Growing Light by Elspeth Young

Growing Light

{ Mary Elizabeth Rollins }
Pre-mounted Giclées on canvas (gatorboard)
High-grade canvas artwork reproductions pre-mounted to durable gatorboard for easy framing without glass.
12" x 14.5"$129.0014" x 18"$175.0016" x 20"$215.0018" x 24"$280.00
12" x 16"$140.0016" x 19.25"$208.0018" x 21.5"$254.00
Giclées on canvas (unmounted canvas roll)
Larger rolled canvas prints with a 2-inch margin for the customer to mount the print to stretcher bars at a local framing store or art center. No glass needed.
20" x 24"$228.0024" x 28.75"$315.0030" x 36"$478.0040" x 48"$828.00
20" x 28"$261.0024" x 30"$328.0030" x 40"$528.00
20" x 30"$278.0024" x 36"$388.0036" x 43.25"$677.00
Paper prints
High-grade art reproductions available on photo paper (in sizes 12x18 and larger) or on high-quality 9pt (100#) paper. Combined shipping available for most smaller sizes.
16" x 20"$73.0020" x 24"$100.0024" x 30"$143.0030" x 40"$225.00
18" x 24"$93.0020" x 30"$122.0024" x 36"$168.00
Other products
Other options including the original artwork, bookmarks, and limited edition prints.
Original oil painting$23,118.00 Sold
You may click on a print size to see a preview of it.

† These prints show the entire painting. All other images are cropped to fit standard frame/print sizes. By purchasing a print, you agree to accept the image shipped to you whether cropped or not, as presented on this site. All print sizes link to a preview of the print. Print sizes are the image dimensions, not the dimensions of the paper.

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

Doctrine and Covenants 50:24

The story behind Growing Light

The following text is excerpted from the autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Rollins:
"When I was ten years old, [my family and I] moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and lived in a house belonging to [my uncle] Algernon Sidney Gilbert. We remained there two years, when we heard of the plates of the Book of Mormon, being found by Joseph Smith. Soon the news was confirmed by the appearance of Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson, with the glorious news of the restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. They bore a powerful testimony, by the Holy Spirit, of the truth of the great work they were engaged in; and which they were commissioned by the Father to present to all the world...

[In the late Fall of 1830] we learned that Brother Morley had the Book [of Mormon] in his possession, the only one in that part of the country. I went to his house just before [an evening] meeting was to commence, and asked to see the book; Brother Morley put it in my hand, as I looked at it, I felt such a desire to read it, that I could not refrain from asking him to let me take it home and read it, while he attended meeting. He said it would be too late for me to take it back after meeting, and another thing, he had hardly had time to read a chapter in it himself, and but few of the brethren had even seen it, but I pled so earnestly for it, he finally said, "Child, if you will bring this book home before breakfast tomorrow morning, you may take it." He admonished me to be very careful, and see that no harm came to it.

If any person in this world was ever perfectly happy in the possession of any coveted treasure I was when I had permission to read that wonderful book...[my family and I] all took turns reading it until very late in the night. As soon as it was light enough to see, I was up and learned the first verse in the book. When I reached Brother Morley's they had been up for only a little while. When I handed him the book, he remarked, "I guess you did not read much in it." I showed him how far we had read. He was surprised and said, "I don't believe you can tell me one word of it." I then repeated the first verse, also the outlines of the history of Nephi. He gazed at me in surprise, and said, "child, take this book home and finish it, I can wait."

Before or about the time I finished the last chapter, the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland...Brother Whitney brought the Prophet Joseph to our house and introduced him to the older ones of the family (I was not in at the time). In looking around he saw the Book of Mormon on the shelf, and asked how that book came to be there. He said, "I sent that book to Brother Morley." Uncle told him how his niece had obtained it. He asked, "Where is your niece?"  I was sent for; when he saw me he looked at me earnestly...After a moment or two he came and put his hands on my head and gave me a great blessing, the first I ever received, and made me a present of the book, and said he would give Brother Morley another...We all felt that he was a man of God, for he spoke with power, and as one having authority in very deed."

Symbolism in Growing Light

In 1830, Mary Elizabeth Rollins was a truth-hungry twelve-year-old, who had recently been baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized earlier that year.  She is curled up on the hearth at the home of her Uncle Sidney Gilbert in Kirtland, Ohio.  The night before the morning depicted in the painting, Mary had convinced a reluctant Isaac Morely to lend her his brand-new copy of the Book of Mormon--the "only one in that part of the country."  The light in the painting symbolizes the light that flooded Mary's life because of the Book of Mormon, the newly organized Church to which she belonged, and the presence of a living prophet of God in her life.

In 1905, following a life filled with courage, devotion, mistakes, and misfortunes, Mary gave a BYU devotional address that encapsulated what she had gleaned from her experiences: "May you ever drink of the water of intelligence that flows from the throne of God.  God Almighty will guide you and direct you and you will walk in the paths of truth and you will receive your reward as His servants for the good deeds you have done on this earth.  This is my testimony...You will all be tried by darkness  ...but put your trust in your Heavenly Father, let Him be your guide and support, for He is the everlasting light, worlds without ends."

The painting is filled with great darkness and great light.  For example, while Mary's chamberstick has burned low, and is, itself, extinguished, its dim flicker is no longer needed.  Instead, she is completely flooded with the clarity and peace of morning light, symbolic of the latter-day restoration of truth revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Compositionally, the light culminates dramatically at the figure and the book she holds--a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon--a copy, though initially borrowed from Isaac Morely, which eventually became a gift given to her by Brother Joseph himself.

The hearth, though made of such an enduring material as brick is, like the candle, dark.  And even though the home is obviously well appointed and comfortable, as evidenced by the foresight and labor that have thoughtful provided for every exigency and convenience, darkness has settled over the house and its prosperity and inhabitants--much like the forces of darkness that threaten homes today.  Nevertheless, just as the light in the painting will soon fill the house and lives of those who dwell there, so will the light of the restoration one day fill the world.

  The musket, though a typical possession during the era represented, is a reminder of Alma's declaration that "the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just--yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them" (Alma 31:5).  It also represents the opposition ahead of Mary and her family--the threats and violence they would face at the hands of mobs seeking to destroy them and everything they held dear.

The asters (Symphyotrichum cordifolium) at her feet not only establish the time of year (late Fall), but signify how absorbed Mary is with her reading.  Perhaps she gathered the late fall blooms to arrange them in the salt-glazed crock beside her, but became engrossed by her reading and forgot the limp blossoms.  While such delights exist for a moment, Mary holds in her hands in the morning sunlight of the restoration, the eternal word that endures forever.
© By Elspeth Young, All Rights Reserved. You may not print, copy, or reproduce this artwork or make derivative works from it without the prior written consent of the copyright holder. For permissions, please review our FAQ page.

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