I am a Child of Gosh


While sitting between basketball games at the Mormon Temple, I wandered into the room where they teach Sunday School to the under-12 crowd. I used to be stuck in there when I was a kid, so seeing the room again was eerie. Even more bizarre is the mural that has been on the wall since the 1960s. Thank God I had my camera:


click image for bigger

This painting used to scare the blithering nuts out of me. There was something so haunting about having your life spelled out for you in this way, as if we were on some unflinching continuum on our way back to the Heavenly Creator.

The most distressing part, for me, was the actual artwork. Rendered in that caring, inoffensively deft touch of the whitest 1950s, this was the sort of painting they used to hang in hospitals, the places where my great-grandparents would hang up their proud souls to die amongst bedpans and the smell of barf.

Underneath each image of this mural is a plaque: BIRTH – TEACHING – FAITH (the kid with the book) – ETERNAL MARRIAGE – WORK AND SERVICE (you can tell by the hard hat) – EVERLASTING FAMILY – ADVERSITY (you can tell, because the Mormon guy finally loosened his tie) – CAREGIVING – and then, of course DEATH (which isn’t really death because Man lives forever). And then it’s back up to the heavens with ya.

Life just seems depressingly short and full of terrible things to wear. The quote on the ADVERSITY plaque reads “remember, Jesus said that God always hurts the ones he loves,” and hey, who would know better than Jesus, huh?

When I was little, I used to look up at the picture and think that I was probably the age of that kid reading the Bible. Now I look at this thing and think “I’m the motherscratcher in the hard hat.”

0 thoughts on “I am a Child of Gosh

  1. Alan

    Interesting to see the teen years absent between the ten year old with the book and the marrying couple. What happens there? I think red tie man is actually reconsidering that male modelling opportunity.

  2. Mom

    For me the scariest thing is in the roles that are depicted. Note that the woman gets the rocking chair and baby, the virginal bridal gown, and the centerpiece of the family with child in aarms and two others hanging on her. The man (boy) is the student–shades of the Jewish heritage. He’s the taller groom, the stalwart worker, the standby (but passive, the kids are mom’s job) paterfamilias, the worrier (presumably the lone solver of problems) and then finally the solitary grandparent–unrelaistic, because gramma is probably gonna outlive him by eight years, minimum. It’s truly creepy,
    Oh, by the way, the Mormon “temple” does not have a hoops court. You meant simply “church” or “Stake Center”… yes? Of course, they don’t let me in The Temple, so it could have hoops, a swimming pool, and a disco, for all I know.

  3. brent

    They left out the scene (between the book reading and the wedding) of a guy in a Peppers Pizza t-shirt, old jeans and running shoes……EXPERIMENTATION

  4. Ian

    I would think the EXPERIMENTATION portion of the painting would have Our Hero at a gay bath house in Chelsea circa 1979, wearing a naugahyde hairshirt and dancing to “Boogie Oogie Oogie.”


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