Painting Joseph’s Vision in the Grove
by Ardyce Nordeen and Muriel Luedeman
Volume 20, Number 1, Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr 2019, Issue 77
The Story Behind the Painting on the Cover of this Issue of The Hastening Times
As the work progressed on our Remnant Church video during 2017 and 2018, we began to realize that there were visual images that we did not have and could not find on the internet image sources we were using. Most important was a picture of Joseph Smith in the grove. This event is so fundamental to the Restoration that we knew it had to appear on our screen. So, we began to look for someone to do a custom painting for us. Muriel Luedeman was the first person contacted, and she initially declined due to time constraints. However, she later did agree to take on the project, and the lovely painting that resulted thrilled us all! Here, in part, is Sister Luedeman’s own testimony:
Sister Joan Vun Cannon and her son, Jim, approached me in late 2017 or early 2018 about doing a commissioned painting of Joseph Smith, Jr.’s, vision in the grove for the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I didn’t think I could do it justice without adequate photograph[ic] reference material for such a painting, and so I passed it up. However, that problem resolved itself in March and April. I agreed to take on the challenge.
It seemed important for this painting to illustrate the Father and the Son together, yet separately in their relationship to each other and with Joseph. In one account, the Father said, “This is my beloved Son; hear him.” In addition, it didn’t seem out of line to depict God the Father with gray hair. I also wanted to capture an expression of love and compassion, even pity, in the faces of “Yehoshua [the Son] and Yahweh [the Father],” for they knew all of what was to happen in this young boy’s life after this experience. There is a smile, but there is also understanding, sorrow, and deep, loving regard for Joseph’s future sacrifice.
Joseph recounted that an evil presence engulfed him as he began to pray. The pose I chose to capture was after Joseph saw the shaft of light and was engulfed in the loving presence of Jesus and the Father. He must have had great relief being delivered from the deadly evil presence. He raises his arms to God, as a child reaches for his earthly father, to be rescued from a menacing threat. Yahweh’s [the Father’s] right hand rests on Yehoshua’s [the Son’s] shoulder, showing the loving bond between them.
For me, the painting personalizes for the viewer the LOVE God has for all of his children, and he instantaneously appears when we cry out in doubt and fear. He has compassion for what we all go through in life, and he is always, always with us, ready to receive us into his loving arms.
Truly, this is a work of heart. Sister Muriel’s depth of purpose is eloquently expressed on the canvas. The painting will hang in a place of honor in our new Visitors Center. Stop by and view it and stay for the movie!
We have prints of this painting in the headquarters office for purchase. Contact headquarters at 816-461-7215 for more information.