November, 12, 2015

Our Greatest Teacher


By Allyssa Jex

When I give introductory tours in the gallery, I like to ask visitors about the architecture and artifacts in the gallery. I ask, “What stands out? Why?” After observations of the architecture and paintings in the gallery have been mentioned, I lead my tour groups to the center east side of the gallery where, in the middle of the rug on a wooden table, there stands a small statue of Jesus Christ. I then ask this question: “In a gallery where most things are so large and grand, why is this statue of Christ so small? Don’t you think that someone so important, even the most important, should be the largest and most noticeable thing in the gallery?”
This question usually takes a while for people to answer, but I love watching the wheels turn in their mind as they ponder Christ. It is this point in the tour that is the most enlightening to me as a tour guide. I have discovered that even though I have asked the same question so many times, I get so many different answers. This is a natural result of the various backgrounds of our visitors. I also believe that at this point of the tour, when we take time to focus on Christ and ponder who He is and what He has done for us, He teaches us.
It is the same with our education. In John 15:5, Jesus Christ says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” As students we are in the midst of papers, labs, exams, talks and Church callings. It is easy to feel lost or behind. But as we make an effort to focus on Christ and make Him the center of our education, He will teach us. Who could be a better teacher?

November, 4, 2015

Florence Jepperson Madsen: A Life of Service

Florence Jepperson Madsen
By Anna Romney
Many who have participated in BYU’s legendary choirs have fond memories of the Madsen Recital Hall. This space is used for choir rehearsals, student recitals, guest artist concerts and many more music-related activities—a fitting tribute to the woman for which it was named, Florence Jepperson Madsen. Florence had an auspicious beginning receiving the calling of ward organist at the age of nine, and becoming a contralto soloist for the Provo Tabernacle at the young age of thirteen. After completing her education at Brigham Young Academy and teaching there for a year or two, she continued her musical training at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Within a short period of arriving there, she was already performing at some of the most prestigious venues in the city, a feat which most locals would never dream of achieving in their own careers. After 14 years of acclaimed performances, Florence returned to Utah and became chair of the BYU music department. During her administration, she brought in a number of well-qualified musicians who helped the program flourish. Some of the programs she put together with her husband, Franklin Madsen (for whom the rehearsal space is also named), became established traditions.
After Florence had returned to Provo, she received word that one of her close friends in Boston had passed away, leaving three girls behind. This widow had no one to care for her daughters and wished for Florence to adopt them. Florence stood up to the task and returned immediately to the East Coast to retrieve the girls. In the midst of anti-Mormon criticism, Florence attend a number of court hearings to obtain guardianship. During this trying time, she received letters of support from prominent Utahns and easterners alike. These and her promise to marry and then raise the girls in a family setting swayed the court and allowed her to bring her new daughters back to Utah.
Florence Jepperson Madsen is an incredible example of using one’s talents for the benefit of others. May we all be aware of the talents we have been given and find ways to help others with them.

October, 21, 2015

A Golden Opportunity

Jesus Christ blog image
By Sebastian Romero

Being a busy student at BYU, it is sometimes easy to get so caught up with school work that I stop appreciating the education that I am acquiring. Despite what you’ve heard from your friends in the accounting program, school is not supposed to be miserable and dreadful. It should require sacrifice and hard work, but that same hard work is supposed to bring us happiness and satisfaction. One of Karl G. Maeser’s quotes in the gallery helped me realize this. He said, “Eagerness to earn bread and butter has overshadowed many a golden opportunity.” This means to me that, the purpose of an education is not simply to get a job, make money and eventually retire and move to Florida. Education means much more than that.
True education is supposed to inspire, motivate and change students. Now, this is easier said than done. I mean, after reading 60 pages of a textbook, the only thing I am inspired to do is burn the book. For this reason we must always be looking for these golden opportunities Maeser referenced. We must find joy along the journey, as it is often said. We can do this by looking for opportunities to serve, meet new people, and experience new things during our college years.
This is part of what God envisioned for us when we came to earth. Lehi said in the Book of Mormon, “Men are that they might have joy.” I’ve seen too many times, friends feel guilty for enjoying themselves. As if success in school is the only reason for coming to earth. The prophets have instructed us to show moderation in all things. I believe this includes studying as well. My intention is not to excuse poor academic standing as a part of “enjoying the journey.” To the contrary. If Maeser taught us anything, it is that, as members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, we must excel in academics and all other aspects of life. Anyone can be a good student if he or she is willing to shirk on all of their other life responsibilities. But it takes real commitment, discipline and prayer to be able to be a good student while still experiencing and participating in other aspects of life.
The real growth in life will not take place in front of a text book, or in the testing center. The real growth is achieved when we allow our education to become who we are and allow it to mold us into a better friend, disciple and child of God. So let us press on, always striving to become like our Savior, Jesus Christ and enjoy every moment we have been given.

October, 21, 2015

Abraham O Smoot: An Exemplar of Leadership, Dedication, and Sacrifice

Abraham Smoot
By Jessica Reschke

One of BYU’s contributors, Abraham O. Smoot, was highlighted during this year’s Homecoming. Smoot served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Brigham Young Academy, where he applied his great leadership skills. Some of these skills had come from his past experience serving as mayor of Salt Lake City and Provo.
Smoot demonstrated dedication and sacrifice, and also provided financial support to the growing academy. Shortly after creating the Academy in 1876, Brigham Young asked Smoot to support the growing academy. Even though President Young died in 1877, he continued to give further instruction to Smoot through visitations. Around 1890, President Young took Smoot to a city where Christ had visited and told Smoot, “You are not to come here until those buildings for the Brigham Young Academy are completed. The growth of the [C]hurch depends upon the growth of the Brigham Young Academy[,] for it is only through knowledge that people will come to understand the Church.” Furthermore, in 1892 Smoot recalled that President Young “appeared to me and . . . said[, ‘] . . . [Y]ou need not worry about the Academy or about how means can be obtained to build the structures which have been commenced, for the way will be opened.[’]
Abraham O. Smoot should be greatly respected for his obedience and willingness to take on such an immense task of helping to build up the Academy in spite of the limitations and financial difficulties at that time. Smoot is a great example of acting in faith and being in tune with the Spirit to receive revelation and guidance. Thanks to Brother Smoot’s efforts and contributions, Brigham Young Academy was able to grow and be strengthened, which helped to establish what is known as Brigham Young University today.
1 Abraham O. Smoot. Photograph. byu. Harold B. Lee Library, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, 09
Sep. 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
2 Abraham O. Smoot, “Abraham O. Smoot’s Mission” Education in Zion Gallery.

October, 14, 2015

A Loving Mentor: Delbert Brigham Brown

Delbert Brown

By Chris Kinghorn

Delbert Brigham Brown grew up in Mexico as a rancher and a farmer, but in his adult years he moved his family to Provo, Utah, so his children could attend BYU. There, Brother Brown’s loving personality inspired and influenced the students and faculty. His wife, Irene, said, “Somehow his kind, understanding heart and great love of the students drew them to him.” It is this attribute of loving mentorship that I want to highlight through the experiences of Delbert Brigham Brown.
Delbert Brigham Brown showed his exceptional mentorship abilities when he showed the students how much he cared about them. A story is told of a student with cigarettes in her purse. Without judging or criticizing her, Brother Brown viewed her divine potential and in a loving way inspired her to be better. He gave her a new perspective and it obviously impacted her because three years later she returned to tell him that she had turned her life around. Another student had an inappropriate picture in his wallet, but because of the loving, corrective guidance given by Brother Brown this young man was decided to make a change in his life.
The last experience I want to relate shows how Brother Brown’s loving reputation allowed students to trust him. This made him very approachable. A student from another country was short ten dollars on tuition. He had nobody to turn to but Brother Brown, whom he felt he had a friendship with. What an awesome experience and a wonder example of loving mentorship by a man quoted as saying, “All students at BYU are my friends.”
Let us remember to show love to the people around us so that we may develop trust and be an influence for good in the world.
Cited: Full EIZ text

September, 30, 2015

The Education in Zion Gallery, A Good Place to Start

Joseph F Smith photo
By Reggie Voyce

If you have not yet discovered The Education in Zion Gallery in the Joseph F. Smith Building, it is a great time to do so. If you are an incoming student it is a good place to start with building a true appreciation of dedicated, life-long learning. That appreciation will serve you well, not only here at BYU, but for the rest of your life as you have the discretionary time to learn anything you want, not just what is needed to graduate.
The Latter-day Saints who built not only this school, but many others, built with a sense of absolute commitment to learning truth in all its variety. Joseph Fielding Smith stated, “The mind must not only possess a knowledge of truth, but the soul must revere it, cherish it, love it as a priceless gem; and this human life must be guided and shaped by it in order to fulfill its destiny.”
His statement gives rise to serious reflection about the nature of true learning and what it means for us who know that all of our hard work for knowledge, truth and wisdom will rise with us in the eternities, even when we don’t always remember it for the test!
Our destiny awaits us, and the Education in Zion Gallery is a genuine place to help us make a good start.
1. Joseph F. Smith, First Presidency 1895, Education in Zion Gallery(italics added)

September, 30, 2015

Club Swinging: The Zumba of Yesteryear

club swinging BYA
By Annilyn Schill

This photo of BYA students in gym class is one of my favorites to point out in the gallery because it just seems so funny and strange. Most visitors can’t imagine what you would do with those weird looking clubs. But these strange clubs, known as Indian clubs or meels, were actually the Zumba of the Victorian era.
The English first encountered this martial art in India, where club swinging was used as a military drill to train warriors for battle. It was brought back to Britain as a form of exercise and was considered appropriate for both men and women. The club craze soon spread to America and by the turn of the century it had become part of the athletic curriculum at many colleges. J. H. Doughtery, the amateur club-swinging champion of America, reported in a pamphlet explaining the benefits of club-swinging, “Students have had its theory and practice drilled into them at college and have come forth into the battle of life with the physique of gladiators.”
BYU adopted the fad around this same time. Club-swinging would have been taught similar to most modern aerobic courses with an instructor leading participants through the series of swinging exercises with the weighted clubs. When the clubs were not in use the clubs were kept on racks on the walls of the BYU gym.
While the idea of synchronized club swinging might seem silly today, at the time it was the height of fitness and was included as an Olympic event in 1904, the same year this photo was taken at the BYU branch in Beaver. In the 1920s and 30s, organized sports began to replace these aerobic exercises. But the last twenty years have seen increased interest in reviving meels as a form of exercise.

club swinging drawing

1 Dougherty, J. H. Indian Clubs and Dumb Bells. New York: American Sports Pub., 1901.
2 Jillings, Anna. “Introduction.” Modern Club Swinging and Pole Spinning. 1994. Accessed September 24, 2015.
3 Dougherty, J. H. Indian Clubs and Dumb Bells. New York: American Sports Pub., 1901.

September, 24, 2015

He Will Help

Joseph Smith
By Anna Romney

The first couple weeks of school have been difficult to say the least. I’ve never done well with change, so beginnings of semesters have always been hard. Adding a new job, wedding planning, and everything else on top of adjusting to the new semester means I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt so unequal to what was expected of me. I’ve always had a knowledge (and more often than not, faith) that God is looking out for us and will help us through our trials, but those first few weeks were making that knowledge difficult to maintain. Sure, He could help me, but would He? Would He really help me to be more than I am?
One of the people we spotlight in the Education in Zion Gallery is the Prophet Joseph Smith. At the age of fourteen, when visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, he had only obtained the equivalent of a third grade education. With that, he was trusted to restore the true and everlasting gospel to the earth! Through his personal study, experiences, and visitations from angels, God prepared and qualified Joseph for the work He’d given him. He helped him to be greater than he would have ever been through his own means. Discovering this gave me greater hope. If God can help an uneducated young man bring about the restored gospel of His Beloved Son, He can most certainly help me.

September, 24, 2015

Ka Buke a Moramona: Hawaiian Book of Mormon

hawaiian book of mormon
By Myunghee Sim

In 1850, Elder George Q. Cannon and nine other missionaries went to Hawaii to preach the gospel. Many faced challenges in their missionary work due to the language and cultural barriers. Because of these difficulties, five of the original ten missionaries left Hawaii. However, George Q. Cannon decided to stay in Maui to learn the Hawaiian language so he could preach the gospel.

In Maui, there was a man named Jonathan H. Napela. He was a highly educated man who came from an Ali’l (royal or chief) family. Because of his educational background, he could speak pure Hawaiian as well as fluent English. One night in spring 1851, Napela had a dream where he met a man in white who had been sent to deliver an important message. Not long afterward, George Q. Cannon was traveling near Napela’s house in Wailuku, Maui. When two women from Napela’s house saw him, they called out to Napela saying, “Oh, here is the white man.” Cannon was welcomed into Napela’s house and introduced the gospel to Napela’s family. Soon after, Napela and his wife were baptized.

Cannon and Napela worked together to translate The Book of Mormon into the Hawaiian language. Because of Napela’s knowledge of the Hawaiian and English languages, the translation process went quickly. Elder Cannon wrote, “Probably but few in the nation were as well qualified as Brother Napela, to help me in this respect.” With The Book of Mormon available in the native Hawaiian language, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii grew to have more than 3,000 members by the end of Elder Cannon’s mission in 1854. Jonathan H. Napela’s education enabled him to assist in the translation of the Hawaiian Book of Mormon translation. This blessed numerous lives. Just like Napela, how do you think your education can bless the lives of others?

March, 25, 2015

Jesse Knight: An Example of Life-long Service

imagesIn 1888, Wilford Woodruff sent out a commission to all stakes in the Church. They were to build their own academies of learning, construct school houses, appoint teachers, and develop curriculum. However, the timing of the commission was not opportune. The Saints were already struggling to make ends meet. They were also in the midst of persecution, and many families feared for their own safety. Nevertheless, regardless of the looming deterrents, the Saints answered the prophet’s call.

Stakes answered the call with faith. Within four months, academies were up and running, and within a year, twenty of the twenty-one stakes in Utah had established academies. Two or three years after the call, every stake but one in the entire Church had established an academy.

With looming difficulty and widespread persecution, the faith of the Saints proved true. They did not shirk, nor did they delay the responsibility given to them by their loving prophet. The haste with which they completed their task is noteworthy and should inspire all of us. Even without persecution, nearly impoverished circumstance, and very limited knowledge or resources, how many of us delay or shirk what we are called to do? We should have faith in the importance and in the significance of our callings as students, as children, as employees, as Church members, and as children of God. We cannot know the extent of the effect our faithfully fulfilling our duties can have in the future.


1 Hunter, J. Michael, “Jesse Knight and His Humbug Mine” (2004). All Faculty Publications. Paper 1405., 11.