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TitleThe Morning Breaks
Publication TypeArtwork
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsDal, Rose Datoc
KeywordsChurch History; First Vision; Smith, Joseph, Jr.

First Place the 2021 Book of Mormon Central Art Contest – Church History Division.

"The Morning Breaks" captures a moment on that fateful spring morning in 1820, just before Joseph Smith kneels down to offer his prayer to ask God which church he should join. The moment is pregnant with anticipation, a breath before the storm, as it were. He stops in a clearing at a “stump where [he] had stuck [his] axe” the day before. (Joseph Smith, interview by David Nye White, Aug. 21, 1843, in David Nye White, “The Prairies, Nauvoo, Joe Smith, the Temple, the Mormons, &c,” Pittsburg Weekly Gazette, Sept. 15, 1843, 3, Church History Library; What follows is the First Vision, where the heavens open and Joseph sees God the Father and Jehovah, which theophany inaugurates the Restoration & last dispensation.

The title, “The Morning Breaks,” is both literal and symbolic: the First Vision literally took place on a beautiful clear morning; it is symbolic of the dawn of the Restoration itself. The title makes direct reference to the triumphant LDS hymn by the same name, about the coming forth of Zion; “The morning breaks, the shadows flee; Lo Zion’s standard is unfurled!” (“The Morning Breaks,” LDS Hymn Book, text: Parley P. Pratt, 1807-1857; Music: George Careless, 1839-1932).

The artist is a Filipina-American contemporary artist whose figurative paintings are distinctive for her line quality, unconventional colors and compositions. Her most iconic works are religious works. She is a 3-time Purchase Award Winner of the LDS International Art Competition. Her works are in permanent collections at the Church History Museum, BYU and SVU and grace church offices, publications, and meetinghouses worldwide.

The artist, raised in Virginia, earned her BFA in Art History and Fine Art Studio in 1990 from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She and her husband have four children, three grandchildren, and live in Utah.
The Morning Breaks by Rose Datoc Dal

Scripture Reference

Joseph Smith—History 1:15-17