Elder and Sister Watts

Elder and Sister Watts

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Sites Mission Statement

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Monday, May 23, 2011


As a teenager, one of my favorite books was The Agony and the Ecstacy, by Irving Stone. 

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961) is a biographical novel of Michelangelo Buonarroti written by American author Irving Stone. My favorite part of the book tells of Michelangelo painting his famous mural in the Sistine Chapel.

Recently we had our own "Michael" painting a mural here in Palmyra.

Missionaries serving here at the Church Historic Sites love our "Christus" statue.  It is especially fitting that the background for the Chritus statue in our visitors' center is a mural of the Sacred Grove. 

Unfortunately, after 9 years of afternoon sun shining into the Christus Room, the mural had become faded.  It was decided that it needed a facelift. 

 Beginning in April, Michael set up his scaffolding, mixed his paints and began his work.

 It took many hours to bring the mural to life and it was fun to watch the process.  Michael worked as we gave our tours. He estimated that he heard the Christus room tour over 300 times!

We all enjoyed watching his progress as he worked patiently on the trees, leaves, grass, sky and ground.
Finally, 4 weeks later, Michael was finished with his mural masterpiece.  Below is the final result; this picture of the mural and Michael was taken on the day he returned home to Utah.  He stayed up all night to finish in time to catch his plane home.
Our Site Directors (below) were a great help to Michael, setting the building alarm after hours so he could work late and helping him clean up when he finished.
Michael said the caretaker of the Sacred Grove was a great inspiration to

The caretaker took him onto the Hill Cumorah and showed him various types of trees and how they grow.

Michael added details we all love about the Sacred Grove, like leaves,

grass and rocks,

young saplings
and of course, majestic, towering trees.

These two sister missionaries were teaching Michael in the Christus room one day as he was painting. They needed to practice teaching and asked to teach him.  He agreed and said his favorite Gospel topic was "Faith" so they taught from 
Alma 32 comparing the "word" (Gospel) unto a seed.  It inspired him to paint this seedling, so the sister missionaries could always remember they taught the lesson:  ". . . but behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good." 

We love our Christus and we love our new mural.  Thank you Michael. To learn more about the Christus statue, originally crafted by Danish sculptor Bertel Torvaldsen, click here:

1 comment:

  1. Someday I'd like to finish reading "The Agony and the Ecstasy".

    Your very own Michael. How funny!

    The new mural looks very bright and fresh.

    (I sort of feel sad for those 300 tours of people who didn't get to take a good picture by the Christus statue.)

    Great post--thanks!