Christensen was one of several church missionaries serving in his homeland when he created a small sketch or painting of the appearance of John the Baptist, Oman said. He hired an engraver in Copenhagen in 1887 to make several small prints. He sent the copies back to his family in Utah so they could sell them and earn income while he was away.
Eleven years later, a pencil sketch based on the engraving was published by George W. Crocheron in Salt Lake City. It was this broadside print of the sketch that ended up in the Library of Congress and was colorized for Bloomberg Businessweek by an artist and Photoshop expert named Steve Caplin. "I wasn't familiar with the engraving before, but I feel I know it fairly well now!" Caplin wrote in an email. "I used Photoshop to color it in. The only thing I changed was to add stars and a night sky to the image, more for color balance than anything else."
Vargas said the Bloomberg Businessweek editors settled on using the Christensen art "because it had this nice naiveté to it." "The image itself is somewhat serene," he added, "so we wanted to have a little more energy with the typography to balance that out."
Bloomberg Businessweek used cartoon balloons to put its own words in John the Baptist's mouth, but, according to Joseph Smith, what he really said was: "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness."
Vargas called the talk bubbles of John the Baptist telling Joseph Smith to invest "funny."
Christensen's intention, however, in the engraving and his paintings had a serious purpose, Oman explained.
"The work he did was to remind the saints of the spiritual roots that called the church into being," he said, "to remind people of the sacrifices of their ancestors and to inspire future generations to be courageous people and to be people of strength and fortitude."
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