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Sunrise Chapel

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On that first Christmas night, Joseph searched through the inns of Bethlehem looking for a place of comfort for Mary. Despite his pleadings we read: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn”. - Luke 2:7

Too often we let the distractions of the world crowd out the Savior. Like those in Bethlehem we don’t make room for Him in our busy lives. Each year as Christmas draws near I paint a nativity piece. For me it has become a tradition and my own way of making room for Him. May we each find ways to make room in our lives for the Savior - not only at Christmas, but always.

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Sweet Hour Of Prayer

I've had many comments about this painting over the years from those in the armed services. They have written me from the midst of battle and across the oceans. They have echoed the sentiments in this piece and have experienced similar scenarios while gathered together in faith, before embarking on their assignments.

The inspiration for this painting came from the words to the old hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” It is believed the writer was William W. Walford, a blind priest in England.

Their eyes are closed for a reason. When we close our eyes we begin to rely on our other senses. As we close our eyes in prayer, we trade our physical sight for a spiritual kind of vision. These men represent the best in human nature. The part that says, "I can’t see what the future holds, but I know Who holds it.” Yes, there is beauty in the idea that by closing our eyes, we begin to see and that it was a humble blind minister who brought about greater vision for untold generations.

I’ve come to realize that history books have their story about which side won what battle, but there are times when each man and woman must become a warrior. Whether we win or lose these battles comes down to who we have become because of them. Wars are not always fought overseas and in far-away places, but also in the fleshy tables of our hearts.

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Sweetwater Crossing

Sweetwater Rescue

In answer to the call from President Brigham Young to bring in the members of the handcart companies stranded on the plains, the first rescue teams left the Salt Lake Valley on October 7, 1856. The advance rescue party would not find the Martin handcart company until October 28 at Red Bluffs where a snowstorm stranded them for nine days.

Although this advanced rescue party had insufficient supplies to adequately bring relief to so many in need they brought with them strength, courage, nobility, honor and would perform many heroic acts in order to preserve the lives of the stranded saints. These men would truly become angels sent from heaven which the company had long prayed for.

On November 4, 1856, with snow levels recorded anywhere from twelve to eighteen inches deep and temperatures recorded as low as eleven degrees below zero it was determined to move the company to an area that would provide a more plentiful source of firewood and better protection from the elements. Because of the physical and emotional
condition of the company, this river crossing would prove to be a "severe operation" and would be the "worst river crossing of the expedition". Many, including men, wept at the prospects of crossing the river which was approximately two feet deep, from 90 to 120 feet across and flowing with sharp ice floes. Although many performed heroic acts David P. Kimball, George W. Grant, Stephen W. Taylor, and C. Allen Huntington were recognized for there efforts spending the day in the Sweetwater River assisting others across and into an area which would later be known as Martin's Cove.

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Take My Hand


Take my hand and follow me,
There are things ahead for you to see.
Little wonders are all around,
And tender mercies to be found.

We’ll take our time, no need to run,
Breathe deep the air and feel the sun.
The grass is soft beneath our feet,
Sounds are soothing, the air is sweet.

Sometimes we’ll stop and just be still,
Our hearts will tell us God is real!
Small graces along our path appear,
They let us know that Heaven’s near.

So take my hand anew each day,
The walk is lovely and I know the way.

Greg Olsen -2008

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Teaching The Scriptures

Just as with the righteous women in the scriptures, our Savior loves and reverences every faithful woman today.

Several years ago I painted Teaching the Scriptures. The inspiration came from the scriptural account of Eunice teaching her son, Timothy, the Holy Scriptures.

Before beginning a painting, I do extensive research. With Teaching the Scriptures, I asked several professors of Ancient Scripture at BYU how women of scriptural times taught their children about God and His commandments. Did they have access to personal scriptures? No, they did not. Instead mothers read and taught from scrolls that were kept in their homes for the edification and learning of the family.

This painting is a tribute to the mothers in my life – my beloved mom, my daughter, and mothers everywhere who understand the importance of scriptures in the lives of their children. (Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 3:15)

Painting by Sandy Freckleton Gagon

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Teancum Slaying Amalikiah

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Tell John I Died With My Face Toward Zion

James Steele shades the face of Mary Murray Murdoch, known lovingly as "Wee Granny." Mary's physical strength carried her only to Chimney Rock, Nebraska, but her spiritual strength was manifest in her request to have the Steeles tell her son John that she died facing Zion. That testimony still burns in the hearts of her posterity.

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Ten Lepers

"And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." Luke 17:15-19 As he did with The Widow´s Mite, James Christensen interprets one of the Bible´s more powerful stories and presents us with an image of elegance, grace and beauty. At the same time he engages us in one of the higher promises of art: provoking thought. In fact, the art of reflection is at the core of the painting´s message. The Ten Lepers were a group of men cured of their disease through one of Christ´s miracles. Their tattered wrappings suggest what was, until this moment, their illness. Of the ten, nine are too preoccupied celebrating their new lease on life to think of anything else, much yet thank him. The tenth, at this moment, grasps truly what has occurred. He is the only one that returns to acknowledge the Master. This image provides an inspiring reminder to take a moment from our fast-paced world and reflect on what we have to be thankful for. And, just as importantly, to take the time to show this gratitude.

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Tender Mercies Of The Lord

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That They Might Not Suffer

When I started this painting, I believed that Gethsemane was about the suffering of Christ. About the agony so intense that He trembled because of pain and bled from every pore. By the time I finished, I saw that the miracle of Gethsemane went beyond the suffering. The miracle was the love that brought Him there.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

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The Annunciation

The Annunciation captures the moment soon after the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Christ Child. Mary is dressed in white, the color of purity. The post in the background represents a pillar, which in Renaissance art symbolized a separation between heaven and earth. And, according to early Christian literature, the small white feather on the right-hand side of the painting symbolizes faith and contemplation, as well as Mary’s newly departed angelic visitor.

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The Ascension Of Jesus

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The Baby Jesus

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The Baptism Of Christ

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The Beesley Pioneer Band

This winning piece of art seems to exude patriotism and excitement. Minerva loved to paint people. She especially enjoyed pioneer pieces. Minerva wrote of her bright colors by saying the following: "I want a touch of red in my heaven and to be able to paint after I leave here. Even though I should come back nine times, I still would not have exhausted my supply of subjects and one lifetime is far too short but maybe a schooling for the next."

Original: oil, 77 x 42 inches, 1950.

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The Better Part

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The Blind Leading The Blind

The Parable of the Blind is one of the best-known sections from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. It reads: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?” Jesus used the metaphor of the blind men to suggest to his followers that they examine their own hearts and souls before calling attention to the flaws of others. James Christensen has taken the parable in a new, more light-hearted direction in The Blind Leading the Blind. Christensen sees his blind men as archetypal figures, embodying the different ways people deal with difficult situations. All four men are lost, but their expressions reveal their attitudes: one man is unhappy, one is content with his lot, one man is confused and one has tumbled into the pit entirely. The Blind Leading the Blind is a whimsical reminder to remain humble—and to give others the benefit of the doubt.

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The Breath Of Life

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The Carriers

This image depicts the Sweetwater Rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies.

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