Salvation Mountain is an eye-popping burst of color in an otherwise desolate landscape two hours east of San Diego. As I visited Salvation Mountain, I stood in admiration of Leonard Knight’s unwavering faith and determination to single-handedly build this extraordinary monument over almost 30 years. He was just planning on staying in the area a few days but decided to stay eternally. It took endless buckets of adobe clay, 100,000+ gallons of paint, thousands of hay bales painting, and long 10 hours days to paint the Christian scriptures and Bible verses on a clay hill in scorching 118 degree weather.
The crimson heart in the center of the mountain with a simple prayer: “Jesus I’m a sinner please come upon my body and into my heart,” stands as a true expression of devotion to people and to love itself. In Leonard’s own words: “This is a love story that is staggering to everybody in the whole world.”
In 1994, the LA times wrote an article about the county’s attempts to turn Slab City into a fee-based campground but were unsuccessful because Salvation Mountain is a religious monument. The county claimed the yellow paint used on the design of the mountain was toxic. But Leonard hired his own soil engineers to test the soil which conclusively found nothing but clean soil.
After the article was published, word of Salvation Mountain spread. It was featured in Sean Penn’s film “Into the Wild” his mountain and has earned the recognition of The Discovery Channel and National Geographic..” California Senator Barbara Boxer described it as “a unique and visionary sculpture… a national treasure… profoundly strange and beautifully accessible, and worthy of the international acclaim it receives”.
In 2010 Leonard Knight’s hearing and eyesight failed him, forcing him to leave his beloved Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight died on February 10, 2014 at convalescent hospital in eastern San Diego County where he had been a resident for more than two years. He was 82 years old.
Powered by Facebook Comments