Church satellite system spreads the benefits of BYU Education Week

License plates boasting areas across the United States lined parking lots at BYU Aug. 20-23 - when more than 30,000 Church members visited the university for Campus Education Week.

Many drove days, from states as far away as Georgia, Florida, Washington, Kansas and Missouri, to name a few. They came to attend some of the more than 1,000 classes taught on self-improvement and family relations, religious education, art, history, science, youth interests, literature and many other topics.But this year the influence of Education Week reached beyond the BYU campus - and its visitors.

Susan Easton Black, who presented a seminar on the early Church members in Nauvoo, smiled, saying it made her feel "humble and nervous" to know that she not only taught members in the class room. With the help of the Church satellite, her message reached members in more than 3,000 Church buildings across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

The BYU Board of Trustees approved the pilot broadcast - 12 hours of selected lectures - to extend educational opportunities to more Church members. The classes were also broadcast on KBYU-TV.

Peggy Little, a member of the Auburn 6th Ward, Auburn Washington Stake, came to the conference with her sister-in-law to be "spiritually fed." However, several of her friends back home, for various reasons, could not make the trip.

This year, she said, they were happy they didn't have to miss the opportunity for growth. Many, she said, participated via the Church satellite.

"I have several friends that were planning to attend (Education Week) that way," she said. "If I couldn't come to Provo I would watch the satellite."

Richard Eddy, BYU dean of Continuing Education, said Church leaders realized that for many reasons all the people who want to attend Education Week can not. Through the satellite "more people are enjoying it," he said, adding that satellite classes included topics such as how to study the scriptures and how to build values.

Thomas Eisenhower, of the Lewisburg Ward, Scranton Pennsylvania Stake, has never attended Education Week. He has never even been to Utah. But this year, he and his wife watched the entire satellite broadcast and learned "a lot of things that will help them."

Terry Calton of the Las Cruces 4th Ward, Las Cruces New Mexico Stake, teaches institute. He listened to Elder Eyring speak with more than five dozen other people at his stake center.

"I heard so many comment that they hope it will continue (next year) because they will invite their friends," he said. "This was a great blessing. I have always wanted to go to Education Week. Our children are always just starting school, we just could never do it."

On the BYU campus, families used Education Week as "an excuse to get together." Some Church members haven't missed the conference in years.

"The reason I come every year is there is a bucket filling that sustains me for the year," said Melody Jones of the Mendon 1st Ward, Wellsville Utah Stake. "It doesn't matter what I hear, it is just being here with all these people who want to learn and improve themselves like I do. I go home a better person and a better mother."

Like Sister Jones, Kari Moss and his wife, Linda, of the Fruit Heights 2nd Ward, Fruit Heights Utah Stake, have attended education week annually for several years. It is their vacation.

They are the parents of "six sons who are getting ready for the world and their missions. We get these ideas and share them with them," said Brother Moss. He said his wife spent much of the week attending parenting classes and he mostly attended investment seminars.

This year the couple also watched the classes they missed during the day on KBYU when they returned home at night.

"You would think we would be burned out by Friday night," he said. "But we are just getting warmed up."

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