The Blog @
Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: LDS Environment

  1. Missionary Preparation at Zion’s Camp

    August 4, 2015

    Last week over 50 young men and women visited Southern Virginia University for Zion’s Camp — a six-day preparation experience for Latter-day Saint missions. The objective of the camp is to give youth an instructive preview of missionary life, including serving with an assigned companion, cooking meals, studying daily on your own and with your companion, dressing like a missionary, using social media for missionary work and teaching gospel principles in person.

    “It’s preparing you to go on your mission,” said Kristian Dorman, who participated in the camp in June. “Because you have [missionary] experiences, it’s a lot easier to visualize [what a mission is like].”

    This is the university’s third year sponsoring Zion’s Camp. The camp has attracted youth from all over the east, mid-west and beyond. The camp schedule includes daily study and training from returned-missionary counselors, zone conferences, practice in teaching, a hike and an actual teaching experience on the final morning of the camp.

    John Cotton, another camp participant, especially enjoyed the camaraderie he felt with other participants.

    “You’re not just growing by yourself individually. You’re also growing together within a district, like a family,” Cotton said. “It makes me want to go on a mission more.”

    (Post by Stephen Taylor ’15. Photos by  Bronwyn Himes ’17 and Jordan Wunderlich ’15.)

  2. Speeches: Education Conference 2015

    July 21, 2015

    This year’s Education Conference addressed the roles of temples in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Keynote speaker Elder William R. Walker shared a number of experiences from temple dedications. Dr. Anthony Sweat unfolded several key doctrines to understanding temple ceremonies. Robert and Eleah Boyd recounted their experiences photographing temples with their family. Several other speakers also shared their individual testimonies of temple work and worship.

    Audio recordings of the speeches are available below and at

    (Post by Stephen Taylor ’15.)

  3. Professor, Author Jeff Benedict On Work and Faith

    June 18, 2015

    Critically acclaimed author Jeff Benedict, distinguished professor of writing and mass media, spoke in Pal Alto, Calif. as part of a lecture series for BYU Management Society. Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young introduced Benedict and commended him for his ability to create things that are “readily readable and absolutely true.” Listen to Benedict discuss his career and particularly the way his faith has affected his work. To learn more about him and his work, head to

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16.)

  4. Graduate Creates New Arrangement of ‘Praise to the Man’

    May 20, 2015

    The Concert Chorale recently had the opportunity to perform an arrangement of the hymn, “Praise to the Man,” which blended the fast-paced, jubilant melody sung today with the original dirge written in honor of the life and death of the Latter-day Saint Prophet Joseph Smith. The piece was arranged by Glenn Williams, who received his degree in philosophy this month. Williams, who is currently staying in Buena Vista to play Inspector Barnes in the upcoming summer musical, “Bells Are Ringing,” hopes to go on to graduate school and to someday teach art history and cultural anthropology.

    “I could never have arranged that piece if it wasn’t for Southern Virginia,” said Williams. “Nowhere else would I have had the confidence to write something like that, let alone believe that it would be performed and recorded. … And my only hope with it is to share my testimony of Joseph Smith and help others feel something. If I touch one person, or help them, then I have done my job.”

    The piece was originally performed as part of the spring choral concert. For more information about and photos of the concert, check out the blog post.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Video by John Worthington ’13.)

  5. Von Canon Library Exhibits First Edition of the Book of Mormon

    April 28, 2015
    Book of Mormon

    The title page of an 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon.

    Southern Virginia University’s Von Canon Library is currently exhibiting a rare first edition of the Book of Mormon and two other books related to the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    These rare volumes are on loan from Jeff Cotton, father of Southern Virginia student Amanda Cotton. The books will be available for viewing at the library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, between April 27 and May 7.

    In addition to the Book of Mormon, visitors can also see an 1854 copy of “Voice of Warning”by Parley P. Pratt, with an inscription by Brigham Young; and “English Reader,” published in 1836, and probably owned by Joseph Smith which carries the signature of his son, Frederick.

    This first edition of the Book of Mormon was sent for publication to E.B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York in 1829. The manuscript was not delivered to the printer all at once; a few pages were given to the printer every day by Oliver Cowdery, traveling with a guard. The pages were “composed, set in gallery and page forms, checked out, and proofread.” The day’s work was removed every evening by Oliver Cowdery, again traveling with a guard.

    Southern Virginia University students viewing the books in the Von Canon Library Archive.

    Southern Virginia University students view the collection in the Von Canon Library Archive.

    Typesetting of the pages commenced in August 1829 and ran through March 1830. The manuscript had neither “capitalization, punctuation [or] paragraphs” but these were included in the first edition by the printer. This edition did not have verse numbers as later versions do.

    Joseph Smith was listed as “author and proprietor” in this first printing because of a federal statute that copyrights could only be claimed by an author or proprietor. Unlike later editions, Joseph Smith wrote a preface for this edition, and the testimonies of the three and eight witnesses were placed at the back of the book, rather than the front where they are today.

    The first printing of the Book of Mormon contained 5,000 copies bound in leather, which sold at $1.50 each.

    excited viewing

    Elizabeth Felix holds the first edition of the Book of Mormon.

    The Book of Mormon celebrates its 185th anniversary in 2015, and is now printed in 110 languages, with over 150 million copies distributed.

    For questions about viewing the first edition of the Book of Mormon and the other books, please call Von Canon Library Archivist Stephanie Hardy at 540-261-4088 or Public Services Librarian Melissa Davis at 540-261-4087.




    (Post and photos by Melissa Davis; information from and “The publication history of the Book of Mormon” by Bruce Satterfield.)