Why a Sunset?
One of the first questions I received when I showed people my book cover was regarding the background. I was able to provide extensive input into what I wanted on the cover, and the publisher was more than accommodating to review and implement my ideas.
Of the many things I wanted on the cover, one was the background image. I specifically asked for a photo with ominous clouds in the sky and a glowing sun out on the horizon. Unusual, perhaps—but I believe it carries significant meaning.
The more obvious of the two elements is the clouds. They represent the dark and turbulent times in which we live. In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley declared that “There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.” These clouds symbolize that storm.
As friends reviewed the cover, I was asked several times whether the sun was setting or rising. I smiled each time, pleased with the question, and my answer was always “it depends.” In his notes on the Constitutional Convention, James Madison records the following:
Doctor Franklin, looking toward the President’s chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising sun from a setting sun. I have, said he, often in the course of this session, and the vissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President, without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.
The glowing sun conveys the same idea for our own day: is the sun rising or setting on our liberties? As the storm approaches, are our liberties on the increase or decrease?
And more importantly, what are we doing about it?