The allegory of the olive tree, recorded in Jacob 5, makes known to me God’s wonderful
works. It is an allegory of the Master, of His devotion and work in the vineyard
throughout the world and of the work of his servants. The olive tree is one of the
archetypal elements of the earth, known for its ability to grow in dry, unforgiving
soil. In the center of the artwork lies the quatrefoil from Christian symbolism.
A window represents the four gospels and all servants who labor diligently for the
salvation of man. In Native American culture, the leaves of the quatrefoil symbolize
the four outermost parts of the vineyard.
This painting depicts various aspects of the Atonement. It is based on Isaiah 53:2,
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.”
The most wonderful work of God is the Atonement. The Father sent His Son “as a tender
plant” to suffer for our sins. The Savior made old become new, and He still continues
to do so with our lives. In the midst of the wasteland of the world, Christ is the
only way of light and life.
Scriptures from Isaiah are represented on banners in each of the nine floral blocks.
The Salt Lake Temple is depicted in the center block. The grapevine border suggests
abundance of life and the life of the Savior.
This piece explores the symbolic use of olive trees in the scriptures. Jeremiah 11:16
states that it is an honor to be likened to an olive tree: “The Lord called thy name,
A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit.” The promise of God’s covenant blessings
is symbolized in the tame olive trees, and our individual lives and works in the
good fruit. The painting is set in the modern day to represent the gathering of the
house of Israel and the final proliferation of good fruit. It testifies of the Savior’s
ministry of hope and salvation.
“Behold, I have dreamed a dream” (1 Nephi 8:2), Lehi proclaimed to his family. He
then described a tree whose bright, white fruit filled his soul with great joy. With
the feeling of a tender parent, Lehi entreated his family to partake of the fruit
of the tree—the love of God. In this piece, the tree of life feeds on the fountain
of living waters. Its gnarly trunk, rooted in the rock of revelation, gives foothold
to all who climb to partake of the fruit. Light enlivens the roots, leaves, and fruit.
Righteous desire starts us on the path; joy is our reward.
“This work is pieced together with pearl shells, featuring ancient Chinese architecture
and people. The colors displayed by the pearl shells are more dazzling than ivory
and will not fade. That is why I chose pearl shells.”
” I have done two versions of this sculpture. The first represented Christ healing
in the Old World. This version represents the Book of Mormon account of Christ healing
His “other sheep . . . which are not of this fold” (John 10:16). Christ asked the
people if there were any sick among them and said, “Bring them hither and I will
heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. . . .
And he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him. . . . And it
came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought. . .
. And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones” (3
Nephi 17:7, 9, 11, 23).”
“I can almost name each piece as I form it, for its expression of solemnity almost
brings out a personality that I can recognize. The scriptural source for this sculpture
is 3 Nephi, chapters 12, 15, and 28, in the Book of Mormon.”
The message of this painting is that Christ is the source we look to for our salvation.
Prophets have testified of Christ’s mission and His saving role throughout the ages.
Prophets today repeat what has been said concerning Him, prophesy of His future coming,
and teach us what He would have us do. The prophet in this painting represents all
the prophets throughout time. The words coming from his mouth are statements found
in the scriptures about Christ. How marvelous are God’s works in giving us prophets
to lead us to Him.
Our Savior created all things with His love through His words, and we can feel God’s
love through all things around us. The followers of Christ can inherit eternal life,
for everyone who keeps the Lord’s commandments, acts in faith, and works righteousness
will receive a crown of eternal life. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to
bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass
that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most
sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof
was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of
the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began
to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable
above all other fruit. —1 Nephi 8:10–12
When asked what he would like his work to be known for Albin responded; "If
I can enrich the lives of those who view my work in any way, I have accomplished
my goal. There is something of the divine that comes through the work of one who
has mastered his mode of expression and who has something good to say. When that
message comes through and awakens something within the viewer that improves his or
her life; that, I believe, is the higher purpose of art. That's what I strive for."
Many scriptures use things we see around us every day as symbols of the Savior and
His gospel. I included scriptures within the landscape to visually connect the Creator
with His wondrous creations, as referred to in Alma 30:44: “All things denote there
is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it.”
“For the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again
out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and
also the rains and the floods have I sent forth” (Ether 2:24). The Jaredites “did
sing praises unto the Lord” (Ether 6:9) throughout their journey of 344 days upon
the waters. They endured the terrible tempests with gladness, knowing it was the
Lord who caused the furious wind. They viewed their trials as a manifestation of
divine guidance, “and it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards
the promised land while they were upon the waters” (Ether 6:8).
The kneeling figure of Faith calls to the viewer with her right hand as she carefully
nurtures a young plant with her left hand. This tender plant is the word of the gospel,
as Alma describes (see Alma 32). Hope, the figure on the right, waits patiently but
expectantly for the fruit the plant will one day bear as she looks toward Charity.
Charity, the pure love of Christ, which “never faileth,” stands in the others’ company,
representing the transcendence of charity, as Paul so eloquently describes (see 1
Corinthians 13). Charity holds a light that gives life to the growing plant so that
it “swelleth, and sprouteth” and eventually flourishes and bears fruit (Alma 32:30).
My painting was inspired by the story of the Liahona in the Book of Mormon.
“And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the
tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious
workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and
the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness. . . . And we did
follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the
wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:10, 16).
Tasting the fruit of joy, which is the love of God, encourages us to “make known
his wonderful works among the people” (Doctrine & Covenants 65:4).
May 5, 2019
BOOK OF MORMON SCULPTURE
Gary Lee Price
I have created a Jesus that in spite of the crowds, politics and persecutions,
has risen above unfathomable pain- in fact accepted and embraced discomfort to the
point of gratitude, grace, and empowerment.
And as we all appreciate so very much those that blaze the path before us,
may we look to our prophets and mentors as examples and segues that enable and empower
us to new heights, higher dimensions and a much grander vision!
Cattle, a traditional African instrument of exchange used to seal sacred contracts,
here represent the covenant white-haired Lehi is making with the Lord. His family,
upper right, make their way to the tree, but Laman and Lemuel and two seated figures
are interested only in worldly things.
“Other than Lehi’s awesome description of this great vision and metaphor for
life, I’ve always been most impressed by his instant reaction to share the incredibly
brilliant and delicious fruit with his family. Nephi tells us that his father saw
a symbol for the ‘love of God’ and that it is the most desirable thing there is!
What could be greater or more powerful than unconditional, eternal love? Little wonder
Lehi wanted to share that with those he loved most!
“I envision the symbolic tree as one that has withstood the test of time.
A tree that despite the elements and the centuries of seasons, has not only survived,
but thrived! Its roots have sunk deep into the life-giving earth. It draws continual
nourishment year after year – readily giving all of its precious fruit; as an oasis
in the desert, to any and all travelers needing its life-sustaining energy.
“It is my hope an as artist that Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life will inspire
all of us to reach deeper inside ourselves and find that unquenchable source of love
that nourishes and uplifts all we meet.”
Bronze outdoor sculpture of Native Americans climbing up a cliff
And take this hand that Reaches out to you.
Look up Into my eyes; My spirit Cries out to you: Friendship is my thought.
Let us climb The jagged cliffs of life And fight the ascent of Opposition together.
If I can lift you today, You will look back And grab the hands of a thousand more.
That is the way The Great Spirit would have it!
-Howard Rainer, Native American Poet
Two Native Americans are struggling on the face of a jagged cliff. The one
above reaches out and extends himself, grasping for the one below. The one below
looks up and also reaches out to receive the hand of safety and strength. Climbing
the mountain of life we learn, grow and, hopefully, increase in wisdom. As we continue
the trek, we realize it is not just about ourselves. It is then that we pause, turn
around, and reach out our hand in assistance to those who can benefit from our travels.
This sculpture epitomizes the struggle to overcome opposition and difficult
personal challenges and the absolute need we have for others to reach out, bring
us in and raise us up.
Having grown up in the West and being a small part Cherokee, I’ve always had
an affinity for capturing the spirit of my forefathers. I have aspired to create
pieces that have depth. I have wanted to portray individuals of grace, strength,
Several years prior to creating this piece, I went through a series of personal crises.
It was a very difficult time for me and yet, as always, I was taken care of. Several
close friends reached out and lifted me up in my hour of need. While creating this
sculpture, I reached within. I relied on my own experiences, ones that showed me
that people really do care and that our true friends are those who do not judge or
shun, but rather reach out and bring us in. These are the individuals with complete
grace, absolute strength, and true beauty.
The letters I’ve received from people describing how a piece has inspired
or lifted them are many. The ones describing ‘The Ascent’ are the most numerous and
Bronze sculpture of children flying around the world
“To be able to fly is so symbolic of freedom and possibilities; and flying
around a sphere, to me, represents the joy we experience in this life, and in the
sphere of worlds to come!
“Imagine a world without limits, without boundaries, without prejudice and
blame. Imagine an existence full of self-confidence, self-esteem and not only tolerance,
but love for others regardless of color, socio-economic or any other standing. To
me that is what the future holds. That is what children represent and that is the
type of world I would like to help others imagine so it can come to pass.
“I believe sculpture can have a tremendous, uplifting influence on us and
so I envision this piece as a large, life-size work where its message can ring loud
and clear. ‘Celebration!’ is just that, a celebration of life and aspirations.”
“I believe it is indeed a ‘religious’ experience when thoughts, ideas and
knowledge come together in ways that all are empowered! This sculpture represents
the very moment – that exact instant when we have taken that incredible leap of faith,
reaching out into the unknown in hope that we will find comfort, solace, peace, love
and understanding. As we reach that milestone in our journey, we discover that we
are not alone or forsaken at all and that the very act of exercising our faith eventually,
if not immediately, yields the very fruit that is so divinely and deliciously suited
to our specific needs! “My favorite verse in the entire world, ‘Ask and it
shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that
knocketh it shall be opened’!”