4.25.2011

BYU Censors Artwork for Being Too Conservative

This is a sad day for me to have to write this.  I am a graduate of BYU and have many friends that work at the university.  After recent events I had to let the public know why I have chosen to pull all my art from the BYU Bookstore.


My letter sent to the BYU Daily Universe:


I have a simple question for BYU…what in the heck is going on over there?!  I am an artist who has sold his work at the BYU Bookstore for many years.  But in light of recent events, I cannot in good conscious show my art there any longer.

A couple of years ago I decided to paint a picture that takes a stand for something that matters to me and to many Americans.  The title of the picture is “One Nation Under God.” It depicts Christ standing among many patriots of the past while holding the US Constitution.

Just as our country is divided now on the issues, so goes this painting.  It has been extremely popular at the BYU Bookstore, but despite its success, it was pulled from the store recently because the Vice President over the Bookstore was “uncomfortable” with the painting.  It was actually pulled down last November, but was put back up immediately after Channel Two News showed up suddenly to do a story on possible censorship at BYU.  Why is this painting, which is supported by church doctrine, (D&C 101:80) such a taboo image to display at BYU?  Why censor a painting like this?  Is it pornographic? Does it incite civil unrest? No.  Go look around the bookstore, you’ll find far more provocative political books than my paintings.  The problem in our country today is that many Americans won’t stand up for something if it makes them “uncomfortable.”

Events leading to the censorship of One Nation Under God at the BYU Bookstore
1.    August 2010, BYU Art Department Manager, Val Ugolini, suddenly resigns over issues regarding “One Nation Under God.”
2.    Bookstore pulled down my paintings in November of 2010.  One faculty member objected to the painting, felt that it should not hang unless an alternative liberal painting also hung.
3.    Channel Two News does a story on this incident and BYU receives hundreds of phone calls and e-mails.  Dave Hunt stops Daily Universe from running a story on the incident.http://connect2utah.com/search-fulltext?nxd_id=114716
4.    Private meetings held.  I am asked to not talk with the press, they claim all was a misunderstanding, apologies given and good faith agreement offered. All was good again.  (BYU Bookstore Director Roger Reynolds, BYU Assistant VP Dave Hunt)
5.    Bryan Evans BYU Administrative Vice President cancels my invitation to speak at BYU OPAC Conference because he was “uncomfortable” with me presenting about One Nation Under God.
6.    Suddenly told April 18, 2011 by the BYU Bookstore managers that the “Presidential Committee” had decided back in December, weeks before the agreement with Bookstore director, to take down the One Nation Under God but had not taken action... now the picture will no longer be hung.
7.    After it is announced that art would not be hung, BYU Bookstore Director denies existence of Presidential committee and says it is a bookstore decision.  I feel that the January agreement with Bookstore Director was deceptive.
8.    April 21,2011, Jon McNaughton decides to pull out the rest of his artwork due to lack of trust with BYU Bookstore and the BYU Administration.



I sent President Samuelson the following letter after my invitation to speak at the BYU OPAC Conference last March was cancelled:

“Has Liberalism so infected this university that speakers can be invited to speak about the truths of Darwinism, but a simple artist who wishes to speak about the Constitution and its importance in America is too controversial?   I am very troubled and would appreciate an explanation.”

His response included, “Consequently, they have concluded that their conference is not the proper forum for such a presentation and they have the support of the BYU administration. While we believe your accusations about “Liberalism” at BYU are unfounded and unsupported in fact, (emphasis added)

Although BYU is undoubtedly a conservative school to deny any Liberalism exists is astonishing.  Go to the following links:

Darwinism Conference at BYU: http://sciencebysteve.net/?p=654
BYU CollegeDemocrats http://byudemocrats.org/


BYU professor Bill Bradshaw on the Biological Origins of homosexuality http://mormonstories.org/?p=1158
A BYU Student blogs about her experience in a lecture on Evolution in a BYU class:http://godlessatbyu.blogspot.com/2010/10/evolution-debate-at-byu.html
Personally, I think that a university like BYU should discuss all ideas as long as they don’t go against anything contrary to the honor code.  But to deny that Liberalism exists at BYU is not true.  
I believe that the source of the censoring of my painting ONUG is that BYU does not want to offend the liberals on campus.  Why is it that the complaints of a few angry liberals determine what the rest are allowed to look at?  Is this Washington D.C. or BYU?  



184 comments:

  1. This really saddens me. My children's friends and their families carry on a tradition of going to BYU. I will pass this on to them.
    Jon, thank you for sharing God's gift of painting with us. And thank you for "standing firm".

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  2. I'm sure there are many other Christian universities that would be proud to display your art-all of it! Send out some emails!

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  3. Brother,
    No matter where the wedge cometh from or or who places it there. Do well thy part with the Lord and he will reward thee. If he allows it to happen for a reason let him deal with it. Know that your talents not wasted. I know it may be upsetting but you've done so much good and you should keep doing it. There may be other places for you to share but as I see it you have so much more to share as well. I hope you'd at least reconsider not pulling off other works you've done. I'm still working on dinero to buy some paintings but I enjoy your messages of inspiration. Remember we're still human and make stupid mistakes while working at perfect. All of us ;) That's precisely why we need our Savior. Smile and have a great day for we have reason to. Thank you for all you do.

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  4. I come from a long line of Cougars and my own children are current Cougars. I can't help but think that if Jeff Holland (a family member) were still at BYU this would never have been allowed to happen. I am so saddened by BYU's responses, Jon. When the LDS church organizations start denying the Constitution in any way, then it is most assuredly a sign of the times.

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  6. Jon I am SO SORRY to hear about this! We must be near the end of times if a painting depicting the savior supporting the Constitution of our country is too controversial for an LDS school. It just breaks my heart that they are not willing to do more - and dismiss liberal ideals and uphold what is right! I posted my disappointment on LDSFreedom forum:

    http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=17215

    Good luck and I for one, will stand with you and with the Savior!

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  7. WHAT HAPPENED TO NOT GETTING OFFENDED?
    "He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
    - Brigham Young

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  8. Weird- I see nothing that is against our doctrine in this painting- In this day and age people can't afford to stand on both sides of the line-

    I am surprised this painting made him "uncomfortable"- I think it's a wonderful- and I think you are brave for painting- and I will defend this painting, and Jesus Christ and the consitution. :) Good luck.

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  9. Stand firm! As unbelievable as this is, I think matters are only going to get worse as time progresses. You have my support.

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  10. WoW!! I was shocked by the info that you put here! Satan infiltrates everywhere...even a Conservative school like BYU. We are definitely in the Last Days! White becomes Black and Black becomes White! You did the RIGHT THING...

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  11. Thank you for taking a stand! Your artwork is beautiful and inspirational. It speaks volumes of your spirit, principles and priorities. We love you and appreciate you. More and more people need to stand up like you have.

    I'm sorry to see this also, but it doesn't surprise me after finding out last year that BYU's McKay School of Education's motto is "Enculturating the Young in a Social and Political Democracy". To define that statement, it means indoctrinating our children into democratic socialism. Look up social democracy. Doing more research on this, we have found that the MSE and CITES leaders have been attending and presiding over conferences featuring Bill Ayers and other radical leftists, feminists and gay activists, just to name a few. The McKay School follows the teachings of a mentor named John Goodlad who was invited to BYU years ago to help reorganize their Education Dept. Sadly, Goodlad is an atheist and socialist, but hid his agenda deceptively by using flowery language which sounds good to those who don't see through it. Sadly for us, Progressivism and Socialism is now well-embedded in BYU in many of their departments.

    Many professors teach social justice and socialism as if it is part of church doctrine. One has said that Jesus was the first radical progressive. One of the education professors had his picture taken with his friend Bill Ayers at a progressive Education Museum. One has told my child that the world is in a state of anarchy because it doesn't have one world leader. Go to www.SaveASD.com. Unfortunately, MSE teaches most of the elementary, Jr. High and High School teachers in Utah now so this is being taught to our children who go to public schools here.

    Thank you for taking a stand! God bless you. I look forward to more of your paintings.

    Susie Schnell

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  12. I have gained much inspiration from your paintings. To call how you were treated a "misunderstanding" is nowhere near how I feel. I feel you were lied to. When Christians lie to other Christians one has to wonder where their Faith places in their lives. "One Nation Under God" is what America is supposed to be. Until we, as Christians and Conservatives make our voices heard the liberals/progressives will have their way in the education of our children. I support your decision and look forward to your future. You are truly a servant of God. Thank you

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  13. Jon, I support you and your paintings ("One Nation Under God" is my favorite of yours). I am sorry that this happened. You should keep striving to put your art in as many places as possible.

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  14. Why must the objections of a few, deprive the majority, who truly love and appreciate your magnificent work? No longer does majority rule! Political correctness is destroying all that's good, in our nation and our lives.

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  15. Oh, Jon, I am so distressed by this.... but not surprised. My husband and I have always been faithful to the Church teachings, but we have seen that the Church itself is run by men who use their offices for political and social prominence rather than to support, teach, and defend the teachings of Jesus Christ. Your paintings have been exact depictions of all that we were taught in Sunday School and MIA; so close in fact that we have both commented on "That is exactly how I pictured it!"

    Until and unless every office, every branch, every Priesthood-holder goes back to the Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Mormon, and even Jesus the Christ, and realizes that the Church is not built by man and his power, but on the word of Christ, the LDS Church will continue to lose its members and its stronghold in the bedrock faith that is Jesus. Only that faith will lead them out of these dark times - not their temporal belief in power and mammon. They will become like the Pharisees, "I say unto you, verily, they have their reward."

    Keep the faith, Jon. We love your art.

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    1. BYU isn't "the Church", remember. It May be presided over by a former area authority, But the true leadership is run by men who are not allowed to stray. If they do, they will be cut off. The education system is still run by mortal men and no man is perfect. I worry that the dividing line is coming between those that stand firm and those that are ashamed of the ones mocking us from the great and spacious building. In the Last days, even the very elect will fall and men's hearts will fail them. Its so hard when the opposition wants to fight in the name of love and brotherly kindness. Satan really knows how to make good appear evil and evil appear good. Suddenly it appears somehow self righteous to believe that Christ is the head of the Country and the true founder of the constitution and that that is somehow too offensive for the world that doesn't believe. We can't let other people dictate what and how we believe and whether we should be "allowed" to talk about it in a religious school! As they are fighting for their convictions, we should too! Jon, My step Mom is planning a confrontation With President Samuelson, or she's going over his head to the church education administrator (who she knows). This is the last straw and she's had plenty in her basket for some time.

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  16. A few decide the fate of the many. That is what has happened in our country with the direction that our government has taken. That is what is happening at BYU. A few are deciding the fate of the many there, too. Those few at BYU that are preventing "One Nation Under God" from being in the bookstore are afraid of the positive influence that your painting has on the majority. That is why they don't want your painting in the bookstore.

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  17. At one time BYU wanted to become a Harvard of the West. Now it wants to become the Berkley campus of the Rocky Mountains. Don't worry, as all is lost. The best part of BYU has nothing to do with BYU other than on church days when BYU wards and leadership opportunities come into full swing and use BYU facilities. Then Monday all that is shut down and the industrial educational establishment gets into full swing for another five days. Quite a balance I think.

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  18. Oh, no! BYU won't display my art! It's a sign of the end of the world!

    BYU's a private school. They censor all the time. No one complains that they don't carry books/paintings by authors/artists more left leaning. But when they get uncomfortable with an LDS extremist all of a sudden it's censorship?

    News flash: censorship has always been alive and well at BYU. You're just on the other end of it for the first time. But go ahead, take your paintings and go home. Sheesh.

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  19. Wait...did anyone think that Heavenly Father would never write some of the pieces of that work? I cannot imagine either Jesus Christ or Heavenly Father thinking slavery was okay? I understand the symbolism but I think the reason that this was an issue is because of some of the content in this document. I am sorry that you are offended I do not think that was the intention.

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  20. I guess the Elders of Israel to save the Constitution will have to come from homes that value the Constitution and not BYU.

    Elizabeth, if you are referring to slavery in the constitution, the compromise calling them 3/5ths a person wasn't to put down the Blacks, but was to ensure the South didn't take over the congress with their larger population. The Northerners, forced them to reduce their count to ensure the South didn't get a majority in the congress. It was an inspired move on the part of the anti-slavery Northern delegation.

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  21. Unfortunately, this is where America is being pulled, even at the risk of denying the fundamental foundation of what the United States and our Constitution was founded upon. More and more people are concerned with being politically correct than taking a stand to defend Christian values. There are no gray areas in your painting Jon, only truth. Our nation fought wars and itself to find the right path, and this was based on our faith...Christian faith. BYU can no longer be counted as a Christian institution. "Deny me before my Father and I shall deny you." I fear the Heathen's are taking control of the plane but it is destined to crash.

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  22. I've studied art at 2 different universities, and there were displays of some pretty trashy stuff labeled 'art' so it is quite disturbing that a school such as BYU would censor such a fine piece of art as yours!! Says more about the character of the people making those decisions than it does about the opinion of the artist. I for one, love the work you do, keep it up!! jeri

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  23. Jon, I am so sorry to hear that this happened. I have grown more and more concerned about BYU over the last few years as more and more reports of liberals professors have been cropping up. Now to hear that people are censoring your incredible work is stunning to me. I will be lodging a complaint of my own. Too bad for them I have my own media outlet.

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  24. It's amazing the rejection of Truth that is happening in a "Church School". Thank Goodness that I chose to go elsewhere for my higher education. To those who made such a decision I say with Samuel Adams,

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude (or neutrality) than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

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  25. curtsted,

    Fools mock.

    The concern is not whether BYU has a right to do what they did but whether it was the right thing to do in the manner that they did.

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  26. Jon, very unfortunate.

    The painting in question certainly provokes the "liberals" at BYU, who secretly loathe Christian ideals and position on moral values and conservative principles.

    BYU-Provo is certainly a Communist university on par with The University of Utah, even though BYU is a private university system. Just look at what they teach with the classes on "Multiculturalism" and "Humanities" among other anti-Caucasian and anti-traditional values courses, that contradict the common conception BYU is one of the most conservative universities in America.

    Liberals has basically hijacked BYU to a degree, and your contention BYU has embraced Liberalism despite their claim it is unfounded is correct.

    Nearby local college Utah Valley University is just as bad as well. I am a student at UVU, and I have to say that Salt Lake Community College is very anti-American with a shrill far left agenda in corrupting the students with "miseducation," including attacking LDS and Christian religions in Humanities courses (this according to a young man whose wife dropped the class after the professor mocked Mormon faith).

    College is a generally Neo-Marxist indoctrination post-secondary school, that's what it comes down to, with regular pressure and attack on conservative values with propaganda and professors' hostile, self-righteous, and pompous attitude as the defender of Liberalism.

    As Michael Savage likes to say, Liberalism is a mental disorder.

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  27. I support BYU in their right to censor... I doubt any of us believe that right should be taken away from a private institution as granted by the constitution.

    But we don't have to be ok with the results of their decisions and that is our right to feel that way... and even pursue making our feelings known to our alma mater and school supported by the church we belong to.

    It does not sound like the actions of the involved parties at BYU acted in a way that is positive in representation of BYU. (As far as we can see it presently)

    I support the artist in his decision of where to show and sell his art. And in writing this blog post saying why he is withdrawing his work.

    BYU should stand for something, a lot of somethings. More than the length of hair... but something of actual and real importance.

    Always stick with correct principles.

    There are multiple sides to the issue I'm sure... at the moment the director might want to explain himself as it doesn't look so good.

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  28. Now we see why the destruction will begin among the Lords house. There is nothing controversial with your painting it is a statement of your testimony of an inspired document given to an inspired and prophesied land. I stand with you John. Please press forward. You are making a difference.

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  29. On another note it doesn't surprise me...

    this is a university that had the likes of Dick Cheney speak at commencement.
    A person that did so so much harm to our constitution. Someone who grabbed at many powers for the executive branch who helped start wars (unconstitutional ones) and was pivotal in taking away constitutionally protected rights. (In the name of security)

    Also another enabler of these power grabbing war mongers also got a stage Condoleeza Rice.

    They gave the biggest stage of that year to Cheney... that's a pretty big of an affront to the constitution.

    So this situation with your paintings in light of past situations doesn't seem as shocking. (Though it doesn't make it OK or Better.)

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  30. My grandchildren chose to go to BYU for it values and moral standards as well as its conservative values. THAT particular painting graces our mantel and is enjoyed by all who see it. It is an excellent conversation piece and I hope there is still a majority who feel we have God and our Constitution to save our nation with our prayers to stop the liberal leanings. I am very disappointed with BYU's point of view.
    God Bless America and protect and save our Constitution.

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  31. I just want to say that we really should be careful not cast stones. Our times are no different from that which has been the start of time. There are many individuals who are at fault and made poor decisions. Who among us hasn't. It seems to me that the issues are with a few individuals not the school as a whole. It comprises of Students and non students and a whole variety of staff of whom some have have admitted they are friends and family. There are good people and there are good people who need to be better. I Believe that's all of us. May we all get over the offenses and imperfections of one another and stop fueling the Devil's laughter. Time to make him cry with charity ;)

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  32. Steve Davis appreciates your willingness to stand up as an "example" for truth at all costs! Your stand reflects King Benjamin's warnings to the Nephite/Mulekite nation about the dealings of the "natural man" (Mosiah 3:19) will always be an enemy of God. I graduated from the BYU in 74 and immediately enrolled in night law school at Northrop University, Inglewood. One week later I was hired Assistant to the President. I took a building on campus (next to LAX) and created the largest US Bi-Centennial event, AMERICAN HALL OF AVIATION HISTORY (an American story) and for two years was on national radio with Ronald Reagan (75-76). At the GOP National Convention in Kansas City in August, 1976 Missouri Governor Chris Bond removed the 1838 Extermination Order by Boggs as an attempt to bring peace against the Mormons in Missouri! He wasn't re-elected in November, 1976 because of this sole act!
    I've been in Missouri since 2003 proving the 1838 vision to Joseph Smith as to the location of the City of Manti in the Book of Alma -- certified four miles from our homes here in Moberly, MO. All of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute (FARMS) are very upset with me because this disproved the Central America claim! I got a letter from Kirton & McConkie (for those in Salt Lake) threatening to have me arrested if I stepped on the BYU campus in May, 2010! I'm escorted by the police, but still come and visit where I graduated from high school and college!
    We are a group of very wealthy BYU graduates and will be changing the name of the BYZoo to ABINADI UNIVERSITY, to reflect a better person (willing to stand up to King Noah and tell the truth - Mosiah 15:1-7 about the identity of Jesus). There is only One God, not three (Alma 11:22-42 - a debate with a liberal attorney, who confessed and believed).
    The BYU and Salt Lake are run by the "kingmen" (Alma 51) and Captain Moroni took out 4,000 and put in prison the rest! The current LDS members will do the same in April, 2012 General Conference - remove the Kingmen as directed by the Lord in D&C 26.
    Thanks for your stand.

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  33. I think that some folks on her are getting a little out of control. I believe that we are all aloud to believe what we want. I believe that some are a little more sensitive then others but the bottom line is that I believe that this painting is beautiful. I loved it the moment I looked at it. It was powerful. I appreciate your gift. Now I believe your gift can be used in much good but be wise. We are warned against fighting against church leaders we should stand tall and proud yes but some of the folks leaving comments are making a stand against church leaders. I dont believe that is right. There are 1000 upon 1000's of ways to have your paintings viewed and purchased. I pray you will find those avenues. You are talented. God Bless. Keep the faith and love the lord the way you depict in your painting.

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  34. Jon, you are one of the most inspired artists. Stand tall. We stand with you!

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  35. I heard your broadcast on KNRS yesterday, which has already been taken off the Web. I was so disturbed about it I woke up at four this morning mulling it all over. I wrote a couple pages. As my conclusion, two things: BYU is a haven for hypocritical cowards that won't stand for the truth because they don't want to offend those that don't believe absolute truth even if it bit them in the ass! Why? Because of the MONEY!(litigation, withholding huge donations, etc.) Money is more important than truth. So they threw you under the bus to potential earn millions verses, your, mere hundreds.
    Keep up you great work. Its truly inspiring, no less than the painting in the St. George Temple.
    Mike

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  36. This is one of the more ridiculous blog posts I've ever read. Your assertion of "liberalism infecting" BYU is laughable. Pull your head out of your conservative fantasy world and consider that your painting is simply weak art made in poor taste.

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  37. There is no pancake so thin that it does not have two sides.

    I am a writer and know how it stings when people reject my work.

    Jon, unfortunately for you, this decision has been hurtful. But in the grand scheme of things, BYU's decision to pull your art is not a sweeping political statement nor a sign that the Apocalypse is upon us. It is an administrative decision.

    In reading the posts above, I can see that people tend to go with their knee-jerk reaction--calling for those conspiring men to repent and follow the true way--but let us remember that BYU is still a superior institution dedicated to the whole education of our children.

    Do they make mistakes? You bet. (Just look at the housing policy.) But they are trying their best to navigate the many nuances of political correctness, liberty, and rigorous academic standards.

    Let's give them a break. I'll bet all this controversy has sent your painting sales through the roof. How can that be a bad thing?

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  38. Posted at the request of Steve Davis:

    Steve Davis appreciates your willingness to stand up as an "example" for truth at all costs! Your stand reflects King Benjamin's warnings to the Nephite/Mulekite nation about the dealings of the "natural man" (Mosiah 3:19) will always be an enemy of God. I graduated from the BYU in 74 and immediately enrolled in night law school at Northrop University, Inglewood. One week later I was hired Assistant to the President. I took a building on campus (next to LAX) and created the largest US Bi-Centennial event, AMERICAN HALL OF AVIATION HISTORY (an American story) and for two years was on national radio with Ronald Reagan (75-76). At the GOP National Convention in Kansas City in August, 1976 Missouri Governor Chris Bond removed the 1838 Extermination Order by Boggs as an attempt to bring peace against the Mormons in Missouri! He wasn't re-elected in November, 1976 because of this sole act!
    I've been in Missouri since 2003 proving the 1838 vision to Joseph Smith as to the location of the City of Manti in the Book of Alma -- certified four miles from our homes here in Moberly, MO. All of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute (FARMS) are very upset with me because this disproved the Central America claim! I got a letter from Kirton & McConkie (for those in Salt Lake) threatening to have me arrested if I stepped on the BYU campus in May, 2010! I'm escorted by the police, but still come and visit where I graduated from high school and college!
    We are a group of very wealthy BYU graduates and will be changing the name of the BYZoo to ABINADI UNIVERSITY, to reflect a better person (willing to stand up to King Noah and tell the truth - Mosiah 15:1-7 about the identity of Jesus). There is only One God, not three (Alma 11:22-42 - a debate with a liberal attorney, who confessed and believed).
    The BYU and Salt Lake are run by the "kingmen" (Alma 51) and Captain Moroni took out 4,000 and put in prison the rest! The current LDS members will do the same in April, 2012 General Conference - remove the Kingmen as directed by the Lord in D&C 26.
    Thanks for your stand.

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  39. Jon, Your paintings are beautiful and this particular painting is a profound declaration of testimony. I thank you for your talents.

    Unfortunately, these types of hurtful decisions are made everyday in almost every institution across America. That doesn't make it right, but it does emphasize our personal need to renew our commitment to live by the truth and cultivate a Christlike character and response to injustice.

    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6: 12

    I hope we do not allow the opinions of a few men to interfere with our personal discovery of truth. The question for all of us at times like this is "Where do I stand?"

    Jesus Christ suffered more injustice for his commitment to truth than any of us can comprehend and yet he was not a victim but a victor! What made the difference? He did not allow the pressures of the world to divert him from his personal mission.

    We are all human and yes, fallible men hold positions of power in various institutions, but we can all hang on to the absolute truth that the true gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. We have a living Prophet and Apostles that have been called of God to lead us.

    We cannot allow the mistakes of men to divert us from the true direction provided by Christ and we can trust Him and his appointed leaders to bring us through these perilous times so we may become "One Nation Under God."

    Cultivating and preserving a Christlike character in ourselves and in our families is paramount. We can honorably stand for truth. Our children, our neighborhoods, our country need us to do so.

    I love your artwork! Keep it on display in your avenues of choice. We will find it and share it with our friends!

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  40. Jennifer, If you believe that this whole controversy should somehow make Jon feel better because of any potential sales profits, you are entirely missing the point of this post and the reason he creates his artwork. However, I believe that situations like this are excellent opportunities for people to wake up, decide where they stand and speak up for true Christian and Constitutional principles .

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  42. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still true. Those wolves who hide in sheep's clothing will eventually be revealed. The trials of our faith sometimes come from persecution from within our own community. Our job is to hold to the Word of God and bear the mocking from those in the Great and Spacious Building.

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  43. Well said, TXGrandma. We also can't forget that even fellow saints can and will be inside the Great and Spacious Building too.

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  44. I actually agree (wholeheartedly) with your view and concerns about where this country is headed. We are probably very, very close on political beliefs. However, I really think this and other of your paintings are very poorly done. Both as art and as commentary. Do I think they should be "censored" on political content? No. But I really wonder if this is the primary reason behind the removal? You claim they are the best sellers. I don't know if that is true, then that is a sad commentary on taste of those who go to the bookstore. Check out the Carl Bloch exhibit. His painting actually are MORE inspiring, when seen in person (dark subject matter or not). Your painting are (if I may be so frank) horribly overworked, and uninspiring at the paint level IMO. The individuals look like they were painted individually without a true lighting of the whole group. The size, perspective just don't look right. The park bench in one of your paintings is so out of perspective it hurts me to look at. The backgrounds in several of these paintings appear to an afterthought. Were you so caught up in getting every last one of those characters in there? Ie., Look at the hollywood tycoon. His contrast and coloring looks like he was pasted in separately...like he shot (or collected) the reference photos and clumsily painted each one in. I know this will tick some people off...but it is possible that BYU pulled this art because it was not close to art. Maybe just a political cartoon executed very poorly? It bugs me as a conservative because I think it actually might hurt a legitimate cause and insidiously promote yourself with this big "controversy". The reasons behind the removal might not be as black and white as they been made out to be. Censorship itself is a dangerous claim. You might be accused of it when you are just trying to exercise your idea of good art or good taste. I feel sorry for BYU if that was the case. I remember a similar artist with terrible pencil drawings in the BYU bookstore when I was there. They were religious, but just awfully drawn. I know they sold well, but I thought they were a disservice if that was the ONLY reason they were there. Certainly people have a right to purchase your artwork, but does the BYU bookstore (or Des book or wherever) have the right to purge crappy art from the store? Crappy is obviously my opinion, but the people who head up such stores do have to make those kind of assessments, even if the art might make a buck or makes a political statement. I don't know. This may not be the case at all. Maybe it was a conspiracy of political correctness...but I hope people keep their minds open that it might have been several individuals who saw what I saw. Really bad art.

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    1. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who are really screwed up and useless become art critics. And pseudo-conservatives.

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  45. Perhaps the decision to pull the painting in question is more deeply doctrinal than we know.

    Because even though the Constitution is a divinely inspired document, when Christ comes to reign personally upon the earth, we will not live by the U.S. Constitution. We will be governed by Christ and every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

    So maybe for some, this painting is eerily similar to the one of the Second Coming where the sheep are on the right hand of Jesus and the goats are on the left. There are many saints in other countries not governed by the Constitution who will be on the right hand of God.

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  47. OMG, BYU HAS A COLLEGE DEMOCRATS CLUB? WHAT IS THIS CAMPUS COMING TO? I'M ASHAMED TO HAVE TWO DEGREES FROM THIS SOCIALIST, GODLESS UNIVERSITY!!!

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  48. Jon, not only do I stand with you on this matter, but I've actually bought the painting along with Peace is Coming and have proudly displayed them in our front room where they cannot be missed. (I would have also purchased the one with Barak Obama in it, but I just can't give him a place in my home whatsoever.) I've also posted my thoughts on this matter on one of my Blogs, LDS FREEDOM http://ldsfreedom.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/artist-stands-on-the-right-byu-on-the-left/ I will say to you what I said on the blog, know that you are not standing alone and that you are standing on the right side of your Lord.

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  49. Wow, look at all of the liberals coming out of the woodwork to comment on this story to make it seem that there are so many different viewpoints. It never ceases to amaze me that so many continue to post claiming they are Conservatives and hoping that true Conservatives won't see through them. Guess what... we do.

    And, yes, even though Christ will reign, it will be under the principles of the Constitution (notice I did not say the Constitution itself), so the painting is still valid and beautiful in its effect.

    As for me, I will continue to enjoy the several art pieces created by Jon that hang in our front room, and if there are any who are offended by them... well, there's the door.

    Jon, don't let the liberals get you down by claiming that your art isn't. Liberalism truly is a mental disorder.

    Now if we could just get a few more people to understand true freedom, liberty, and agency, and to live by them... that would be something.

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  50. Would you like to have a conservative arm-wrestling contest? I am truly sickened by what is happening to this country in entitlements on the backs of the working class, debt to pay debt that is about to bankrupt us. I do NOT like how this artwork looks like a Thomas Kinkadian nightmare with not much "art" at all. I do not like how simplistic (there is no deep meanings here..we are being hit over the head with this clumsy painting...sorry John) That is my opinion. It has nothing to do with my politics.

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  51. Wow, lots of great Christlike comments here.

    I think you need to relearn the definition of the word Censor my friend. BYU isn't censoring anything. BYU has not instructed professors or students to not display the artwork. It has merely stopped the work in their store. Thats not censorship, thats business.

    I can't comment on the quality of the artwork, since I am not an artist or an art consumer...but I am certainly dumber for having read your argument that BYU is being taken over by liberals, and some of the comments to this post. A College Democrat group exisits? Students at a highly regarded institution being taught Biology? TEH HORRORS!

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  52. BYU is most likely to censor anything which might be deemed a doctrinal pronouncement which hasn't been approved/directed by the first presidency. A painting like this sold by a division of the church among art works which are more clearly scripturally based could cause people to be confused about what the scriptures actually say. I seriously doubt they are concerned about anyone's politics.

    The biggest political concerns here are international politics. There is no question that church doctrine supporting the inspiration of the American founding fathers will remain unchanged, but Christ will govern from the New Jerusalem, not Washington DC as depicted here.

    There are other reasons to "censor" on campus. Obviously the bookstore wouldn't carry art that is immoral, low quality, in poor taste or wouldn't sell, but President Samuelson represents the First Presidency on campus and will err on the side of caution when he believes the church's position might be misconstrued.

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  53. That has got to be the FUNNIEST painting that I have ever seen. You are a comic genius. What's even better is the fact that all these people think that you were being serious when you painted that. Oh man, you must be laughing yourself SILLY.

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  54. Looks like we have an echo chamber here. Most of the folks here talk as if the Church only sanctions one political party. You all might be surprised to know that up until the seventies, Democrats have dominated the Utah congress most of the time. Furthermore, the Church has never endorsed a certain party and always asserted that it is possible for a member to belong to any party. You may also be surprised to know that James E. Faust remained a registered Democrat his entire life, as well as Hugh B. Brown, Bruce R. McConkie and Marlin K. Jensen.

    You might also be surprised to know that there have been some prominent evolutionists among the ranks of the general authorities, including James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe and David O. McKay.

    It would be impossible for the BYU Biology Department to even exist, let alone conduct the impressive amount of rigorous scientific research that it does, without relying on a strong foundation of evolutionary theory. Would you rather have your children be required to go to other universities to become biologists or at least have the option of attending a church-owned school? You can't have it both ways.

    BYU cares about its position in the larger culture because it cares about humanity and its ability to have a positive influence in the world, unlike the condemnatory commenters on this thread.

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  55. Jon, I appreciate the artistic expression of your convictions. I appreciate you as an individual and the personal expressions that you share with the rest of us. I appreciate that people can freely decide that they like and want to purchase your art without some arrogant, officious, and I might add, envious dolt or government agency like the national endowment of the arts pontificating about what they should like. It is a sad commentary how self-impressed and thoughtless people who professed to be Christian are. It reminds me of the Jews at the time of Christ. People who fancy themselves art critics are only doing commentary on themselves. People who fancy themselves to be 'politically' astute, prove themselves only little and cruel and good at using low slang and inappropriate adjectives. That is the whole point isn't it. There is a careful, professional, articulate and Christian manner in which one conducts themselves personally and in one's business with integrity. It is a shame how many people are so convinced of their superiority that they don't bother with it. Shame on the individuals who have no manners or common sympathy at BYU and elsewhere. Shame on BYU Bookstore for blundering through the whole issue without due consideration or decency. It is in charity that the left hand does not know what the right hand does, not policy.

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  57. Bless you, Jon for standing up to the Liberalism that has been infecting BYU! It's about time conservatives make their voices heard on that campus. Did you know there are coffee machines in the Law School? (I heard from a friend; I won't go near the law school because there are too many Jezebels there studying law instead of bearing children.) What is the world coming to when the Lord's University censors the works of patriots and saints like yourself? I was at BYU when the administration allowed leftists and peacemongers to protest the invitation to Dick Cheney to speak at the spring commencement ceremony. BYU gave him an honorary doctorate, thankfully, but if the university were still true to its conservative, constitutional principles, wouldn't we make him an emeritus seventy? I guess money talks, and BYU is too afraid to stand up to all its Liberal, progressive donors to defend the Constitution against its Liberal detractors. It's time to water the tree of liberty, fellow Cougars. We don't need to be bullied anymore by the growing number of Liberals at BYU. True conservatives and conservative values have been trampled for too long by political moderates and the checks and balances of our government. We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children!

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  58. I fail to see how teaching science (Darwinism and Evolution) is considered liberal. Science is neither liberal or conservative. It is based in fact, not dogma, belief or indoctrination.

    Second, I doubt that you'll find many liberal students at BYU who would agree with your portrayal of BYU as liberal.

    Third, you should consider yourself in good company. BYU also censored Rodin's artwork.

    Until atheists are welcome at BYU without a ecclesiastical endorsement or an LDS student may choose to leave the church and remain at BYU (paying the increased non-member tuition) then I think the problem is that BYU is too conservative, not too liberal.

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  59. I too, like commenter Wes Larson, thought this piece of art was surely satirical in nature, since it shamelessly gobbles up nearly every conservative stereotype (hollywood is evil liberals, all the founding fathers were excellent and moral people, etc) and displays it in a laughable manner. Not only is the quality of the painting questionable, but it shows a complete acceptance of certain political ideology as well. I used to think that those with Christ in the next world were prophets and apostles (darn scriptures!). Nope, according to this painting, it's Ronald Regan, infantry for the US Army, Thomas Jefferson (who fathered children with his slaves), JFK (famous for infidelity) etc. The only way this painting succeeds is if it truly is satirical in nature to point people away from the worship of politics and back to the worship of God.

    As a recent graduate of BYU, I'm proud to say that the administration made the right move yanking this from the bookstore. This is laughably poor art.

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  60. Anu Garg recently spoke at a Freethought Conference (http://friendlyatheist.com/2011/04/25/330000000-gods-and-you-cant-find-one/) and compared Warren Jeffs and G.W. Bush -- both claimed that God spoke to them. God told Warren Jeffs that he needed to go to a tanning salon to get a more even tan, but he told Bush to attack countries in the middle east. "If you kill one person, you are a murderer. If you kill thousands, you are a liberator."

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  61. Future for White Children Nate? Seriously?

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  62. People I'd like to ask this question- Since the whole lot of you are so willing to Bash BYU for the faults of a few individuals in the handling of this Masterpiece and take a whole new direction in criticizing the school to great degrees on other matters , I ask - How many of you actually headed the Prophets call last year to attend your caucus meetings? How many of you actually got out and voted? How many of you vented your complaints, concerns, mailed, emailed, and called concerning the issues you're concerned about to your state, city, and federal government officials? How many of you have written concerning the smut that fills the airwaves, and net that destroys the Family and individuals? How many of us have risen up to Magnify the Light which we covenanted with God to hold up as an Ensign to the World? Where is your Title of Liberty? When I first saw this painting last year I was compelled to be more active in Protecting the Constitution and exercising the rights given therein. I don't agree with the way the matter was handled but we should learn from it and not make the same mistakes ourselves. Ye who are so bold to speak out here against Brother M and BYU should really check your passions and prides and learn what you can. One of the first thing a missionary is trained to do is to build relationships of trust in order to give people an opportunity to hear more. Even Ammon did that. Maybe BYU is doing just that. I don't know. I have friends there right now and they don't seem blind as to what's going on out there politically. Let's give the kids some credit. Also I hope we aren't putting ourselves a position that we become wolves in the Kingdom ourselves. But let us not confuse it with shortcomings of man. I guess we should be asking for the spirit of discernment more often. I hope we can be Charitable enough forgive each other for our imperfections and strive to lift one another.
    To Nate H. - Being a Dark chocolate person married to a White Chocolate and being Very Conservative I found your comment "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children!" very wrong! I HAPPEN TO LOVE BYU & Brother M's Art. I couldn't do any better. May we Proceed together to Build Zion. and Nate I still Love ya Brother.

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  63. Since the Jim MacMahan days, BYU for me has demonstrated one hypocritical disappointment after another. As an alum, I have long ago pulled my financial support for that school. I am further rankled by the fact that my tithing money goes to support such ignorance and hypocrisy. Sorry you had to experience what you did.

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  64. THE CONSTITUTION IS SCRIPTURE.

    It warns us against liberalism.

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  65. We should start a petition to get Glenn Beck to speak to us in general conference to remind all the fence-sitters of the Truth of limited government and the calamities that will befall us if we reform health care. We need to separate the wheat from the Liberal chaff. Don't be shy about pushing your conservative values on other, less patriotic saints! If we let Liberals gain any more influence, we could see a repeat of what happened in 1992 when the Church caved to progressivism and disciplined members for being too patriotic: http://www.rickross.com/reference/tlc/tlc2.html

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  66. I honestly thought this painting was a joke.

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  67. As both a Mormon and political conservative, I have to say that I'm glad that BYU pulled this painting from the bookstore. The artist's depiction of Christ, in my view, is offensive, turning him in the political prop for a specific ideology. The Savior should supersede the contemporary definitions of right vs. left, liberal vs. conservative, which represent fleeting dynamics that change from year to year. To put the Lord right in the middle of that debate -- much worse to use him to advocate for one side over the other -- is demeaning and, despite Mr. McNaughton's claims, non-doctrinal. The idea that a Church-owned institution should even passively endorse this depiction of Christ by selling or displaying this painting would disturb me far more than any claims of censorship on the part of BYU.

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  68. Maybe they decided to pull it because, I don't know, it was creepy and weird?

    The comments on this blog are amazing. I am dumfounded that everyone on here thinks that BYU is going the way of the conservative buffalo, simply because they choose the censure one weird painting. News flash: BYU ISN"T THE CHURCH. And for all you people worried that your poor children will be adversely affected by the wicked doctrines of "multiculturalism," and other wicked, bubble popping ideas presented at the school...I'm am sad for you. And sad for the human beings you have raised that are probably entirely socially incapable of treating people with different views and opinions kindly, and with respect out in the "world."

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  69. I don't think the issue is that you are showing Jesus supporting the constitution but that you illustrate anyone who is vaguely liberal including College Professors as being rejected by Jesus. Not only is this not doctrinal but it is entirely understandable why a University bookstore would not feel comfortable giving it their tacit approval. P.S. Are you aware that David O Mckay was a believer in evolution? Should he also be depicted with those on the left hand of Christ?

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  70. Nice painting. Not sure why all the conservative mormons and liberal mormons up in arms.
    Some conservatives need to relax and remember that liberals are mentally ill.

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  71. @Ben, Do you believe Hugh B. Brown and Marlin K. Jensen are/were mentally ill? Both liberals, both general authorities.

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  72. Also, just so you know- Paul Revere's midnight ride and warning about the British is a myth; you might as well have included Betsy Ross in your painting as the creator of the American flag. Paul Revere was actually captured- it was a couple of young teenage girls (actually black, if my memory serves) that took the true wild ride, and warned of the British invasion.

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  73. Stand strong, this is very sad. Your art is beautiful as well as it speaks truth. America needs more truth. We have been lied to enough.
    I support you!

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  74. Since this is the bookstore and not, for example, a museum or gallery, I don't know if the word 'Censorship' is appropriate for this situation. They are not forbidding people from viewing your work, they simply do not want to sell it and the implied endorsement that goes with that. It seems more like a business decision than anything else and not an issue of 'censorship'.

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  75. Bummers!!!

    While unfortunate it is very important for the church and it's representatives (both official and implied) to remain politically neutral. While most of our teachings follow a heavy lean toward conservatism, we are not a conservatist religion. It is important to remember that. (If anything we are or try for a perfect form of socialism, the law of consecration)

    And while the bookstore may have other materials that are more conservative than your work, it doesn't change the fact that your work is conservative, and many more people look at your work than read books. Art is one of the most influential mediums of communication.

    That being said, I feel for you. However it's really not that big of a deal. Are you going to die because of it? Is the church no longer true? Are people going to be lead astray because your art isn't available in the BYU Bookstore?

    I wish you the best, and will still visit your studio as will many other people

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  76. The responsibility of every artist is to express personal feelings, beliefs, and some times political statements through their chosen medium. Jon's statements as displayed in his works of art may or may not be accurately reflect the doctrines of the LDS church. But still Jon's feelings are sincere. I consider Jon a friend, and I own several of his pieces that I proudly display in my home. We may disagree on political issues, but we agree on his right to express his opinions in his work and in defense of his work.
    It is unfortunate that BYU has chosen to restrict the display of his work. They have that right. There are many works for sale within the BYU bookstore and at Deseret Book that I find offensive. But, I respect their right to dislpay and sell the items they feel reflect their brand.
    There is no conspiracy. No liberal agenda within the ranks of BYU's leadership or within the church. This is merely a choice made by bookstore managers who are uncomfortable with conflict.
    Jon is still regarded by me and others as a fine artist. And as an artist he must continue to express his heartfelt opinions on canvas. And I support his right to do so.

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  77. GO BYU! GO bookstore! I'm sorry but I have to agree with them. You seem a little too attention hungry.

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  78. That painting reminds me of this quote:

    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

    But it does seem that the manner in which it was taken down was a bit two-faced.

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  79. This is one of my FAVORITE paintings EVER!!! I have been wanting it in my home ever since I discovered it! I cannot believe this about BYU! I don't even know what to say! So sad. Keep up the inspired great work!

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  80. When a bookstore chooses not to sell a painting, or a book, or a CD, or anything else for whatever reason, it is NOT censorship. No bookstore is obligated to sell content of any kind whatsoever. You need to not take everything so personally and think through things objectively before you say stuff like this. You expose your own thoughtlessness.

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  81. Wow, Jon. You sure want to paint yourself as a martyr here.

    When you say things like "Has Liberalism so infected this university..." then I feel that BYU Bookstore is lucky to be rid of your polarizing political views.

    You are also being pretty petty by trying to start a flame war with a silly and inflammatory title to your post. I know you are offended by the bookstore's actions, but there are ways to disagree with the decision that was made in ways that don't involve incendiary remarks.

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  82. Did it ever occur to you that maybe your "art" has absolutely no artistic quality, and on top of that it uncreatively employs ever cliched politically opportunistic stereotype in the book? This is political activism at its worst: divisive, generously mischaracterizing, and so ridiculously caricatured that most sensible people first wonder if it's meant to be satire. Maybe that's why BYU's bookstore opted out of selling it. Hmm....

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  83. It's an editorial cartoon, a very elaborate one I'll give you that but an editorial cartoon non the less.

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  84. Stop cOmplaining that the book store won't let you sell religion AND politics, instead of just religion. Maybe if you just stick to drawing Jesus pulling babies out of rivers, or in majestic wilderness poses instead of assuming he is a conservative republican, byu can then go back to selling your particular interpretation of religion. Be careful- at the second coming, Jesus might want to collect some royalties. So invest well. Probably in Mormon cinema.

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  85. i prefer http://institute.lds.org/content/images/manuals/chft/45-04.gif

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  86. I completely agree with Bryan a few spaces above. Whatever one's political beliefs may be, I think we can all agree as Latter-day Saints that we love the constitution. More than that, we love the Savior. But to combine the two in this way feels wrong to me too. It reminds me of a Catholic painting from the pre-Rennaissance era: cold. When I worked for Seagull Book during my BYU years, I know that the First Presidency only supports limited images of the Savior because his image is so sacred. I support the artist's right to paint his opinions, but I can also see why BYU's bookstore would not want to sell it. Perhaps there were miscommunications in how they dealt with it, but bottom line is I think there are some frightening comments on here by those attacking our church leaders. Beware of pride and love those who offend. We need more humility if we are truly doing the Lord's work.

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  87. I'm a fan of McNaughton, and a fan of BYU.

    I wonder how much good has come from making an issue out of this. Weak-faithed conservatives show up and start accusing the Church of going astray, while brainwashed, sarcastic little liberal kids start revelling in their liberalism, and thinking the Church has anything to do with their perverted worldview, with one ignorant fellow even citing moderate Church-member participation in the pre-atheistic Democrat party. News flash: Democrats have radicalized. You have to be sleeping in a drawer every night to have not yet realized why a huge majority of Church members have gone deeper into conservatism in recent decades.

    Anyway, not to imply that a person can't or shouldn't put their own honest rants on their own web journal, but having virtually never seen a high-profile expose' of BYU's flaws turn to anybody's advantage, I wonder if this wrong, too, wouldn't have been better suffered without so much publicity...

    It is true that leftism is making a come-back at BYU, and it's no crime to say so; I comment on it frequently to my acquaintances; but I think it's more of a reflection of very broad and deep trends in academia, combined with the demography of this undersupervised, uncultured generation raised on an extremely biased entertainment diet.

    It's not surprising that the administration is less aware, since they don't spend time in the classrooms, and there are too many layers between them and student feedback. I take less issue with biology, but I've been surprised by the left-leaning trends of some of my Humanities-department teachers ever since coming to BYU... though the intelligent kids always tend to look past their teachers, and the less-intelligent are incorrigible to begin with.

    While I have felt consistently annoyed at BYU's liberal undercurrent, I haven't felt threatened by it at all, and I think administrators are being sincere when they say they disagree that there's a liberal danger -- even if they show a shortage of history in doing so. BYU has undertaken significant faculty purges of creeping leftism at least three times in the past, as far as I've read, although the "progressivism" was always intertwined with apostasy. It may happen again, since, neutrality aside, the one half of the political spectrum is simply more innately repellent to faith than the other.

    It's easy to share McNaughton's frustration, but it's no good to let our own pride become a weapon against the things we hold dear. The Spirit still dwells on that campus. If they don't want this painting, let it go. Promote it elsewhere. It's a brilliant work that speaks effortlessly. It will stand on its own merit.

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  88. From these comments I gather that criticizing the Church is fine if an American political conservative is doing it but wrong if an American political liberal is doing it.

    I am assuming that the same people raising critical voices here also denounced Latter-day Saints who raised a critical voice during the Equal Rights Amendment episode or the Prop. 8 episode of Church history. How do they justify this?

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  89. By the way, Jon, I would be interested in hearing your analysis of how selling paintings of this nature is not priestcraft.

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    1. First, Jon is not Criticizing "the Church" I am seeing too many people confusing BYU with "the Church". It appears you are labeling and generalizing people commenting here. The frustrating thing is that Liberals are always fighting for what they believe in and conservatives are supposed to be the bad guys who won't "give in". Well the problem is that "giving in" means that we are accepting or condoning acts of immorality or denying the hand of God which we feel that we will be personally held accountable for if we vote in favor of such acts, all in the name of not offending. We stand for what has been called righteous, as imperfect and sinful as we also may be, we try to maintain values in society so that more sin is not acceptable by law. And last, It's not priest-craft. It's selling his talent. The general authorities sell their books too to earn a living now that they have only retirement to live on. They do not get paid by the church except for work pertaining to the needs of the church and do most of their work at their own expense. Everyone has the right to sell the work of their creation, or interpretation of doctrine. That isn't Priestcraft. Priestcraft is trying to sell the teachings and blessings of the Gospel, and acting in God's name but taking Pay for it.

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  90. I think the painting reflects a deeply over-simplified and flat-out ignorant view of history and places people with broad strokes into factions (Nephite/Lamanite mindset).

    I don't like the painting at all, nor do I believe a private university or private bookstores have any obligation to carry it. Oh and I'm not a "liberal" at all (a mindset Mr. McNaughton seems incapable of not automatically assigning to anyone who disagrees with world/historical view depicted in his art) and I guarantee I want less government than he does.

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  91. Is this not the same school that censored Auguste Rodin? Count yourself lucky!

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  92. 2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear".

    Unfortunately we live in a time that once again the truth is not a welcomed subject. Your painting causes folks to look inside themselves and examine what they believe and how they are living out that belief.

    Introspection addresses reality, challenges beliefs, requires action and makes folks, "uncomfortable"....they would much rather live as they see fit in their own eyes and not concern themselves with yesterday or tomorrow.

    Be comforted in the knowledge that your painting is speaking the truth and as a result will stir some to introspection and change.
    Blessings ~ Marc

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  93. I am sure Hillsdale College and other conservative colleges would welcome you.

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  94. Jon, this is what we sent in to BYU

    My husband and I are quite confused and concerned that there has been such an issue with Jon McNaughton's art "One Nation Under God' and it being removed from your walls, which as we understand it, has resulted in the removal of all of his art from your store. We feel that it reflects poorly on BYU that this decision has been made. The Constitution being divinely inspired by Jesus Christ is a belief of our Church, and is contained in the D&C. I have a letter from President Hinckley in which he affirms this belief within the church that he wrote me shortly before his death. He also said that if there was to be any change politically, it would have to come from individuals and their action that they take personally. We feel that Jon's art is his action being taken. We feel that it is in alignment with the beliefs of the Church. We also feel that it inspires others to think about the important issues of our days, and would encourage good people to get more involved. The First Presidency has asked many times over the pulpits of the the church to get more politically involved. I feel great shame that this has happened. My non-member friends in other states love this work. They love the Christian principles it reflects, and the principles of this nation being presented. We are a Christian nation at our core, and we are falling away from that. Being good has always been controversial, that does not mean that we should shun that fight.

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  95. The only thing nuttier than this ridiculous painting is the mindset of some of these commenters.

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  96. I remember the first time I saw this painting, and how I felt as I looked at the details. Each one made me more uncomfortable than the last. The painting's sardonic depiction of anything non-conservative is offensive. It doesn't teach equality, or love, or acceptance. The argument that such principles are "supported by church doctrine" is hardly a justification for such bigotry.
    Do you have a right to paint such a message? Of course. Should a private University be contemned for deciding not to display a bigoted painting like this one? Who cares? Your sales will be going up from the publicity. Those who agree with your overtly one-sided view of the Savior's political preferences will still support you and your work. What exactly do you have to complain about?

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  97. Taking down a painting was the choice of someone in charge, and as such he has every right to do as he sees fit, as long as it does not go against the Constitution of this land. If it were a painting of a scene with the Star of David, one of the communist scene with hammer and sickle or one about Muslims there would be much less outcry. I believe you feel insulted with revenge on your mind rather than feeling outraged that it was a religious painting being shunned. I am all for Christian paintings with meaning, however t'is but a book store and not a place of worship. One does not hang religious paintings, usually, in a cafeteria or gym. I hope not. Unless it be in a Convent or so forth. Do not misinterpret what I am stating here, for your paintings are very good and welcome in the right setting and place. God be with your efforts should they be of truth, justice and of proper accord.

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  98. You claim your artwork is supported by church doctrine and thus should be shown in the bookstore without problem. However, I find a number of discrepancies between your painting and what the church actually submits as doctrine.

    First, you claim that liberal politicians, lawyers, and judges (as well as all those greedy business men) are corrupt, are leading this nation to hell, and are on the left-hand of Christ. I feel that this is a very inaccurate portrayal of people in these careers, and perhaps a few members of the quorum of the twelve would agree (Elder Oaks, Elder Christofferson, Elder Cook, not to mention a number of businessmen). Second, the church neither endorses or opposes political parties, yet your painting makes it seem that if you are a liberal or a democrat, you are evil, corrupt, and thus on the left-hand of God. As was noted in a post above, there have been many apostles who were democrats. I have a number of friends who are liberal democrats, who support President Obama and his policies, and who are also active in the church, married in the temple, attend the temple frequently, and generally strive to do what is right and follow Christ. Are these people also condemned for believing a certain political ideology?

    Third, your portrayal of the professor, holding a copy of "the Origin of Species" is not only doctrinally incorrect, but very offensive to me. The church has no official stance on evolution and essentially leaves the issue to science. While many prominent members of the church, including apostles, have been very against the theory of evolution, many others (again as posted above) have been strong supporters of evolution, including President Eyring's father. BYU teaches evolution as part of their core curriculum in just about any biology class you take, and I don't know of a single LDS biology professor who has any problem reconciling their faith with the theory of evolution. You categorize evolutionary biologists as atheistic, liberal democrats who are taking this nation to hell, which is not only untrue, but very offensive to those of us studying biology and evolution. Am I too on the left-hand of Christ because I understand and agree with the theory of evolution, despite the fact that I am active in the church, attend the temple, and try to follow Christ and keep my covenants?

    Because of these discrepancies between what your painting portays and what is actually church doctrine, it makes sense that the bookstore was uncomfortable and pulled your painting. It neither makes the bookstore evil, or "liberal", just concerned that your painting is sending the wrong message about what the church's doctrine on these issues actually is. While I disagree with your paintings, I know a number of people who are inspired and enjoy your artwork. I hope you continue to express your opinion through your talent and gift and I will defend your right to do so, even though I may disagree. I hope you can continue to inspire hope in others that will lead them to try and be better disciples of Christ.

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  99. As a non-American BYU graduate student, trust me - BYU is still very, VERY conservative - even by American standards.

    I am appalled that the artist has chosen to justify accusations of liberalism at BYU by citing examples of A. Science being taught in science classes (for shame!!), B. The existence of a student club for one of the USA's major political parties (how COULD they?!).

    Yes, it sucks that your painting was censored, but permitting scientific instruction and political free speech is not liberalism. To suggest that is to suggest that censorship IS a correct practice, and if that's true, then BYU SHOULD censor art.

    Either choose outrage at censorship OR outrage at free speech. You just can't have it both ways.

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  100. Jon - I would love to interview your for Mormon Stories podcast. I promise to treat you respectfully and fairly. I'd love to help you tell your story. Please email me if you are interested: mormonstories@gmail.com

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  101. The funniest part about this blog post -- other than the supporters who claim that McNaughton's "art" is spiritual and uplifting and not political propaganda -- is McNaughton's account of this whole issue. He cites resignations at the BYU bookstore and faculty complaints without any documentation. The one link he has is to a story that mentions his art was taken down in November because it was mislabeled -- no mention of the alleged pulled story from The Daily Universe. He only prints part of his own "letter" to President Samuelson on the blog -- unless he actually sent a one-paragraph letter that wouldn't make any sense absent further context (because that's all he cited). Worst of all, he only partially quotes Samuelson's response -- even chopped it off mid-sentence so as to fit the quote into his pre-determined narrative of the exchange.

    If McNaughton wants to paint himself as a martyr for the truth, he should do a better job of proving that he's actually telling the truth.

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  102. Jon, this was bothering me as well -- would you please kindly provide the rest of the sentence from the quote that you cut off from President Samuelson? It is clear that the independent clause has been cut off, and the independent clause is typically the actual substance of a sentence, particularly in a formal letter such as what President Samuelson or his aides presumably wrote you.

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  103. Jon, I really admire you as an artist and have enjoy your paintings as well as the messages which I agree with. I also agree with an article by A. LaVar Thornock, {“Contention—and How to Eliminate It,” Ensign, Aug 1980, 11}..." what Satan seeks to sow contention everywhere, including the Church. The person with a contentious spirit is usually thinking primarily of himself. And when we yield to such a spirit we separate ourselves further from the Spirit of God. “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me,” said the Lord, “but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another” (3 Ne. 11:29)."

    The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in ALL of the MANY nations in which it is established. The Church expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.

    Good Luck. I really hope you can all resolve this in christian manner.

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  104. This does not surprise me!Three years ago I asked my bishop if I or someone else could give a talk on the constitution and a talk the president Benson, had given back in the 70's. I was told no! That president Monson, had personally told him to never allow a talk by president Benson, or the Constitution. That president Benson's son was a member of the John Burch society and that president Benson, was totally corrupt!! I told my bishop that I could no longer support him. I wrote a letter to President Monson, on the matter, but never herd back from him. I did here from my stake presidency first counselor and was told that if I did not go along with my bishop that I would be excommunicated!! I have lost a lot of faith in the church because of it.I know that I was in the right, but I am going to let God, deal with it. The bishop, stake counselor, and President Monson, are going to have to stand before God, when He ask them why I was treated so badly!! Don't let this get to you! God, will have them answer to as well!!!

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  105. If everyone is truly outraged then call President Samuelson's office and tell them you are not happy about this. I'll make it easy for you, here is the number... 801-422-2521

    It is easy to complain, it takes effort to make a difference!

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  106. Jon, look at the comment from zipper22_2. That's the kind of crazy you need to avoid. I know you don't want to sound as unhinged and bitter as that guy, but I think you are starting to. Maybe you need to just take a step back and take a breath and get some perspective. Perhaps consider taking down this post and hopefully let people forget it happened.

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  107. I'm with Steve Foster. Stop sleeping in drawers, people!

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  108. The drafting and adoption of the Constitution is not the greatest achievement of this dispensation. The Constitution is not guaranteed a permanent place as a sort of holy document anywhere in scripture.

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  109. Lol, I was drawn here by the massive number of hits coming directly from your blog due to the link to mine. As you're away I am an unbeliever, and a bit of an anti-theist, but I do believe censorship in the arts is one of the most atrocious crimes that can be committed.

    Whether it mean much or not, I support your right to have that painting shown/sold anywhere you wish.

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  110. I am not a alumni of BYU, but my husband and I are pastoring in Arkansas. I used to go to a prep school in Utah, and am familiar with your church. I am a conservative Christian and I see all the craziness that is taking place over the last 2-3 years, and it troubles me greatly!! I think your picture is so vivid and telling of what is happening in America today! Am I surpriaed by what has happened to you at BYU, no, but saddened because some would not take a stand with you!! It is a sign of the last days, men's hearts failing them for fear...afraid to stand for righteousness! I understand and can appreciate your pulling the rest of your collection, and pray other doors will open for you...May God's peace and blessing follow you in future days!!

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  111. "I support your right to have that painting shown/sold anywhere you wish."

    Such a right does not exist in this country!

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  112. thank you for taking a brave stand and for your beautiful artwork!! I am shocked and saddened that BYU of all places would not stand for what is right and proudly display this piece!!

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  113. This is another example of how far this country and its institutions have changed. At the end of the day you can very proud of your work. God Bless.

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  114. Censorship is so one sided - where do you draw the line? I work at a state owned university that doesn't sell commercially made art at all (they only sell student art) but they have copies of high times on the magazine rack.

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  115. "I am shocked that BYU of all places would not stand for what is right." This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Stand for what is right? By displaying a biased, political painting? YOUR interpretation of right. NOT the church's interpretation of right.

    I love all of these "I can't believe BYU would..." "Stand up for whats right...." "You'd think BYU would..." This is all absolutely objective. Being a member of the the church or attending BYU does not automatically mean one must be a conservative. Incase you all forget, we have agency. The church, in theory, isn't supposed to tell us what to do politically. One should vote one's conscience. By selling this painting, on some level, BYU (being a church owned school) would be endorsing the idea propagated by the painting; that scholars and business men are cast off to the left hand of Christ. That liberalism is of the devil. The funny thing is, socialism and communism (in a working, non corrupt form) are infinitely closer to what church doctrine would teach than conservative economics, e.g. the United Order anyone? No poor among them from the BOM anyone? Jesus telling the rich dude in the bible to sell all that he hath and come follow him, anyone? The law of consecration anyone? I'd love to see the look on all of the faces of the all the Mormon moms with their fake ta-tas (Utah has the highest plastic surgery/breast augmentation rate in the nation ((hows that for conservative??)) that they had to sell their precious escalades, move out of their million dollar homes, and give all they have to the lord and his church.

    Many pillars of salt, there would be.

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  116. I don't like your paintings...they are not fine art and they reek in the reflection of your neediness for recognition of your 'style' and 'brilliance'. They are not metaphorical and I get to be the judge of that...thank you very much...I am suprised BYU ever took them in the first place...if you take a long long pause and reinvent your style and come back with something that is the real 'meat and potato' of your ideas in a few years then maybe your style will improve as well. You are thinking too hard...let your inspriation come from your heart and not your head. watch the biography from PBS on HOMER the artist who changed his style after years of affliction. Your whole mega-plex you are trying to get me to believe is offensive to me that of you licking your rejection wounds by twisting your explaination of your painting into trying to get me to believe they are conservative...not cool...(at least you believe it)...but you are half baked...so start over and get it right and lets see something really brilliant in the future.

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  117. p.s. political comic books may be a good place for where your ideas are going and maybe that direction could pay the bills...but saying its fine art does not make it so...please do something beautiful and uplifting with your talent and find your true success and fulfillment...try something simple...not cottages...

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  118. Jon, from the very first paintings I saw of yours, I sensed your unique ability to express on canvas what many of us feel but lack ability to express.
    My husband and all 8 of our adult children are drawn to your paintings because we all feel the messages you portray.
    Others may critique your style or your methods but those of us who are touched spiritually give thanks for your talent and your gift to be able to express spiritual feelings through the art medium.
    We live in tumultuous times so appreciate even more so your timely messages.
    My husband says you will always know you are on the right track when certain types of criticism surfaces. (This we have learned from experience.)
    Please keep your spirit calm so that you can continue receiving the inspiration to create such meaningful art works that touch the hearts of so many of us.
    N. E.& R. S.

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  119. @j-dog No one has the RIGHT to have their work sold anywhere, however all businesses have the RIGHT to refuse to sell anything they want. No RIGHTS have been infringed here.
    Again THIS IS NOT CENSORSHIP! This is a bookstore not a gallery or museum. It is a business decision not one of censorship.

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  121. Wow. I don't feel comfortable with that either. And it's not because it is too conservative. I doubt that's why the BYU guy was uncomfortable with it. It's because of the sacredness of Christ and this painting is a political statement using Christ. I think for you to say that he was uncomfortable with it because it is too conservative and declaring the liberalization of BYU is really a stretch. You tried to define WHY he was uncomfortable with it and assigned your own reasoning for his decision.

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  122. Jon, never mind the haters. Many people enjoy and appreciate your art. Remember that as a private institution, BYU has the right to choose what they want to display and not display. I know you think that you have been treated unfairly but if BYU does not want to display or carry your art for whatever reason, that is their choice. It does not limit your expression. I’m confident you will be able to sell many of your paintings without the bookstore.

    Before reading the comments I had no idea how many disaffected right-wing members exist. I’ve always heard that the Church is more concerned about dissension form the right than dissension form the left. Now I see why. I hope that we can convince everyone that there is a place for them in the Church.

    I hope that you will tone down the rhetoric. Keep in mind that BYU is in the awkward position of having everything they do interpreted as a statement by the Church. I believe that the politics expressed in your art are consistent with the Gospel to the same extent that my politics (which radically differ from yours) are consistent with the Gospel. The Gospel is more than all of this and transcends our political differences

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  124. everything about this - the art, blog, comments - are all part of an elaborate liberal satire, right? please tell me you all aren't real.

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  125. Politics has always played a roll in obscuring the truth that art reveals..the very fact that a university has chosen to limit the experience of its students to preconceived notions and politically motivation proves mankind is still in need of ART!

    I wonder what grant money was being threatened by your art? No one acts without MONEY being involved and the hypocrisy is so immense by the honesty and conviction of your statements in juxtaposition to the reasons why they are to be removed is awesome...almost another art form called political bull!!!

    A university is SUPPOSED to exposed many sides to a position...banning yours LIMITS that expose...the bureaucrats have diminished BYU.....the spiritual nature and theme of your works have assured us all that the powers that be are frail, mindless empty souls looking to deceive not to empower the mind with many views like a true university would do.

    BYU just became small.

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  126. I wonder - would Christ be able to attend BYU if He were to come again, today? What about any of the first several presidents of the church? No - they have beards.

    That being said - BYU is not the face of the church - it is only a school, one that just happens to have close historical ties to the church. BYU's policies and regulations are not church policies and regulations. In fact, they remind me of the pharisees trying to 'protect' the people from sin by putting fences around everything that might look like sin. I'm very glad that I didn't ever enroll there - I have had a beard for more than half of my life, and I have no intention of ever shaving it off.

    I for one greatly admire your art, and I will most certainly continue to buy copies / prints wherever I can. Don't lose hope just because of one dim-witted college campus.

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  127. I had art censored at BYU for showing portraits of gay BYU students. While I do believe in free speech, and as an artist being able to show your work and opinions through your art, I am glad it goes both ways at BYU.

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  128. D&C 101:80 tells us that Christ "established the consitution of this land." This land...not the constitution of the eternal judgement. I'm grateful for the Constitution and it's fulfilled purpose as a document to help a specific land make it to the Millennium. I'm quite sure there are wise men in other countries that Christ has inspired to lay the foundations of their countries, maybe even in a different way than ours. Democracy, checks and balances, it's all great, but it's going to be history at the second coming. I highly doubt that it will be used as a sifting tool to separate the vets from the scientist and journalist, and that crazy cloaked demon.

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  129. Jon, I proudly have "One Nation..." hanging in my family room, with a light shining down, highlighting the faces and colors. I would say that it is BYU's loss that they won't display the painting anymore--for whatever reason. What matters is that because of your talent, I enjoy the painting every day, and my husband does too. It touches me the way no other ever has. Thank you for painting it. Jana B., Las Vegas, NV

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  130. Dear Mr. Jon McNaughton, I was very surprised when I learned that your painting, "One Nation Under God," had been removed from the BYU bookstore. As a self-proclaimed "liberal" and President of the BYU College Democrats, I found your painting to be audacious and somewhat silly. However, in all due respect, I believe that you have a great talent Mr. McNaughton. Other than the information that you have provided, do you have any additional information in regards to the fact "that BYU does not want to offend the liberals on campus"? And finally, I apologize that you feel that "liberalism" is "infecting" BYU. Good day, Mr. McNaughton

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  131. God bless you for standing up for what you believe in! I have a print of one nation under God in y living room. It is an abomination for this or anything like this to be censored to appease the liberals.

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  132. I think the painting is interesting and I hope that BYU will reconsider displaying and selling your paintings. I received my bachelors degree there and am fond of the university.

    Not sure why every single piece of content has to be so scrutinized by everyone... if some people don't like it they don't have to look at it or buy it...

    If we are going to err on a side here, let's err on the side of the Constitution right?!

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  133. I can clearly see why BYU would be uncomfortable displaying your "art":

    You depict our current president standing on the Constitution. Given the fact that the Lord is holding the Constitution in your other painting, I guess that means he's destined for hell.

    You group Skousen-loving people with the God-fearing "sheep", and godless liberals with the "goats".

    You declare that God universally sides with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    You separate our past presidents into "good" and "bad" categories, another sheep and goat display.

    You characterize the "liberal" media as evil, implying that the conservative Fox News must be godlike.

    You prominently endorse Pres. Reagan in your paintings. Combine that with the implied moral judgments you tie to your depictions, I get the impression that you strongly endorse Reagan and wish BYU to promote art which does so as well.

    In your "Common Man" painting you group the corrupt, constitution-shredding presidents (mostly Democrats) on one side and caring, conscientious presidents on the other side (mostly Republicans).

    This kind of caricature doesn't belong in a bipartisan educational institution. I find your art tacky, arrogant, and judgmental, and I'm a pretty Conservative guy.

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  134. I love your work - it has great meaning for me. I respect your right to display your art where and how you choose, but I wonder if this is an issue about which it's worth lying down in front of the tank.

    Viewed through one lens, this is a poignant affirmation that our nation was founded on Godly principles, with divine influence guiding our founding fathers.

    Viewed through another lens, it borders on the trivialization of the Saviour's mission by juxtaposing Christ on a secular, if noble background. Add to that the strong parallels between your painting and the mural of the Second Coming which hangs in the Washington, DC temple, and there's fodder enough there to make plenty of BYU administrator's uneasy.
    It seemeth me that more people would win - you, and the students at the Y - by simply letting this go - displaying this one work in venues where it would not ignite any sort of controversy, and allowing the Y to continue displaying other works which are acceptable. Do I remember incorrectly, or was Rodin's "The Kiss" also declared opus non gratus some time ago? If so, you're in good company.

    Whatever your artistic sensibilities lead you to conclude, your work will continue to impact me deeply. My two penn'orth.

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  135. I think the doctrinal support for this painting is weak. After all, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

    -but then again, I'm a former member of the BYU college democrats.

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  136. Perhaps they felt that the Founders Barbershop Quartet wasn't right for BYU.

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  137. This painting condemns professors who teach the theory of evolution, placing them on the left hand of God. It seems pretty obvious to me that a University where natural selection is taught in introductory science classes would want to protect its science professors from such ridicule.

    The administration at BYU is politically neutral, allowing both Republican and Democrat students to form clubs, if they wish. I'm sure they banned the painting to avoid combining religion and politics, as this painting does.

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  138. As to who wins by this, it is most certainly Jon himself, and we're all assisting that by joining in the discussion. This is all free publicity that will enable him to make larger sales.

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  139. I would love to see an interview by John Dehlin on a Mormon Stories podcast. He has interviewed hundreds of people in an unbiased respectful way... letting them have a voice to express themselves. Jon, watch some of his videos and decide if it's for you.

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  140. I've always considered Christ to be more of a Whig, personally.

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  141. The underlying assumption of this painting and most commenters here - that conservatism = good, liberalism = evil - is offensive to me. It reflects a simple-minded black-and-white understanding of the world that is far too common both in the Church and outside of it. I can't say for sure, but I'd venture to guess that the celestial kingdom will contain more than a few liberals. Imagine if a missionary carried that painting around and showed it to everyone while tracting. "Hey there, I think you are evil and I don't care if you're offended by that because I know it's true! Wanna come to Church with us on Sunday and I'll teach you about how your entire life has been a waste? Then maybe next week you can come and get baptized!" Too bad my mission is over, I'd love to try that approach.

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  142. Your painting wasn't pulled because it depicts Christ holding the Constitution.

    Are you familiar with the scriptures? Specifically, Section 29, Verse 27 of the Doctrine and Covenants states that at the final judgment, the righteous will be on the right hand of Christ, while the wicked will be on the left.

    I find it interesting that you have all of the intellectuals in this painting on the left hand of Christ, while the patriots and families are to the right. It is as if to imply that only conservatives will be saved, while liberals will be damned. I find it hard to believe that this was unintentional, as those on the left seem to display feelings of anger, pain, remorse, etc., while those on the right seem to be preaching to them.

    But wait...Who said anything about liberals and conservatives? Why you did when you suggested that your artwork was removed so as not to offend the liberals on campus. By that do you mean to suggest that intellectualism is only a liberal ideal? Furthermore, do you mean to suggest that liberalism is wrong, thus making intellectualism also wrong?

    I won't tackle the conservatism vs. liberalism argument, though the Church has time and time again refused to declare any political loyalties. But as for intellectualism is concerned, do you not remember that Joseph Smith preached the importance of obtaining knowledge in this life to prepare us for the next life? Just because intellectualism is often used as a weapon against the concept of Creationism does not make it inherently evil. The Internet is also used as a weapon for evil, and yet it is used for good as well. It is used to spread the Gospel much more quickly than ever before.

    Now you wonder why your painting is offensive. Your painting is inflammatory. It depicts a group of people in a more than hostile manner, suggesting that they will be weeping, wailing, and gnashing their teeth at the last day. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for liberals to express their ideas on BYU campus without being ridiculed and condemned. It must be even more difficult for liberal Mormons, who are frequently subject to the question "How can you be a Mormon and a liberal at the same time?"

    Now before you argue that I'm just assuming all those on the left are liberals, let me remind you again that you suggested your depiction was disallowed so as not to offend liberals. Therefore, you knew what you were doing. You intentionally depicted liberal stereotypes as being bound for damnation at the Last Day. And while occupation and political persuasion are not protected by laws against hate speech, your artwork is hate speech nonetheless. It creates a hostile environment for those who are different. You know how overzealous some members of the Church can get when they see someone whose perspectives are not compatible with those which they were raised to believe as eternal truth. They see an LDS scientist who performs stem cell research and wonder how he is not excommunicated knowing that he kills live embryos. A sister in my ward works at a lab that does animal testing, and the lab gets vandalized on a regular basis. Members of the Church see an LDS defense attorney and wonder how he could possibly be in good standing with God when he has most likely represented guilty felons.

    While it may be nothing compared to the assault on Gospel principles that Satan has been waging for thousands of years, there is also an assault by a loud minority of Church members on those who choose to interpret Gospel principles differently. And your painting fuels the fire. You're justifying those members' suspicions by declaring with your painting that liberals or otherwise intellectuals will in fact be damned at the Last Day.

    As I implied before, either you did this intentionally or you do not understand the scriptures.

    By the way, I'm conservative...Just want to make sure you don't dismiss my argument as prejudiced.

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  143. Love the painting and almost all the representations. I do disagree however, that "Darwinism" represents liberalism and in fact I don't consider full blown evolution to be in conflict in any way with LDS doctrine. Happy to debate it with you on mormondialogue.org. But wow! What a painting and shame on BYU for censoring it.

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  144. This whole thing makes me so sad. I still hope that some how all is made well. -Royal

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  145. I could care less about the content, implications, or your personal views that somehow motivated you to create this disaster of a painting. My problem with it is the fact that it is just a BAD PAINTING. First of all, whatever happened to symbolism, subtlety and letting the viewer do a little thinking for themselves? Blatantly spelling out every point is a serious problem among MOST Mormon art, including yours. You must assume we are all idiots to paint something so pathetically shallow and obvious. If you want to create something that doesn't make half of BYU want to rip your art off the walls, why don't you paint something with a positive, spiritual, uplifting message? This painting is NOT lovely, NOT of good report, and NOT praiseworthy. To me (and I have a degree in Art History, from BYU), there is nothing of merit contained in this painting,

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  146. Well said, Siara! BYU is not a political arena. Any material that promotes division and contention should not be allowed at a Church-sanctioned school. It is okay to disagree in a civil, respectful manner, but this painting doesn't do that. Worst of all, the Spirit of the Lord cannot be present with a painting like this. The Spirit cannot be present when we choose to pass unrighteous judgment on others or trifle with sacred things. After all, if this was satire as has been suggested, then the author is trifling with sacred things.

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  147. It has been an interesting week with all the commotion regarding the removal of my painting from the bookstore and the way this has mushroomed among those who support my decision and those who are angry that I would accuse BYU of censorship. Many people see this through their own prism or reality without taking the time to read why I painted things the way I did. On the interactive page I go into detail about the meaning of the painting in regards to Darwinism among other things. So many comments. So many "all knowing experts" on both art and religion. Go to my website, read about the painting, and then come back with a list of applicable grievances. It is good to see people taking a stand! http://www.mcnaughtonart.com/artwork/view_zoom/?artpiece_id=353

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  148. I am not a fan of your artwork as I don't find it good art (that says nothing about your talent, by the way. Just my definition of what constitutes the word art). However, I must warn you and other Mormon conservatives to avoid, if not shun, John Dehlin at all costs. He is an usurping enemy of the Church and a liberal wolf in sheep's clothing. Do NOT give him the time of day. He has done more damage to the cause of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than most anti-Mormons. They may criticize, but him and those who support him are trying to change the very nature of the Gospel into another trite mainline faithless monstrosity that believes in turning the Gospel into "myth" and "fablism" rather than Truth and Light. All Mormons who are true believers must be warned about this man who has been quoted along with Apostles and Prophets in by the Godless media as if an authority.

    whatever you do, don't support him and don't do any kind of interview with him and his supporters. His calls of "respect" are lies.

    "It is okay to disagree in a civil, respectful manner"

    No it is not. Because Conservatives have been this way out of some sense of "higher ground" from rebellious liberals the U.S. is in the fallen condition it is today. Spare the rod and spoil the nation. It is past time for us to scream and rage and tell off liberals in their faces. Otherwise, they will continue to walk all over everyone like they have for over a generation. Time to take the kid's gloves off and fight hard and even necessary dirty. I for one support you McNaughton, even if I wouldn't buy your art.

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  154. Jon, I read your explanation of the painting, and I stand by what I said. The problem with your explanation is that it is required. I assume that the explanation do not accompany most prints of the painting that are being sold.

    You state that the people in the lower right-hand corner represent those who have pushed this country towards socialism. You also mention specific individuals. Do you think general audiences of this painting will see those specific individuals? I think they will see certain types of people on one side and certain types on the other, drawing their own conclusions as to what you are trying to say about those people's levels of righteousness.

    Unfortunately, no matter how little authority you have on the subject of who is going to be saved at the Last Day, many audiences of your painting--especially little kids that see it displayed on their parents' mantel--will embrace it as authority. Your painting is irresponsible because it ignores the obvious implications of its influence on those who can't read your mind.

    Besides that, in this blog post, you suggest that BYU pulled your painting so as not to offend the liberals on campus, thus acknowledging that your painting targets liberals as the ones who have had a negative impact on this country. Your explanation states that you disagree with Darwinism and other liberal ideals. The mere existence of that statement in your explanation is virtually an admission that you are targeting those ideals in your painting. That fact, coupled with what I explained in the two previous paragraphs of this comment, turns your painting into a blatant attack on those whose values differ from your own.

    Again, are you not familiar with the scriptures? If so, then why do you have all of the intellectuals on the left hand of Christ that has been reserved for the wicked? It doesn't matter what your intentions were; it matters how you came across.

    Mark, in response to your comment, I will simply state that BYU is representative of the LDS Church. For the BYU Bookstore to sell prints of this painting would be to suggest that the University, and therefore the Church, approves of the painting's implications. I do, however, respect your right to disagree.

    For more on this, check out my recent blog post. http://mandersen04.blogspot.com/2011/04/when-byu-has-audacity-to-treat-everyone.html

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  155. Mark, ignore my repost of my comment to which you just responded. I just noticed a typo that I couldn't ignore. ;-)

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  156. And I just noticed another error. Apparently I need to quit for the day. Thanks for your input, Mark!

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  157. Gee, all the conservatives posting here seem so Christ-like and reasonable. I can't imagine why anyone would find your views controversial.

    Does it ever occur to any of you that maybe you're the ones satan is gently leading by the hand with all this anger and outrage at all of us 'liberals' all the time?

    I love the fact that BYU sees this brand of conservatism for what it is.

    Makes me proud to be a BYU graduate.

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  158. Not all the conservatives...I'm a conservative, and I abhor the self-admitted intentions of the painting in question.

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  159. Thanks Matt Speak! I am glad that Mr McNaughton is choosing to post your comments. I see that some have been declined though. Well, here it goes.. I am the "liberal" BYU professor that tried to get the painting taken out of the bookstore. I don't really consider myself liberal though, but I won't go into that. I just want to help Mr McNaughton a little with his time line. I went in to talk with the bookstore managers twice at this time last year requesting that they stop selling/promoting the painting. They were very polite, but it was very obvious that they had no intention of taking the painting out. A few weeks later, probably early May the bookstore put up signs around the painting saying that the painting did not express the views of the University. The signs stayed up a few weeks and then were taken down. At the time, I was happy with what I considered a small victory. I didn't realize that the Bookstore had decided not to sell the painting until this week. I am sure that my complaints to the bookstore had nothing to do with the current University/Bookstore decision. I do know of many people( not a few "wacky dems") in the Brigham Young University community, on all sides of the political spectrum who objected to the promotion of a painting that so demonized what a university is all about. Mr McNaughton, please keep painting and expressing your passionate ideas, but be a true artist and learn to accept rejection gracefully. It is part of being an artist!

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  161. So what I see in this painting is several conservatives standing around Christ while the liberals are on the ground crying as if to say the conservatives are going to heaven and the liberals are going to hell. No wonder BYU took it down. That it so NOT doctrinally sound. Sure, it says in the D&C and Book of Mormon that the constitution was instituted by God, but the Church has said for a long time that the official church standing in politics is neutral. Not conservative. Not liberal. I know a heck of a lot of liberal democrats that are great, amazing, Christ-like people as well as a lot of conservatives that are just plain rebels. That's why this painting was taken down by BYU. So cut it out with the tizzy fit everyone

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  163. Thanks Adam D! It boggles my mind that Jon cannot understand how easy and essentially logical it is to interpret the painting the way you did.

    Thanks for your explanation, Jennifer! I am especially perplexed that Jon would accuse the University of trying to please "the liberals on campus," when BYU is constantly upholding LDS standards in the face of opposition from those whom Jon seems to stereotype as liberals. If that were the case, Brandon Davies would not have been suspended from BYU's basketball team.

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg of evidence that Jon would have to ignore in order to make such an assumption. Such an assumption is very unprofessional and irresponsible, especially when you don't support it with evidence. Immediately blaming what you view as political correctness (or otherwise an attempt to satisfy certain people) is a cop out excuse when you can't accept reality--or in this case, rejection.

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  164. It's fashionable to Hate America and her values. Besides it is a Christian nation...

    99% of all liberals serve no one but themselves. Most are haters and morons. They never served their country but feel entitled to muck up everything for America...

    The highway to Hell is wide... The liberals want to remove the speed limit signs because in infringes on their rights to speed.

    This is a painting of America... Maybe, you should move... If you cannot respect his point of view or Join the Marine Corps they are looking for a few good folks.

    I'm sure you would reject this as well.

    God Bless America...

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  165. @ Jon—The painting places the professor next to Satan and you're offended that a university didn't want it?

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  166. It's even sadder that he tries to put Christ in the middle of all of this. You can express your opinions as much as you want, but don't presume that Christ endorses them. If you were a child who made a drawing of your father favoring you and despising your siblings, would you expect your father to put it on the refrigerator for your siblings to see?

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  167. It’s time that all Americans stood for the standards, norms and morals that was laid forth by our forefathers over two hundred years ago for this great nation of ours. God gave all individuals a talent to be used in his service. It’s up to us to discover that talent and to use it properly. That talent is needed now in our country’s defense more then at any time in her past. Stand firm and be heard, refuse to take a step backwards. This nation of our is One Nation Under God, let no one forget that. You Mr. McNaughton have a God given talent that goes beyond most. That painting of yours is an inspiration to us all.
    Noel K, Desmond
    CEO/Editor
    www.soundoffgov.co
    Chiefland, Florida

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  168. Looking at that painting fills my heart with laughter. McNaughton is a man more familiar with simple conservative dogma than he is the constitution and history of this great yet, believe it or not, imperfect nation. Its sad that Mormonism has joined the ranks of fundamentalist christians such as Jerry Fallwell in making an unholy fusion of nationalism and religion.

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  169. Ammon, I understand that this isn't the first time an overzealous Latter-Day Saint has been carried away in their interpretation of Church doctrine, but please don't think for one moment that our true doctrine endorses such behavior. That is most likely why BYU pulled the painting--not to appease liberals.

    Our true doctrine commands love and acceptance of our neighbor and tolerance of diverse belief systems. It also condemns unrighteous judgment. McNaughton and supporters of this painting may protest that this judgment is righteous, citing scriptures where Christ seems to condemn certain practices--publicly and unapologetically.

    But the problem is that they're not Christ. Everyone will be judged by Him and the Father, no one else. The righteous judgment that many people of all faiths so sadly misinterpret is the simple power to decide for ourselves whether an action--not the person performing the action--is in accordance with the Gospel standards we are trying to uphold.

    God never meant for us to parade such ultimate judgment like the one in this painting for all the world to see. That is why our disciplinary counsels are held in private. If somebody has done something wrong, it is nobody else's business.

    Seriously, depicting certain people as evil and expecting a Church-owned institution to approve of it? The rejection of your painting may be a sad day for you, Jon, but it is a glorious day for those of us Church members who seek vindication from the critics by showing that we know how to treat the Lord's children. Not that it matters what those critics think, but it's nice to know that a hole has been poked in some of their claims.

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  170. The painting is offensive because the subtext is that the Republican Party and the Church of God are one and the same, which is obviously not true, and a very scary thought. It's really bad PR to have that selling at the BYU Bookstore, even if people want to buy it.

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  171. Noticing the repeated complaint that McNaughton's art is "poor", I started a tally of those who liked the art versus those who disliked it.

    Unfortunately, it became too boring a task, and I gave up about two thirds of the way through.

    Despite a sloppy methodology, my initial tally was: 40 in favour (counting some who disliked yet still validated the artistic merit of the painting) and 23 opposed (including several who engaged in artistic criticism, potentially also validating the work as art), plus a handful of those without strong feelings who generally expressed no qualms about the artistry of the work.

    The most common opinions by those who liked the painting were that it was inspirational or true, it spoke to their understanding of the country, or it was doctrinally correct. The most common disliked traits were that it showed some people negatively, it had political connotations, it was not vague enough in its symbolism, or it was doctrinally incorrect.

    As to the claims of whether it's "art", I think artistic value has always been a subjective label. I'm reminded of the exclusive notions of some about whether LDS are "Christians" or not -- yes, in a wider definition, and by self-definition; but no, in a narrower definition.

    Again, as to whether it's too political, I think art has been innately political from its incipience -- usually so in content, but always so in context.

    Whether it can be called doctrinal or not seems to rest on how much weight you personally place on specific doctrines. If "negativity", "sin-naming", or "divisiveness" are the chiefest sins, then, yes, the painting does evaluate some things negatively -- though God himself speaks "negatively" (see entire Standard Works) and is "divisive" (2 Ne. 30:10).

    But for direct doctrinality, it can't really be controverted that the Church has canonically and officially advocated the Constitution's divine source, and has offered at least one endorsement and denunciation of each of the conceptualisations on the left and right respectively, according to the artist's stated intent with them.

    On the other hand, the Church can also be seen as having indirectly justified some or most of those ideas on the right, depending on how far your interpretation of them strays from the artist's.

    (Example: setting aside his tangential web log comment on biology classes, the artist said his depiction of the professor with the book was not a comment on evolutionary theory itself -- which he finds fault with but which Church leaders have alternately discouraged, avoided, and encouraged, though never except in a deliberate way that has become known, and maligned by Darwinists, as "Intelligent Design". Rather, he wanted to illustrate how, (A) the academy may "smugly" align itself against religious belief (2 Ne. 9:28), and (B) evolutionary theory, its merits or insufficiencies notwithstanding, has been used as a pedagogical wedge against religion.)

    Ignoring nuance, it's easy to see how leftists would immediately identify with the "people" in the painting instead of treating them like the artist did, as the personification of concepts and behaviours (ex. 2: it's not "greed" or "corruption" the artist was really critiquing, but LAWYERS THEMSELVES). In that case, offense is understandable, if ill advised. But I'm sure, in conclusion, that it will be apparent to all but the most prejudiced visitors to this page that:

    -the viewing public on the whole considers the art "artistic";
    -by the artist's intent, the art is defensibly doctrinal;
    -in a book store rife with partisan sentiments, the art also contains political elements;
    -like much else in the book store and the sponsoring church, the art is moralistic in general terms, but may be offensive to those who feel individually implicated by it.

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  172. OMG OBAMA SUX!!! LOL THAT GUY TOTALLY HATES THA CHURCH! GLENN BECK 4 PREZ 2012!!!! LOLOLOL ROFL.

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  173. Why do they get so upset? Political cartoon have always been part of the public debate.
    (BTW - I hope the letter to the BYU Daily said "good conscience" rather than "good conscious," unless you really meant to imply that you were fully awake.

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  174. Good, now I don't have to look at the paintings when I go into the book store.

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  175. As a BYU student, I am glad that these paintings are not on display at the university. Although the political ideas expressed may be popular with many in the LDS community, they should not be seen as representing LDS beliefs. Mixing particular political ideologies with religious doctrine is a dangerous game. Plus, with over half of Church membership outside the US, the terms "conservative" and "liberal" are more or less irrelevant for many in the LDS community.

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  176. This is Wasatch Front crackpot piety. Simple. You will be embarrassed someday.

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  177. Wow...this is crazy. Further evidence that although the LDS church is perfect, the private university (BYU) that claims to represent the church is definitely NOT perfect. I LOVE BYU, but sometimes bad decision are made. Within our own walls, members are afraid to make a stand. Your painting fully supports LDS doctrine and therefore supports BYU. The symbolism is beautiful and inspiring! It serves as a reminder of God's crucial role in our prosperous country! Thank you!

    -Proud Mormon and BYU alumni

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  178. You are an embarrassment to our school. I m glad that they pull that propaganda out of our campus.

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  179. Your paintings do not reflect LDS Church doctrine. They represent a cultural moment; a strand of LDS conservatism that has been created by right wing media and fear of the unknown. Travel anywhere else in the world, and your garbage art wouldn't even reflect the views of the cultural Church. You are a sad, kitschy, little man and I'm glad BYU had enough sense to remove your "art" from the bookstore. Your scriptural arguments for these images lack any real knowledge of the gospel. I am die hard liberal. My parents are conservative. And we all laughed at your art together. Want to make a difference? Then argue for what you believe using logic, reason, and the intellectual powers God gave you. Your paintings are meaningless and they aren't going to change anyone's mind.

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