Journey to Temple Hill: The Brigham Young University Story

“Journey to Temple Hill: The Brigham Young University Story” is a historical documentary about ’s founding and early history.The program was produced by BYU University Communications in conjunction with the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at the Harold B. Lee Library.

The documentary draws upon interviews with past and current BYU presidents, historians, faculty and with descendants of BYU founders to describe the university’s establishment and the challenges faced in its first three decades.

Established in 1875, the university began as the Brigham Young Academy, housed in a single building on Provo Center Street. After a fire destroyed the building in 1884, the academy founders and faculty struggled to keep the institution alive, often going without salaries for months at a time. In 2012, BYU marked the 100th anniversary of construction of the Karl G. Maeser Building, the first building on upper BYU campus on a piece of land known as “Temple Hill.”

The documentary includes rare historical footage, photos and interviews with past BYU presidents Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Merrill J. Bateman, emeritus general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ, as well as current BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson, also an emeritus general authority, are also featured.

Actor and theatre professor Rodger Sorensen, associate dean of the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications, portrays Karl G. Maeser, BYU’s spiritual and academic architect. The contributions of Abraham O. Smoot, first president of BYU’s Board of Trustees, who sacrificed his own personal wealth to sustain the institution, are also highlighted.

The program includes original recordings of early academy students Eva Maeser Crandall, daughter of Karl G. Maeser, and Bryant Hinckley, one of Maeser’s students and father of the late President Gordon B. Hinckley.

, who is seen in photos from the 1908 Maeser Building groundbreaking, also shares his unprecedented personal perspective in an interview that was recorded before his death in 2008. The 104 year-old Miller, who attended Brigham Young High and BYU and then worked on campus for his entire professional career, describes the groundbreaking on an area known as “Temple Hill,” where the Maeser Building was constructed.

“It was a glorious day for all of us to see something in the future,” recounts Miller. “We had no idea it would ever be a university like it is today.”

Production support for“Journey to Temple Hill” was provided through the LDS Motion Picture Studio. It was produced and directed by Julie Walker with director of photography Brian Wilcox. The project was edited by BYU students Sarah Butler, Mark Gillins and Seth Estrada. Sam Cardon provided the original musical score.

“Journey to Temple Hill,” is an expanded version of a documentary shown in the Gordon B. Hinckley Building Alumni and Visitors Center,

Brigham Young University is one of the world’s largest private church-owned universities. For more information about BYU, see

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