Category: Reflections

Courtesy of Education in Zion

  1. It has an incredible view of the mountains.
  2. It is a quiet environment and a great place to study.
  3. It’s a great place for family home evening.
  4. The hidden photo challenge gives a chance to win a $20 Bookstore gift card!
  5. It’s a perfect place to bring visiting family members because it teaches about BYU history.
  6. It helps me remember why religious and general education classes are important.
  7. They keep you posted on what’s happening (Like us on Facebook!)
  8. It’s a cool escape from the hot summer sun.
  9. You can come back again and again and learn something new every time!
  10. Bringing a date will make you look smart, sophisticated, and spiritual.

Kirk Perry, Gallery Educator

This Reflection post was written on June 29, 2012

Gallery Educators

This week at Education in Zion we are putting on a very special program for New Student Orientation. During this time, we as gallery educators get to dress up as an important historical people, and inspire the incoming students with their stories. I have the wonderful opportunity to play the young Lorenzo Snow.  Although I do not have the beard, I am dressed up in clothing to fit the time period, and armed with an arsenal of Lorenzo’s personal experiences. I get to pretend like I am legitimately him and speak first person.

Before Lorenzo found the church he actually had no interest in religion. In fact, he wanted to become a high ranking officer in the military. The only reason he found the church was because his sister Eliza R. Snow, invited him to come to Kirkland Ohio to learn Hebrew at the School of the Prophets. While he attended classes at the School of the Prophets he was converted while interacting with the prophet Joseph Smith. It is inspiring to me to know that President Snow was willing to sacrifice his worldly ambitions to do what the Lord wanted him to do.

It is incredible to me how much we can learn from the stories of those who came before us. They are not only spiritually strengthening, but also very motivational. This week I have realized that all of us have our own unique stories. I couldn’t help but think what stories a gallery educator would tell about me in the future. Those before us have passed on to us an amazing legacy. The question is, what will we do with this legacy?

Jacob Bromley, Gallery Educator

This Reflection post was written on June 20, 2012

My Temple on Campus


While doing “the rounds” late one evening to check the gallery and make sure all was in order, I encountered a student sitting in a chair facing the wall of windows in the center of the gallery. It’s not uncommon for students to sit here, but typically they study when they do so.

This young man, however, just sat staring contemplatively out the window. I recognized him from one of my classes, so I said hello and asked what he was doing. Waiting for someone perhaps?

Student in the Education in Zion Gallery

“No. Just sitting here thinking. Pondering. I love this gallery,” he said.  “It’s my temple here on campus.”

This statement really hit me; and the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him. The Education in Zion Gallery is much like a temple here on campus, in the sense that it is a quiet, peaceful place to ponder, feel the Spirit, receive personal inspiration, and escape the stresses of everyday life. Temples are also places of learning and the central purpose of Education in Zion is to inspire learning for the education of the entire soul.

I came away that evening with a new perspective and gratitude for this wonderful little “temple here on campus.”

Jalena Reschke, Gallery Educator

This Reflection post was written on June 13, 2012

During winter semester I was able to teach a few FHE groups that came into the gallery about some of the “Modern Legacies of Nauvoo,” specifically the temple. We talked about the sacrifices people make to get to the temple to receive blessings and make covenants with God.

A few weeks ago it was a sunny, but brisk Saturday. I decided that I would ride my bike to the temple instead of driving like I usually do. Arriving at the temple as a hot mess wasn’t going to be an issue, so I went for it.

I have a single speed bike (no shifting) and the temple is about three miles from my house, but it is also a steady uphill climb the whole way there. Needless to say, it wasn’t the wisest decision I’ve ever made. By the time I had made it to the MTC my thighs were slipping into the spirit world.

Then I remembered the story we shared in that FHE program from Silvia Allred:

 “In 1976, when we were living in Costa Rica, the mission president asked my husband to help organize the first trip from the mission to a temple. The Central America Mission then included Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras.  The closest temple was the Mesa Arizona Temple. The trip required us to travel five days each way, crossing six borders. The financial sacrifice for most of those who went was great. They sold their television sets, bikes, skates, and anything else they could sell. We traveled in two uncomfortable buses day and night. Some of the members had used all their money to pay for the bus fare and had taken only crackers and margarine to eat on the way.  I have never forgotten the great outpouring of the Spirit we experienced during the three days we spent at the Mesa Temple.” (General Conference October 2008, “Holy Temples, Sacred Covenants”)

For me the sacrifice is usually only one of time during a busy school week or a few hours on a free day, but twenty minutes of leg exhaustion wasn’t so bad when compared to the time and discomfort others have gone through to receive temple blessings.

What sacrifices do you make to go to the temple?

Dan Shirley, Gallery Educator

This Reflection post was written on June 8, 2012

From the Education in Zion Gallery

Whenever a police officer walks up to me I automatically think, “What did I do wrong?” This happened to me about two weeks ago in the gallery as I turned on the lights for a tour. All of my decisions from the last 24 hours went through my mind and happily I thought, “I did not do anything wrong. So, why is he here?”

The BYU police officer told me that one of the custodians saw me in the gallery and mistook me for a wandering student.  I chuckled and said, “No, I am a gallery educator here at Education in Zion. Have you seen the gallery before?”

He answered that he had only been through the room that contained a photo of his old school.   Puzzled, I followed him into a room in the gallery where he pointed to a schoolhouse in Tonga and said, “This was my school or at least this was exactly how my school was built.” He described the special construction of the school:  the coconut tree wood beams tied without nails and the roof of branches and leaves that would never leak.  Then he showed me the differences between the native clothing of the Tongans, Samoans, Kiwis (from New Zealand), and Polynesians.

His enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself wanting to learn more about the Tongan culture and people.  My new friend smiled as I waved goodbye saying, “Come back again!”

As I have reflected on this event, I realized that even in the most unexpected circumstances we can gain an appreciation for cultural education.

Alison Tingey Stewart, Gallery Educator

This Reflection post was written on May 21, 2012

No ancient mummified kings; no dinosaur bones; no rare or expensive paintings. Rather than a museum of artifacts, this gallery holds something of perhaps even greater value: this is a museum of stories.

The Education in Zion Gallery is all about educating the entire soul—body, mind, and spirit—and the history of that endeavor since the restoration of Christ’s church to the earth.

Education comes not only by burying yourself in books, but most especially by experience. This gallery is a treasure trove of people’s life experiences: from those of Joseph Smith and the early Saints, to the pioneers of Brigham Young Academy, and even students and professors alike up to the present day.

As I look around, it is like walking through a giant book or journal. As I read the stories from those of the past, I can learn from their experiences and apply them to my own life and the education of my own soul.

The gallery’s eastern wall of windows, for me, is just as much a part of the exhibit as anything else: it allows me to look out at the living stories of hundreds of students continuing the tradition of educating their souls.

Jalena Reschke, Gallery Educator

This Reflection post was written on March 28, 2012

A cellphone’s lock screen or background can tell a lot about its owner. Many people have pictures of their loved ones such as their spouse, siblings, or friends. I, on other hand, have a picture of a statue of Christ with rows of majestic mountains as the backdrop.

This statue, located in the Education in Zion Gallery, is situated in the center of the gallery. Everyday when the sun is high up in the sky, the light reflected by the snowy mountains is enhanced by the broad, 200-foot, curved-glass window that allows the luminous glow to shine all around Him.

One day, mesmerized by the scene, I stopped in my tracks to contemplate its beauty. Soon after I felt moved to action, desirous to capture the marvelous effect. I knelt down below the statue and, carefully holding my phone still at an angle, snapped several photos.

Thereafter, Christ the Shepherd and His sheep have adorned my iPhone’s lock screen as a constant reminder that the Savior is the focal point of my life as He is the focal point of the gallery.

-Lucy Lu, Education in Zion Gallery Educator

Imagining the difficulties the pioneers faced in traveling west is almost incomprehensible to me in my own pleasant circumstances. Merely surviving the trip was a tremendous feat—not to mention the task of building and establishing a home and community!

It’s amazing to me to see that despite these difficult circumstances, the Saints continued to establish schools and provide their children with opportunities to learn. The following quote, found in our gallery, proves to be rather instructive as to why they would continue to seek education:

“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, 1981)

In the face of tremendous difficulty, the Saints recognized their responsibility to teach their children and help them gain a balanced and well-rounded education. Their example is instructive to us. It helps me realize the importance of fulfilling my responsibilities despite difficulties.

As college students, it’s easy to focus on our schoolwork and neglect our church callings or other responsibilities. I hope we can all find motivation to balance our life and responsibilities by considering the example of the early Saints.

-Kirk Perry, Education in Zion Gallery Educator

The Maeser Legacy


Karl G. Maeser statue on BYU campus

I often think about my favorite person in the Education in Zion Gallery. Of course, I love the Savior and the prophets, but also near the top of my list is Karl G. Maeser because he was the type of leader I hope to one day become. His dedication to the developing Brigham Young Academy and its students set the course for what BYU has become today.

Many people were initially afraid of Maeser, a strict, German immigrant. From faculty and student descriptions, I imagine him to have been a serious disciplinarian with a giant mustache. I currently have a female version of Maeser as a professor, but without the mustache. She is also from a different country, often bringing her cultural perfectionism into the classroom. She expects much, and students cringe every time they are called on.

Although both Maeser and my French teacher were and are terrifying on some levels, I also feel a deep respect for them. I have learned, through the course of this semester, that my professor has high expectations because she wants us to be successful students and learn all that we can. As I have come to know her personally I have discovered that she is a woman of deep faith who works to build the character and intelligence of her students. Read more

This Reflection post was written on December 1, 2011

Larger Than Life


13th Ward Relief Society

In September there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, no one was there. Looking around I saw a book lying on the doormat with a note tucked inside. The book was a new publication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titled Daughters in My Kingdom: the History and Work of Relief Society.

While reading the preface I came across these words:  “Relief Society is not just about women who lived in the past; it is also about women all over the world today who make and keep covenants.”  Reading this made me feel special, like I was part of something larger than life.

It also made me reflect upon the place where I work. The Education in Zion Gallery is not just about men and women in the past or even those only at BYU. It is also about men and women all over the world today who make the most of their education by combining the spiritual and secular.  In this way we make an education for the whole soul and truly are part of something larger than life.

Anna Silver, Theater Arts Education Major, Education in Zion Gallery Educator Supervisor