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Artwork In Lds Chapels


prissy

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When I was young (in the 60's) we had a beautiful picture of Christ in the chapel that meant a a lot to me and helped me focus on the Savior while sitting quietly. Now there are no pieces of artwork authorized in the chapel. I've read the policy in the handbook but I don't understand why there is to be no artwork in the chapel. Can anyone enlighten me?

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This is a biggy for me. I don't understand it. It makes me want to scream. I don't get why the place where we commune with the Lord hasn't a point of reference. All I get is the back of someone's head or bratty kids or people on their cells or people looking bored. Come on people in the church. If anyone on here has any pull in regard to this matter, please find a way to change it. I'd give anything for our Sacrament service to be more special. Just as the temple gives beautiful artwork leading you into the Endowment room. Couldn't our chapels have the same? And don't tell me it's up to me to get the spirit, I'd think the Lord would like something too.

Edited by Tacenda
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Are we there to reverence God or to look at the art work?

In my estimation our reverence to God can be with artwork! Because when you look around at the beautiful temples, the art that is praised in the Ensign, the City Creek mall is adorned, the temple grounds etc. What is wrong with something on those cinderblock walls? Can't someone at the top feel a little for us, we count too. We are the tithe payers in this church. Can we not have the beauty in our chapel as well as all those other places? I get that mostly faithful members attend the chapel, therefore no need to advertise...I'm feeling it today, sorry.

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No doubt about it.

They are beautiful.

There is plenty of art work on the walls, just not in the Chapel, or the Celestial Room of the Temple.

They do care deeply for us.

Yes we are the tithe payers, but that gives us no special authority to override our leaders.

I find the Celestial Room in the Temple quite beautiful. While our Chapels are a bit more utilitarian. They're pretty good looking. I like to think that I'm there to worship God, not to admire the artwork.

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Just as the temple gives beautiful artwork leading you into the Endowment room. Couldn't our chapels have the same? And don't tell me it's up to me to get the spirit, I'd think the Lord would like something too.

Just as our meetinghouses give beautiful artwork leading you into the chapel...

The walls of our meetinghouses are filled with lovely artwork depicting the life of the Savior...

The endowment rooms do not themselves have artwork... it is in the hallways leading us to the endowment room, just as our chapels do not themselves have artwork... it is in the hallways leading us into the chapel proper.

GG

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In my estimation our reverence to God can be with artwork! Because when you look around at the beautiful temples, the art that is praised in the Ensign, the City Creek mall is adorned, the temple grounds etc. What is wrong with something on those cinderblock walls? Can't someone at the top feel a little for us, we count too. We are the tithe payers in this church. Can we not have the beauty in our chapel as well as all those other places? I get that mostly faithful members attend the chapel, therefore no need to advertise...I'm feeling it today, sorry.

I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but I see the dichotomy thesometimesaint's getting at. Even the best representation of Deity in artwork is limited in its ability to facilitate the sort of transcendent relationship with (and respect for) Deity that the sacrament is intended to facilitate. Further, it's possible (even likely) that such representations will come to be reverenced in themselves rather than being reverenced more for what they represent. These are two reasons why the Church of Jesus Christ largely lacks the iconography which is such a prominent feature in other religions. A few years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley was asked what he believed to be the symbol of our faith. He responded that such a symbol is to be found in the lives of our people.

Besides, there are places where such iconography can be found. Have you been to a Visitor's Center lately? Have you been to a Temple? (And usually even in the latter venue, such representations are situated in places where they are unlikely to detract from the building's main purpose.) As for more money not being spent on such iconography, apparently, the Church of Jesus Christ can't win: on the one hand, you and those of your ilk are disappointed at the lack of such iconography where you think more of it should be found; on the other hand, many others of the Church's detractors think that too much iconography and ornamentation exists where it can already be found, and critics crow (hypocritically, in my view) that this money would be spent in caring for the needs of the poor. If you want more of a say in how your donation is used, there are plenty of other organizations to which you can donate. Once you give it to the Lord, though, it's His money. As for your plaint, "Can't someone at the top feel a little for us, we count too," that seems more than just a little overwrought. By that logic, anyone in the Church who has the slightest disagreement with how its resources are allocated can harrumph, "If President Thomas S. Monson [or The Brethren, or fill-in-leader's-name-here] really cared about me/us, more money would be spent on [insert-complainant's-favorite-cause-here]!"

No offense intended. :)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Just as our meetinghouses give beautiful artwork leading you into the chapel...

The walls of our meetinghouses are filled with lovely artwork depicting the life of the Savior...

The endowment rooms do not themselves have artwork... it is in the hallways leading us to the endowment room, just as our chapels do not themselves have artwork... it is in the hallways leading us into the chapel proper.

GG

This is my point as well. The temple and the church building use artwork in the exact same way. They both have it in all the supporting rooms and hallways, but not in those rooms considered holy or sacred.

There is no difference between the temple and the church meeting house in regards to artwork, except perhaps the size of the paintings and their number since temples are usually a lot bigger.

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Before I read this post it never even occurred to me that chapels do not have art work. After thinking about it, I prefer it that way. I would find it distracting. Thinking of all the non-lds chapels I have been to, I cannot think of any that has art work in the sanctuary other than the Catholic church where it serves a specific purpose.

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... Yes, somehow, notwithstanding the lack of astoundingly beautiful mosaics, red-marble pillars, larger-than-life statues of saints and angels, and treasure rooms filled with gold and jewels … there is something inside our chapels that seems to draw people to them each week.

Indeed. My brother served in Monreale (Italy-Catania Nov. '85-'87). :)

P.S.: I believe the architectural and other marvels to which you refer in your post are expressions of their creators' faith. It's sad that their successors in most of Europe don't share that faith.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Just as our meetinghouses give beautiful artwork leading you into the chapel...

The walls of our meetinghouses are filled with lovely artwork depicting the life of the Savior...

The endowment rooms do not themselves have artwork... it is in the hallways leading us to the endowment room, just as our chapels do not themselves have artwork... it is in the hallways leading us into the chapel proper.

GG

I thought of that but it just made me mad and wonder. Does the church handbook say something about this? Like prissy mentioned. Edited by Tacenda
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Thank you, Will, for posting those beautiful pictures... and they certainly are beautiful... but I did not get a sense of reverence (awe certainly) in the same way I get with our simple meetinghouse chapels.

Our temples are a little more ornate than the chapels, through the use of murals or stained glass windows, etc.

I loved the picture of the LDS congregation with the faces of different people and ethnicities. Many times I will just close my eyes and listen to the singing of the familiar hymns, some of which touch me deeply (I Stand All Amazed... Be Still My Soul... Where Can I Turn... Jesus, Lover of My Soul, etc )

GG

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I thought of that but it just made me mad and wonder. Does the church handbook say something about this? Like prissy mentioned.

I rather appreciate the fact that once in the chapel, I can sit quietly and close my eyes and in my mind's eye is the picture that is unique to me through the Spirit... as I pray and envision myself kneeling before the Savior, leaning against him as he comforts me... not an artist's rendition of their inner vision. I commune based on my heart and mind...

GG

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If the church use to have paintings in there chapels, the only thing I can attribute it to is them not wanting to be like the other faiths just like when crosses were taken down back in the day. I'm not asking for gold & ornate here. I'll bet we could manage soomething to look at. I guess the statue of Christ might be asking too much here. No really, just some art.

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Are we there to reverence God or to look at the art work?

Is it an EITHER/OR choice? Looking at artwork can help a person contemplate and reverence God. That's why there's so much artwork in The Ensign. Art may not be necessary for worshipping God, but it can be helpful.

Of course one doesn't expect a work of art to capture the essence of deity. But neither does one expect a single tree or rock to capture the essence of deity, either, but people often feel close to God when they're in a natural setting because all things testify of God.

I really like Sister Wendy Beckett, a Catholic nun who is an art expert and contemplative hermit. She writes books and makes videos about works of art, highlighting how they can bring us closer to God.

Wikipedia article about Sister Wendy: http://en.wikipedia....i/Wendy_Beckett

Edited by DH
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If the church use to have paintings in there chapels, the only thing I can attribute it to is them not wanting to be like the other faiths just like when crosses were taken down back in the day. I'm not asking for gold & ornate here. I'll bet we could manage soomething to look at. I guess the statue of Christ might be asking too much here. No really, just some art.

And you may be right or you may be wrong. Most of us go to worship not to admire art.

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And you may be right or you may be wrong. Most of us go to worship not to admire art.

Why beautiful temples then? We may as well worship in a tent.

You must be a better person than me if you can worship like you've said. I'll try to do better. I do agree with the posters before, our chapels are pretty darn full.

Edited by Tacenda
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Although I absolutely love the Lord of the Rings movies, I almost wish I had never seen them.

In my mind, Frodo now will forever look like Elijah Wood.

Legolas will always look like Orlando Bloom.

So it is with art in the chapels.

It's also the reason I wish they would not play organ music in the chapel of the temple.

The words and melody dominate my mind, and I am unable to contemplate, pray, or

ponder on the scriptures.

Bernard

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Without question, there are a variety of elements that can enhance spiritual density: architecture, responsible dress style, music, silence, or hallowed echo, soft spoken selective words/phrases ... etc. Art, certainly is one of those significant, primary elements.

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When I was young (in the 60's) we had a beautiful picture of Christ in the chapel that meant a a lot to me and helped me focus on the Savior while sitting quietly. Now there are no pieces of artwork authorized in the chapel. I've read the policy in the handbook but I don't understand why there is to be no artwork in the chapel. Can anyone enlighten me?

There is a desire to have no distraction and to insure none associate an "object" with worship. Also to keep misunderstanding of non-members concerning the same.
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What is the difference in achieving spiritual heights by 1) simply reading the scriptures, or by 2) allowing an artistic image shape your faith, your emotions?

What's the difference between achieving spiritual heights by 1) simply reading the scriptures, or 2) attending a temple session?

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What is the difference in achieving spiritual heights by 1) simply reading the scriptures, or by 2) allowing an artistic image shape your faith, your emotions?

Praying to the East or crossing oneself and kneeling, or alter calls. I do not say this to criticize others, but such arguments have been made a Mormons not being pious enough...etc,
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If the church use to have paintings in there chapels, the only thing I can attribute it to is them not wanting to be like the other faiths just like when crosses were taken down back in the day. I'm not asking for gold & ornate here. I'll bet we could manage soomething to look at. I guess the statue of Christ might be asking too much here. No really, just some art.

If you feel you must have something to look at, why don't you carry some favorite pictures from the Church art series in your scriptures... there is a set small enough to fit in the zippered scripture carrier... Or, you could choose some other images... I can think of one painting by Liz Lemon Swindle of the Savior that was made into a greeting card... it had him walking with his sheep, wearing a red coat, open down the front. It is a beautiful, pastoral image... You could focus on the images you selected to carry.

GG

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