February, 26, 2016

To Cherish the Unseen

school children in front of early building

By Reggie Voyce

The spirit of Education in Zion is one of eternal reflection. The stories of saints long gone and yet ever-present by their works of dedication are a source of reflection. Their faces— whether solemn, smiling, or firmly determined— tell their stories.

What did it matter that there was no paper, pens, pencils, maps or other necessities of teaching? Their ingenuity provided the basics to learn. Quill pens were created from chicken feathers, ink from crushed bearberries, pencils were the charcoal ends of blackened sticks pulled from the fire to cool before being used to write. And what did they write on? They wrote on their hands and arms and old rags until President Brigham Young brought the first paper mill to Salt Lake Valley in 1857. They had not wasted those first precious 10 years in the valley. They had built farms and businesses and were laboring on temples to the Most High and they built schools.

Their mission statement, “Man cannot be saved in ignorance” (D&C 131:6), rang in and through their very beings. They labored to learn the gospel through diligent scripture study and the building of temples to learn all the doctrines and ordinances of the gospel- the education of the soul. They labored on schools to learn and, “bec[ame] acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people” (D&C 90:15), the education of the secular mind.

To stroll through the gallery is to feel their unseen and yet ever zealous energies to be an educated people. This spirit implores us to waste no time on worldly pursuits of no eternal value, but to cherish that which is unseen, our accomplishments yet to be realized in our pursuit to be, “taught from on high” (D&C 43:16).

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February, 26, 2016

Father Maeser

pic 2

By Sebastian Romero

Karl G. Maeser was the first president of Brigham Young University. Many people today remember him for his strong commitment to honor and integrity. He once said,

“I have been asked what I mean by ‘word of honor.’ I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls–walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground–there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I’d die first!”

Brother Maeser did not develop a strong character all by himself. He was merely mirroring the people around him. One of those people was his father, Johann Gottfried Maeser. Johann, a porcelain painter-artisan who worked at a nearby plant, was known by his family as a hardworking man and a talented painter. Many loved ones even speculated that he could have had a promising future had he not “painted for bread so soon.” This being said, with a family of six, Johann worked hard to give his kids the best schooling possible. But with the low-paying job of a painter, resources were limited. With nothing but a bible and an almanac, Karl and his brothers learned to read and write, and at the young age of eleven Karl left home to attend school in the Saxon capital of Dresden. To send a son away to such a school was financially burdensome for the Maeser family, yet Johann and his family would endure. (Even though his family never joined the LDS Church, Brother Maeser always referred to his father with love and respect.) Without Johann Gottfried’s sacrifice Karl G. Maeser might not have had the platform to help establish Brigham Young Academy.

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February, 18, 2016

Black Church History Saints: Exemplars of Sacrifice and Faith

Early Church Saints Black
By Jessica Reschke

One of my favorite parts about being a Gallery Educator is being able to help run and organize the Family Home Evening programs. This month I have especially enjoyed participating with our Black Church History FHE programs. I have been able to learn more about the stories of early African- American Saints and pioneers, the sacrifices that they made, the trials that they faced, and the important impacts they had in the work of the Lord. From hearing the stories of some of these Saints, including Jane Manning James, Samuel Chambers, and Green Flake, I was deeply touched by their faith in the Savior, and their dedication to the gospel, despite some of the burdens that they faced, such as slavery. Although they might not have been considered equals in the sight of all men at the time, they knew that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ loved them equally. Fortunately in today’s society we have progressed in treating others with equality, but there is always more room for loving others. The messages of these stories made me want to strive to be more loving to all of my brothers and sisters and to help them to recognize that they are each all children of God.

Furthermore, the examples of these Saints made me realize more how important it is to truly be converted to the Lord. These African- American Saints encountered several trials that could have prevented them from joining or being active in the Church. Instead, they loved the Lord so much and had a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel that they were willing to make great sacrifices. For example, after Samuel Chambers was baptized he was not able to travel to Nauvoo from the South to join other members because he was a slave and still considered property. Even though at this time Samuel was not surrounded by other members of the Church to help him grow in the gospel, he was individually able to build his own testimony. Once he was freed as a slave, he worked for several more years to save up money, and was eventually able to make a trek with his family to Utah to join the Saints [1]. I have been fortunate to grow up in a family with the gospel and to be surrounded by strong Church leaders, so Samuel Chambers is a great example to me of having great individual faith relying on personal testimony.

As February is Black History Month, I am grateful that in the gallery we are able to recognize several of the exemplary Black members from Church history, and learn from their examples of love, sacrifice, faith, and testimony.

[1] “Saints without the Priesthood: The Collected Testimonies of Ex-Slave Samuel D. Chambers.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12. 1979. Print.
[2] Samuel and Amanda Chambers. n.d., Web. 03 Feb. 2016.

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February, 18, 2016

I Would Not Be Forgotten

Eliza R. Snow painting

By Miranda Dennett

Eliza R. Snow was a feminine woman with an eye for fashion—someone that no one would expect to become one of the greatest female leaders in the Church. Eliza valued education, and wrote in poetic verse, as was common for women of her era. She ran in illustrious circles, brushing shoulders with Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Abraham Lincoln, and even the Queen of England. Eliza was also an advocate of women’s rights. In front of a crowd of 6,000 on January 13, 1870, she delivered an empowering speech, arguing that “[women] not only speak because we have the right, but justice and humanity demands that we should!” [1] Less than a month later, the Utah territorial legislature passed a bill granting suffrage to women. Her words rung with her intelligence and spirit, and affected countless people within and outside the Church.

In a letter to a friend, Eliza eloquently stated, “Change is the key word to this dispensation. The righteous, like gold, must be seven times purified.” [1] Eliza Snow was definitely purified time and time again in order to become the brilliant leader the Lord intended her to be. Soon after Joseph Smith was martyred, Eliza was one of the first people to leave Nauvoo, making it her third treacherous trip from home for the sake of her religion. She saw much death and affliction; but gave aid to all she met along the way, and even wrote poems to console the Saints. Her labors took a toll on her, and Eliza faced many health problems while living in poor conditions. Still, the light and humor Eliza was known for lived on, and her extraordinary strength helped her serve as the second Relief Society President for 21 years.

It seems impossible that a woman who had to go through as much as Eliza Snow did would have had such a profound influence on the world. She was an exemplary example of maintaining strength and nourishing one’s education and talents in the face of adversity. She served through words and deeds, which have influenced many. The final lines she wrote in her own epitaph echo the strength and spirit that she had and remind us that we too can leave a lasting legacy on this earth through the education we cultivate and share with others.

“I feel the low responses roll,
Like the far echo of the night,
And whisper, softly through my soul,
‘I would not be forgotten quite.’”
-Eliza R. Snow, Epitaph (1887) [1]


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February, 3, 2016

Seek Study Through Repentance

By Chandler Kendall


As a student I often feel at the mercy of the teacher to receive the knowledge and intelligence that I’m seeking to find when I go to class.  Whether this is sitting in on a lecture or even listening to a talk in church, I have the attitude that it is the role of the presenter to entertain and engage me enough to make the content interesting.  However,, as I was watching a video while giving a tour,, it dawned on me that this is not how it has to be.  In one of the gallery’s video stations, there’s a clip of Professor, Gaye Strathearn, talking about the role of a teacher and a student in the learning process.  She describes how a teacher has to go through the process of creating lesson plans with the Spirit, considering deeply how they are going to present the information.  Simply put, if you don’t have the Spirit you cannot teach—basic LDS doctrine .

But then she talks about the student coming to learn, having put in as much effort to have the Spirit as the teacher, being prepared to engage their minds, and coming with a repentant attitude.  It struck me that she would suggest that it was the student’s responsibility to be prepared to get what the Spirit has for them to get out of class. It is the student’s responsibility to come feeling repentant.  It made me consider what repentance has to do with my education and how it would help me gain more out of the experience I have in my classes.  Lucky for me, as part of my major I study Greek, so I looked at the Greek word for repentance, which is metanoia, and learned that it means “a change after thought.”  In other words, after thinking and pondering, our thoughts and minds should change in accordance with God’s: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)  So I figured that, no matter what class I’m in, I can actively seek things that will help me better understand the mind of God and use that to change how I view the world as a natural man.  Or in other words, as I come to class with a repentant attitude I will be able to obtain intelligence that will draw me closer to Jesus Christ regardless of the skill and charisma of the teacher.  I think for all of us it would be wise to take time after our classes to ponder upon the things we have learned and use the Spirit to discern those things that will better enable us to obtain the mind of Christ.  As we do so we will see Jesus more in the world around us and we will better keep our covenant to always remember Him and to take His name upon us.

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February, 3, 2016

Where Spirit and Intellect Meet

By Chris Kinghorn

bottom stairs

During my Book of Mormon class I was very impressed by the way in which my teacher analyzed The Book of Mormon from an intellectual perspective.  What impressed me even more was that I was able to use those new intellectual insights to strengthen my spiritual understanding.  One of the gallery’s main themes is combining the sacred and the secular, coupled with the influence of the Holy Spirit, in the quest for greater intellectual and spiritual understanding.

In the gallery we have a video clip featuring Matthew Holland, the current President of Utah Valley University.  He talks about the joy that he experienced as a political science professor at BYU when his students were able to use their intellect to grasp spiritual concepts.  He found great joy in watching his students progress along the pathway of deeper spiritual and intellectual understanding. Prof. Holland said, “The pursuit of the Gospel in an intelligent way strengthens people’s testimonies that they come away realizing just how profound the gospel really is.”[1]

Let us all embrace our intellectual pursuits as we pursue our goals of lifelong learning, and also for progression in our spiritual and gospel understanding.  How wonderful it is that God is the source of all truth.  The gallery reminds us of these wonderful truths, and let us always remember, “to be learned is good if . . . [We] . . . hearken unto the counsels of God.”[2]

[1] Video Matthew Holland EIZ content

[2] 2 Nephi 9:29

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January, 28, 2016

The Big Pond

by Alyssa Blake

BYU valley

That first day of school feeling never gets old to me, even as a 22 year-old college student. No matter how hard finals were the previous semester, it’s a good feeling to have new classes, new professors, and to be one semester closer to graduation. Progression is a wonderful feeling.

However,  after I buy all my textbooks, turn in my first assignments, and come to know my class schedule like the back of my hand, other emotions show up such as fear, anxiety, stress, sadness, disappointment, helplessness, heartbreak, loneliness, etc. Brigham Young University is a big pond, and it’s easy to feel like a very small fish. What do we do when we start to feel this way? In the gallery, there is a video of President Thomas S. Monson counseling the students of BYU. He says, “Should you become discouraged or burdened down, remember that others have passed this same way. They’ve endured and then have achieved. When we’ve done all that we’re able to do, we can then rely on God’s promised help.”

Our great heritage has showed us that if we get to the point in our trials where we feel like giving up, we have a Father in Heaven to rely on. We need to rely on Him and His son, our Savior Jesus Christ. If we do, we can meet our challenges with great strength and the ability to enjoy our journey. The video ends with this thought, “My young brothers and sisters, don’t take counsel of your fears. Don’t say to yourselves, ‘I’m not wise enough,’ or ‘I can’t apply myself sufficiently well to study this difficult subject or in this difficult field, so I shall choose the easier way.’ I plead with you to tax your talent, and our Heavenly Father will make you equal to those decisions.”

It’s a hard trail we’re blazing, but don’t let the big pond get you down. With Heavenly Father’s help, you’ll learn that you’re a bigger fish than you ever realized.

  1. Monson, Thomas S. “Life’s Greatest Decisions.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
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January, 28, 2016

Not Just a Builder, but a Builder of Men

Brigham Thomas Higgs

By Brady Misustin

Brigham Thomas Higgs, originally from Castle Valley, moved to Provo with his family in 1895 so that his children would have the opportunity to attend Brigham Young Academy. To provide for his family, he took a job working in the heating plant of the Academy. In his spare time, he would help with carpentry and other repair projects that the school needed. After only a couple years of working for the early Academy, Brigham was asked to take a position as a professor of carpentry and woodworking, which he graciously accepted.

While working as a professor, he also served as the superintendent of buildings and grounds. There, he would gather the students on the custodial crew in the mornings to teach them the value of work and virtuous living. He found it a vital part of his role to not only teach them technical skills, but also to help them develop into the men that he knew they could be. He would even visit the boarding houses of those he worked with to assure that their needs were being met. One student said of him, “He was more than a builder of saw mills, and grist mills, and bridges, and houses; he was a builder of character, a builder of men.”

This attitude of building men permeated his work, even when at the age of fifty-eight he suffered a serious accident while installing a heating system. The injuries left him in a full-body cast, which would be humiliating and debilitating for most. Brigham was still described as, “smilingly and courageously supervising” the students who worked with him and “always carrying more than his share” even in his weakened state. He was a man of character who helped others achieve the full stature of their potential.

1- Emma Higgs Wakefield, “Life Sketch of Brigham Thomas Higgs,” 1, MSS SC 1570, Brigham

Higgs Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young

University, Provo, Utah, paraphrasing Brigham T. Higgs, “Talk to a Group of College Boys

Doing Janitor Work at B. Y. U. University,” typescript, May 5, 1934, 1, MSS SC 1570, Brigham Higgs Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young

University, Provo, Utah.

2- Emma Higgs Wakefield, “Life Sketch of Brigham Thomas Higgs,” 3, MSS SC 1570, Brigham Higgs Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young

University, Provo, Utah.

3- R. H. Boyle, address given in honor of B. T. Higgs, Manavu Ward meetinghouse, July 15,

1939, [4], MSS SC 1570, Brigham T. Higgs Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B.

Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

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January, 22, 2016

Home Evening in the Gallery


By Annilyn Spjut

On the Church website, it says that the purpose of Family Home Evening is to help us learn, grow in faith, and strengthen our relationships with each other.[1] While my family’s Family Home Evenings weren’t always perfect growing up, they always strove to accomplish those purposes. I loved FHE growing up and was excited to be able to continue going to FHE when I got to BYU. However, I was disappointed when I discovered that too often the only goal of single ward FHE was pure entertainment. Granted flirting at FHE can fulfill the strengthening relationship purpose, but too often I came home from FHE uninspired.

About a year ago, I started working at the Education in Zion Gallery, and I was assigned to work Monday nights, helping with our FHE programs. This experience has rekindled my love and testimony of Family Home Evening. I love to see how different groups come together each Monday night to learn, play, and be uplifted. While most are attracted by the refreshments, I know they leave with much more. As we’ve learned about the stories behind popular Church hymns and sang together, I have felt the Spirit. I have been inspired by the insights shared as we have talked about the magnificent gift of the human body. I laughed hard at skits portraying dating at various points in the history of BYU. In the gallery, I have seen how Family Home Evening can help us have fun together, grow closer together, and be inspired, and I hope to apply what I have learned in my own family someday.


[1] “100 Years of Family Home Evening.” Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.

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January, 22, 2016

Fostering Self-Governance



By Anna Hawkes

A defining feature of Karl G. Maeser’s teaching and administration was the concept of self-governance. He wanted to emulate the prophet Joseph Smith, whom he said “taught his people correct principles and they governed themselves accordingly.” He put this into practice by following the idea that “whatever can be done by the pupils, the teacher should never do himself.” Students helped with many things, including establishing order in the classroom and assisting in religious learning.

It was a senior student’s responsibility to prepare the class for the teacher’s lecturing. Some of the tasks associated with the responsibility were to organize the desks, call role and announce the subject of that day’s lesson. Before beginning his lesson, the teacher would ask, “Class in order?” to which the student would respond as appropriate. Only after a response to the affirmative would the formal learning begin. The role of the senior student was fundamental in creating a successful classroom environment.

Students were also selected to act as “repetitors”. Once a week the students of Brigham Young Academy would meet to discuss what they had been learning in their theology classes. The repetitors would facilitate the experience, allowing it, as one BYA teacher observed, to become “a free-for-all discussion . . . which did more to arouse interest and rivet conviction than ten times the amount of passive listening would have done.” The repetitors were expected to exemplify BYA standards and be able to identify and meet the needs of the students in their groups. These students played an important role in facilitating spiritual growth and finding ways to help students meet their needs.

The students who attended Brigham Young Academy were driven and determined to make the most of their time there. With Maeser’s focus on self-governance, those students found greater success than most. I hope we can follow that example and be more self-motivated in our own progress as students here at BYU. We have all the resources we need—let’s use them to make a difference!


(All citations are from the gallery)

“The Brigham Young Academy,” Deseret Evening News, April 25, 1879, 2.

Mary John’s record of Maeser’s remarks in “Minutes of Priesthood Meetings Held in Brigham Young Academy, 1879–1881,” typescript, October 19, 1880, 24, in Priesthood Records of Brigham Young Academy, 1879–1881, UA 70, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

  1. Karl G. Maeser, “The Monitorial System,” Juvenile Instructor 36, no. 5 (March 1, 1901): 153
  2. Karl G. Maeser, quoted in Alma P. Burton, Karl G. Maeser: Mormon Educator (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1953), 54–55,[link] paraphrasing John Taylor’s quotation of Joseph Smith in “The Organization of the Church,” Millennial Star 13, no. 22 (November 15, 1851): 339: “ I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”[link] See also Jeffrey R. Holland, “Nailing Our Colors to the Mast,” devotional address, Brigham Young University, September 10, 1985, 3.[link]
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