Hole In The Rock


In 1879, a group of Mormon pioneers answered the call to settle the southeastern tip of Utah. The most difficult part of their journey came at ®Hole-In-The-Rock®, a narrow slit in the west wall of Glen Canyon that drops dangerously to the Colorado River below. One-by-one the small company of pioneers began lowering their wagons down the treacherous precipice. The last wagon that day belong to Joseph Stanford Smith. Although Joseph had helped each of the wagons before his, the others had quickly ferried across the river leaving Joseph and his family to make the dangerous descent alone. Stanford, looking down the sheer incline, turned to his wife and said, “Belle, I am afraid we can’t make it.”

Her simple reply of faith, “We must make it...We will make it. ”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland related the following, ®A quilt was laid on the ground. There she placed her infant baby in the care of her three-year-old Roy and five-year-old Ada. 'Hold little brother til papa comes for the three of you,' she said. Then positioning herself behind the wagon, Belle Smith grasped the reins of the horse hitched to the back of the rig. (Now, remember, she and that one horse are going to try to hold back what 20 men and boys had done for the other wagons.)

®Stanford started the team down the 'Hole.' The wagon lurched downward. With the first jolt the rear horse and Sister Smith were literally catapulted into the air. Recovering, she hung back, pulling on the lines with all her strength and courage. A jagged rock cut a cruel gash in her leg from heel to hip. The horse behind the wagon fell to his haunches. The halfdead animal was literally dragged most of the way down the

incline. That gallant woman, clothes torn, with a grievous wound, hung on to those lines with all her might and faith, and with her husband muscled that wagon the full length of the incline all the way to the river’s edge.

®On reaching the bottom, and almost in disbelief at their accomplishment, Stanford immediately raced the two thousand feet back up to the top of the cliff fearful for the welfare of the children. When he climbed over the rim, there he saw his three

children literally unmoved from the position their mother had placed them in. Carrying the baby, with the other two children clinging to him and to each other, he led them down the rocky crack to their anxious mother below. At that point, in the distance they saw five men moving toward them carrying chains and ropes. The Smiths had been missed from the larger party. Realizing the plight they were in, these men were coming to help. Stanford called out, 'Forget it, fellows.... [Belle] here is all the help a [man] needs [to make this journey].'

In our own journeys through life we are faced with our own ®Hole-In-The-Rock® moments. As we look down what seems an impossible journey we are forced to make a decision. Will we turn back or will we follow the Lord despite our fears and make it. May we answer with Belle Smith, ®We must make it... we will make it.®

See David E. Miller, Hole-in-the-Rock: An Epic in the Colonization of the Great American West, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1959, pp. 101-18