It’s not about the statue

Downtown Salt Lake City has a lot to see and yesterday I got to take a long-time friend of mine through a couple of tours downtown. I’d been on or given this tour several times, but it’s always interesting how there’s more to learn.

We started with the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Being both morning people we arrived before the main attractions of the building were officially opened. A kind gentleman had also arrived early for his shift and gave us a private tour. Wow!

We then went on a tour of Temple square led by two highly capable Sister Missionaries. We did the tour backwards. We started in the South Visitor’s Center and looked at the interactive model of the temple.

Talking about why were weren’t going to go into the Temple was actually pretty easy. We showed her the virtual tour and explained that the Celestial Room is designed to be a rest from the cares of the world and that the spirit of reverence that you need in such a place would be difficult to achieve if people were there to admire the art and architecture.

She got-it, appreciated the honest answer, and enjoyed the rest of the tour. We proceeded into the Assembly Hall, Tabernacle, and North Visitor’s Center.

In the North Visitor’s Center we saw the lovely statue of Christ with open arms and I noticed two things that are worth sharing. First, his pose is of the body stance of a person right before they give someone a big hug. Second, was something I realized as I was talking.

“It is a beautiful statue, but can see you see how it’s not about the statue?”

The statue is lovely, but the real reason to be there is to enjoy how the statue helps to understand and draw us closer to the Savior.

I’m not sure how different this might be from the religious artwork my readers have been exposed to as well, but I think it’s worth noting. In general, religious artwork is designed to inspire us to move closer to our Heavenly Father.

It’s not about the art, it’s about the feelings from experiencing the art.

Do you have a painting or statue that you feel inspires a similar positive experience?

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