Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Salvation Mountain... Neither Words Nor Pictures Capture

We left early this morning because we wanted to go to the Salton Sea and we had heard about “Salvation Mountain” and “Slab City”.  We knew that the Salton Sea was at least 2 hours away and although the other places were near, we are never sure what to expect—so we wanted to have plenty of time to wander.

We decided to start at Salvation Mountain.  We had no idea what to expect.  I had seen information about this mountain online and decided it would be worth a quick look.  And it did not disappoint!  We really enjoy seeing “quirky” sights around the country; and hear the stories about what inspires people to design and build the weird and wonderful.


Because everything, even the name, implied that we were going to a mountain… we were expecting a Mountain!  From a size perspective it really should be called “Salvation Hill”—from a Labor of Love and mission—it definitely qualifies as a mountain.   This mountain was a dream come true for Leonard Knight.  It was his tribute to God.  Leonard wanted to spread the simple, powerful message: “God Is Love”.   

We often we look back on our pictures and are reminded that pictures rarely do a sight justice.  In the case of Salvation Mountain, I would say “Pictures barely scratch the surface of what is happening here.”

The messages on the mountain include the Lord’s Prayer, John 3:16 along with the Sinner’s Prayer and so many more. 

Included among the other brightly colored messages are flowers, trees, and birds.  You could spend a long time walking through and never see each little detail.  The mountain is only about 50 foot high and made of local adobe clay.  The paint has either been donated or purchased with financial donations.

There are tunnels to walk through, small hidden caves and alcoves.  There is a yellow “road” that leads to the top of the mountain.

There are painted vehicles, make-shift campers and even a tractor with a front-end loader.

From the portrayal of the Sea of Galilee at the entrance, to the giant red heart in the middle and finishing with the large Cross that towers over the entire mountain—the reoccurring theme of “Love” is found everywhere on this Salvation Mountain.  Regardless of a persons’ religious beliefs; it is easy to appreciate that this man had a mission and he had a unique way to present that message.   

This sight has now been featured on multiple documentaries and movies and it has been visited by thousands of travelers.  So although I certainly would not have thought to turn hay, adobe clay and paint into a message about God’s Love.  I am thankful that there are people like Leonard Knight who will step outside what most people will call “normal” to create something that now millions of people have seen—just to say “God is Love”.

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