Worshiping through Art
Chelsee Niebergall, Church News and Events
Latter-day prophets have long taught members of the Church about the teaching power of good art. As recently as President Thomas S. Monson’s April 2011 conference address, “The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” the prophet quoted President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), encouraging parents to display images of the temple in their homes to teach their children the temple's importance (see Liahona and Ensign, May 2011, 93).
Whether in homes, meetinghouses, temples, or elsewhere, good art can encourage a spirit of worship. For that reason, the Church’s Printing Division has created a way to make fine art available at a low cost for use in members' homes and Church buildings worldwide.
“We worship with all our senses, not just our ears,” said artist Kent Wallis, who currently serves as a stake president. “Art is in our meetinghouses to reach to the soul and bring [people] to a higher spiritual plane.”
Members can obtain Church-produced artwork for display in their homes or to use in teaching in a variety of ways.
The Church's magazines, the Liahona, Ensign, New Era, and Friend, regularly print art that subscribers can use in a variety of ways by clipping it from the printed issues or printing it from the web versions. Images that may not be reprinted will say so in the credit line.
Members can obtain Church-produced artwork at the Church's Online Store at store.lds.org. A tab on the homepage will take visitors to the Music, Media, and Art section, where visitors can find art including depictions of the Savior, scenes from the scriptures, photos of temples and other topics, and posters such as the Church magazines' Mormonads. The store ships to locations worldwide.
The Church has produced the Gospel Art Book, a spiral-bound book containing 137 pieces of gospel-related art. The book can be purchased in distribution centers or through store.lds.org.
Priesthood leaders can work through their local facilities management group or use store.lds.org to obtain art for meetinghouses and other Church facilities. The artwork available through store.lds.org can be ordered in picture format on cardstock or on canvas and framed in a variety of sizes.
Making More Art Available
In addition to reproducing art produced for general Church distribution, in recent years the Church has begun making available art that was originally created for limited use.
During his time as President of the Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) advised that, using now-available technology, the Church should digitally photograph original murals and paintings created for individual Church-owned buildings so that they could be archived, printed, and distributed to others when permissions could be secured.
The employees at the printing center are trained on how to use high-resolution cameras to capture the fine details in the paintings. The resulting images are then printed on a high-grade, double-weave linen canvas. The prints are framed and then sent to Church-owned buildings all over the world.
Finding Something Higher
“The goal of all these products is to help bring people to Christ,” said Dennis Smith, business process manager of the Printing Division. “Art has a wonderful way of doing that. These beautiful printed scenes remind us of scripture stories or historical events or specific individuals, so all of these different depictions help teach us, inspire us, and remind us of the Savior.”
Tyler Booth, a print operator for the printing center, said he remembers looking at a piece of art depicting Christ with outstretched hands. “I was amazed at how meaningful that was to me and how that instance in the scriptures came to life for me,” he said.
Brother Booth said he feels privileged to be a part of the work that can produce pieces of art for members, meetinghouses, and temples all over the world. He says he hopes one of those pieces of art will bring someone the same profound feelings he has had.