Desert Bizarro: Exploring a slowly decaying Christian theme park outside Joshua Tree National Park.
Near Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert, this Christian theme park was the concept of the then local pastor Reverend Eddie Garver who visualized creating the faith-based attraction as a light and symbol for world peace. In 1950, the US government helped Garver to realize his dream and granted the ‘Desert Pastor’ 5 acres of south-facing land on a desolate mount, overlooking the valley.
The effects of the 1992 earthquake in nearby Landers, which knocked off hands, feet and heads exposing steely skeletons, must be creepy to even to the most pious visitor. Limited funding and wanton neglect have also taken their toll, most noticeably in the ‘Blessing of the Children’ scenes where small children are missing limbs and faces.
Sermon On The Mount as viewed through the armpit of one of his disciple’s.
Over the next 10 years before his death in 1961 at age 74, Martin created more than 35 statues from plaster, steel and concrete, including a 3-story, 125-ton bas-relief of The Last Supper. A window was installed behind the JC’s head, and a platform built providing an excellent opportunity for visitors to pose for a photo with the saviour.