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Remembering Arnold Friberg

Famed Book of Mormon artist passes away at 96

In a 1989 photo, Arnold Friberg wears a jacket signifying his status as an honorary Mountie, the only American to be named such.
In a 1989 photo, Arnold Friberg wears a jacket signifying his status as an honorary Mountie, the only American to be named such.

Hollywood knows artist Arnold Friberg for his work in The Ten Commandments. Canadians know him for the 300 or so paintings he created featuring their beloved Mounties.

Friberg's "Prayer at Valley Forge" was painted to celebrate the United States' bicentennial in 1976. Friberg went to Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania to capture the realistic setting.
Friberg's "Prayer at Valley Forge" was painted to celebrate the United States' bicentennial in 1976. Friberg went to Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania to capture the realistic setting.
"Lehi and His People Arrive in the Promised Land" by Arnold Friberg appears in the blue missionary copy of the Book of Mormon.
"Lehi and His People Arrive in the Promised Land" by Arnold Friberg appears in the blue missionary copy of the Book of Mormon.
"Sighting the Valley" is one of about 300 paintings in which Friberg featured the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
"Sighting the Valley" is one of about 300 paintings in which Friberg featured the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Still others know him for his depictions of America, from George Washington kneeling in the snow of Valley Forge to the grandeur of the Wild West.

Generations of Latter-day Saints, though, know Arnold Friberg as the man responsible for their visualization of the Book of Mormon: Lehi examining the Liahona, Abinadi in chains before King Noah and Samuel the Lamanite standing firm against a barrage of arrows.

It was for all these reasons that the artist was remembered at his funeral, held July 10 in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. He passed away July 1 in Salt Lake City following complications from hip surgery. A viewing was held July 9 in the Friberg Gallery, located in the Conference Center.

A member of the Utah National Guard Honor Guard lays a flag on artist Arnold Friberg's casket as Canadian Mounties look on.
A member of the Utah National Guard Honor Guard lays a flag on artist Arnold Friberg's casket as Canadian Mounties look on. Photo: Photo by Sarah A. Miller
Triona McMasters plays the bagpipes as Arnold Friberg's casket is lead out of Assembly Hall by pall bearers on Temple Square.
Triona McMasters plays the bagpipes as Arnold Friberg's casket is lead out of Assembly Hall by pall bearers on Temple Square. Photo: Photo by Sarah A. Miller

Representatives from nearly every group associated with Brother Friberg's works were in attendance. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve, a longtime friend, represented the Church.

"For me, Arnold was a seer in the purest sense of the word, with the ability to look into the past and observe spiritual experiences," Elder Hales said. "Arnold knew how to reach the soul. It was a gift given to him by God."

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