Tangible Testimonies


Consider the many gifts and blessings our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given us. By recognizing our gifts and the blessings in our lives, we show reverence for God and strengthen our individual testimonies. Sharing our testimonies, however, isn’t limited to words. Our faith can be expressed in the notes of a hymn, the shaping of clay, or the strokes of a paintbrush.

Walking into the exhibit of the Eighth International Art Competition is like walking into a testimony meeting of colors and shapes from 44 countries. In Doctrine and Covenants 115:5 we read, “Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations,” and the work of these Latter-day Saint artists is doing just that.

This triennial contest’s entries include paintings and handcrafted designs that reflect the theme, “Remembering the Great Things of God.” Our earthly home, the restored gospel, and the precious Atonement of our Savior are some of the subjects the artists have magnified. Out of 1,089 submissions, nearly 200 were selected, including 20 merit awards and 18 purchase awards. The exhibit will be open to the public in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, until October 11, 2009. It offers a chance to be spiritually strengthened by these tangible testimonies.

The exhibit can also be seen online by following the links at www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum.

Whereas I Was Blind, Now I See(click to view larger)

Far right: “Whereas I Was Blind, Now I See” (John 9:25), by Tyson Snow, Oil on canvas.

Brother Snow says, “I wanted to express the lasting effect of being touched by Christ in some way.”

Windows of Heaven(click to view larger)

Below: Windows of Heaven, by Emily McPhie, Oil on canvas, Purchase Award.

“Looking at my little girl took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. It was as if the windows of heaven opened through her eyes and poured out love and light,” says Sister McPhie.

Resurrection(click to view larger)

Left: Resurrection, by Ruth Bradfield, Ceramic.

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

No Greater Love(click to view larger)

Above: No Greater Love, by Gregory K. Olsen, Oil on linen.

“Somehow, Jesus took upon Himself all of the suffering and frailties of the entire human race,” Brother Olsen says. “The Atonement was an act of infinite transcendent love for each one of us. This act stands as the most glorious event of all time!”

Her Sins Are Forgiven, for She Loved Much(click to view larger)

Right: “Her Sins Are Forgiven, for She Loved Much” (Luke 7:47), by Robert Cushing, Oil painting.

Brother Cushing says, “The woman’s faith and repentance led her to seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Through the Lord’s redeeming love, hope was born in her.”

The Hundredth Sheep(click to view larger)

Left: The Hundredth Sheep, by Claudemir Bonfim, Oil on canvas.

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine and go into the wilderness after that which is lost, until he find it?” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 15:4).

King of Kings(click to view larger)

Left: King of Kings (Pilate’s Lament), by Benjamin McPherson, Oil on canvas.

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. … And saith … Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him” (John 19:1, 4).

The Greatest in the Kingdom(click to view larger)

Above: The Greatest in the Kingdom, by J. Kirk Richards, Oil on canvas, Merit Award.

“And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. … But he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Luke 22:24, 26).

Tree of Life II(click to view larger)

Left: Tree of Life II, by Carol Byington Johnson, Quilted fabric.

Sister Johnson says, “My artwork depicts the love of God as described in 1 Nephi 11:25, where the tree of life is described as a representation of the love of God.”

The Child(click to view larger)

Below: The Child, by Kathleen Bateman Peterson, Oil painting, Merit Award.

Of her work, Sister Peterson says, “This is a painting about God’s greatest gift to us—life itself.”

We Thank Thee, O God, for Our Prophets(click to view larger)

Right: We Thank Thee, O God, for Our Prophets, by Aldo Alejandro del Bosque Hernandez, Wood and mosaic sculpture.

“In this work,” says the artist, “the radio chassis represents the love and devotion of President Gordon B. Hinckley and the work he did to advance the Church through the media.”

I Returned to My Father in the Fields(click to view larger)

Right: “I Returned to My Father in the Fields” (Joseph Smith—History 1:50), by Howard Post, Oil painting.

“After recovering from the effects of the four appearances of Moroni,” says Brother Post, “Joseph recounted his experience to his father.”

Lehi’s Dream(click to view larger)

Above: Lehi’s Dream, by Larry Ogan, Oil on wood.

Brother Ogan says, “Lehi tasted the fruit of the tree and was filled with the gospel of Jesus Christ. … Eternal life was now within his reach.”

Steady Course(click to view larger)

Right: Steady Course (see 1 Nephi 8), by Jon Helaman Saline, Carved silver maple wood.

Of his work, Brother Saline says, “This platter is a representation of Lehi’s dream and the freedom each of us has to take hold of the iron rod or to let go and become lost in unknown paths.”

Along the bottom of pages 41–45, you will see small details of a sampling of images from the art competition. For the complete catalog of images, go online and follow the links at www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum.