At 2 o’clock, you’re in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. At 2:01, you’re in Manchester, New York, in the Sacred Grove. A group of Brigham Young University professors have created a way for it to happen, and we’re not talking teleportation.
“Hallowed Ground, Sacred Tours” is a collection of text, photos, videos and virtual reality tours posted on an interactive website, virtualtours.byu.edu, that allow anyone with a computer and Internet access to visit dozens of Church history sites without ever boarding a plane, train or bus.
The idea for the project was conceived in 2001. Since then, the BYU religious education professors behind the work have been in front of the camera, taping footage of Church history sites in places like Utah, New York and Pennsylvania.
“We would like to go to Kirtland, Missouri, Nauvoo and just keep going as long as we have donors that will support it,” said John Livingstone, BYU associate professor and executive producer of the project. “All of it has been done with help of the donors, so it’s all non-profit. … Any money we do make just goes back into the BYU project.”
The footage and other material was first compiled into a book and accompanying DVD called “Salt Lake City, Ensign to the Nations.” Now all the content from the book and DVD, plus much more, is available for free on the website.
"I have been sharing this information with friends around the world and the response is outstanding. These tours contain information that we could never access on our own and can be shared and treasured forever."
Frank M. McCord
BYU Friends of Religious Ed.
Brigham Young University Religious Education presents
featuring BYU Religious Educators teaching about sites significant to
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.
"A great source for weekly Mormon Church History Videos"
"One of the finest projects ever to come out of Religious Education at Brigham Young University."
- Arnold K. Garr, BYU Church History and Doctrine
"This is really cool. Thanks. I just hope I don't spend every day on virtual vacation." -Steve
"These documentaries bring these church history sites to you. I have enjoyed viewing them. They are very well done." - Wayne
"It was very spiritually and historically based. I enjoyed reading/hearing about the past and being able to see the differences and the inspiration the prophets had for the future." -BYU Student
"Wow, what a great program! My kids loved it. Each piece was packed with information and it kept their attention." -Debbie
"This is a GREAT idea. Thanks..." -Leila
"I loved the incredible knowledge the tour guides had as well as the music set to each historical site." -BYU Student
"Absolutely fabulous! The historical background information about each place really made it come alive. -Anderson Family
"The Virtual Tours program re-states, for all to hear, the testimony of Jesus Christ that the early pioneers had and what they went through to bring the revelations of scriptures to light." -BYU Student