Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Art: Mormon America

Excerpts of "Mormon America"  by Mollie at


Painting by Jon McNaughton

Jesus holding the Constitution... For reference, from the official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints news web site:

At the October 1987 general conference, President Ezra Taft Benson … spoke "about our divine Constitution, which the Lord said 'belongs to all mankind' (D&C 98:5) 'and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles.' (D&C 101:77.) "The Constitution of the United States has served as a model for many nations and is the oldest constitution in use today.

"'I established the Constitution of this land,' said the Lord, 'by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.'

In the lower left portion of the painting...  "College Student":

He is holding some books under his arm. This book on the top is I believe the most important book written of why America is so great and how it has influenced the world. It's called "The Five Thousand Year Leap" by Cleon Skousen. It explains that if it had not been for the founding fathers and how they set up our Constitution we could not have created the environment to allow for the great advances of the modern world. We literally went from hoes and shovels to placing a man on the moon and we took a five thousand year leap in human development. Truly these men were inspired!

It's not just that we get the "inspired" language again but also the Cleon Skousen reference. Skousen was, among other things (including a stint as an FBI employee and the police chief of Salt Lake City), a Brigham Young University professor. He was also an adviser to Ezra Taft Benson.

Here's how the Telegraph (U.K.) wrote about the painting:

Liberal America skewered in painting that stresses Christian roots of US consitution
One Nation Under God, a painting by a Christian artist that depicts Jesus Christ holding the United States constitution while an evolutionary academic, Hollywood actor and "liberal news reporter" huddle at his feet, is generating mirth and praise online.

McNaughton's ...has done paintings of various Latter-day Saint temples. There's also this opinion piece on a local Idaho news site:

I work for an artist who's taking some heat at the moment. Jon McNaughton (LDS), is an artist best known for his landscapes, and as of late his religious paintings of the savior. You may have seen his work within the LDS Ensign magazine or other western art publications.

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