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Home / Articles / News / Hits & Misses /  Mormon Art; New Jordan Superintendent; EnergySolutions Fined
Hits & Misses

Mormon Art; New Jordan Superintendent; EnergySolutions Fined

By Katharine Biele
Posted // May 4,2011 -

SAD.jpgToo Liberal
Mormon art has long had that plastic backlit look about it, but to each his own. Until Jon McNaughton, that is. McNaughton, while claiming no party allegiances, appears to have a pipeline to the past. You know, that special pipeline the tea party has to the ghosts of Founding Fathers past? “The Forgotten Man” has Barack Obama standing on a discarded Constitution while Ronald Reagan, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln gesture at a “forgotten” young man. McNaughton recently withdrew his “One Nation Under God” from the BYU Bookstore—that bastion of liberal expression, which stopped displaying the art. “One Nation” shows Christ holding the Constitution while historical figures weep or rejoice. It’s all about McNaughton’s belief that the Constitution was divinely inspired.  Now you’ll have to find him on the Web, not in the bookstore. 

SuperSMILEY.jpg Woman
At the
risk of creating another “first woman” story, the Jordan Board of Education nonetheless took the bold step of choosing an outsider as its new superintendent. Well, almost an outsider: Patrice Johnson did her undergraduate work at BYU. But she is news because, frankly, Utah likes to be incestuous when choosing its leaders. So, Jordan instead reached out and chose Johnson from the Clark County School District in Las Vegas. Johnson has taken a tough job at a district filled with what parents call “mistrust and lack of communication.” And not surprisingly, with almost the same number of years in education as former superintendent Barry Newbold, Johnson’s starting salary is $44,000 less. 

SAD.jpgBroken Trust
Once again, it looks like it pays to break the law in Utah. EnergySolutions paid an $80,000 fine to the state after burying 23 barrels of waste that was too radioactive, according to records obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune. While $80,000 sounds like a lot to the average citizen, it’s probably a fraction of what the company received for its storage services. But fine aside, the question now is what to do with the waste. The Utah Division of Radiation Control thinks that digging it up would only add to public and worker exposure, and also could cost upwards of $2 million over two years. Well, that’s a no-brainer. But sadly, it’s also a nice little precedent that says rules are made to be broken. 

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Posted // May 4,2011 at 15:30 I am so glad to read they removed his art. I unfrotunatly ran into him and his art at a festival. I can honestly say very few things have created such a dark feeling in me. Being LDS, seeing him mix his religious art with his very hateful political art saddened and sickened me. All I can say is it saddens me to see what the Tea Party has done to some in the LDS community. We are warned of things that create the feelings of hate because hate comes from a place we should not associate ourselves with. Hate is not a christian/LDS ideal.


Posted // May 5,2011 at 10:42 - Bravo, Douglas! Good for you!And thank you for your comments. It takes guts to stick your head above the herd.


Posted // May 4,2011 at 11:25

This is fascinating to a Utah boy! The LDS Church has made strides in our community that has left the McNaughton's (and Wimmers and Hillyards and Ruzickas, et al) in the dry, powdery dust just as surely as if a Temple Square Shuttle bus had taken them all out to the west desert and dropped them off. "We love you, buh-bye!"

Their church regularly tells them that they are on the wrong side of immigration reform, community well-being, Hannity booted from KSL and now this idiot's creepy, Velvet-Elvis crap has been pulled by BYU's bookstore.

Idiots: The mother ship you think you are serving, left a while back. You are all alone now, out in the open and seen for what you are, a poor, poor excuse for a human being.


Posted // May 4,2011 at 10:35

At a college, we should be about the best about what art has to offer. The Carl Bloch exhibition at the Fine Art Museum is a perfect example. This print is not something I as a member of the LDS church would want to see in a chapel, a temple, or my home. First of all, as a painting, it's bad "art"; secondly, the subject is not LDS doctrinally correct. Just as we have members of the church who are John Birchers, the bookstore does not sell their books.This is the same idea. "If there is virtuous, lovely, of good report", we seek after these things.


Posted // May 4,2011 at 10:14

I second the above comment - the painting in question is not Art; it obviously falls into the Kitsch category. Why is the "artist" offended that somebody doesn't like it? He should ask himself whether he seriously believes the Guggenheim would consider displaying it in the Fine Art section of their display hall.


Posted // May 4,2011 at 10:03

McNaughton has redefined the meaning of bad art. I can put up with an artist with whacko political ideas, even if they creep into their work. But McNaughton's work just beats you over the head. And it's not just the loony metaphor that is used like a sledgehammer. The backlit central figure of Christ assumes I am too stupid to know where to look. The comic Lincoln on one knee is ridiculous. And all of the figures are cartoonish and overdone. And the color palette is just offensive.

I am hoping that BYU pulled this because it is trash.