Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Book of Mormon, Art, Modern Church, Hill Cumorah


From the time the church acquired the property comprising the Hill Cumorah, artist and sculptor Torleif S. Knaphus had often spoken to the Brethren about creating a monument on that hallowed hill. His testimony of the restoration of the gospel created a desire to honor in a tangible way the sacred event of the angel Moroni’s visit to Joseph Smith and Moroni’s eventual transfer of the gold plates to Joseph for translation. This article chronicles Knaphus’s upbringing, artistic development, and conversion to the church. The design and creation of the Hill Cumorah monument were his consuming passion for five years and a rare opportunity to add his testimony to the great latter-day work. He was commissioned to create many statues and bas-reliefs for the church, some of which are featured in a sidebar to this article.