May, 5, 2016

The Magnificence of the Human Body

bodies filled with light

By Annilyn Spjut

One of our temporary exhibitions “Bodies Filled with Light” is coming to the end of its stay here in the Education in Zion Gallery. This exhibition was put together by Education in Zion Gallery staff working with Johnathan J. Wisco, one of the anatomy professors here at BYU. They went through the LDS standard works looking for references to human anatomy and found over 9,000 references! Over the past year I have had many special experiences giving tours of this amazing exhibit. I have learned so much about how understanding God’s perspective on human anatomy can help us better understand the gospel.

When I give tours of this exhibition I like to start by asking people to think of the most magnificent thing they have ever seen. I have had lots of interesting answers from the grandeur of the mountains here in Provo to the brilliance of the Sistine Chapel. Then I share this quote from Elder Russell M. Nelson, “You may be surprised at what I am going to suggest now. Ponder the magnificence of all you see when you look in the mirror. Ignore the freckles, unruly hair, or blemishes, and look beyond to see the real you—a child of God created by him, in his image.”[1]

Sharing this quote not too long ago it really struck me, because recently I have not been feeling that my body was so magnificent. I am pregnant and have been feeling more annoyed at my body than amazed by it. My back hurts. My clothes don’t fit right. And every time I look in the mirror I just feel chubby. But as I shared Elder Nelson’s words and invited those on the tour to ponder the magnificence of their bodies as one of God’s greatest creations. I was astounded at how those words resonated with me. I realized how amazing it is that God created our bodies with the ability to create other bodies for his children. How magnificent!

I am grateful for the reminder this exhibit gave to me that our bodies truly are a blessing from our Father in Heaven.

[1] Nelson, Russell M. “The Magnificence of Man.” New Era (1987): n. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

April, 8, 2016

Wilt Thou be Made Whole?

Carl Bloch

By Miranda Dennett

As Education in Zion’s Bodies Filled With Light exhibition nears its close, I’ve spent a lot of time with it, getting all I can from the amazing information it has to offer. It is truly the epitome of combining secular and spiritual education, because I believe that studying our bodies and the way that they work can bring us closer to understanding God, our creator, than almost any other school subject. But what do we do when our bodies fail us? Should we loose our faith in God?

A feature in Bodies Filled with Light is the painting owned by the BYU Museum of Art titled Healing at the Pool of Bethesda by Carl H. Bloch, a Danish painter. The story of the painting is found in John chapter 5 in the Bible, where a man with an infirmity of 38 years once again fails to reach the healing waters of the pool before the others in attendance. Christ appears to the man and asks, “Wilt thou be made whole?” The man expresses his concerns that he wished to be healed, but could never make it to the pool in time. Christ then commands him to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” And immediately the man was made whole.

I know that through Christ we can be made whole. If we are suffering physical ailments, we can be strengthened through Christ. I have been fortunate enough to avoid many medical issues in my lifetime, but I like to expand this theory to apply to all of the weaknesses we face in mortality. We may feel inadequate to achieve great things, struggle academically, or face problems in the relationships in our lives. I am grateful that Bodies Filled With Light reminds us that, even though we may face sickness and grief (a natural side effect of mortality), our weaknesses are never too great for the God who created us. Even the man at the pool of Bethesda, who so many had overlooked, did not go unnoticed by Christ. He reaches out for the one, knows the count of hairs on our heads, and loves us enough to be our advocate with the Father, even when we fail Him. I am grateful to have a testimony of a God who loves me enough to give me a body and send me to mortality to be tried and tested, so I can ultimately return to Him again.

April, 8, 2016

The Four Aims of a BYU Education

4 aims wall

By Reggie Voyce

In the Education in Zion Gallery there is a room devoted to the Four Aims of a BYU Education. This room provides an encompassing view of those great mission statements our university champions from our own excellent and exceptional leaders as well as extraordinarily admirable individuals in the world who embraced them. The room shows that the individual concepts of the four aims are not necessarily new, but the way all four have come together at BYU is truly unique.

We are to seek, while here, first and foremost to be spiritually strengthened. The world from the beginning was specifically created to be a place of effort and exertion, physical, spiritual and mental. Thus, to proactively seek strengthening for our particular tests is wisdom in action.

To delve into the exploration of our world is to enquire after the next aim of our education, to be intellectually enlarged.  What a grand and truly worthy goal!

Then comes the mission of character building. Brigham Young stated, “A firm, unchangeable course of righteousness through life is what secures to a person true intelligence.”
–Brigham Young 1

Last, but certainly not least is lifelong learning and service. Once again, President Young succinctly states the essence of this aim. “Our education should be such as to
improve our minds and fit us for increased usefulness; to make us of greater service to the human family.”

The Four Aims of a BYU Education are what make the university stand out among institutions of higher learning. They are grand goals meant to inspire the divine in each of Heavenly Father’s children who attend this school, which has been built up through sacrifice and dedication .
–Brigham Young 2

  1. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses(hereafter JD), 8:32.
  2. Brigham Young, JD14:83.
March, 30, 2016

A Thought from Principal Maeser


By Chris Kinghorn

One of my favorite quotes in the gallery is by Karl G. Maeser. He says, “Knowledge is not power unless sustained by a character.” I believe this is one of the major themes of the gallery. If we are to become like our Heavenly Father, the acquisition of knowledge is not sufficient. It must be supplemented by character. I had the chance to look up the full quote in order to get a little more context behind it. Here is the full quote –

“We are not here merely to gain knowledge, but the object of visitors, seniors, etc. is the training and molding of our character.

“Knowledge is not power unless sustained by a character.  The character makes the man and woman.

“Whenever you hear of a man who has been successful in life, respected and honored by those with whom he came in contact he had a good character. Persons who float with every stream amount to nothing.

“Choose the noblest principles you can find and you will (be) triumphant.”

Karl G. Maeser, BY Academy domestic department minutes. Feb. 14, 1889

We are so blessed here at BYU to have a university that has been built up by many amazing and inspired leaders, including the founding principal- Karl G. Maeser. It always fascinated me that many of the principles he established for the school have withstood the test of time and are still an integral part of the four aims BYU establishes for students today. Let us all heed the council of Principle Maeser and build a strong character while we attend this wonderful university.

March, 30, 2016

Uncle Jesse


By Allyssa Blake

The JKB on BYU campus was built in 1960. The building is named after Jesse Knight and houses classes from many departments at BYU. Most people know this much about the building, but what about the man it’s named after?

Jesse Knight grew up in poverty. But as an adult, Knight had an interest in mining. He was prospecting a piece of land when he heard a voice say, “This country is for Mormons.” Knight took this as a calling to financially support the Church (which was steeped in debt at the time) through his mining efforts. He found a property and offered an expert miner, who was not impressed with it, a portion of the property. This man told Knight that he wanted nothing to do with an “old humbug like this.” Undeterred, Knight claimed the land and affectionately named it The Humbug.

It took many years for the mine to prove profitable. He told his son once, “We are going to have all the money that we want as soon as we are in a position to handle it properly. We will someday save the credit of the Church.” His son responded with doubt, but Jesse insisted, “I don’t want to quarrel with you about it, but I never had anything come to me with greater force than the impression that came to me at this time.”

Knight’s impression wasn’t wrong. The Humbug became a profitable mine, making Knight a very wealthy man. He acquired other mines and founded the Knight Investment Company, becoming a multimillionaire. He was known as “The Mormon Mining Wizard.”

How did this mining wizard affect BYU? Knight not only helped the Church financially, but he also helped BYU as well. He made large contributions to the university, even giving it most of the land that it now owns. He donated a total of $500,000 to BYU during his life, and left a generous endowment for the school after he passed away. These donations came to the school at a critical time. Because of the school’s financial struggles, some believed the university wouldn’t last. Thanks to “Uncle Jesse,” as some called him due to his generous nature, Brigham Young University lives. Let’s make Uncle Jesse proud by carrying on his tradition of hard work and service.


Hunter, J. Michael, “Jesse Knight and His Humbug Mine” (2004). All Faculty Publications. Paper   1405.

March, 17, 2016

Humble Enough to Know: A Pattern of Revelation

Joseph Smith statue

By Brady Misustin

Since the start of my time working at the gallery, this statue has been one of my favorite pieces that we have on display. It is a small, simple statue that normally wouldn’t demand too much attention from most visitors, but to me it has spoken wonders. This statue to me demonstrates the humility of one who was called to be a prophet of God. His facial expression is solemn and reverent. His body position indicates a recognition of the insignificance of mankind compared to Deity. Even the color of the statue is deep and earthy, rather than shiny or metallic, which humbly sets an example rather than demonstrating status or demanding praise. This description embodies the essence of Joseph Smith. He was a prophet of God. He was God’s student during this dispensation. What does that mean for us?

We all are learning while on this earth, reaching to attain things that we currently cannot. Striving to obtain knowledge and live our lives to the best of our ability. Many of us already recognize that to do such a thing requires divine guidance. Joseph was an example through his life of how to receive the inspiration necessary to become the person that our Father wants us to become. Through his own study, experience, and revelation he was guided to do that which was best for himself and best for the Church.

This example has meant a lot for me personally. I am striving to become all that I can. I want to reach my own potential. This requires the humility that is demonstrated in this statue. It requires searching for answers on my own, drawing on my past experiences, and relying on the inspiration that God has promised to give us. While contemplating these things in my own life, I have felt a desire and calm sense of assurance that I can make it, that I can reach my full potential, and that He is always there to help me along the way.

March, 17, 2016

The Ancient Wisdom of Aristotle


By Chandler Kendall

            As you walk through the Education in Zion Gallery there are many inspiring and profound lessons to be learned from great leaders of the latter days. Familiar names such as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Karl G. Maeser, and James E. Talmage fill the many displays with their perspectives on the importance and value of education. All are incredible and dedicated members of the Church and disciples of Jesus Christ. However, toward the end of the exhibit there is a board of quotes from famous people that apply to the four aims of a BYU education (spiritually strengthening, character building, intellectually enlarging, and lifelong learning and service). Under the category of lifelong learning and service there is a quote by a man who is not a member of the church, and whose life predates that of the Jesus. Aristotle gives us a great statement of truth that helps us understand the importance of education in every aspect of our lives by stating, “Education is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age.” To better understand this quote we need to understand who Aristotle was.

Many of us have heard his name before, but we don’t always grasp how important Aristotle’s life continues to impact us today. In addition to being an incredible philosopher he also studied physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government. He was a student of Plato, one of the greatest minds in philosophical history. He also was the teacher of Alexander the Great, a man who had conquered half of the known world by the age of thirty-three. Aristotle had more experience and intelligence than almost everyone in his day, and so when he makes a statement regarding education we can trust that he knows what he is talking about.

Aristotle makes the point that no matter what stage of life we are in, gaining education and seeking after learning is worthy of our time and effort. If things are going well for us, education can enable life to be even more enjoyable, rather than squandering our days of ease in idleness. In times of adversity and trial, education helps us deal with the challenges we face and gives us perspectives that allow us to tackle these problems with wisdom. In old age when many of the abilities we have obtained start to fade away, education continues to provide purpose for our life in seeking the never-ending quest for greater knowledge and application of that knowledge. Aristotle’s logic is sound, and when tempted to avoid the efforts of education or complain about the exertions of learning we should remember that learning is a principle that will greatly enhance any situation or walk of life that we may be in.

March, 10, 2016

Don’t Be a Quitter


by Anna Hawkes

As BYU President (1904–21), George H. Brimhall was famous for his soul-searing dissertations. Ezra Taft Benson said of them, “’No man has so inspired me with so few words as has President Brimhall in his famous four-minute assembly talks.’” Brimhall was so intense and dramatic in his performance that he could move the students to the most tender of feelings, or to the most horrific guilt. In one talk, Brimhall told of a stolen watch that made him so upset he delivered an especially scathing address. He said that if the thief had even the tiniest bit of a conscience, every tick of the clock would be a reminder of his deed: “’Thief, thief; thief, thief; thief, thief.’” He suggested that the thief may want to return the watch. According to J. Edward Johnson’s telling of the story, the next morning when he arrived at his office, he found not just one, but a number of watches on his desk.

One such “sermonette” carries the title, “Don’t Be a Quitter.” I have never read a more compact, intense, no-nonsense address. From this speech, I would like to focus on two points Brimhall makes. The first is his definition of a quitter. I always thought of a quitter as someone who simply stops doing something they had done before, but Brimhall asserts that a quitter is someone “who leaves a good thing (because it is hard) for a position in which he can get along with less effort and is content with less results.” Brimhall is saying that a quitter is someone who is lazy; who isn’t willing to put in effort for a good thing. I feel like this tendency is something that is in all of us. I have felt its pull over and over again. It can be discouraging and difficult to overcome—sometimes so much so that it seems impossible. I am grateful that Brimhall addresses this problem. To overcome the temptation to be a quitter, Brimhall says, one must acknowledge where he is lacking and then decide that “with the help of heaven, he will strengthen that part of his nature.” It is with God’s help that we can be fully successful sons and daughters. He has provided us with all the resources we need to overcome difficulties. Take the high road and stick with good, though hard, things. As Brimhall said, “Don’t be a quitter!”

March, 10, 2016

Faith in the Lord’s Promises

pasted image 0

By Annilyn Spjut

In honor of Black History Month, which took place during the month of February, the gallery has a temporary exhibit in the 2nd floor study alcove highlighting a few inspiring stories of black members from across the globe. One of my favorites is the story of the Martins family.

Stuck in traffic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Helvécio Martins prayed asking for spiritual guidance for his family. His prayer was answered several nights later when the missionaries knocked on his door. Helvécio and his wife, Ruda, were baptized in July 1972 despite the priesthood ban.

A year later they received their patriarchal blessings. They were promised that they would receive the blessings of the temple and their son was told he would serve a full-time mission. Neither they nor the patriarch knew how either of these blessing could be possible then, but the patriarch assured him that he had been prompted to say those words. The Martins family decided to go forward with faith and opened a mission savings account for their son.

Soon after, a temple was announced in São Paulo. Helvécio Martins was asked to help coordinate public relations for the new temple despite the fact he would not be able to enter the building once it was dedicated. He accepted the calling and worked tirelessly to promote the temple. Then, just a few months before the temple’s dedication, the landmark announcement came that “All worthy men could receive the priesthood.” President Kimball recorded seeing Helvécio and Ruda at the dedication, “I don’t know when I have ever been as touched as I was to see that man and his wife in the congregation when we were dedicating the São Paulo Temple, and to see them wipe their eyes all through the session. They were so thrilled to be permitted to have the blessings.”[1]

The lifting of the ban was life-changing for the Martins’s son Marcus as well. When the announcement came, he was engaged to be married. All the wedding invitations had already been sent, but he and his fiancée decided to postpone the wedding, so he could serve a mission. He was the first black missionary to be called, and he served in the Porto Alegre Mission. In 1990, Helvécio Martins was called as the first Black General Authority.[2]

The faith of the Martins family is both humbling and moving. May we all aspire to that level of faith and humility in our own lives.

[1] Milton V. Backman and Richard O. Cowan, “Revelation Continues,” Joseph Smith and the Doctrine and Covenants (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1992) 148–50.

[2] “Elder Helvécio Martins Of the Seventy,” Ensign May 1990: Web. 4 Jan. 2016.; Edward L. Kimball, “Spencer W. Kimball and the Revelation on Priesthood.” BYU Studies vol. 47 No. 2 (2008): 4–78. BYU Studies.

March, 4, 2016

Worthy Offerings Unto the Lord

slc temple

By Victoria Crockett

     Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” Singing has played exactly this role in my life. When I sing, it’s like I’m pouring out my soul through song. Performing has always been an important part of my life. However, once I came to college, I decided to set aside my silly dreams and pursue something more “worth-while” and “realistic.” After a few months I recognized a hole that hadn’t been there before. I knew it was because I missed the music that made my life so colorful and animated.

In the Education in Zion Gallery there is an intense focus on the education of the whole soul. One part of the gallery centers on the early Saints once they reached the Great Basin. Although they began with nothing, they soon expanded their system of education for the children. Brigham Young even encouraged the adults to continue improving upon their intellect and talents. Young recognized the value of gifted musicians, actors, artists, and authors. When these people devoted their talents to the kingdom, the cultural life of the community blossomed. During the construction of the Salt Lake City temple, Young realized that they would need studied artists so the temple murals would be worthy offerings to the Lord. The Churchdecided to send several promising painters to study in Paris. Once they returned, they applied their knowledge to beautify the Lord’s house. Little did they know that their talents would become an unforgettable and lovely blessing to millions of Saints.

This story touched my heart. I reflected upon the simple, eternal truth of talents. The Lord has bestowed upon each of us certain gifts, not only to bring us joy, but to bless and build up His kingdom. I felt silly thinking that pursuing my love of music was set aside so quickly. I decided to warm up my vocal chords and start participating more in ward choir, volunteering to lead music, and joining simple choruses on campus. I’ve seen more color come back into my life. I have found myself drawing closer to my Heavenly Father as I take the time to use what He has blessed me with to bless His children. I hope we can all appreciate the value of our talents and bless those around us with the gifts the Lord has given us.