October 6, 2017
Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), Alma Baptizes in the Waters of Mormon, 1949-1951, oil on Masonite, 35 7/8 x 48 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Five years ago today, President Thomas S. Monson announced a change in the age requirements for missionaries, allowing men and women to serve at the ages of 18 and 19, respectively. The spirit of missionary work is celebrated in this mural by LDS artist Minerva Teichert.
Teichert surrounds the central baptismal scene of Alma baptizing in the waters of Mormon with groups of people amidst the trees. They watch as Alma baptizes a woman, while a mother prepares her daughter for baptism. The water is so pure that one can see through it. A man on the right faces away from the crowd as he stands guard against the ever-present danger of King Noah’s men. While the main shape formed by the figures is an inverted triangle, children in white form a secondary triangle. One eagerly waits, one is being baptized, and one returns to the bank, water dripping from his hands and clothes. This focus on children may signify that Christ encourages his disciples to be as little children. (Book of Mormon: Mosiah 18: 5-7, 16, 30)