It is hard to imagine a more serene and awe-inspiring place than Zion Canyon in southern Utah. Today it is the centerpiece of Zion National Park, the second most-visited national park in the USA. The Mormons, who arrived in Utah in 1847, explored the canyon in the 1850s and were obviously just as impressed as we were in 2022. They named it Zion. “Zion” is a hill in Jerusalem but is also used in a general way to refer to a holy place or to the “kingdom of heaven.”
Frederick Vining Fisher, a Methodist minister from Ogden, Utah, visited the valley in 1916, and was equally impressed. He seems to have felt that only biblical names could do justice to the beauty of some of the geological features of the canyon. He named three prominent sandstone peaks along the Virgin River after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the Old Testament. Today they are known as the Three Patriarchs.
The Mormons added a fourth to the three. A nearby peak was named after the Angel Moroni, who was reported by Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, to be the guardian of the golden plates which are believed by Mormons to be the source material for the Book of Mormon.
In the photograph of the Three Patriarchs below, the three white-capped sandstone peaks from left to right are named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The red-topped peak between Isaac and Jacob (more or less in front of Jacob) is Mount Moroni.
I have described my first three rafting trips in the book Rafting the Great Northern Rivers: The Nahanni, Firth, and Tatshenshini.