11 And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Two days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, on July 26, 1847, Brigham Young and seven other men climbed to the top of a nearby hill and raised a makeshift flag consisting of Wilford Woodruff’s yellow bandana tied to Willard Richards’s walking stick. They named the place “Ensign Peak
,” because they viewed their arrival as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy
that the Lord would one day raise an ensign to the nations.
Here’s what Boyd K. Packer had to say about that event: “If a well-worn yellow bandana was good enough to be an ensign to the world, then ordinary men who hold the priesthood and ordinary women and ordinary children in ordinary families, living the gospel as best they can all over the world, can shine forth as a standard, a defense, a refuge against whatever is to be poured out upon the earth.” (“A Defense and a Refuge
,” General Conference, October 2006)
Something about that story resonates with me. I think there is tremendous power in a life well lived, even without acclaim or prominence. I think that by choosing to live righteously, we inspire the people around us and provide a standard which they can follow. We all enjoy hearing about heroic feats and monumental accomplishments, but could it be that simple acts of service and obedience are, in the aggregate, more impactful and meaningful than those few dramatic events?
What do you think it means to be a “ensign for the nations?”