Artist Liz Lemon Swindle’s Grandson Completes Mission in Birmingham Stake

by Sarah Quesne

Elder Lemon holding a copy of “Against the Wind”, painted by Liz Lemon Swindle
Elder Lemon holding a copy of “Against the Wind”, painted by Liz Lemon Swindle

Elder Steevun Lemon has recently completed his mission for the Church in Wolverhampton, Birmingham England Stake. Like many missionaries, Elder Lemon has had support from his family back home during his service, including from his grandmother Liz Lemon Swindle.

Now, Liz Lemon Swindle’s name may not be immediately recognised, but her artwork certainly is. Images of the Saviour and the scriptures are on display in homes, galleries and church buildings all over the world.

Art is one of the many ways that the Spirit can speak to us, and Elder Lemon’s childhood and mission have shown him this firsthand.

He remarks- “I believe that art is very meaningful to many people. Throughout the course of my mission, I have met many people who believe in Jesus Christ. I have also seen many of these same people that have various things that will remind them of the Saviour and to follow him. And for me, seeing my grandmother’s work has done that for me.”

With such a collection of incredible pieces of spiritual artwork, including images of early church history, the nativity and the Saviour’s life, can Sister Swindle's loved ones possibly have a favourite?

“One painting that I love is called 'Worth of a Soul”. It is a painting of Christ with a child in Africa. I love this piece because it shows me the Saviour and His love for each and every one of us and helps to remind me of those very attributes that I work to have in myself.”

Sister Lemon recently stated in one of her social media posts “I painted this piece [“Let the Children Come”] because I wanted to try and change the way my children and grandchildren thought of Jesus Christ. I want them to think of Him as a friend and the first One they turn to for peace and comfort. I wanted Him to be for them a light shining in the darkness.”

It certainly seems that his grandmother's wish came true with her grandson. Elder Lemon remarked, “Growing up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and seeing my grandmother's art used, helped me to feel more connected through her [work]. I was also able to gain and grow an appreciation of the work that is put into something that represents the various beliefs and testimonies of so many Christians. I believe that frequently seeing artwork of the Saviour has helped my testimony, though it is very subtle. As I have studied the scriptures and prayed to know of how I might grow closer to the Saviour, I often can see what I learn reflected in these paintings.”

“One memory that I have of my grandmother painting comes from when I was about 9 or 10 years old. For a while some of my cousins and siblings and I would go to my grandma's studio each week to work on drawing, painting and sketching with her. During this time, she was painting a depiction of Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well. I remember whenever I saw her painting, every brush stroke was very careful and very intentional- though I was young and often didn't really notice the difference that each individual brush stroke made. Each week we returned to her studio, and you could start seeing the difference and the changes and that it was closer and closer to being the beautiful finished product that it is today. In some way I can't help but think that is how the Lord can help us to one day become complete.”

Though Elder Lemon has now returned home, his testimony, appreciation of art and His Father in Heaven's love for all, has increased over the last 2 years. “In a way I feel that painting and creating an image can be much like bearing your testimony. For me I often paint the stars or the landscape. These things are meaningful to me because they remind me of the love that God has for each of us. Those are things I have gained throughout my life.”