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Joseph Smith Building

Built in 1941 & 1992

The original Joseph Smith Building was completed in 1949. It used to be used as the student center. The place where they had dinner, went to dances and movies, bought books, and enjoyed the company of other fellow students.

However, it was not constructed to meet current earthquake safety standards and it was less costly to build a new building than to remodel the old one, so the decision was made to tear it down. Since classroom space is at a premium, the new building was constructed beside the old one, which made the move from one to the other very smooth. The new building is the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which was dedicated in 1991. Religious Education is housed in this facility. All students at BYU are required to take 14 credits of religious study whether or not they are LDS. This is in accordance with the original Deed of Trust issued by Brigham Young that, “ . . . branches that are usually taught in an academy of learning . . . be included in the curriculum, as well as, Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants shall be read and their doctrines inculcated in the Academy.”

Just inside the JSB is an outside garden where a statue of Joseph Smith is displayed when he is praying in the grove. This is the only building on campus to house a baptismal font. BYU students meet to attend religious services on campus, including in the JSB. Over 200 wards meet on campus every Sunday.

The mural on the north outside wall of the JSB portrays the prophet’s life in three different aspects: 1) his visionary experiences, 2) his ministry, and 3) his life as a leader of men. BYU offers classes in Church history, family history, the Old Testament, teachings of the living prophets, missionary preparation, world religions, marriage and family preparation, and more.