Utah November 01, 2019
The Joseph Smith Sphinx Is Just One Of Many Oddities You’ll Find At Utah’s Bizarre Gilgal Garden
Utah is home to some truly beautiful gardens and parks. You can enjoy
more than 100 acres of gorgeous gardens and hiking trails at Red Butte Garden, or take a stroll through this little slice of paradise in Salt Lake City. Not far from these two pretty spots is another garden…one that’s both beautiful and incredibly bizarre. Have you ever seen Gilgal Garden?
Gilgal Sculpture Garden was created over the course of more than a decade, and it's full of sculptures and stones inscribed with scripture and poetry. You'll find it tucked away in a neighborhood near Trolley Square in Salt Lake City.
The garden is free to visit!
As you make your way through the garden, you'll notice a mixture of religion, poetry, and masonry. The garden's creator, Thomas Battersby Child Jr. was a stonemason, a bishop in his church, and an artist. He definitely had a flair for the creative and quirky.
The garden includes 12 sculptures, the most famous of which is the Joseph Smith Sphinx.
It's by far the most unique rendering of the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! As a Mormon Bishop, Child was fascinated by sphinx's representation of riddles and mysteries and he also believed that his church held the keys to those mysteries through its gospel.
The Monument to the Trade depicts Child himself. It includes perfectly-joined flagstones, along with masonry tools hanging from the walls.
Child was the bishop of the LDS tenth ward for 19 years, and the church building is also depicted here.
One of the most curious pieces of art in the garden is the one entitled, "Malachi."
It's based on a scripture found in the Bible, and depicts a heart of a living person, and a heart of one who's passed away, and human hands turning the two toward each other.
While some of these works of art can seem gruesome, once you have the biblical reference, they make much more sense.
This piece is called, "The Last Chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes." It depicts the objects in this verse: "…the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden…the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bow be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.” The head of the old man represents the first chapter, which discusses man's mortality.
To better understand the sculptures here, pick up a free brochure at the gate when you enter.
The Gilgal Sculpture Garden is open to the public every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
From April through September, hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.. October through March, visit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Have you visited Gilgal Sculpture Garden? What’s your favorite sculpture there? Tell us in the comments!
Visit Gilgal Sculpture Garden’s
website to learn more, and check out its Facebook page to see more photos.
Address: 749 E 500 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84102, USA