Skip to main content
Department Of Design

Reframing the Quest for Perfection: Linda Reynolds Speaks on Understanding God’s Design

Students and Faculty Gathered at West Campus to Learn More on Creating Meaning in the Arts

Linda Reynolds Speaking at February Faith + Works Lecture
Photo by Emma Olson

“It's my profound hope that you'll find joy in everything, that you find nuances and beauty in everything that you do and that your relationships will always be filled with nuance and beauty. That you will find meaning in everything that you do is my humble prayer.”

This was Linda Reynold’s concluding thought in her lecture, “This Means This, This Means That,” a title borrowed from the book “This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics” by Sean Hall. Hall’s book discusses how meaning can be elusive, a result of “questioning, reframing, and sometimes making shifts in the perspectives from which certain signs are viewed.” Hall says, “The meanings of signs may be stranger than we think.” The main reframing Reynolds focused on was thinking differently about how we approach our “quest for perfection.”

Neither Reynold’s kind concern nor reference to reframing should come as a surprise to those familiar with her work. She’s a BYU and U of U graduate who has been recognized in both arts education and professional design while teaching at BYU for more than 30 years. Her media choices have often questioned standard categorizations and practice for designers.

BYU Professor Robert Brandt Sang "His Eye Is on the Sparrow"
Photo by Emma Olson

Her presentation embodied educational understanding with forms appealing to linguistic, visual/spatial and musical intelligences. In addition to a slide presentation that included words, prompts to personal stories, poems and art images, she included her animation short about Jewish divorce and, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” sung by BYU Music Professor Robert Brandt.

Reynolds’ personal journey as a design professor and Latter-day Saint has focused on reframing the quest for perfection and eternal life—a quest that she has started herself and is encouraging students to pursue.

Part of that journey has meant accepting the difference between what is envisioned and what is created and understanding perfection cannot be achieved in this life. She spoke of Claudine Bigelow (a BYU music professor with whom she knits) reminding her of the saying “comparison is the thief of joy” when she was unhappy with her knitting results. She said she also finds wisdom in President Nelson’s ideas that perfection is “pending,” and “achieving a distant objective” rather than “errorless performance.” She now finds beauty in imperfection that she didn’t see.

“There is a place for me at BYU and therefore for you in the end,“ Reynolds said.