Monday, March 17, 2014 | 2 a.m.
CRYSTAL SPRINGS — A refrigerator-sized monument stands atop a lonely summit about 100 miles north of Las Vegas, just off State Route 375. It’s a tribute to an angelic revelation a man said he experienced there.
It’s an oddity in a state that has no shortage of curiosities. The monument is a block of concrete and stone faced with a bronze plaque that inscribes what Maurice Glendenning said an angel told him in 1938. In short: He was to restore the Biblical priesthood of Aaron, and so he formed a religious group now known as the House of Aaron based in western Utah.
The monument where Glendenning said he had his revelation is just up the road from Crystal Springs, where a decidedly different icon stands alongside a souvenir shop: a 20-foot tall silver metal alien statue. The monument isn’t nearly as visible, 250 feet above the roadway on a rocky crag at Hancock Summit, and there’s no sign indicating its presence. If a driver spots it, it is easily dismissed as some ambiguous shape.
For the intrepid, it’s a strenuous hike. The hillside, dubbed Monument Hill or Mount Aaron, is formed of soft dirt and loose rock, and while the distance is only about a tenth of a mile, it’s a steep slope from the road.
A metal box next to the monument contains a visitor logbook and some material left by the House of Aaron that explains the group and its community in Eskdale, Utah, which is just over the Nevada state line along Highway 50.
On the inside cover of the logbook — a spiral-bound notebook with some Bible verses on the front — a member of the House of Aaron explains that people in the past have written that they were looking for aliens. The hill is in the region around Area 51, and Glenn Campbell’s “‘Area 51’ Viewer’s Guide” mentions the monument.
The note in the logbook, dated August 2012, says this:
“We who tend this monument are not trying to convert anyone to join anything. We just want to ask for people to stop and think more about why we are here and how to make the best we can of this life.”
As for Glendenning’s group: They live as a small farming community in Utah, devotees of a religion that seems a mix of Christianity, Judaism and Mormonism.
For others, who knows? People have sought out revelation in deserts for thousands of years, and the creation of a religion in Nevada is not new.
The Ghost Dance religion of the 1800s came from a Native American named Wovoka, who lived in Northern Nevada and had a vision about a revival that would bring the buffalo back and send the white man away.
Wovoka is remembered in history books and in the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas, among other places. Glendenning is remembered on a wind-swept hillside that few may ever see.
But those who make the hike will experience one thing: the beauty of the desert. The view is incredible.