The Education in Zion Blog
With graduation quickly approaching, I find myself reflecting on my undergraduate experience at Brigham Young University. In just over two weeks, the BYU class of 2013 will begin a new phase of life, one that will be largely shaped by the lessons we have learned in college.
Brigham Young Academy began its first semester in 1876 with just under 30 students, and —although the student body from 2012-2013 is now more than 30,000 students—the purpose of the university remains the same. The academy was designed to combine spiritual and secular education in a way that would strengthen students’ character. Today, the four aims state that a “BYU education should be: spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, character building and leading to lifelong learning and service.” 
During my time at this university, each of the four aims of a BYU education has played an integral role. First, my testimony of Jesus Christ and God the Father has been strengthened as I have learned to lean on and trust in their miraculous power. Further, I hold deep respect for the highly qualified professors who teach secular principles with a spiritually inspired mindset. Additionally, I have created amazing memories with wonderful friends while also maintaining my standards through the honor code. Lastly, the university’s emphasis on service encouraged me to serve at both a local nursing home and a school for children with autism.
Ultimately, I know that my life has been influenced for the better because of my opportunity to attend Brigham Young University. I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices of those throughout the university’s history who held onto the vision of this divinely inspired institution. Best wishes to the Brigham Young University Class of 2013 as they prepare for life outside of BYU, as truly the world is now our campus.
Melinda Clark, gallery educator
 “The Mission of Brigham Young University.” Mission and Aims of BYU. http://aims.byu.edu/.
Growing up on the banks of the Hudson River at West Point Military Academy, I was immersed in the army culture of the historic campus where “Duty, Honor, Country” was the enduring motto of the “Corps of Cadets.” My father, Colonel Amos A. Jordan, was a “permanent professor” at West Point, meaning we spent many uninterrupted years there as he led the Department of Social Sciences.
In the tumultuous years of the 1960s, as the Vietnam War continued to rage, we saw many cadet graduates lead troops in combat far from home. With tears and sadness, we received the news of the heroic sacrifices and deaths of these young men who served their country. Our home had been a haven for the LDS cadets, who regularly joined us for Sunday dinners and holiday celebrations, and we knew many of them well.
My parents spent twenty years at West Point, my father retiring as a Brigadier General. He is now 90 years old and most of his classmates of “the greatest generation,” having served in World War II and the Korean War, are now gone. When I think of my father and mother’s dedication to “Duty, Honor, Country” and the military men, women and families across the world, I am filled with gratitude.
What an astonishing thing it is to embody the scripture found in John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I remember the faces of the young cadets at the dinner table; the lives lived and lost for our great nation. I am humbled by their love of country and dedication to their fellow citizens.
May we truly respect and appreciate every man and woman who wears the uniform of the United States of America and every family who endures the separations that deployment brings. As nurses, may we give an extra measure of devoted care to those who have given us the greatest gift of all, freedom.
Linda Mabey, BYU College of Nursing Faculty
Something that sets The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart from other religions is its emphasis on living prophets. Throughout my time working at the Education in Zion Gallery, I have loved learning more from early prophets and leaders, including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Karl G. Maeser, George H. Brimhall, Jeffrey R. Holland, Gordon B. Hinckley. What a blessing it is that the Lord communicates to his children lovingly through prayer, but also through our leaders!
I have been pondering the significance of living prophets as I get ready to listen to general conference this weekend. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear from our leaders, either in person or through technological means. In preparation for conference, the Church has come out with an infographic that explains the meeting and its significance. It goes through how people watch or listen live, what is taught and what happens afterward.
I was particularly interested in what happens after the conference. It is amazing to me how much technology has increased the ability to spread knowledge, including spiritual knowledge. The video and audio of the conference are available in 70 languages and on mobile applications including iTunes, Roku and Comcast. In fact, there were over 50,000 tweets about the October 2012 general conference , making it one of the top ten trends in the United States.
General conference is an exciting time to be spiritually educated from our leaders. We are so blessed to be able to hear from them directly in such an intimate setting. Make sure to tune in to lds.org!
One of the four aims of a BYU education is lifelong learning and service. I’ve been thinking about how BYU is preparing me for this, and I came across this video showing the Church building wells and various water systems throughout drought-stricken parts of Africa. Many people have to be involved in these projects—engineers, community organizers, and businessmen and women, just to name a few.
So much of what we learn here in an academic setting can be put to use to serve other people. I believe the spirit of BYU is focused on using the knowledge we are fortunate to gain at this institution to not only better our lives here on earth, but also better the lives of other individuals, communities and the world. Watching this video puts my purpose on this campus into perspective and has motivated me to serve within my own community.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer for a social work class assignment by making sack lunches for the homeless and needy at the Food and Care Coalition in Provo. This organization is privately run by a member of the Church who received his Master of Public Administration with the goal to become involved with nonprofits.
Although the main service at the Food and Care Coalition is basically a soup kitchen, the environment was different from any other soup kitchen that I’ve seen. The building was beautiful, warm, friendly, and uplifting. The volunteers and staff reflected the deep love of the pictures of Christ found on almost every wall of the building. I was in awe at the quality of food and services they provided, really focusing on the dignity of their clients and working to make the building a retreat for those stricken with poverty. It was a great example to me of the carefully chosen motto of Brigham Young University; “Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve.”
Eryn Lane, gallery educator
As I entered The Healer’s Art: a celebration of the College of Nursing during the College of Nursing 60th Anniversary celebration, I was immediately impressed! The video was entertaining and fun to watch. The display cases were put together well and very informative and the pictures on the wall were arranged in such an intriguing way. The information was also organized in an appealing way, helping to grab and to keep my attention.
I had the pleasure of going to the exhibit with my mother who graduated from BYU College of Nursing in 1976. Going with my mom made the idea of going to the exhibit even more fun. I was able learn her perspective about her days as a student and learn about her having to work when dresses were being phased out.
The Healer’s Art evoked conversation between us about the past and made our mother-daughter nursing bond even stronger. This exhibit made me proud to be a nurse and proud to be a part of an occupation with such a rich history.
Not only is there a rich history for nursing in general, but BYU nursing. Learning the healer’s art has been the greatest joy I have even known. To put into action my desire to serve my fellow man and learn the skills that enable me to do so has been invaluable. I know that in order to honor those who went before me, I must enact the lessons I have learned in the past and forge the future. We students are the future, learning from foundations of the past.
Laura Boone, BYU Collegte of Nursing student
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
During fall and winter semesters, the Education in Zion Gallery hosts individuals and student groups to showcase their musical talents on Fridays from noon to 1 pm. We have hosted harpists, violists, violinists, pianists, euphoniumists, and jazz groups. There is some incredible musical ability on this campus, and the gallery’s atmosphere lends itself to the gift of music.
Two weeks ago, we had a young man who spent an hour performing both modern songs and hymns with his personal arrangements. It was an especially wonderful hour to be in the gallery! His hymns, played against the backdrop of the magnificent Wasatch Mountains, were spiritually overwhelming. The other gallery educators and I wished we could have let him play for hours more.
That same day, a young man stopped at the desk as he ran up the spiral staircase. He told us he has class until 12:50, but runs to the gallery to listen to the last 10 minutes of Music Fridays. He is a musician himself and enjoys both the music and the talent of the students who perform. .
Come join us in the Education in Zion Gallery each Friday from 12 to 1 pm for the gift of music to refresh you before hurrying off to class. Join us, even if it is for only a few minutes. You will be very glad you did!
Reggie Voyce, gallery educator
Recently my attention has been drawn to Brigham Young, especially his influence on the early saints and the outcome of this University. After electronically searching the gallery text, I discovered that Brigham Young’s name is found in every room of the gallery, either directly or in reference to the school’s title (Brigham Young Academy, Brigham Young University). Why such emphasis on Brother Brigham with regards to education?
Brigham received only eleven days of formal education, and possessed no desire to further his education until after meeting Joseph Smith and joining the church. At that time, Brigham learned of the eternal nature of education, and the everlasting opportunity given to mankind to strengthen and enlarge the human mind. He went on to study a variety of different subjects so as to enrich himself and uplift those around him. In 1860, Brigham Young further exemplified his love for learning with the following quotes.
“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 .”
We often remember President Young as a great leader of the church, but this account provides insight into a lesser known aspect of his life. Through word and example, Brigham Young reminds us of the importance of knowledge—an aspect of education which goes far beyond exam scores, letter grades, or degree titles.
Students of BYU are blessed to receive an exceptional education in all the ways Brigham Young foresaw when he established this institution. May we remember Brigham Young’s enthusiasm for learning and knowledge, and remind ourselves to take advantage of our education with that same kind of enthusiasm. As the stresses of the semester periodically ensue, briefly browse around the Education in Zion Gallery to be reminded of the eternal nature of education, and be prepared to experience a change in perspective.
 Quoted in Susa Young Gates, The Life Story of Brigham Young (New York: Macmillan, 1930), 283.
Melinda Clark, 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
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