Category: Reflections

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.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK1GHPoh6lQ[/youtube]

Eryn Lane, gallery educator

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

Education in Zion has graciously welcomed an increase in guests since the beginning of Winter Semester, largely due to gallery-related class assignments. Although first-time visitors to the gallery are generally unsure of what lies beyond the spiral staircase, they most often find themselves pleasantly surprised. With the amazing influx of visitors, I have enjoyed witnessing guests’ reactions to the gallery.

Last week during my Wednesday night shift, a woman entered the gallery about an hour before closing time. She opted to walk around on a self-guided tour, but  she stopped by the information desk to share her experience when she finished.

The woman’s instructor had encouraged the class to read their patriarchal blessings prior to visiting the gallery so they might feel prompted about what paths to follow after leaving BYU. It was easy to see this woman had truly been touched by her experience. She told of how she believed the spirit of the gallery to be much like the spirit found in the temple.  Her experience added an entirely new dimension to my understanding of the gallery and the role it can play in the lives of those who visit.

Some individuals say they do not understand why they have been assigned to visit the gallery, while others believe that after one visit that there is nothing more to learn. However, after reading hundreds of pages of information and working at the gallery for three months, I know I am just beginning to recognize all this gallery has to offer. In fact, the file with all the label text and footnotes equals 150 pages, so  there is a lot information in the permanent exhibition.

The Education is Zion Gallery is filled with beautiful artwork and touching accounts of inspired individuals and the spirit of their sacrifices and testimonies can be felt strongly in the gallery. I firmly believe visiting Education in Zion will provide inspiration each and every time an individual accepts the opportunity to attend with an open mind and willing heart.

Melinda Clark, gallery educator

During these cold January days, we often look forward to summertime.

For many, summer is a time of relaxation and traveling. During the summer months, many BYU students participate in university-sponsored study abroad programs. During spring term, students in the College of Nursing participate in a global health course to learn more about other cultures. Students recently traveled to India, Ghana, Tonga, Taiwan, Russia, and Finland to learn more about healthcare in other countries and to be immersed in the culture of those countries. Students also had opportunities to learn more about US veterans, the Navajo Nation, and other local at-risk populations.
With a growing influx of immigrants coming to the United States, it is increasingly essential for nurses to provide culturally competent care. Understanding how people from other cultures perceive and respond to various aspects of healthcare is central in providing quality care. Through this nursing course, students have amazing opportunities to be immersed in the culture of another country and learn concepts in providing culturally appropriate care.

The Healer’s Art: A Celebration of the College of Nursing is on display at the Education in Zion Gallery. One of the focal points is an exhibit of nursing students’ experiences during this global health course. On display are memorabilia exhibiting pictures and writings from students working with orphans in Finland, cleaning leprosy wounds in India, building homes in Ecuador, and serving in remote areas of Tonga. What interesting and inspiring stories!

In addition to the experiences of nursing students, there are other accounts of BYU College of Nursing graduates involved in humanitarian and international activities. These accounts include displays of nurses who have served tours of duty on the hospital ship the USS Mercy and nurses who have been involved in neonatal resuscitation efforts with LDS Humanitarian Services.

During this semester, I encourage you to come and see for yourself some of the ways that nurses are making a difference in the lives of others—both locally and in various locations around the globe.

Cheryl Corbett, BYU College of Nursing

Inspiration from the Past

From the Archive


I’ve been working at the Education in Zion Gallery for almost three months and I can barely believe it’s been that long. One reason I feel so at  home here is because of the people.  The staff are knowledgeable and always willing to help. But it is not only the people who work here who have welcomed me, but also the people in the gallery who I get to learn about every day: their stories and examples have shaped me into a new person with a new perspective.

I knew about some of the people mentioned in the labels before I started working in the gallery, but I didn’t understand who they were. For example, I knew Brigham Young was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He led the Saints west and started Brigham Young Academy (known now as Brigham Young University). But now after learning more about him, he has become one of my heroes! Coming from a poor family and receiving only 11 days of formal education, he was inspired by Joseph Smith’s teaching of eternal progression and became a man who sought education wherever he could. Brigham Young not only encouraged the Saints to seek learning, but he was also a living example of actively seeking and doing. He “became a student of theology, literature, architecture, theater, science, business, gymnastics, agriculture, and everything else that could help him elevate himself or anyone around him.” He stated,

“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]
Brigham Young is one of many people who have inspired me! Some others are J. Wyley Sessions, Brigham Thomas Higgs, Karl G. Maesar; the list goes on.

Visit the gallery to see how these people’s lives are more than just nice stories—they are examples from which to learn and to move forward with their faith and strength, edifying us along the way.

Rebecca Soelberg, Gallery Educator


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

George H. Brimhall and his faculty, 1902 Courtesy of HBLL Special Collections

I have always been inspired by the amazing quotes sprinkled throughout the Education in Zion Gallery. The recent general conference reminded me again of the great words of our leaders that uplift us if we pay attention. Quotes from those who have gone before are moving reminders of the sacrifices they have made and what we, as their beneficiaries, need to live up to. The following is a list of some of my favorites.

Inspiring quotes found in the Education in Zion Gallery:

“The surest way to express love for God is by doing good to God’s children.”

— Jesse Knight

“[Brigham Young came to me and told me] that the school being taught by Brother Maeser was accepted in the heavens and was a part of the great plan of life and salvation and that Christ Himself was directing, and had a care over this school.”

— John Taylor

“Precisely as you partake of the Spirit, so will you progress in your studies.”

— Karl G. Maeser

“Keep busy in the face of discouragement.”

— Susan Young Gates

“This church is always only one generation away from extinction. All we would have to do to destroy this work is stop teaching our children for one generation.”

—Jeffrey R. Holland

 “You have it in your power to set in motion waves of action, love and kindness that will reach the shores of eternity.”

—Edwin S. Hinckley

Go find more for yourselves! The gallery is full of them to make your everyday brighter.

Marie Bates, Gallery Educator

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akU_KJemvow&list=UUdhiFCvDEtdpny_UQHRwBoQ&index=5&feature=plcp[/youtube]

I really enjoy the videos we have here in the gallery. I especially appreciate the inclusion of contemporary teachers from BYU in our last video “Gathering Strength”. In this video, teachers share meaningful lessons they’ve learned here at BYU or hope the students learn.

Brian Lemon, a chemistry teacher from BYU Idaho, shared the story of Dmitri Mendeleev organizing the periodic table. This story is actually quite moving and it resonated with him and infused his teaching (if you skip to 1:15 in the video, his story is really short).

What impresses me is that Mendeleev was someone without knowledge of the Gospel. He didn’t pray for inspiration. Yet he was still rewarded for his work. This fact adds to the principle that the Lord delivers truth in diverse places, in various ways and we seek that knowledge, wherever it may be found. How exciting it is to think that there have been and are Mendeleev experiences happening around the world!

In 1854, President John Taylor told the Deseret News, “If there is any truth in heaven, earth, or hell, I want to embrace it; I care not what shape it comes in to me, who brings it, or who believes in it; whether it is popular or unpopular, truth, eternal truth, I wish to float in and enjoy.”

I had the chance of attending Beauty and Belief in the Museum of Art. I was indeed overwhelmed by the beauty and touched by the belief. The culture was quite different, yet the heart of it didn’t seem foreign at all.

Camlyn Giddins, Gallery Educator

“…the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise , and get thee unto the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.” 1 Nephi 17: 7

The Book of Mormon is filled with passages concerning the mountains. Nephi was directed by the Liahona to go into the mountains when he broke his bow in the wilderness. When faced against the Gadianton robbers, the Nephites went into the mountains to pray to the Lord. As the brother of Jared contemplated bringing his family across the sea in barges, he climbed the mount to converse with the Savior. In every instance given, each was faced with a trial, ascended to the privacy of the mountains and, thus showing faith and determination for answers, the Lord lifted them up in their burdens.

As Disciples of Christ today, we can take this council to “arise, and get thee unto the mountain” literally or symbolically. Ascending into the peaceful solitude of nature and leaving the world behind allows the still small voice to pierce through the bubble of Babylon we fight against every day. Although we may not speak to the Lord face to face, the still small voice can whisper to us if we are still enough to grasp it. Climbing the mountain can also mean to rise above the wavering standards of the world. As we control our natural man and act, think and feel as the Savior would, we are symbolically arising above “the cunning plan of the evil one” and striving to draw closer to Jesus Christ.

During my time at the Education in Zion gallery, I have had ample time to look to the mountains. I have seen them in their majesty and glory and have often thought of the majesty and glory of the Lord and how he looks over all of us in love. Elevated above campus, the gallery allows one a grander view at the landscape and into his or her life.   When we show the Lord we are willing to listen make His teachings priority, we find peace and make room for ourselves in His heavenly home. It is my hope that we all take time to steadily climb our mountain, physically or spiritually, and put heavenly matters first.

Tiana Birrell, Gallery Educator

Courtesy of HBLL Special Collections

This gallery illuminates several examples of people who exerted themselves in order to receive visionary revelation. Some examples include: Joseph Smith, Karl G. Maeser, George H. Brimhall, and John M. Whitaker. In writing up that list, I noticed I didn’t list any women. I regretfully also noted how difficult it was for me to name any. In my defense, I can think of plenty of women who receive inspiration, but have these women received a singular visionary revelation? This is not to say that those monumental shifts are superior. In fact, I acknowledge those instances are certainly the exception to the rule, but I wanted to place some women on the list. I did gather a list of some names (LDS and non-LDS women) for further research. In my research, I came across Lucy Mack Smith, and I found some stories I really liked.


After six years of marriage, Lucy became very ill, was diagnosed with “confirmed consumption,” the disease from which her sisters Lovisa and Lovina had died. The doctors had given up hope and condemned her to death. Lucy stated she didn’t feel prepared for death and judgment at all. “I knew not the ways of Christ, besides there appeared to be a dark and lonesome chasm between myself and the Savior, which I dared not attempt to pass.” Though fatigued and bedridden, Lucy spent the night pleading with the Lord to spare her life so she could bring up her children and “be a comfort” to her husband.

“My mind was much agitated during the whole night . . . During this night, I made a solemn covenant with God, that, if he would let me live, I would endeavor to serve him according to the best of my abilities. Shortly after this, I heard a voice say to me, ‘Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Let your heart be comforted; ye believe in God, believe also in me.’

Lucy’s recovery began immediately and she began her lifelong search for a religion that would teach her and her family the way of salvation.

Camlyn Giddins, Gallery Educator

Courtesy of Education in Zion

Walking one evening, I was amazed by the quietness of the campus enshrouded by the night. Usually I can always spot a few people heading to their destinations. In the summer, however, it is not unusual to not see a single soul on campus after dark.

Even though the campus may be under such a deep sleep, the Education in Zion Gallery is still illuminated as if standing in a spotlight. Mesmerized, I paused to gaze up at the large, curved window panels. The transparency of the windows allowed the gallery to glow among the buildings. Everything inside could be clearly seen, including the signature murals that hang on opposite walls–they were glistering ever so brightly.

It was at that moment that I remembered the scripture prompting us to “let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).  I realized that we as human beings are much like the illuminated gallery. As followers of Christ, we stand out. The world shoves us into the spotlight, scrutinizing everything from our church’s history to individual conduct (or misconduct) because of the cultural climate.

Although I understand that I will inevitably fall short because that is the role of the natural man, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can shine forth and illuminate the world with my example. I don’t believe that my being an example means I must maintain a perfect record. It simply testifies that I am willing to mend my ways to become better.

Lucy Lu, Gallery Educator

This Reflection post was written on August 20, 2012