Author Date


Degree Name



Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature



Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

James Swensen

First Faculty Reader

Elliott Wise

Honors Coordinator

Heather Belnap


Poland, folk art, Book of Mormon, Roman Śledź, Walter Whipple, religious art


A Catholic Reads the Book of Mormon: Folk Carvings of Roman Śledź presents thirteen never-before-shown wooden sculptures from the private collection of Dr. Walter Whipple to expand Book of Mormon visual culture and foster an interfaith appreciation for its universal story of faith. Śledź, a renowned Polish folk artist, and Whipple, a former associate professor of Polish at Brigham Young University, were first introduced in the 1990s when Whipple served as the first mission president for the Poland Warsaw Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For years, Whipple commissioned carvings from this faithful sculptor. Eventually, Śledź proposed a series of sculptures from the Book of Mormon based on his personal reading of a copy of the book given to him by Whipple. With no additional exposure to either Latter-day Saint art or theology beyond what he obtained from his own reading and his friendship with Whipple, Śledź’s sincere interpretations of this unique work of scripture in the primitive Polish folk art style demonstrate the power of story and art to foster interfaith dialogue and indicate opportunities for connection within an inclusive global faith community.