The Education in Zion Blog
During winter semester I was able to teach a few FHE groups that came into the gallery about some of the “Modern Legacies of Nauvoo,” specifically the temple. We talked about the sacrifices people make to get to the temple to receive blessings and make covenants with God.
A few weeks ago it was a sunny, but brisk Saturday. I decided that I would ride my bike to the temple instead of driving like I usually do. Arriving at the temple as a hot mess wasn’t going to be an issue, so I went for it.
I have a single speed bike (no shifting) and the temple is about three miles from my house, but it is also a steady uphill climb the whole way there. Needless to say, it wasn’t the wisest decision I’ve ever made. By the time I had made it to the MTC my thighs were slipping into the spirit world.
Then I remembered the story we shared in that FHE program from Silvia Allred:
“In 1976, when we were living in Costa Rica, the mission president asked my husband to help organize the first trip from the mission to a temple. The Central America Mission then included Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The closest temple was the Mesa Arizona Temple. The trip required us to travel five days each way, crossing six borders. The financial sacrifice for most of those who went was great. They sold their television sets, bikes, skates, and anything else they could sell. We traveled in two uncomfortable buses day and night. Some of the members had used all their money to pay for the bus fare and had taken only crackers and margarine to eat on the way. I have never forgotten the great outpouring of the Spirit we experienced during the three days we spent at the Mesa Temple.” (General Conference October 2008, “Holy Temples, Sacred Covenants”)
For me the sacrifice is usually only one of time during a busy school week or a few hours on a free day, but twenty minutes of leg exhaustion wasn’t so bad when compared to the time and discomfort others have gone through to receive temple blessings.
What sacrifices do you make to go to the temple?
Dan Shirley, Gallery Educator
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are often exposed to culture through missionary work. After a couple of years of service abroad those lands once foreign to them become home. Early Saints also gained an appreciation for different cultures when they arrived from overseas to spread the gospel. Some of them even facilitated the translation of the Book of Mormon into other languages spoken in those lands.
Culture is all I’ve been thinking about as I prepare to leave for my study abroad experience this week. While I am one of the few ethnic minorities in the group, I am impressed with the various cultural experiences of my study-abroad-mates.
Indeed, BYU may not be the most ethnically diverse university, but many students have had unique oversea experiences. Whether those experiences were gained from an LDS mission, a student exchange program, an internship, or a family vacation, their experiences contribute to the BYU culture.
This culture is also manifested in the university’s mission: to educate students to become responsible citizens in the world so they may serve others around them with the skills and talents they’ve developed from school. As we learn from one another and incorporate those experiences into learning of our own, we become living examples of BYU’s mission and followers of Christ.
Lucy Lu, Gallery Educator
Whenever a police officer walks up to me I automatically think, “What did I do wrong?” This happened to me about two weeks ago in the gallery as I turned on the lights for a tour. All of my decisions from the last 24 hours went through my mind and happily I thought, “I did not do anything wrong. So, why is he here?”
The BYU police officer told me that one of the custodians saw me in the gallery and mistook me for a wandering student. I chuckled and said, “No, I am a gallery educator here at Education in Zion. Have you seen the gallery before?”
He answered that he had only been through the room that contained a photo of his old school. Puzzled, I followed him into a room in the gallery where he pointed to a schoolhouse in Tonga and said, “This was my school or at least this was exactly how my school was built.” He described the special construction of the school: the coconut tree wood beams tied without nails and the roof of branches and leaves that would never leak. Then he showed me the differences between the native clothing of the Tongans, Samoans, Kiwis (from New Zealand), and Polynesians.
His enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself wanting to learn more about the Tongan culture and people. My new friend smiled as I waved goodbye saying, “Come back again!”
As I have reflected on this event, I realized that even in the most unexpected circumstances we can gain an appreciation for cultural education.
Alison Tingey Stewart, Gallery Educator
No ancient mummified kings; no dinosaur bones; no rare or expensive paintings. Rather than a museum of artifacts, this gallery holds something of perhaps even greater value: this is a museum of stories.
The Education in Zion Gallery is all about educating the entire soul—body, mind, and spirit—and the history of that endeavor since the restoration of Christ’s church to the earth.
Education comes not only by burying yourself in books, but most especially by experience. This gallery is a treasure trove of people’s life experiences: from those of Joseph Smith and the early Saints, to the pioneers of Brigham Young Academy, and even students and professors alike up to the present day.
As I look around, it is like walking through a giant book or journal. As I read the stories from those of the past, I can learn from their experiences and apply them to my own life and the education of my own soul.
The gallery’s eastern wall of windows, for me, is just as much a part of the exhibit as anything else: it allows me to look out at the living stories of hundreds of students continuing the tradition of educating their souls.
Jalena Reschke, Gallery Educator
A cellphone’s lock screen or background can tell a lot about its owner. Many people have pictures of their loved ones such as their spouse, siblings, or friends. I, on other hand, have a picture of a statue of Christ with rows of majestic mountains as the backdrop.
This statue, located in the Education in Zion Gallery, is situated in the center of the gallery. Everyday when the sun is high up in the sky, the light reflected by the snowy mountains is enhanced by the broad, 200-foot, curved-glass window that allows the luminous glow to shine all around Him.
One day, mesmerized by the scene, I stopped in my tracks to contemplate its beauty. Soon after I felt moved to action, desirous to capture the marvelous effect. I knelt down below the statue and, carefully holding my phone still at an angle, snapped several photos.
Thereafter, Christ the Shepherd and His sheep have adorned my iPhone’s lock screen as a constant reminder that the Savior is the focal point of my life as He is the focal point of the gallery.
-Lucy Lu, Education in Zion 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
After I received the ORCA grant it was time to create my project—a recreation of a nineteenth-century dress of Utah pioneer Marilla Lucretia Johnson Miller Daniels.
I wanted to show the structural underclothing and the dress at the same time so people could see the structure and layers of clothing, but only partial accuracy was possible for me. I looked for pattern companies dedicated to historical reproductions. I also got ideas from actual pieces of nineteenth-century clothing from BYU’s historical clothing storage. Every piece came from a different source. One item I drafted myself (the drawers— I even hand-stitched them, but that took more than fourteen hours). I used unbleached muslin so these under layers of clothing will last a long time.
I wanted the dress to be more authentic than the under clothes. Silk taffeta was the most commonly used fabric for these types of dresses. However, 100 percent silk taffeta is stiff and crunchy, and it would have deteriorated quickly. (Modern taffeta is made of mixed fibers.) Marilla was part of the pioneers’ silk-making endeavor, in which the Saints raised their own silk worms and wove their own fabrics from them. Marilla most likely made her dress from scratch, growing the worms, weaving the fabric, and constructing the dress, so I found a business in Thailand that makes hand-woven, 100 percent silk fabric and used that to make this dress.
Marilla put a lot of effort into looking her best. This is evident in the design details included in her outfit, like the diamond smocking on the bodice and the pleating down the front of the skirt. Her great-great niece Marilyn Daniels says that Marilla loved fashion and would make most of her own clothes, which was very common, and even expected in the nineteenth century. In our era, industry and ready-made clothes save us a lot of time that we can use to further our education and serve others. Do you know where your clothes come from before they get to the department store? Do you notice the detailed designs in your clothes? Have you ever made any items of clothing yourself? How did they turn out and how much time did you spend on the project?
Drop by the basement rotunda area of the Education in Zion Gallery in the JFSB before December 15th to see the exhibit. Remember to take a close look at the details on the dress and in her picture.
Melissa DeGuire, Theater Arts Major
My ORCA grant exhibit on the dress of Marilla Lucretia Johnson Miller Daniels is still on display for a few more days. It comes down on December 15, 2011. The dress and undergarments will be donated in March to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer (DUP) Museum in Springville. There it will be displayed again before it is donated permanently to the DUP collection in Springville. Although the dress and under clothing will probably not always be on display, it would be possible for it to stay out for several years without the threat of deterioration because of the type and quality of fabric I chose to use.
The exhibit honors the life of Marilla Daniels, who was one of the early Mormon pioneers. She helped to found the city of Springville with her husband, William Miller, who is sometimes referred to as a “Bogus Brigham.”. Marilla used her education to speak out for woman suffrage and had a strong testimony of Joseph Smith. Having been a teacher in Nauvoo and in the LDS Church (Primary for ten years and Sunday School for twenty), she supported the work of her first husband to establish schools in each of Provo’s five districts. By 1857 there was a school in every district.
You can find the exhibit in the JFSB at the bottom of the spiral stair case in the basement rotunda. It is a part of the Education in Zion Gallery, but it will not be there much longer, so make sure you see it before it is taken down on the 15th.
Melissa DeGuire, Theater Arts Major
I often think about my favorite person in the Education in Zion Gallery. Of course, I love the Savior and the prophets, but also near the top of my list is Karl G. Maeser because he was the type of leader I hope to one day become. His dedication to the developing Brigham Young Academy and its students set the course for what BYU has become today.
Many people were initially afraid of Maeser, a strict, German immigrant. From faculty and student descriptions, I imagine him to have been a serious disciplinarian with a giant mustache. I currently have a female version of Maeser as a professor, but without the mustache. She is also from a different country, often bringing her cultural perfectionism into the classroom. She expects much, and students cringe every time they are called on.
Although both Maeser and my French teacher were and are terrifying on some levels, I also feel a deep respect for them. I have learned, through the course of this semester, that my professor has high expectations because she wants us to be successful students and learn all that we can. As I have come to know her personally I have discovered that she is a woman of deep faith who works to build the character and intelligence of her students. Read more
In fall semester 2010 I saw some ads for ORCA grants. It was exciting to think I could get money for a project that would give me experience while boosting my resume and portfolio.
I teamed up with a good friend who also was applying for a grant. She had a contact at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers museum in Springville who found a woman—Marilla Lucretia Johnson Miller Daniels—whose story connected to Utah pioneers, Relief Society, and Woman Suffrage. Although an important woman in local Utah history, Marilla is not well known to modern generations. We decided to recreate her dress and the structural underclothing of it, doing extensive research on dyes, fibers, and sewing techniques used in the late nineteenth-century.
To my surprise, my proposal won the grant; unfortunately, my grant partner’s proposal was not chosen and she became too busy to continue with the project. I struggled to condense our large project into something one person could complete, but I still wanted to achieve two goals: (1) to demonstrate the clothing construction of the era, and (2) to bring Marilla’s history to light. Although I was excited, I was also unnerved because I had never made a historical reproduction before and I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in my project.