Latter-day Saint Life

This Minerva Teichert painting went from a Deseret Industries store to the Church History Museum

David Anderson stands by "Christ Visits the Nephites" (1956) by Minerva Teichert at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 24, 2024. He helped rescue the painting when it was donated at his Deseret Industries store in Mesa, Arizona, around the year 2009.

Jan Smith

David Anderson was managing the Mesa, Arizona, Deseret Industries store around the year 2009 when someone drove through the outdoor donation dock, dropped off a few pictures and paintings that had been sitting in their garage, and then left.

A staff member took particular notice of one of the paintings and brought it into the office. Anderson said he knew right away what it was.

“That’s a Teichert,” he exclaimed—he was looking at an original Minerva Teichert painting with some damage, scratches, and grass clippings on it. The painting depicted Jesus Christ blessing the Nephites.

Teichert (1888-1976), a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, painted stories of the Savior, the Restoration of the gospel, Old Testament themes, Book of Mormon narratives, and stories of the western United States. Her works have been displayed in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses and in other church buildings—but were also given to individuals, schools, and organizations.

Anderson was stunned at the find. He was already “a big fan” of her paintings and couldn’t believe one had just been dropped off.

► You may also like: How the Church is preserving the Teichert murals inside the Manti Temple

He said he could not find out how it had gotten to Arizona and into someone’s garage. Then Anderson said his staff reached out to the Church History Museum, who expressed interest. One of the DI assistant managers put the painting into the back of his car and drove to Salt Lake City.

“He gave it to them and they were so pleased,” Anderson said.

Over the years, Anderson—who now manages the DI in Gilbert, Arizona—has watched for any word of the painting, wondering if it might end up in a Church building or in a book or as a print. He kept an eye out online and throughout stores but never saw a copy of the painting again.

Then, on Monday, June 24, Anderson was in Salt Lake City for meetings and had some time left in his day. He walked around Temple Square to the Church History Museum—a place he hadn’t been able to visit in several years.

You can read this full story on Church News here.

► You may also like: Church History Museum features new Minerva Teichert exhibit

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