Artist Stands on the Right; BYU on the Left

It’s a sad time in my household. There’s almost a feeling of mourning–mourning for those who are so clearly deceived.

Jon McNaughton, a talented artist, took my breath away with two of his paintings last fall. What I saw depicted on the canvas nearly matched my own mental pictures as to the relationship between our Savior and the U.S. Constitution when held up to judge the wicked men who would desecrate it. I was so moved by these two paintings that  I saved up for them and they became my husband’s Christmas gift. (He loved them!) We made room for them to be hung in our front room where they would not be missed or overlooked. Unfortunately, our very own Brigham Young University AND its bookstore, have decided that one of the paintings in particular is “too controversial” and “uncomfortable” and according to the authors depiction of events, have deceived and wrangled the artist.  Ultimately, the artist felt he had no other choice but to pull all of his artwork from the store. Even worse though to me was the response he received from the BYU President, denying that there was anything amiss about the whole scenario. I must say, as I read the artist’s account of the series of events, I envisioned what it must have been like with the scheming deception among Kishkumen or Gadianton. “Let’s tell the artist this.”  “Be sure to cover the story like this…” “Let’s twist the words of our position like this…” And so forth. I envision wringing hands, hunched shoulders, corners of darkness where these plans of deception and cowardice were seeded.

I am saddened to see that even a corporation of the Church can be brought to such blatantly wrong choices, in support of the adversary, rather than that which is virtuous, lovely or of good report. I’m saddened to know (and not just because of this occasion) that the BYU has come to employ conspiring men/women right in their midst who have shown their colors in this manner.  I am saddened too that there does not seem to be enough courage and virtue left in our own community to right this situation at present.  And I am saddened most to know that this is just the beginning of startling acts of evil indifference which we will see, even among the “elect” in these truly last days.

I can honestly say that I hope and pray that the brave and the virtuous will no longer be comfortable to act as an armchair quarterback in such manners. There will be no more critical time than this in which we live to wave our titles of liberty, to stand for righteousness, and to do all we can to protect ourselves from falling as those we see before us. We must feast upon the word of God in our scriptures, our church meetings, and at the temple in order to have any chance to maintain any semblance of freedom in our lives during this darkening time.

Far too many times I hear members of the Church make the comment that the Church cannot afford to have any political opinion whatsoever. However, this is an absolutely false presumption.  H. Verlan Anderson, a General Authority, was a dear friend to President Benson, a well-known patriot. With President Benson’s hearty endorsement, Anderson put out a book called “Many are Called, But Few Are Chosen.” In fact, President Benson, the prophet at that time, spoke during General Conference and actually encouraged all of the members of the Church to read Anderson’s book.  Brother Anderson subsequently came out with a second book called “The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil.” This second book goes into to deeper exploration of the tenets which he discusses in his first book. If you are of the belief that there is a difference between a private and political stance  or a spiritual and a political one, then I beg you to read this book which boldly states the truth of the matter, championed with scriptures and words of our prophets and apostles in these latter days. If you haven’t read either of the books, I suspect that both of them will prove to be stirring , at the least.
In closing, I applaud Brother McNaughton for taking the stand which he has on this matter. I pray for the healing of his soul though as he mourns the errors of his fellowmen.  May he be strengthened in knowing that he has used his talents for the better good and that he is on the Lord’s side.  And lastly, may he know that while there are few who would stand with him, he does not stand alone, and never will so long as my husband and I are around.

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5 responses to “Artist Stands on the Right; BYU on the Left

  1. This makes me sick! I find it EXTREMELY ironic that the Vice President of the BOOKSTORE is not better read! And what about President Samuelson? When I see things like this happening I really believe that the end can’t be that far off! Who will raise the next generation in truth and righteousness if nobody knows what that is? Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I feel exactly as you do on the issues of concern here. I will be sharing this with others.

  3. He took my breath away also, but mainly because the art is so bad. I know you posted on John’s site. I came here from there. If you want a political cartoon…then I guess this might work except I think the artist is serious this Thomas Kinkade styled nightmare (I think a disservice to Thomas as the people in John’s painting are apparently devoid of perspective or unified lighting).

    Yes, I am a conservative. I only mention that because the gut reaction might be that I am making fun of John because of his beliefs. We have serious issues in this country. I am worried about us trampling the constitution, out of control debt to pay debt, and the working people soon to become a minority to pay for entitlement majority. Scary stuff. I worry that this painting and the controversy might be exploited to turn BYU’s idea of bad art into censorship. I really hope that is not the case.

    • Wow, I guess we can disagree on our artistic tastes then. However, having seen MANY of your posts on any blog which addresses this matter bluntly insulting Jon’s artistic technique amidst a lengthy diatribe makes me wonder what ulterior motive you have, much like that of BYU? Is it your mission today to pull down a man and his talents? You certainly do seem intent upon it.

  4. Jay, while the painting is not the type of style I’m particular to, either, it’s not the place of BYU to decide what is “bad art”. There’s plenty of art that I think looks like it came from a trash heap or sewer, but still gets sold, put on display, and praised. The administrators don’t just go around going, “I don’t like that. Take it down.” Art, by its very nature, is subjective and works to create new ideas in its viewers.

    I read McNaughton’s blog post and laughed when he said one faculty member thought they should hang a liberal painting in answer to his. Talk about entitlement! I’ve gotta side with Kellene on this one.

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