Smiling Jesus

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Today this picture was shown in the gospel study womens group, Relief Society, I attend each Sunday. As the teacher asked people to express what they saw and how they felt there was beautiful discussion and comments. The room was full of the spirit. Although, I was unsettled because I do not care for this piece of art. Don’t get me wrong I love my Savior but somehow this picture doesn’t speak to me like other ones do. That is the beauty of art. It speaks to us in different ways. I hesitated and wondered if my comment would be of any benefit but I thought maybe there are others in the class who think what I do. I shared for them.  So, I raised my hand and said something like, “The beauty of art is that it speaks to us all individually just like two people can read the scriptures and each take home different messages. I love that women can see this picture and pick up beautiful qualities of the Savior. I can appreciate their sentiments and love the Spirit in the room. Although I agree with comments that are made and love the attributes of the Savior that have been expressed, I do not like this painting and I wouldn’t put it in my home. I prefer a more reverent image. ”

Usually I don’t mull over in my mind what I say in Relief Society. If I feel prompted to say something, I just say it. Often, when I am preparing for the lesson, the Spirit will remind me of moments that I can share, or the Spirit will prompt me to ask a question and I’ll try and be brave enough to ask. But today was different. I felt alone and isolated in my comment. Maybe it’s not okay to express a countering point of view, maybe I should have kept my mouth shut and just went along with the discussion. Does it really benefit others to hear a different perspective or are they offended if we don’t all agree?

Ironically my daughter came into the room as I was composing this blog post and saw the picture and said, “Oh, creepy.”

Well, I can’t change the past but I can move forward. It was our ward conference and the Stake Relief Society presidency was visiting. After the meeting, one of the women approached me. She thanked me for my comments. She told me of the story that their womens group was changing the art in their room and she brought this picture for consideration. The group voted and they were equally divided for and against the picture. She also showed it to her family with the same results. I appreciated her kindness and concern for me. Today she was a tender mercy for me and reminds me it’s okay to speak your mind. God created me with all these wonderful ideas and insights and desires and it’s okay that we don’t all agree. As long as we respect and listen and learn from others. That is why we meet and learn together.

I prefer this picture… even though it is quite similar

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Take a look at the left half of the painting:

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The coloring is darker. The lines are harder. Notice the broad, squared shoulder, the set and focused eye, the determination in the mouth. This is a just God who fights the battles of those who follow Him and keep His commandments.

Now look at the right side of the painting:

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Smiling Jesus

2 thoughts on “Smiling Jesus

  1. Susan Russell says:

    This is an interesting perspective Danielle. I agree with your comments as I like the second picture too. I like that you compared one side to the other. Maybe because we know the Saviour as a “Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief” that the first picture doesn’t resonate with me. The other picture however shows a pensive side and an approachable side. Strangely the scriptures speak of Christ weeping, of carrying his sheep on his shoulders, of clearing the temple, of caring for people but we never read that he laughed or smiled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know Jesus did laugh and smile. I feel Him doing those things with me… can you know President Hinckley and not think God has a pleasant sense of humour?… but that is the beauty of art… different pictures resonate with different people. I love your comments thanks for sharing.


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