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.
- Karl G. Maeser, “The Monitorial System,” Juvenile Instructor 36, no. 5 (March 1, 1901): 153
- 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]
By Myunghee Tuttle
One of my favorite things about the Education in Zion gallery are the windows on the East side. Through the windows, you can see the beautiful mountains that change colors according to the different seasons, the blue sky with white fluffy clouds, and the view of the lively campus. The Education in Zion gallery provides one of the most outstanding views of the campus. Aside from these beautiful sights, my other favorite part of the windows is the natural light that comes through them.
With the light coming through the windows, everything inside the gallery looks more beautiful. Everything is brighter and more refreshing. Just as the gallery is more beautiful and brighter with light, so can our lives be more beautiful and brighter with light. In the gospel, light represents truth, knowledge, and Jesus Christ. Our lives can be more beautiful and brighter with more truth, knowledge, and more faith in Jesus Christ.
We can obtain more light in our lives through education. The permanent exhibition “examines the importance of educating the whole soul.” In the gallery, we learn about finding truth, knowledge, and faith in Jesus Christ through our education. The windows and the light remind us of this important lesson. When we find light through our education, our lives can be more beautiful and bright.
When you come to the Education in Zion Gallery, take a moment in front of the windows to ask yourself these questions: Have you found light in your education? Through your education, have you found truth, knowledge, and faith in Jesus Christ? Does your life feel more beautiful and brighter because of your education? When you do this, you may feel that the light in your education has made your life more beautiful and brighter, just as the gallery has been with light.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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. http://www.semlyen.net/cosmosjugglers/lib/contents.htm.
3 Dougherty, J. H. Indian Clubs and Dumb Bells. New York: American Sports Pub., 1901.
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.