This is a digital painting I did in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. I got inspiration
from the 3 Nephi 5:13 in the Book of Mormon, but I also combined this chapter with
the modern days missionaries’s life of faithful belief to the Church and the Lord.
Mormon introduces himself as a disciple of Jesus Christ, who was named
after the land of Mormon. He says that he made this record using the accounts which
were written before his time.
Artist’s notes: “Lehi, his wife Sariah representing all faithful strong
women of this sacred record, and Nephi, Enos, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma the younger,
Ammon, Helaman, Samuel the Lamanite, Mormon, Moroni and the Brother of Jared are
here in a circle representing eternal truths preserved on golden plates and brought
forth for our day, through Joseph Smith.”
When Jesus visited the people of the New World after His resurrection, He lamented
the destruction that had just taken place, and reiterated to them, as He did to the
people of Jerusalem, that He had been and continued to be willing to gather them
to Him in peace.
Marilyn Arnold, lyricist, and Maurine Ozment, composer, created “How Oft I Have Gathered
You,” available in their book, Sacred Hymns of the Book of Mormon, 22.
The Book of Mormon records terrible destructions that occurred in the New World,
after the crucifixion of Jesus in the Old World. After this, the resurrected Jesus
spoke to the people: “O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than
they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted,
that I may heal you?”
Symbolism in “Will Ye Not Now Return Unto Me”
Q: How does the composition express the particular moment chosen for the subject?
A: The composition presents a particularly intimate view of the Redeemer. When He
first spoke to the peoples of ancient America, as part of His personal ministry among
them, they had suffered cataclysm for three days. Their distress was dreadful. They
were as yet engulfed in the close and complete darkness that had not only settled
over the land, but was so dense that no fire could be kindled nor any light seen.
The Savior—in word, in deed, in every way—dwells above the darkness. He is the light
of the world. When He came to the inhabitants of ancient America, He brought that
light with Him. In this painting, He looks toward those who dwell in darkness beneath
the storm clouds at the bottom of the painting. His countenance is the countenance
of peace. He takes no pleasure in the soul that suffers, nor in the misery of anyone
who perishes. He searches for those who need the light and life He alone can give.
In all the moments of our travail in the darkness by which we are so often surrounded
in this world, He alone fills the heaven of our hope. As we suffer, the expansiveness
of our own horizon shrinks until it narrows almost to the snuffing point at which
the wick of our souls expires. This is a painting not only of the moment during
which His voice was heard by all the inhabitants of the land; it is the moment in
any of our lives when hope is all but gone.
The magnitude and extent of Jesus Christ’s suffering on behalf of humankind is unfathomable,
and yet, through His pain, we can be relieved and healed. The depiction here of the
extreme physical pain the Savior endured for us serves as a tender reminder of the
depth of His love for us: “Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and
whosoever will come, him will I receive” (3 Nephi 9:14).