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The Church History Museum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened an exhibit last September dedicated to Harry Anderson, a famous painter of biblical subjects whose works have become especially popular in Mormon circles.

More than 25 of Anderson’s paint studies — or early drafts made in preparation for creating a slew of paintings from the 1960s to the 1970s — are tucked inside the newly-renovated museum, where tourists, passersby and locals can all gaze upon some of the church’s most recognizable artwork.

But Anderson wasn’t Mormon.

So who was he? More than just a popular painter with a massive Mormon following, the Chicago-born, would-be mathematician was a Seventh-day Adventist who serendipitously became an artist who sought the help of God and heaven’s healing for health problems that plagued his adult life and career. And despite some differences with Mormon doctrine, Anderson illustrated hundreds of paintings for the LDS Church. His work is now known around the world.

Anderson had an impact on the LDS Church

As a freelance illustrator, Anderson, who died in 1996, designed hundreds of paintings for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 1962, he was commissioned by the LDS Church to create illustrations for the Mormon Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964 and to paint more biblical scenes, most of which were hung, and can still be seen in the North Visitors Center at Temple Square. They’ve been included in LDS publications for more than 50 years, and are shared in meetinghouses and temple visitors centers all across the nation.

To read the full article on the Deseret News, click here.