Nathan Sharp, inspiration through art

Last week, when I was creating the post about what President Monson said he wanted for his Birthday (here), I stumbled upon an incredible LDS artist, Nathan Sharp, who has an astounding array of religious (and other) drawings.

I emailed Nathan to ask permission to use his remarkable portrait of President Monson in my post, and we began talking.  I found his words inspiring.  He wrote:

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and ‘art’ is defined in so many different ways by so many different people that sometimes it is difficult to understand.  I am a simple man and I am inspired by the things that surround me.  I find joy and purpose in watching my children imagine and grow.  I find strength in their innocence and unyielding faith.  My heart swells and tears come to my eyes when I hear the Star Spangled Banner and my soul is moved in profound ways by the sacrifices that are made every day, all around us, in our wonderful country.  I’m not looking to make social comments but, rather, to capture the moments that make us who we are.  Each of us is the hero of our own story and that story will take us down a path that is unique from all others.  My artwork comes from my story but I hope that it crosses paths with the experiences of many others as they travel their own road.  If something is stirred in the hearts of others as they see it and if they continue on their way stronger, more inspired, or more grateful than they were before, then I would consider myself successful in my expression of the moment.

As you’ll see by glancing at some of the artwork below, I’m quite sure he succeeded.

You can find out more information about Nathan, as well as peruse and purchase his work on his website:  His prices are very reasonable (for instance, an 8×10 of President Monson is only $15).

Here are some of my personal favorites, others are below…

Cost of freedom

Miss You Daddy

Daddy come home

Dawns early light

Dawn's early light

Please visit Nathan’s site ( to view more of his work.

President Thomas S. Monson – his personal touch

President Thomas S. Monson, Mormon ProphetLast night, in the General Priesthood Session for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Conference), President Thomas S. Monson gave the concluding address – in my memory, his best.

His talk was powerful, with a strong thread of personality elegantly woven throughout as he communicated those things that he felt mattered most for Mormon Priesthood holders to hear.

President Monson always has had an incredible knack for using stories from his life, and humor to bring life to his sermons – it’s an attribute for which he’s become so loved, and for which I think he’ll be so well known as a Prophet.

In his Priesthood address, he told a story of sitting up on the stand, some time ago, in a Sacrament meeting somewhere.  He said that as he sat there, he noticed a little boy in the audience, who was sitting exactly the way he was sitting.

He said that s he’d cross his legs, the boy would cross his legs too.  When he switched legs, the boy would imitate his very position.

He then said that he tried putting his chin in his hand (which he reenacted tonight) and true to form, the boy did the same.  Then, right before he was about to get up to address the congregation, he said he thought he’d really put the boy to the test.  So he looked the boy squarely in the eyes, so he knew he was focused only on him, and wiggled his ears! (As he said this, he paused, and with amazing dexterity, wiggled his ears).  Of course, we all laughed, and heartily.

Once we’d stopped laughing, he commented “My wife told me not to do that”.  We all laughed again.

He then continued, saying that at this point, the boy looked dumbfounded, turned and got his fathers attention, whispered something in his ear, then pointed to his own ears, and pointed back to President Monson.  He said that when the father looked up at him, he just looked back, completely solemn faced, as if nothing had happened.

Listening, and watching him reenact this in front of the largest Priesthood assembly ever in the history of the world, was simply inspiring.  The message of course was there, which he elaborated on after the story, but it was wonderfully accented by humor and personality.

Every prophet leaves behind their own legacy.  I think the legacy we’ll find from President Monson is that of his profoundly personal touch.  A wonderful trait for a prophet of God.


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President Monson’s Birthday Request

Two weeks ago today (Aug 21), Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a prophet, seer, and revelator, celebrated his 81st birthday.

Reflecting a life lived in service, and his genuine love for mankind, when asked by a Church News editor what his ideal birthday gift would be, he gave this answer:

“Do something for someone else… to make his or her life better.  Find someone who is having a hard time, or is ill, or lonely, and do something for them.  That’s all I would ask.”

So, in commemoration of the birthday of a prophet of God, I encourage you to take his counsel to heart – today.  But then let the subtle spirit of his humble request imbue itself upon your soul, that your life may be lived as his, always anxiously engaged in an effort to ease another’s burden, and help them on their way.

“Do something for someone else…”


P.S.  Please email this URL to someone else, that his request may be magnified accross the entirety of our own  personal networks.

Also, the image above is courtesy of Nathan Sharp (  I’ll have more about him and his work in a separate post shortly.  You can click the image for a larger view.

Changing of the guard – one prophet to another

In Arlington Cemetery, Arlington Virginia, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, one can witness the breathtakingly solemn ceremony of the changing of the guard.

It’s one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen.  Since it was built, the tomb has been guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The soldiers that guard it have been chosen with excruciating care.  They are the best of the Elite 3rd U.S. Infantry. 

They have been tested and tried; they are the most seasoned sentinels.  They have unwavering discipline, and have volunteered themselves for tireless service.  During their guard, there is no relief.  They weather any storm, regardless of how severe.  Until they are relived, their vigilance is perfect.

Before the time comes for the changing of the guard, his replacement will walk with him for a time in absolute harmony.  They walk in perfect Step, one with another, completely united.  And then, when the time comes for the first to retire, the next is there, completely ready.  The handoff ceremony is precise and pure, having been executed many times before.  And so, the precious post passes from one to the next, in an unbroken chain of protection.

Such is the changing of the guard.

On Sunday, January 27, 2008, our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away.  The following Saturday, February 2, 2008, I was privileged to be at the Tabernacle, and witness the changing of the guard.

 No, it wasn’t any official ceremony appointing our new prophet, but it was my opportunity to see the mantle of the Lord settling onto our new Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, as he bid farewell to his mighty predecessor with the tender words reflecting their friendship… “Gordon, God be with you till we meet again.”

And so, the changing of the guard is complete, leaving the saints with an unbroken chain of prophetic protection.  Chosen with excruciating care, from our most seasoned sentinels, the best of the elite, our new guard is uniquely positioned to stand in the storms that lie ahead, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

President Thomas S. Monson, our new prophet.  May the Lord bless you in your service, and may our prayers sustain you through your post.

The Tomb At Dusk