The Education in Zion Blog
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
Walking one evening, I was amazed by the quietness of the campus enshrouded by the night. Usually I can always spot a few people heading to their destinations. In the summer, however, it is not unusual to not see a single soul on campus after dark.
Even though the campus may be under such a deep sleep, the Education in Zion Gallery is still illuminated as if standing in a spotlight. Mesmerized, I paused to gaze up at the large, curved window panels. The transparency of the windows allowed the gallery to glow among the buildings. Everything inside could be clearly seen, including the signature murals that hang on opposite walls–they were glistering ever so brightly.
It was at that moment that I remembered the scripture prompting us to “let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). I realized that we as human beings are much like the illuminated gallery. As followers of Christ, we stand out. The world shoves us into the spotlight, scrutinizing everything from our church’s history to individual conduct (or misconduct) because of the cultural climate.
Although I understand that I will inevitably fall short because that is the role of the natural man, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can shine forth and illuminate the world with my example. I don’t believe that my being an example means I must maintain a perfect record. It simply testifies that I am willing to mend my ways to become better.
Lucy Lu, Gallery Educator
The central piece of the Education in Zion gallery is a simple yet beautiful clay statue of Christ as the Shepherd, bearing a lamb in His arms. I just returned last week from a Young Single Adult conference in Denmark where I had the opportunity of hearing from Tomas Kofod, the man who played Jesus Christ in the LDS films The Testaments and Finding Faith in Christ.
He told of his experience filming a scene in Finding Faith in Christ where he was supposed to carry a lamb across his shoulders. He said that he had felt a little wary at this prospect after witnessing this wild and rambunctious little lamb. At first it kicked and fought being held. But the moment that he laid it across his shoulders, it relaxed and became completely at peace.
He read this scripture from Luke 15:4-6 in conjunction with his story:
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.”
Brother Kofod then pointed out that this scripture does not say that the sheep begged to be found, that the shepherd chastised the sheep, or that the shepherd just told the sheep to walk home when he found it, but rather that the shepherd went out to seek the lost sheep and that he picked it up and carried it home on his shoulders, rejoicing.
So it is with those who are lost in life. Sometimes they fight being found, but when they are found, the Shepherd, Christ, rejoices and carries them home.
Just as this Shepherd goes forth to find those in need, BYU students are encouraged to “enter to learn, go forth to serve.” Thus, to me, it seems very fitting that the central piece of the Education in Zion gallery is a statue of our example in this, Christ the Shepherd.
Jalena Reschke, Gallery Educator
Most of us are familiar with the Book of Mormon story about Abinadi. He preaches to the people of the wicked King Noah and gets kicked out, but the Lord tells him to return. He is taken prisoner and preaches to the King and his sinful priests.
Abinadi testifies with authority and calls the court to repentance. They try to bind him, but he says that he is not finished yet and he is protected.
One of the priests, Alma, listens, says they should let Abinadi go and is subsequently kicked out of the court and they send soldiers to kill him.
In all of Abinadi’s efforts in the court only one person listened. Only one person cared. Only one person changed.
However, that one convert, Alma, brought many to the gospel. His efforts combined with the efforts of a few others brought thousands to a knowledge of Christ.
During my mission and sometimes during tours and programs at Education in Zion I feel like no one is listening. During New Student Orientation it can be especially hard. It’s hot, or they’re hungry, they’re overwhelmed or excited by all the newness or attractive girls and boys around them.
But it is all worth it; if one person is helped by something we share, it is worth it. If we help to provide an answer to a question they have had, or give them what they need to be able to get an answer, it has been worth it. Over the many New Student Orientations I have done I have had a few kids approach me and share thoughts and insights with me. It makes it worth it.
Not exactly Abinadi, but it is a rewarding feeling to be a tool in the hands of God.
In the opening chapters of Alma in the Book of Mormon, Alma and his people served each other and gave to the poor, generally living in peace. When individuals rose to disturb that peace, the majority rose up to restore it. Yet when these humble, soft-hearted people were faced with an army as numerous as ‘the sands of the sea,’ their enemies fled and fell before them.
There is just no way that a people who diligently seek God, truth, and serve others can ever permanently fall. That course is always up. I physically see that as I sit in this gallery and look out across this hard labored university. This principle means two things: God’s servants have very little to fear. However, they are always in danger because prosperity itself is the gateway to the greatest sin.
Brigham Young said, “The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth.”
People of God will always prosper and find joy, even while on this earth. The eternal question is if we can handle it and what we’ll do with it.
Camlyn Giddins, Gallery Educator
- It has an incredible view of the mountains.
- It is a quiet environment and a great place to study.
- It’s a great place for family home evening.
- The hidden photo challenge gives a chance to win a $20 Bookstore gift card!
- It’s a perfect place to bring visiting family members because it teaches about BYU history.
- It helps me remember why religious and general education classes are important.
- They keep you posted on what’s happening (Like us on Facebook!)
- It’s a cool escape from the hot summer sun.
- You can come back again and again and learn something new every time!
- Bringing a date will make you look smart, sophisticated, and spiritual.
Kirk Perry, Gallery Educator
This week at Education in Zion we are putting on a very special program for New Student Orientation. During this time, we as gallery educators get to dress up as an important historical people, and inspire the incoming students with their stories. I have the wonderful opportunity to play the young Lorenzo Snow. Although I do not have the beard, I am dressed up in clothing to fit the time period, and armed with an arsenal of Lorenzo’s personal experiences. I get to pretend like I am legitimately him and speak first person.
Before Lorenzo found the church he actually had no interest in religion. In fact, he wanted to become a high ranking officer in the military. The only reason he found the church was because his sister Eliza R. Snow, invited him to come to Kirkland Ohio to learn Hebrew at the School of the Prophets. While he attended classes at the School of the Prophets he was converted while interacting with the prophet Joseph Smith. It is inspiring to me to know that President Snow was willing to sacrifice his worldly ambitions to do what the Lord wanted him to do.
It is incredible to me how much we can learn from the stories of those who came before us. They are not only spiritually strengthening, but also very motivational. This week I have realized that all of us have our own unique stories. I couldn’t help but think what stories a gallery educator would tell about me in the future. Those before us have passed on to us an amazing legacy. The question is, what will we do with this legacy?
Jacob Bromley, Gallery Educator
While doing “the rounds” late one evening to check the gallery and make sure all was in order, I encountered a student sitting in a chair facing the wall of windows in the center of the gallery. It’s not uncommon for students to sit here, but typically they study when they do so.
This young man, however, just sat staring contemplatively out the window. I recognized him from one of my classes, so I said hello and asked what he was doing. Waiting for someone perhaps?
“No. Just sitting here thinking. Pondering. I love this gallery,” he said. “It’s my temple here on campus.”
This statement really hit me; and the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him. The Education in Zion Gallery is much like a temple here on campus, in the sense that it is a quiet, peaceful place to ponder, feel the Spirit, receive personal inspiration, and escape the stresses of everyday life. Temples are also places of learning and the central purpose of Education in Zion is to inspire learning for the education of the entire soul.
I came away that evening with a new perspective and gratitude for this wonderful little “temple here on campus.”
Jalena Reschke, Gallery Educator