Home Campus Dive into the scriptures in the Benson Building's Scripture Garden

Dive into the scriptures in the Benson Building’s Scripture Garden

The Scripture Garden, found in an Ezra Taft Benson Building’s greenhouse, holds various plants the prophets of old would’ve seen as they taught gospel principles to their people.

The garden is themed around plants found in the scriptures, with a scriptural reference for each plant, what they were used for anciently and what they’re used for now.

A table and chairs for studying next to some cotton, flax, parsley and a Christ-thorn shrub.
A table and chairs for studying next to some cotton, flax, parsley and a Christ-thorn shrub. Photo credit: Olivia Burr

See the parable of the fig tree come to life by looking at an actual fig tree or discover the soft plant that made the linens potentially used for Christ’s burial.

All students are welcome to visit or study in the Scripture Garden. It can help anyone gain an awareness of different references to parables in the Bible.

“It’s definitely good for people to be able to see things referenced in the scriptures and be able to understand them better,” said Sean Mahony, a junior studying history. “I think the more we know about things, the more we can gain from the symbolism.”

Ross Spackman, the associate dean of professional development, relates the knowledge of biblical plants to the readings found in Isaiah.

A close-up of some of the many plants on display in the garden.
A close-up of some of the many plants on display in the garden. Photo credit: Olivia Burr

“Isaiah has applicability to us, but it was written for a different time and a different people,” Spackman said. “So, what I’m trying to do is re-establish the connection between us and the scriptures to make it more meaningful, and then hopefully seeing the plants, reading the scriptural verses, and how it fits into the context is a testimony builder.”

In biblical times, you had to know which plants supplied your food, materials and medicines, so people understood the metaphors in the scriptures more deeply than we do today.

While some plants stay year-round, the potted plants will change as they finish their lifecycle, so there is always something new to look at each semester.

They have big plans for the garden, including a mural depicting the Holy Land with Jerusalem in the background and other scenes from the Bible.

The BYU-Idaho Department of Applied Plant Science maintains the greenhouse year-round, with the help of applied plant science students who use it as an opportunity to practice what they’re learning in class.

One of the most useful plants in the bible, the olive tree.
One of the most useful plants in the bible, the olive tree. Photo credit: Olivia Burr

According to the applied plant science page, “The purpose of the Department of Applied Plant Science is to prepare graduates with a foundation of artistry, technology, and science for careers in horticulture, agronomy, crop and soil science, and agricultural technology.”

You can find the Scripture Garden near the southwest entrance to the Benson Building as part of the building’s greenhouses. It is open every Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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