Tag: "Mormon Pioneer"
The spirit of the Education in Zion Gallery is one of eternal reflection. The stories of Saints long gone—and yet ever-present by their works of dedication—are a source of reflection; pictures of their solemn, smiling, or firmly determined expressions tell their stories.
What did it matter that there were no papers, pencils, maps, or other teaching supplies? Their ingenuity provided the basics to learn: quill pens were created from chicken feathers, ink from crushed bearberries, and pencils from the charcoal ends of blackened sticks pulled from the fire. And what did they write on? They wrote on their hands, arms, and old rags until Church President Brigham Young brought the first paper mill to Salt Lake Valley in 1857. These early Mormon settlers of the Great Basin had not wasted the first decade in the Salt Lake Valley. The Saints had been very busy establishing farms, houses, and a few businesses, and they were also laboring to construct temples and schools.
The statement, “Man cannot be saved in ignorance” (D&C 131:6) rang through their very beings, and so they labored. The Saints labored to learn the gospel through diligent scripture study and they built temples where they would administer sacred ordinances while also gaining an education of the spirit. They constructed schools where they could “become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people”, (D&C 90:15) an education of the secular mind.
To stroll through the gallery is to feel of their unseen and yet ever-zealous desire to be educated and to educate. This spirit implores us to waste no time on worldly pursuits of no eternal value, but to cherish that which is unseen, our accomplishments yet to be realized in our pursuit to be “taught from on high” (D&C 43:16).
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
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