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
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
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.” 
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
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
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
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
Cereal, cup of noodles, macaroni and cheese – that’s the checklist I recite to myself as I put on my boots, gloves, hat, scarf, and coat to go to the grocery store. Despite being bundled up I still freeze when I have to make the hundred foot dash from the car to the sliding doors.
A long time ago, in 1912, there was another girl at BYU. But she was even colder than I am. She came to Provo as a refugee of the Mexican Revolution. She didn’t have boots, gloves, hats, scarves, or even a coat. She too had a checklist of the food she could afford to eat daily: boiled wheat flakes, mashed potatoes, bread and milk. Her name was Camilla Eyring Kimball. Although we may now her best for the wife of the beloved Prophet Spencer W Kimball, her life wasn’t always so ideal sounding. Read more
There have been many times throughout my three years at BYU that I have felt discouraged about my major. It was during those times of not doing well on a test, not understanding the material, and never having enough time in the day to spend on my classes that always made me wonder: Why am I here? Is this really what I want to be doing? Should I attend a different college that could be less rigorous? Should I find an easier major? Read more
“Häpnadsväckande!” exclaimed Natascha Von Benzon Hollesen, a former mission companion of mine from Sweden, as she walked through Education in Zion with me and four other Swedish beauties. For all five of them, a glimpse of the Brigham Young University campus they had only seen pictures of their whole lives took priority on their recent two-week stay in the United States. Contemplating the many advantages we “Provo-ites” enjoy while obtaining an education here, “amazing” quickly became the operative word of the hour. Read more
One day I was preparing to give a tour here at Education in Zion knowing that the visiting faculty group requested to remain in the north wing of the gallery for the tour, so I wandered around that specific wing hoping to refresh my memory. As I searched for new educational treasures of truth to share with the faculty group, I decided to watch all of the gallery films and see if one would be appropriate.
Hoping for a breakthrough for the theme of my tour, I sauntered over to the section called “Each of Us On the Charted Course” where in a glass display case it talks of the importance of properly preparing and educating religion teachers at BYU. I quickly glanced at the television and realized I had never seen the film that played in that room.
Upon watching the film I received words of encouragement from Apostles and Prophets, and personal revelation that helped me with something within my life I had been struggling with. Read more