the distance to get access to it. In these split-off slabs of rock there were feathers of birds and other curiosities plainly to be seen. 10MR 375.1

We looked with curious interest upon rocks composed of sandstone in perfectly horizontal strata containing most interesting remains. These rocks assume most curious and fantastic shapes, as if chiseled out by the hand of art. These are in lofty domes and pinnacles and fluted columns. These rocks resemble some cathedral of ancient date standing in desolation. The imagination here has a fruitful field in which to range. In the vicinity of these rocks are moss agates. When standing at a distance from these wonderfully shaped rocks you may imagine some ruined city, bare and desolate, but bearing its silent witness to what once was. We passed on quite rapidly to Devil's Gate, a canyon worn through the granite by the action of water. The walls of the canyon are about three hundred feet high, and at its bottom a beautiful stream flows slowly and pleasantly, murmuring over the rocks. 10MR 375.2

We passed on while the mountaintops rose perpendicularly toward heaven. They are covered with perpetual snows, while other mountaintops, apparently horizontal, were seen. In passing we got some views of the beauty and grandeur of the scenery in groups of mountains dotted with pines. Soon we entered Echo Canyon. Here the rocks look as if formed by art and placed in position, so regularly are they laid. The average height of all the rocks in this canyon is from six to eight hundred feet. The scenery here is grand and beautiful. We saw great caves worn by storm and wind where the eagles build their nests. One is called the Eagle Nest Rock. Here the king of birds finds a safe habitation in which to rear its young, where the ruthless hand of man cannot disturb them. 10MR 376.1

Here we came to the thousand-mile tree on which hangs a sign giving the distance from Omaha, and a little further on we passed the wonderful rocks called the Devil's Slide. This is composed of two parallel walls of granite standing upon their edges with about fourteen feet of space between. They form a wall about eight hundred feet long running up the side of the mountain. This is a wonderful sight. We reached Ogden, and night drew on.—Letter 6a, 1880, pp. 6, 8, 9. (To Elizabeth Bangs, February 26, 1880.) 10MR 376.2

From Cheyenne to Sacramento—We have been passing over the plains through a very barren, desolate-looking country. Nothing of special interest is to be seen, but a few herds of buffaloes in the distance and an antelope now and then. Mud cabins, adobe houses, and sagebrush we see in abundance everywhere. But on we go. 10MR 377.1

From Cheyenne two engines are slowly dragging the cars up the mountain to Sherman, against a fearful wind, on account of which fears of danger are expressed in crossing Dale Creek bridge, 650 feet long and 120 feet high, which spans Dale Creek from bluff to bluff. This trestle bridge looks like a light, frail thing to bear so great weight. But fears are not expressed because of the frail appearance of the bridge, but that the tempest of wind will be so fierce as to blow the cars from the track. But in the providence of God the wind decreased. The terrible wail is subdued to pitiful sobs and sighs, and we passed safely over the dreaded bridge. 10MR 377.2

We at length reached the summit, 7,857 feet above the level of the sea, and the extra engine is removed. At this point no steam is required to forward the train, for the downgrade is sufficient to carry us swiftly along. As we pass on down an embankment we see the ruins of a freight train, where men are busily at work upon the shattered cars. We are told it broke through the bridge one week ago, while two hours behind it came the express. Had the accident happened to them many lives would have been lost. 10MR 377.3

As we near Ogden the scenery changes. Here is grandeur of scenery far more interesting than the plains give us in sagebrush, dugouts, and mud cabins. Here are grand mountains towering toward heaven and mountains of less size. Mountaintops rise above mountaintops, peak above peak, ridge above ridge, while the snow-capped heights, glittering under the rays of sunlight, look surpassingly lovely. We were deeply impressed as we looked at the varying beauty of this Rocky Mountain scenery. We longed to have a little time to view at leisure the grand and sublime scenery which speaks to our senses of the power of God, who made the world and all things that are therein. But a glance only at the wondrous, sublime beauty around us is all we can enjoy. 10MR 377.4

Between Ogden and Sacramento the eye is constantly delighted with the ever-new scenery. Mountains of every conceivable form and dimension appear. Some are smooth and regular in shape, while others are rough, huge, granite mountains, their peaks stretching heavenward as though pointing up to the God of nature. 10MR 378.1

There are blocks of timeworn rocks, piled one above another, looking smooth as though squared and chiseled by instruments in skillful hands. There are high, overhanging cliffs, gray old crags and gorges clad with pines, presenting to our senses scenery of new interest continually. 10MR 378.2

We come to Devil's Slide. Here are flat rocks set up like gravestones of nearly equal depth, running from the river up the mountainside a quarter of a mile above us. The stones are from fifty to one hundred feet high.—Letter 20, 1873, pp. 1, 2. (To Edson and Emma White, December 27, 1873.) 10MR 378.3

White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

April 27, 1981.