Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mark Mabry Photo Exhibit Brings Story of Christ to Life

I had the chance to interview my great friend Mark Mabry and some of the other creators of the new Reflections of Christ exhibit Another Testament. The story that came out of the interview did not get posted on any of our work Web sites because of the number of stories relating to General Conference that would take up all the space and time for this weekend. So, I am sharing what I wrote because I believe that the exhibit is amazing and is a great visual into understanding what Mormons believe about who Jesus Christ is. I can't take sole credit for this. My awesome assistant Jeanette did amazing research and writing. She and I both wrote two separate pieces, but decided to combine the two into one story. Jeanette is a great writer and handled interviewing Mark with class and professionalism.

Anyhow, here is the story:

The Book of Mormon, a companion scripture to the Holy Bible, recounts a resurrected Jesus Christ visiting the American continent, fulfilling prophecies foretold by Biblical prophets such as Isaiah. Photographer Mark Mabry captures those moments in Another Testament, the second installment of the Reflections of Christ photo exhibit, currently on display in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square.

Mabry chose the ruins of Copan in Honduras to bring to life the third book of Nephi in The Book of Mormon. “There’s a unique spirit to this story about Christ, the one-to-one interaction with the resurrected Christ,” Mabry explains. “There’s not a whole lot of that recorded in the Bible, even though we know it was happening. But meeting the resurrected Christ — can there be anything more intense than that?”

The Mayan ruins were an ideal location, but it was the people of Honduras who convinced Mabry to relocate the set. Untrained actors, who happened to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were asked to act as they would if they were meeting Jesus Christ one on one. It became an emotional day for everyone involved.

“It’s full of relief, and it’s full of joy, and we can all kind of identify with that longing to finally be with the Savior,” Mabry said in describing the expressions and emotions in the Hondurans’ faces.

Lorena, a young mother who has gradually lost the use of her legs, chose to participate. Mabry was sensitive to the situation, but Lorena insisted on taking the part of a crippled woman who Christ would heal.

“She willingly did the role,” Mabry said. “She probably had no clue how powerful that was going to be.”

Freddie Ashby, a featured musician on the exhibit soundtrack, hopes those individuals not familiar with the Book of Mormon account will see the exhibit and “come to a realization that Christ knows them.”

“It can be reduced down to just me and you sitting here talking, and that’s the type of relationship you can have with your Savior,” Ashby said.

The exhibit is now open in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square and will run until Sunday, October 11, 2009.

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