Practicing charity is something we as women of God do every day. In small gestures of service, in pondering and in seeking knowledge, and in our sincere and often private expressions of faith, we live in celestial ways. Practicing charity means that we are trying to live like the Savior as we seek to act in caring ways. Even though we are not perfect, our service mirrors eternity, and our efforts manifest a deep devotion. Indeed, as everyday daughters of God, we participate in a grand work.
This exhibition also celebrates the Young Women values, which inform young women of the everyday practice of eternal principles. As women of all ages, we understand that in the daily things we do, we can come to know who we are and who we have the potential to become, and we faithfully “practice charity” each day.
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the eyes of God,” the Savior declared (D&C 18:10). Every day, in countless ways, women express their understanding of this divine truth. The life of each righteous woman can be thought of as a continual gesture of good works and acts of service—given every day in simple and often unnoticed ways.
“All over the world, Latter-day Saint young women declare: “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love him.” These opening words of the Young Women theme affirm the divine nature of women and also express their deep and abiding faith in God. Women of God understand their divine nature and seek to live their lives guided by their profound faith in God and in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We believe, as Mormons, that the “glory of God is intelligence.” So intense study, for all intents and purposes, is spiritual. In fact, we are commanded in D&C 88:118 to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” To commit our life to practice, to pursuit, is to commit to extending ourselves beyond our standard capability.
After her husband’s death, Ruth left her homeland to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Judah. There she worked hard to support them both, eventually marrying Boaz and bearing a son, who became a progenitor of the Savior. Sister Aileen H. Clyde taught, “[Ruth’s] efforts, linked significantly to a later great event, tell me that each of us can take seriously the importance of our daily lives and decisions as we choose to follow God.”
The three artists selected for this exhibition—Lee Udall Bennion, Brian Kershisnik, and Kathleen Peterson—were selected because they consistently depict women as ennobled while simultaneously celebrating the importance of their everyday lives. These women are not painted as ideal or placed on a pedestal; rather, they are authentic, noble, everyday daughters of God.
The first time Brian Kershisnik picked up a paintbrush was in Bennion’s studio, a formative moment that went on to shape his career as an artist. His artwork is in the collections of major institutions throughout the state, and a book has been published about his work—Brian Kershisnik: Paintings from Life.
Lee Udall Bennion studied painting at Brigham Young University and is married to the ceramist Joe Bennion. She lives in Spring City, Utah, and has won numerous honors and awards for her art.
Kathleen Peterson also lives in Spring City and works in a wide variety of media—oil, watercolor, batik, and clay. She has illustrated several books, including a forthcoming one on women in the Bible.