Mormon Art — with a Smile

Mormon Art with a smile

A friend of mine updated his profile picture the other day, and there’s no nice way to say it, he looked terrible. Now, I hadn’t spent a lot of time memorizing this guy’s face, but his picture seemed like he had aged 30 years overnight.

My curiosity piqued, I dug in a little and gathered from other shocked comments and replies that he had artificially aged his face with FaceApp, a fairly new face-morphing mobile app. I quickly downloaded the app and spent way too much time magically changing faces–my face, my wife’s face, my kids–by adding smiles, aging, or even swapping genders (which earned a shocked “ew” from my wife).

A couple days later, my wife saw an article about a guy that had gone to a museum and used FaceApp to add smiles to classic art. A light went on and I immediately looked up the LDS art that so many of us have seen our whole lives. I started with Brigham Young, because well, we’re not sure if he ever smiled.

Brigham Young with smile

Turns out that stoic colonizing frontiersman looked like a nice grandpa.

Young Brigham with smile

And young Brigham turns on the charm just like that. *Bam*

But I also realized that Brigham’s smile had me smiling. So I gathered a few more paintings and I think you’ll agree that they not only bring a smile to your face, but even change the whole tone of the piece (for better… or worse). And the whole time you can hear Kip Dynamite singing, “I love technology.”

Mormon gold plates art smilingMormon doesn’t seem so sad and lonely anymore. Maybe an angel just told him a joke. Or maybe that aromatherapy he’s got going in the background started working.

Title of Liberty Mormon smiling

Captain Moroni seems a lot more charismatic now, doesn’t he? Amalickiah doesn’t stand a chance against those pearly whites.

Mormon stripling warriors smiling

“We are all enlisted til’ the conflict is o’er; Happy are we! Happy are we!”

Smiling Joseph Smith

I’m sure Joseph was more prone to a smile than the Blue Steel smolder in the original.

Smiling Nephi shocks Laman and Lemuel

Then it started getting weird, but I figured Nephi probably got a little kick out of shocking his brethren. Wouldn’t you?

A few hours after posting these, I realized that a LOT of people were smiling—it was spreading like a smile across your face. The best response so far came in the form of some updated memes from the wife of one of my mission companions, Carrie Reed, who is currently serving as the primary chorister in her ward.

Mormon art If you chance to meet a frown

Joseph Smith smiley meme

Title of Liberty meme

and smile that frown away brigham youngI should note that the app doesn’t work on everything, it needs a full face to process the filters. But I’m still smiling and, like you, I can’t get this song out of my head.

Spencer Pettit is a husband, father, author, speaker, and musician. Whenever he's not presenting in front of crowds of 10 to 3,000, you'll usually find Spencer exploring nature with his family. He and his family have been traveling the country in an RV since April 2016, but call Utah home.