Footprints of Faithfulness
February 2015

“Footprints of Faithfulness,” Ensign, February 2015, 79

Footprints of Faithfulness

Randolph Shankula, Utah, USA


For some time I had wanted to take pictures of Temple Square in Salt Lake City—including the reflection pool, the fountains, and the sidewalks—covered with freshly fallen snow void of any footprints. To get a picture of fresh snow without footprints, I knew I had to arrive at Temple Square early in the morning following a nighttime snowstorm.

One evening after a forecast of snow overnight, I prepared myself. Because Temple Square groundskeepers start plowing the sidewalks at 5:00 a.m., I set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. and got my gear together.

Driving on unplowed roads the next morning, I arrived at Temple Square at 4:15 a.m. while it was still snowing. Then I proceeded to drive around the square, looking for someplace to park that would give me easy access to take pictures.

On my first pass around Temple Square, I noticed that the walkway to the entrance of the Salt Lake Temple was covered in fresh snow—without any footprints! I knew I was going to get my perfect photo. Excited, I drove around the block again to find a parking spot.

As I proceeded east on North Temple Street, I thought I would find a spot close to the walkway. Before I realized it, however, I had run out of parking spots and was again near the sidewalk to the temple entrance.

As I sat at a red light, I looked to my right at the fresh, undisturbed snow. When I looked to my left toward the Conference Center, I noticed an elderly woman dressed in her Sunday best, her head tilted into the falling snow as she headed toward the temple.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “I’m not going to get my shot!”

As the woman crossed in front of me, I turned and looked toward the soon-to-be-ruined walkway and saw that another sister had already gone down the walkway and was turning into the temple entrance. Then I looked back to the first sister now walking down the walkway. With snow clumped around her shoes and ankles, and following the footsteps of the first, she walked slowly but surely down the walkway, through the gates, and into the entrance to the temple.

As I contemplated what I was seeing, I looked at the clock in my car: 4:20 a.m. Sitting in my warm car and looking at the footsteps in the freshly fallen snow, I was humbled by the faithfulness of these two sisters on their way to perform their appointed duties.

I drove around the block again, parked, grabbed my camera, and took a picture of footprints in the snow—a far greater picture than the one I had envisioned.