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”,

March, 11, 2013

George H. Brimhall: A Storyteller

Courtesy of HBLL Special Collections

Embedded in both LDS Church history and BYU history, you’ll find various leaders who utilized storytelling–following the examples set by scriptural leaders. Among these modern-day leaders is George H. Brimhall, the third principal of Brigham Young Academy. Brimhall would often give what were called sermonettes where he would tell allegories for the benefit of the students’ learning. He called the following story “The Camel Test.” In it, Brimhall explains how Arabian merchants determined the value of a camel.

“If he rubs his nose in the water, splashes around a little, and then turns and looks this way and that and sniffs the air, he is turned down as a fourth rate camel. If he drinks a little, he is a third rate camel. If he drinks moderately, he is graded as a second rate camel and his value is in proportion. But if he drinks copiously–drains the trough–he is the highest priced camel, granted that he is sound and able to travel. And why! Because that snuffler that simply splashed the water with his nose, that gazer from side to side, that looker into the distance as though he could travel the whole desert when he is loaded and started would perish in the desert. Students are not camels, but they are like them. . . . You will see some information coming from the teacher. You will see [the students] looking, gazing into the future, dreaming about something, I know not what, as though they had the wings of an airship. Then you will see others who will be moderately attentive; and you will see others whose minds are concentrated; they are reaching out, they drain the trough of information . . . the students who succeed, they have been filled with what is to support them, and they will make their journey–they will make their journey.”[1]

[1] Wilkinson, Ernest L. Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years. 1 (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), 594–95.

March, 7, 2013

Brigham Young and education

Recently my attention has been drawn to Brigham Young, especially his influence on the early saints and the outcome of this University. After electronically searching the gallery text, I discovered that Brigham Young’s name is found in every room of the gallery, either directly or in reference to the school’s title (Brigham Young Academy, Brigham Young University). Why such emphasis on Brother Brigham with regards to education?

Brigham received only eleven days of formal education, and possessed no desire to further his education until after meeting Joseph Smith and joining the church. At that time, Brigham learned of the eternal nature of education, and the everlasting opportunity given to mankind to strengthen and enlarge the human mind. He went on to study a variety of different subjects so as to enrich himself and uplift those around him. In 1860, Brigham Young further exemplified his love for learning with the following quotes.

“I shall not cease learning while I live, nor when I arrive in the spirit-world [,]… and when I again receive my body, I shall …still continue my researches [1].”

We often remember President Young as a great leader of the church, but this account provides insight into a lesser known aspect of his life. Through word and example, Brigham Young reminds us of the importance of knowledge—an aspect of education which goes far beyond exam scores, letter grades, or degree titles.

Students of BYU are blessed to receive an exceptional education in all the ways Brigham Young foresaw when he established this institution. May we remember Brigham Young’s enthusiasm for learning and knowledge, and remind ourselves to take advantage of our education with that same kind of enthusiasm. As the stresses of the semester periodically ensue, briefly browse around the Education in Zion Gallery to be reminded of the eternal nature of education, and be prepared to experience a change in perspective.

[1] Quoted in Susa Young Gates, The Life Story of Brigham Young (New York: Macmillan, 1930), 283.

Melinda Clark, gallery educator

February, 27, 2013

Education in Nauvoo

The years the Saints spent in Nauvoo were rich in both culture and learning. It was here where they established the University of the City of Nauvoo. There was no campus because most funds went to the construction of the temple, but Church leaders did regulate a curriculum. University classes covered a variety of subjects: English literature, languages, math, the sciences, rhetoric and music.

At least thirty common schools were constructed while the Saints were in Nauvoo. Students congregated in various locations: public buildings, private homes and some commercial structures. All the teachers were monitored and certified by the University of the City of Nauvoo.

Approximately 80 men and women taught in these schools.  Abigail Abbot was one of those teachers.  She began teaching school to support her family (of eight young children) after being widowed. In addition to teaching, she kept her own vegetable garden and usually had to tend to it at night, after teaching school.

Other members of the community encouraged education and did their part to help those who were less fortunate. For example, Joseph Lee Robinson built a home and dedicated the entire upper room to be a school for neighbors. He hired a teacher (a sister in the church) and invited those who could afford it to help pay her. He also made sure to invite and include those who could not afford to pay anything. He said“th[ose] that were not able to pay I wanted . . . to feel just as [welcome,] as the school was to be free to their children, every  one of them.”

The community in Nauvoo was one of camaraderie and service. Each person did his or her part to help further the work of the gospel and to educate members of the community.

*All information and quotes are from gallery text.

February, 27, 2013

Let thy education be thy testimony

The weekends are often quiet, but with President’s Day, last past weekend was even more quiet than normal. At the end of my Saturday shift, with less than 15 minutes until I would close the gallery, a group of visiting Chinese professors walked up the spiral staircase. They were guided by someone I recognized and I thought all was well. However, the man I knew quickly introduced them to me and then rushed off. I felt honored he had entrusted me with a group of foreign visitors, but also inadequate with my Chinese. I felt daunted by the task at hand, but keeping a prayer in my heart, I started the tour.

I talked about my interpretation of the symbols in the gallery and the aims of a BYU education—learning both the secular and the spiritual, building character, and fostering a desire of lifelong learning. I then continued talking about the history of the Church and its effort to educate the youth since its beginning.

These good people sat patiently, listening to my full discourse, now entirely in English with a few Chinese words interjected. I was anxious and nervous, worrying so much about their ability to understanding me that I forgot to allow moments of reflection. My audience seemed to find a real connection when I told them of the stories of BYU’s forefathers who had made many sacrifices and worked to perpetuate the future of the school. These Chinese professors shared their desires in educating and building the characters of their students.

Although our understandings of God are different, the truth is universal. Those who come to campus, and especially to the gallery, can feel a spirit of adherence to truth on this campus. I’m grateful for the chance to learn and I hope these professors have also gained something valuable from this experience.

Lucy Lu, gallery educator