Whether you're mormon, jack-mormon, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, “spiritual,” or other in SLC you know Space Jesus. He’s a cultural icon here. The massive 11-foot porcelain white marble statue was purchased in the 1950’s by LDS Church leader Stephen L Richards. The statue is a replica of the less known Throvaldsen’s (a 19th century Danish sculpture) Christus and was erected to “help visitors understand that Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) are Christians.”
This 11-foot tall pasty white Jesus stands directly in front a large space mural. At night floor lights shine up on the perfectly porcelain’esk Jesus illuminating his tender features and open arms extended to all the world––here Space Jesus stands suspended in the deep blue, welcoming all his little children home.
Space Jesus is nice, he's welcoming, he understanding, he's loving, he would never judge you, and he always accepts you as you are. Space Jesus never gets angry, he's always got sheep over his shoulders and children under his arm. Space Jesus' folk singer features and perfectly Herbal Essence’d hair make you feel as though you could sit with him for hours, staring into his deep blue eyes while he plays Bob Dylan tunes.
But the Jesus of history really isn't like that. He's rough, dark skinned, and for the first 30 years of his life lived in a small town learning to swing a hammer for a living. He wasn't pretty, wasn't handsome, and was often accused of being a drunk and a party animal.
The real Jesus was rarely considered, "nice," he destroyed public property, spit in peoples eyes, called Pastors things most of us would be slapped for saying today, only ever had 12 friends and really just 11, and said he would someday come back spitting swords and brining war.
We have two Jesus', and it seems most of us believe in the first, the white washed clean cut Space Jesus. Only one can be real, only one can save, and only one can be the real Jesus.