Moses ascended a mountain to talk with the Lord. (See Exodus 19:20, Exodus 24:12, Exodus 34:4.) Elijah followed a similar pattern (1 Kings 19:8-9), as did Nephi (1 Nephi 11:1, 1 Nephi 17:7, 1 Nephi 18:3, 2 Nephi 4:25) and the brother of Jared (Ether 3:1). Jesus also “went up into a mountain apart to pray” (Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12), and He took Peter, James, and John up onto a mountain, where He was transfigured and they saw Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-3, Mark 9:2-4, Luke 9:28-32).
What is it about a mountain that makes it a good place to commune with God? Obviously, there’s the remoteness, the peace that comes from being alone, away from crowds of people. There’s also the symbolism of ascending, moving physically closer to the heavens.
So it’s meaningful that Isaiah associates the temple with a mountain. The second chapter of his book opens with this declaration:
It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob…Isaiah 2:2-3, 2 Nephi 12:2-3
Later, he prophesies that God will bring people who were not originally part of the covenant into His holy house:
Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters…
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all peopleIsaiah 56:5, 7
Sister Elaine S. Dalton offered the following invitation:
Prepare now for the temple, the mountain of the Lord. Never allow the goal of the temple to be out of your sight. Walk into His presence in purity and virtue, and receive His blessings—even “all that he hath” (Luke 12:44). Within His holy house you will be cleansed, taught, and endowed with power, and His “angels [will] have charge over [you]” (D&C 109:22).“Come Let Us Go Up to the Mountain of the Lord,” General Conference, April 2009
Today, as I visit the temple, I will remember the imagery of the “mountain of the Lord’s house.” I will seek to grow closer to God just as ancient prophets drew near to Him by ascending mountains. I will be grateful for holy places which help me ascend toward Him.