Monday, September 25, 2017

The Mormon Face

I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances? - Alma 5:19
 Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things. - Alma 39:9
And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.  - 3 Nephi 19:25
There is a Mormon Face. 'The Mormon Face has eyes that gaze far, far in the distance, not endlessly, but confidently at a distant goal. This goal is inevitable. There is a sharpness in the Mormon Face, a quality that doesn't cut corners, that holds firmly to the iron rod, that sharply gestures, that turns with the staccato quality of that sure hold. There is no BS in the Mormon Face.

And yet it is overwhelmingly kind. It looks with fondness. It regrets that it cannot embrace when tact says no. It feels a fire that burns and brings tears to the eyes. This love surpasses every boundary.  "If only people knew!" it says. "O that I were an angel...that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!" For it doesn't love indiscriminately, which is just hatred; it loves people as they as they could be, as they will be, given the chance. It loves with keen discrimination. This is, again, the gaze to a distant but certain goal.

And it is sad. It sees wasted potential; it longs to set it free. It wants to help, but it can't. It stands at the door knocking, knocking, knocking. As God weeps, it weeps.

And that's the thing: this face is Christ's. The countenance you see in most meetinghouse paintings is inaccurate. Here is a more accurate depiction:

This sculpture was by Rudolf Steiner, and he says about it: "Yes, that is the Christ. This is how my spiritual eye perceived him in Palestine." Notice the eyes that look with sad fondness, the smile that looks with a love burdened by the weight of the world and yet never wearies. Those eyes contain mysteries that could go on forever and ever. This face is love. 

General Conference is coming up. Look for the Face there. Learn its contours, its movements. Etch it on your own countenance. Christ's Face can be yours..

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