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
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
On September 10, Education in Zion hosted its first FHE of the new school year. The gallery decided to focus on missionary experiences of those who opened Latin America to the preaching of the gospel and to the stories of those seeking truth who became the devoted Saints amongst all the Hispanic peoples.
We had very few people join us in the gallery that night, but, nevertheless, there was a mighty outpouring of the Spirit. After relating some of the missionary experiences of the Brethren who opened these fields of labor, we felt impressed to open the discussion to those few in attendance. We asked if anyone would like to share a missionary experience with the group. What followed felt more like a sacrament meeting than the simple FHE we had prepared.
One sweet Bolivian sister related her conversion story. She is the only member of her family who is still active, and she believes she needs to stay in the United States to accomplish what the Lord wants her to do. She attends the temple and seeks inspiration to know what to do.
Three of the men attending FHE had served missions in Argentina and had wonderful stories to tell of the devotion of those who accept the gospel there.
While listening to these wonderful Saints, I received a very strong impression of the great need we as members of Christ’s church have to remember we are all His children. Whatever political battles rage, we must never allow ourselves to forget that we do not look at one another the way the world does. Laws must be upheld, but we who profess the name of Christ can never allow ourselves to be swayed by the fear and rancor that currently sweep the earth.
Let us remember to show the Savior’s light in the surrounding darkness of the world by our example of love, concern and respect for all of Father’s children.
Reggie Voyce, Gallery Educator
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