Biola University has made a replica of the “Jesus Saves” signs that the Bible Institute had displayed in downtown Los Angeles for over fifty years. Although the university has not been able to acquire the original signs, the new display is a nostalgic attraction for the school’s La Mirada campus.
The Bible Institute of Los Angeles had erected two seven-foot signs declaring with red neon letters that “Jesus Saves” on the rooftop of a dormitory in the 1930’s. The building at Sixth and Hope Street was torn down decades later, and the signs that had shone for over fifty years were acquired by a pastor. Today, one of the signs remains with the pastor’s widow and the other is atop the roof of an upcoming hotel building in Los Angeles. Biola University had hoped to obtain the signs to use at their La Mirada campus, but their efforts have been unsuccessful thus far.
The class of 2013 helped to fund a mural that contains a smaller version of the signs and the old building as a tribute to the University’s original campus. University President Barry H. Corey hopes that the replica will be a reminder that the school’s philosophy has not changed in over 100 years. “Biola University is making a statement about how central that message still is to our mission … as long as Biola has existed and will exist, proclaiming ‘Jesus Saves’ will be central to who we are,” he said.
The new sign is about one-third the size of the originals, and it uses LED lights instead of neon because of city code. Some students have expressed disappointment that the replica is not more visible on campus, and the University says they may still seek to acquire the original signs.
Nelda Davis, the daughter of a former Biola University student, remarked that her 98-year-old mother still has some of her course notes. “So glad you are going to keep the ‘Jesus Saves’ on display,” she wrote, “He truly does!”