Gilgal Garden is the legacy of Thomas Child’s desire to give physical form to his deep-felt beliefs. “If you want to be brought down to earth in your thinking and studying, try to make your thoughts express themselves with your hands,” Child wrote. The garden contains twelve original sculptural arrangements and over 70 stones engraved with scriptures, poems, and philosophical texts. Each represents an idea that rang of truth to Child in his life-long spiritual quest. Together, the sculptures and stones create a landscape of meaning and a unique work of art.
Child shared Gilgal Garden with thousands of visitors during his lifetime. He hoped the garden would inspire viewers to ponder “the unsolved mysteries of life” and struggle to find their own answers. Child was aware that many people would find Gilgal Garden strange, but hoped they would accept its challenge. “You don’t have to agree with me,” he explained. “You may think I am a nut, but I hope I have aroused your thinking and curiosity.”
Child began work on Gilgal Garden in 1945, when he was 57 years old. By then, he had already led a successful career as a masonry contractor, married and raised a family, been a leader in community affairs, and served as a bishop of the LDS Tenth Ward for over 19 years. Child’s passion for his garden consumed much of his time and money until his death in 1963.