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.