This image was inspired by my wife and son when he was leaving on his mission. We
were at the airport saying our good-byes, and I watched him as he hugged my wife.
She was hanging on, having a very hard time letting him go, and he was hugging her,
but he was looking beyond her — toward the airplane. He was obviously ready to go.
The expression on her face was one of trepidation. It was as if she were asking herself,
"Have I prepared him for this? Have I done all I could?" While his expression was
one of eager determination. He had been preparing so long for this and he was ready
to get started.
That moment made me think of the story of the Stripling Warriors. Those two thousand
young men had never fought before. They had no idea what they were up against, or
what to expect going into battle against the Lamanites, but that didn't matter to
them. They were prepared in spirit and in faith. They knew that the things their
mothers had taught them were true, and they were willing to march into the unknown,
with their strength and courage coming from their faith. I think about those young
men and their resolve to defend their families and their homes. They went forth with
bravery and they succeeded. Then I think about their mothers. I know how worried
and afraid they must have been. That's what moms do. They worry and they wonder if
they have prepared their sons. That is really the feeling I wanted to portray in
Recently the Church published the first known photographs of one of Joseph Smith’s
seer stones. Although sources vary, Joseph Smith apparently found a seer stone when
he was 16-years-old while digging a well near his home. Using this stone, Joseph
developed his capacity as a seer, searching for buried treasure and lost items. He
would later apply this gift to translate the Book of Mormon. With the Hill Cumorah
in the background, this painting depicts the youthful Joseph finding his stone, prophesied
in the Book of Mormon, “I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone” (Alma 37:23).
In my painting I wanted to depict the tree of life. When I created it, I thought
of Alma 32:28 and it says,"Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye
give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed,
or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the
Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when
you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs
be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge
my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be
delicious to me." I included a heart in the roots to symbolize our testimonies.
Like any seed, it needs water, sunlight, and soil. A tree can not thrive on human
food. So like a seed of a tree, what we put into our hearts determines what our
growth will be. I also included layers of soil to symbolize time. Testimonies aren't
always immediate. It takes time, effort, and trust in the Lord. When we do the
small and simple things, we will see incredible blessings and grow into our fullest
In Alma 32, the scriptures describe how we plant the seed of faith, give it care
and nourishment, and it will become a great tree. Alma 32:41: "But if ye will nourish
the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great
diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take
root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life." Normally
I paint in oils, but this piece was created in pastels.
This piece won First Place in the 2018 Book of Mormon Central Art Contest.
This piece was inspired by Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon. In this chapter Alma explains
the nature of faith being something believed and not seen. As faith grows it is
like a seed being planted in a person's heart and if they are faithful and learn
more of the gospel they are blessed with fruit. This is represented in this piece
with a girl giving thanks for the fruit that was grown in a barren desert. Since
she was faithful she was able to receive her reward and can now grow stronger. The
moon and star represents the spirit since her gaze is aimed up toward heaven.
“Some of the most wonderful works of God that I have witnessed were the conversions
I saw while serving a mission. I witnessed many miracles as I taught the gospel and
watched lives change. I made this piece to show the progress of an individual’s conversion.
It is more of a process than one large experience, and I wanted to give each stage
its own attention. The planting of the seed is just as important as the nurturing
of the young plant. As a person matures in the gospel, roots of understanding and
commitment reach into the rich soil to provide strength and support for the new life,
now visible to others. Conversion happens between individuals and God, but I was
blessed to be able to observe the process.”