April, 10, 2013

Receiving liberating gifts of knowledge

From its founding days forward, the Church has worked to liberate God’s children from the thrall of ignorance.  Church leaders have sponsored the translation, printing and distribution of the scriptures and the teachings of the Latter-day prophets. With these resources, all who are willing and diligent, even those without formal education, can become free from ignorance and prepare to teach others.[1]

Brigham Young stated, “Remember, too, the great principle of improvement. Learn! Learn! Learn! Continue to learn, to study by observation and from good books! Listen to the instruction of your brethren who hold the holy priesthood, and they will lead you in the ways of happiness and of life eternal.”[2]

Many educators scoffed at Brigham Young’s plan to have his academy teach revealed doctrine alongside academic subjects.  The Church educational pioneers, however, did not reject science or scholarship, because they had faith in the ultimate harmony of all truth, whether discovered by science or revealed through prophets. As part of our eternal growth and progression we must each work out the synthesis of faith, virtue, and intellect within our own character.

[1] Gallery Text

[2] Brigham Young, July 24, 1877, Journal of Discourses (1854-86; lithographic reprint, Salt City: Deseret Book, 1974), 19:64


April, 5, 2013

General Conference

Something that sets The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart from other religions is its emphasis on living prophets. Throughout my time working at the Education in Zion Gallery, I have loved learning more from early prophets and leaders, including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Karl G. Maeser, George H. Brimhall, Jeffrey R. Holland, Gordon B. Hinckley. What a blessing it is that the Lord communicates to his children lovingly through prayer, but also through our leaders!

I have been pondering the significance of living prophets as I get ready to listen to general conference this weekend. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear from our leaders, either in person or through technological means. In preparation for conference, the Church has come out with an infographic that explains the meeting and its significance. It goes through how people watch or listen live, what is taught and what happens afterward.

I was particularly interested in what happens after the conference. It is amazing to me how much technology has increased the ability to spread knowledge, including spiritual knowledge. The video and audio of the conference are available in 70 languages and on mobile applications including iTunes, Roku and Comcast. In fact, there were over 50,000 tweets about the October 2012 general conference , making it one of the top ten trends in the United States.

General conference is an exciting time to be spiritually educated from our leaders. We are so blessed to be able to hear from them directly in such an intimate setting. Make sure to tune in to!

April, 5, 2013

Buildings in Nauvoo

Nauvoo was a culturally exciting time for the Church. The town was built fairly quickly after the Saints arrived and it soon thrived. Several of the buildings constructed there were of great importance to the Church.

The Red Brick Store had many different roles. It was not only a general store, but it was also the unofficial headquarters of the Church because Joseph Smith owned it and often conducted Church business there. Joseph Smith even had an office on the second floor.[1]  On March 17, 1842, the Relief Society was organized formally by the Prophet in this upper room on the second floor. In addition, the store housed the Young Gentlemen’s and the Young Ladies’ Relief Societies as well as the University of the City of Nauvoo. The Red Brick Store was the center of many social events, lyceums and concerts. It was also where the a few very early endowments and sealings took place before the temple was finished.[2]

The Mansion House was another important building in Nauvoo. It was the home of Joseph and Emma Smith. They moved there in August 1843, and after the 1844 construction of a 22-room-wing, the house was turned into a hotel. The Smiths continued to live there and were the hosts to many fellow Saints and important dignitaries.[3]

Perhaps the most important building in Nauvoo was the temple. The drawings from which the temple was built were based on a vision received by Joseph Smith.[4] In 1841 the Saints began construction of the temple.  Although it was not finished until after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith,  this temple was the first one where ordinances—including eternal marriage and baptisms for the dead—were performed. It was finally dedicated in 1846 just before the Saints moved west, and nearly 6,000 people received their endowments in it.[5]

These buildings, along with many others, became important spaces where the Saints could mingle, be taught, and receive ordinances. All these activities helped to unify the them and helped them progress in their educational pursuits.

[2] Education in Zion gallery text

[4] Education in Zion gallery text

March, 27, 2013

Joseph Smith: Teaching in the Savior’s Way


The Education in Zion Gallery sits at the heart of Brigham Young University’s campus to serve as a reminder of the eternal nature of education. The Prophet Joseph Smith epitomized the role of an eternally minded student and teacher. As such, the first part of the Education in Zion Gallery is dedicated to him.

In the Sacred Grove, Joseph sought guidance that would change his life and impact all future generations. Through his heartfelt inquiry, he ushered in the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He began a divine education wherein “he was taught for years by visions and revelations, and by holy angels sent from God out of heaven to teach and instruct him and prepare him to lay the foundation of this Church.”[1]

Joseph’s experiences as a student of God prepared him to serve as a teacher in Zion to new converts who were eager to learn of the restored gospel. Joseph “proclaimed the gospel with testimony, clarity, and boldness, and in an unpretentious manner that quickly became a pattern for the Church.”[2]

The video clip below is featured in the gallery and provides a glimpse into Joseph’s life as a student and a teacher in Zion.

Members of the LDS Church continue to cherish the words of Joseph Smith because the words provide a beautiful understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, Joseph Smith’s desire to learn as a young boy allowed him the opportunity to serve as God’s mouthpiece during the restoration of the Church in a way that remains a pattern for education in Zion into the twenty-first century.


[1] Wilford Woodruff, October 8, 1873, Journal of Discourses (1854–86; lithographic reprint, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 16:265.

[2] Education in Zion gallery text, “Joseph the Educator: Teaching in the Savior’s Way,”

March, 27, 2013

Enter to learn, go forth to serve

One of the four aims of a BYU education is lifelong learning and service. I’ve been thinking about how BYU is preparing me for this, and I came across this video showing the Church building wells and various water systems throughout drought-stricken parts of Africa. Many people have to be involved in these projects—engineers, community organizers, and businessmen and women, just to name a few.

So much of what we learn here in an academic setting can be put to use to serve other people. I believe the spirit of BYU is focused on using the knowledge we are fortunate to gain at this institution to not only better our lives here on earth, but also better the lives of other individuals, communities and the world. Watching this video puts my purpose on this campus into perspective and has motivated me to serve within my own community.

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer for a social work class assignment by making sack lunches for the homeless and needy at the Food and Care Coalition in Provo. This organization is privately run by a member of the Church who received his Master of Public Administration with the goal to become involved with nonprofits.

Although the main service at the Food and Care Coalition is basically a soup kitchen, the environment was different from any other soup kitchen that I’ve seen. The building was beautiful, warm, friendly, and uplifting. The volunteers and staff reflected the deep love of the pictures of Christ found on almost every wall of the building. I was in awe at the quality of food and services they provided, really focusing on the dignity of their clients and working to make the building a retreat for those stricken with poverty. It was a great example to me of the carefully chosen motto of Brigham Young University; “Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve.”


Eryn Lane, gallery educator

March, 25, 2013

Bonding over the College of Nursing

As I entered The Healer’s Art: a celebration of the College of Nursing during the College of Nursing 60th Anniversary celebration, I was immediately impressed! The video was entertaining and fun to watch. The display cases were put together well and very informative and the pictures on the wall were arranged in such an intriguing way. The information was also organized in an appealing way, helping to grab and to keep my attention.

I had the pleasure of going to the exhibit with my mother who graduated from BYU College of Nursing in 1976. Going with my mom made the idea of going to the exhibit even more fun.  I was able learn her perspective about her days as a student and learn about her having to work when dresses were being phased out.

The Healer’s Art evoked conversation between us about the past and made our mother-daughter nursing bond even stronger. This exhibit made me proud to be a nurse and proud to be a part of an occupation with such a rich history.

Not only is there a rich history for nursing in general, but BYU nursing. Learning the healer’s art has been the greatest joy I have even known. To put into action my desire to serve my fellow man and learn the skills that enable me to do so has been invaluable. I know that in order to honor those who went before me, I must enact the lessons I have learned in the past and forge the future. We students are the future, learning from foundations of the past.

Laura Boone, BYU Collegte of Nursing student

March, 22, 2013

Creating a Zion-like people

As the Saints settled in the Western valley, Brigham Young established many opportunities in the frontier to create a well-rounded, educated people. He believed “’Mormonism embraces all truth[,] revealed and unrevealed, whether religious, political, scientific, or philosophical.”[1] In order to fulfill this belief, Brigham Young sent many individuals to New England and abroad for vocational and academic trainings. Through formal educations, men and women alike were better prepared to be the leaders of the Church, educators and artisans. All of their skills were essential in the building of God’s kingdom.

Vocational training was perhaps the most important training during that time. Several women were sent to the east to study in prestigious schools. They joined professional health care associations and brought back many valuable skills when they returned West.[2] Artisans such as Truman Angell were sent to study European architecture before he designed the Salt Lake Temple.[3] Painters who contributed to the murals inside the temple were also especially apprenticed in Europe.

The Saints also organized lyceums (similar to today’s devotionals), lectures, forums and classes to discuss philosophical topics. For example, President Lorenzo Snow established the Polysophical Society. His sister Eliza described the society as, “magnificent moral, intellectual, and spiritual picnic.”[4] Another formal education system is the Deseret Theological Institute, organized in 1855. This lecture program was dedicated to promote doctrinal understandings and invite all who are “desirous of receiving and imparting light, wisdom, and principles” to join. [5]

[1] Brigham Young, January 12, 1862, Journal of Discourses  (1854-86; lithographic reprint, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973), 9:149

[2] Eliza R. Snow, “An Address,” Woman’s Exponent 2, no. 8 (September 15, 1873): 63; “Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent 9, no. 9 (October 1, 1880): 69; advertisements, Woman’s Exponent no. 17 (February 1, 1881): 136; Hannah T. King, “Dr. Ellis R. Shipp,” Woman’s Exponent 12, no. (July 15, 1883): 31; “Commencement Exercises,” Woman’s Exponent 13, no. 23 (May 1, 1885):181-82

[3] Truman O. Angell, “His Journal,” in Our Pioneer Heritage, ed. Kate B. Carter (Salt Lake City: Daughter of Utah Pioneers, 1967), 10:195-213

[4] Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow (Salt Lake City: Deseret 1884), 252.

[5] Preamble and Constitution of the Deseret Theological Institute, Millennial Star 17, no. 33 (August 18, 1855): 515

March, 21, 2013

Something for everyone

In January and February, the Education in Zion Gallery reached all time highs in the number of visitors to the gallery. A large part of the increase in numbers is thanks to the numerous professors who had creative assignments for their classes in the gallery.

For example, several anatomy classes came through with an assignment. We frequently had time-pressed students say they did not see how this gallery was relevant to anatomy. I would smile to myself because, as a biased gallery educator, I could see incalculable connections to their education and how they could approach the study of anatomy. This gallery offers principles in approaching study in any subject.

There was one situation where a group of anatomy students chose to go through the gallery together. As I gave them a tour, I noticed the students were taking notes. On the north side of the gallery, one of them made a connection to the student-leader study system set up in the anatomy department, similar to what Maeser and other pedagogical leaders of the Church encouraged. Another student voiced how BYU is one of the few universities in the country that lets undergraduate students work on cadavers (in reference to the principle of access and ‘education for all’).

I really appreciated their participation because these were things I didn’t know myself. I couldn’t make all the connections for them. The time-pressed students were looking for the word “anatomy” on the walls, but this group of students found this is a gallery of principles. They were able to apply those principles to their own experiences as well as to their subject.

Camlyn Giddins, gallery educator

March, 13, 2013

Music Fridays

During fall and winter semesters, the Education in Zion Gallery hosts individuals and student groups to showcase their musical talents on Fridays from noon to 1 pm. We have hosted harpists, violists, violinists, pianists, euphoniumists, and jazz groups. There is some incredible musical ability on this campus, and the gallery’s atmosphere lends itself to the gift of music.

Two weeks ago, we had a young man who spent an hour performing both modern songs and hymns with his personal arrangements. It was an especially wonderful hour to be in the gallery! His hymns, played against the backdrop of the magnificent Wasatch Mountains, were spiritually overwhelming. The other gallery educators and I wished we could have let him play for hours more.

That same day, a young man stopped at the desk as he ran up the spiral staircase. He told us he has class until 12:50, but runs to the gallery to listen to the last 10 minutes of Music Fridays. He is a musician himself and enjoys both the music and the talent of the students who perform. .

Come join us in the Education in Zion Gallery each Friday from 12 to 1 pm for the gift of music to refresh you before hurrying off to class. Join us, even if it is for only a few minutes. You will be very glad you did!

Reggie Voyce, gallery educator

March, 13, 2013

The Relief Society’s Role in Bonding the LDS Community

In his October 2009 general conference address, President Henry B. Eyring spoke of the legacy of the Relief Society saying, “They were from many lands and peoples, as you are today. But they were of one heart, one mind, and with one intention.”[1] The organization of the Relief Society in 1842 by Joseph Smith brought many diverse women together and strengthened community bonds. In the early days of the Church, this sense of community and belonging was especially important given that most families or individuals had left the places of their birth and their extended  relatives to gather with the Saints. Sometimes this included people who also had immigrated from other countries, who came to Nauvoo to be part of a new community, often enduring tremendous trials to do so.

In Nauvoo, the women worked together to serve their tight-knit community, offering instruction and compassionate service to others. The women also combined their efforts in building the temple, which offered an even greater sense of community.[2] When the Saints left Nauvoo, the Relief Society was no longer meeting, except in “prayer meetings” to “strengthen each other spiritually”[3] along the long, tedious journey to the West.

In the Salt Lake Valley, the women were called by Brigham Young to work in the community—this time among the Native Americans who were in need. Later, the women turned their attention to poor immigrants and refugees left from Johnston’s Army.

Women’s ability to strengthen community bonds is still important. The organization of Relief Society helps bridge the gap between those of different lands and traditions, creating Zion-like communities all over the world.

[2] Education in Zion gallery text, “The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo”,

[3] Education in Zion gallery text, “Relief Society Reorganization”,