Sacred Places, Volume 6: Wyoming and Utah
Lemar C. Berrett, A. Gary Anderson
Deseret Book, 2007
This book is the last in a series of six volumes of information about interesting and important places along the Mormon Trail. It is full of not only textual information, but also photographs and original maps. The first half of the book covers places in Wyoming and the second half is about Utah.
There is a lot of detailed information included, down to lists of names of people that have been painted or carved into rocks. However, the level of detail varies from place to place. There are several pages devoted to Echo Canyon, including information about the Utah War. On the other hand, one place that I am somewhat familiar with, Ensign Peak, received very little attention other than a detailed explanation of where it got its name. The information on the plaque at the site, about Brigham Young and others looking out over the valley from the top of the peak to determine how Salt Lake City should be laid out, is not included in the book but there is mention (which you won’t find at the actual site) that the first endowment in the Salt Lake Valley was give there.
I found the maps difficult to read, especially the contour maps, due to the small text and the lack of color. Many of the photographs are too small to see any detail, as they have all been shrunken down to less than three inches. The use of a magnifying glass would probably be helpful in viewing both the photographs and the maps. There is also a tendency to bold, almost at random, words and phrases throughout the text. This was likely meant to be helpful, but it occurs frequently enough to almost be an irritation, and then mysteriously stops about 400 pages into the book.
The other thing I thought was odd is that the description of Utah, about halfway into the book, is a very elementary history of the Church that seems to be intended for a non-member audience. The rest of the book seems to be aimed at people that are very familiar with the Church and its history.
In spite of these problems, the book has a lot of information in it that I found to be very interesting. I have driven past or through some of these places many times without realizing their historical significance. The authors have carefully documented the sources of all the information and added footnotes on many pages with even more extensive information about some of the events that happened at these places. They have also included mileages and directions for following the Mormon Trail and finding particular sites.
If you have any interest in Church history, you will probably find something of value in this book. I will be using it to plan some educational trips for my family in the near future, with the hope that my children will come to have a greater appreciation for their pioneer ancestors and the sacrifices that were made so that they can have the restored gospel in their lives today.