Angel with wings on Mormon magazine — it’s art, not doctrine

THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

Published: March 4, 2013 12:01PM
Updated: March 4, 2013 11:44AM

They’re back — Carl Bloch’s angel wings, that is.

The cover of this month’s New Era, the Mormon magazine for teens, shows the Danish artist’s “Gethsemane” in which a red-robed Jesus is cradled by an angel with wings rising above her shoulders.

It’s the latest exhibit in the on-again/off-again pattern with angels’ wings in LDS publications.

In some earlier uses of Bloch’s art by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wings were removed.

But, in a 2010-11 exhibit of the Danish artist’s giant altar paintings at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University, his angels were larger-than-life and fully winged, though the curator acknowledged that in the past the church had sometimes eliminated wings when using Bloch reproductions in official magazines.

After the exhibit, the wings went missing again, this time in the December 2011 Ensign, the LDS Church’s official magazine. Bloch’s female angels were even given cap sleeves on their shoulders (likely reflecting the Utah-based church’s modesty stance).

Mormons teach that angels are resurrected humans, so giving them wings flies in the face of that belief.

Peggy Fletcher Stack