The Prayer At Valley Forge


In July of 2010 I noted with sadness the passing of the great artist Arnold Friberg at the age of 96. Mr. Friberg was an acclaimed artist who gain notoriety for his painting of Book of Mormon characters as well as the artist who was commissioned to paint Prince Charles in 1978 and Queen Elizabeth in 1990. But for all the paintings that he gave to the world I have always been most impressed with his painting of George Washington on one knee praying beside his horse at Valley Forge. This painting graces my office wall and the walls of many other men more accomplished than I. It is by far my favorite painting of his excellency and certainly ranks up there, to me, as one of the most inspiring paintings of all time. Although President Washington was not around for the restoration of the gospel of Christ it is assuring to know that he has accepted the teachings of Christ while on the other side of the veil. President Kimball related this:

“President Woodruff was one of the great spiritual giants of this dispensation. The Lord gave him many dreams and visions… Few men have enjoyed more of the guidance of the Holy Spirit than did President Woodruff. He was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, was valiant and true all his days… it was to him that the founders of the American nation appeared in the St. George Temple, seeking to have the temple ordinances performed for them. That was very unusual, brethren, and those kinds of miracles and visions and revelations were rather unusual, as you would know. These men of the American Constitution had lived in a day when the gospel was not upon the earth, but they were upright, good men who were entitled to all of the blessings which come to us”. (Spencer W. Kimball, “Preparing for Service in the Church,” Ensign, May 1979, 47).

President Washington once said:

“It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to. (“A Life of Washington”, James K. Pauling, 1835).

We know that George Washington was among the “founders” that appeared to President Woodruff. Through the wonderful restoration of the temple ordinances, great men such as Washington are not only able to be saved, but exalted. What a wondrous doctrine!


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