Inspired by Alma 5:14-15.
Artist statement from Joseph Chu (Microbiology major):
“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?”
In these two verses, the Book of Mormon powerfully teaches and testifies of some important truths about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how Christ offers us new life through it in different ways. The first is that Christ offers everyone the universal gift of life after death. We can all be resurrected and have a perfected physical body and thus be able to have a fulness of joy. Christ also offers us the gift of being spiritually made alive through the beautiful process of repentance and striving to engage in covenantal living. Moreover, in many ways that are unique to each individual, Christ can cause the aspects of our lives that feel dead, broken, or damaged to be made alive, mended, and wholly restored.
This message is conveyed in the way the two figures are oriented towards each other. The figure that represents Christ is the one standing upright, while the figure that appears to be lying partially below a surface represents all of us. The position of the partially submerged figure calls to mind the reality that all of us are faced with the inevitable future of mortality, and that all of us in some way or another, are dying, breaking, and falling apart. But at the same time, like the figure in this piece, we are still linked to Christ and He is always close to us, and able to lift us above the surface of human suffering and despair.
The color red in the piece has a very significant meaning in the narrative of this piece as well. Red symbolizes blood, which in turn represents life, sustaining force, and suffering. The great unfathomable price of Christ’s Atonement for every individual that is a member of the human family was His blood, and His suffering for every human being has existed, is existing, and will come to exist. From the fall of Adam, to our modern times. It is by His blood that He spilt for us that we are able to be made alive in every sense. This means of being made alive is largely due to His suffering for us which makes Him able to understand each of us perfectly in our various complex circumstances and to fashion a vision of hope from them. His blood and suffering is a demonstration of His love for us, and it is a core element of what firmly anneals His relationship with us.
Human experience is also largely characterized by much suffering, but it’s value in helping us to feel love and appreciation for the Savior and what He did for us far outweighs the inconveniences and difficulties they so often seem to beset us with. At least in my personal experience, it is the most important way by which I have come to love and appreciate my Savior in the ways that are most meaningful and powerful to me. The continuous flow of red between Christ and the figure representing us ultimately proclaims the message that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is about man being brought close to the Savior, and that all mankind can have hope for life (or a better life) through seeking a true relationship with Christ. It is His blood, sacrifice, and suffering that breathes life into our lives. By His stripes we are healed, and truly our destinies are inseparable from His.
These are some of the greatest fruits of blessing that come from Christ, who is characterized as the Tree of Life in the Book of Mormon. See if you can find the different details that make reference to this symbolism of Christ!