Exhibition Highlights

Education in the Eyes of the Church

In the gallery we see the word “Zion” displayed on many of the walls. Zion is defined in D&C 97:21 as “the pure in heart.” This also represents progression. As we emulate our Heavenly Father, our hearts are purified and we become a more Zion-like people. One of the ways we can emulate our Heavenly Father is through education, and we obtain an education through hard work and the culmination of secular and spiritual knowledge. Such an education is available at institutions like BYU, BYU Hawaii, BYU Idaho, and even the LDS Seminary and Institute programs around the world. The seminary program icurrently operates in 143 countries, teaching over 375,000 students with 38,000 volunteer and full-time teachers. (1)

Go Forth to Serve

The prophet Brigham Young taught,  “Gather up all education and treasure it.” (2) This is because the glory of God is intelligence and encourages education at all levels.  When entering the BYU campus you pass the schools motto “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” This represents what education is about and why it is important for the building up of Zion. Our Savior Jesus Christ taught that we need to learn so that we can bless the lives of others. This is how we progress and become closer to our Heavenly Father.

Education is at the heart of our existence. We need to learn as much as we can during this time to progress toward an education for the eternities, but this can only happen if we seek learning by study and by faith.



1. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/youth-commemorate-100-years-seminary

2. http://journalofdiscourses.com/12/48

An Instrument of the Lord: The Conversion of Karl G. Maeser

pic 2While teaching at a school in Germany, Karl G. Maeser came across an incendiary text about Mormonism that, ironically, sparked his initial interest in the religion.[1]  In 1853, Maeser wrote the mission president of the Scandinavian mission requesting missionaries to teach him in Saxony.  This president then informed the president of the Swiss-German Mission, Elder Daniel Tyler, about the letter.

Because of the circumstances in Germany, Elder Tyler feared the letter might be a trick to bait missionaries into Saxony and then arrest and imprison them for preaching the gospel. Consequently, Elder Tyler did not respond to Maeser, but rather sent his letter back, having faith that if Maeser’s interest was genuine, he would write again.

Maeser did not disappoint them. He wrote again, and this time his new letter was sent to President Franklin D. Richards, the President of the whole European Mission who felt strongly that Maeser’s desire to learn was sincere.

Sending a missionary to Saxony would still be a risky task, so President Richards met with Elder William Budge and offered him the opportunity, which he was happy to accept.[2] Once in Germany, the young Scotch Elder was careful to avoid problems with the police and posed as a student of German who was seeking the instruction of the talented teacher, Karl G. Maeser. Within two weeks Maeser and his family were converted. On October 14, 1855, at midnight they were baptized in the Elbe River.2

[1] Wilkinson, Ernest L. and W. Cleon Skousen, Brigham Young University: A School of Destiny 1 (Utah, Brigham Young University Press, 1976): 84-87.

[2] Wilkinson, Ernest L., Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years, (Utah, Brigham Young University Press, 1975): 56-58.

Alma O. Taylor


At the young age of 19, Alma O. Taylor was called to serve a nine-year mission to Japan for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was one of the first LDS missionaries to serve in Japan because the country had previously been closed off to countries from the Western hemisphere. As any missionary past or present can attest, learning a new language brings its fair share of frustration. Alma was no exception, and he struggled to master the Japanese language.

In 1902, Elder Heber J. Grant—who also struggled with the Japanese language—prophesied that Alma “would be the main instrument in the hands of the Lord in translating the Book of Mormon into the Japanese language.” Despite his shortcomings, Alma accepted the assignment. After years of hard work, the first Japanese Book of Mormon was finally printed in 1909.[1]

The translation of the Book of Mormon into Japanese helped fulfill the prophecy in Doctrine and Covenants 90:11: “For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

And the translation work continues to progress into the twenty-first century. As of 2011 “the Book of Mormon has been published in its entirety in 82 languages, with selections of the book available in an additional 25 languages.”[2] Alma O Taylor played a critical role in fulfilling the promise made in Doctrine and Covenants. As a result of his faith and diligence in the early part of the twentieth century, the people of Japan had the opportunity to hear the fullness of the gospel in their native language.


[1] Larry Richards, “Translations of the Book of Mormon,” LDS Media Talk (forum), July 30, 2010,  http://ldsmediatalk.com/2010/07/30/translations-of-the-book-of-mormon/

[2] ”Book of Mormon Reaches 150 Million Copies,” LDS Church News, April 20, 2011, http://www.lds.org/church/news/book-of-mormon-reaches-150-million-copies?lang=eng

*For further reading, see Reid L. Neilson, “The Japanese Missionary Journals of Elder Alma O. Taylor, 1901-10” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 2001).

Housing Brigham Young Academy

BY-Academy-ca.-1892-page-3Brigham Young Academy (BYA), predecessor of Brigham Young University, was housed in a variety of buildings during its foundational years.  The initial location, the Lewis Building in Provo, served the academy well. While the building itself was not very grand, it played an important role in BYA’s legacy, for it was there that Maeser set out to establish fundamental programs that would shape not only BYA, but ultimately all other Church academies.

BYA grew over the years, and by 1882 the Lewis Building was too small. Funds were raised to help expand the building, but only six months later tragedy struck: the newly renovated Lewis Building caught fire and burned down.  Many worried that the academy would not be able to recover, but Maeser and Smoot were determined to keep the academy going. Smoot made arrangements to house the academy on his business property, and the school only lost one day of study following the fire! [1]

After the fair, arrangements were made to build a new permanent home for the academy. LDS Church President John Taylor selected a site, and a campaign began to raise money for the new school. George Q. Cannon was among one of the private donors and many wards in Provo were generous in their support. [2] Plans were made to lay the foundation of the new facility. The academy was moved to a local Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) warehouse in the meantime. Yet, due to nationwide economy problems, the academy collected very few donations. The foundation was laid, but the building progressed little in the next seven years.

The building was finally completed in 1892 when George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency dedicated it as the official location for Brigham Young Academy. This building, which is now the Provo Library, housed the school until the early 1900s when University President George Brimhall began expansion to Temple Hill.


*Information taken from Education in Zion Gallery text


[1] Wilkinson, Ernest L. Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1976), 128.

[2] Wilkinson, Ernest L. Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1976), 130.

Printing, a Crucial Instrument of the Restoration

During the fifteenth century, Johannes Gutenberg converted a wooden wine press into a printing press. Arguably the most important invention in human history, this press was like daybreak after millennia of darkness. It is said that Gutenberg’s idea of a press with movable type came to him “like a ray of light.” (1) Gutenberg eventually prepared the Bible for widespread circulation, so that common citizens could study the word of God.


Years later, William Tyndale used Gutenberg’s press to produce an English translation of the Bible to be had among all people—an act that led to his execution, but not before famously stating to a clergyman, “If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” (2)

Benjamin Franklin used the same press hundreds of years later to produce such documents as the Federalist Papers. The world owes much to Gutenberg and his press—but like all inventions his was eventually upgraded. In 1804, Lord Charles Stanhope devised an all-metal press that required less physical strength to operate, which increased printing speed and reduced cost.

The press was continually upgraded until some were small enough for owners of small printing shops to buy. One such owner was a man named Egbert B. Grandin, who was hired by Joseph Smith to print the first copies of The Book of Mormon.

The permanent exhibition at the Education in Zion Gallery features a beautiful room dedicated solely to printing, and the miracle that it has been for the world, especially for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From the fifteenth century until now, printing has truly been a crucial instrument of the Restoration.


1. Burke, James (1985). The Day the Universe Changed. Boston, Toronto: Little, Brown and Company.

2. Foxe, John (1563). Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, touching Matters of the Church (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs). England: John Day