Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Does the Great Stone Face really resemble Joseph Smith?

By Lynn Arave
Deseret News

DESERET, Millard County -- Does a likeness of Joseph Smith Jr., first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, exist in the vast desert of Millard County?

Some think so.

On a remote hillside in Utah's Sevier Desert, about four miles southwest of Deseret and some 17 miles southwest of Delta, rises a craggy volcanic outcrop. For almost seven decades, area residents and visitors have been attracted to the formation.

In it, they can discern the outlines of a man's features: head, brow, nose, mouth and even perhaps a high collar.

Welcome to the "Great Stone Face," or the "Guardian of Deseret," or "Keeper of the Desert." From a certain angle, notes the book "A History of Millard County," a 1999 entry in the Utah Centennial County History Series, "some see a resemblance to LDS Church founder Joseph Smith."

"Many Mormons see an uncanny resemblance of this naturally carved formation to profile pictures of church founder Joseph Smith," Millard County's official tourism site reads.

Whether or not it is partly the power of suggestion, there definitely is a face to be spotted here in the rocks, though some may argue whose face.

Visitors have to decide that for themselves here, about 150 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. states that since Native Americans settled in this area hundreds of years before the Mormon settlers came, "one can only assume that these local Indians also saw the face of their great chieftains portrayed in this natural stone formation."

A side trip to the natural monument "is well worth the time, especially if you are a Mormon or if you like Mount Rushmore," advises a past Millard County tourist guide...

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