BYU’s College of Religious Education has accepted a new curriculum. They plan to replace the old curriculum of courses focused on the books of scripture (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) with four new “thematic” classes. The older scripture-based classes will be phased out over the next few years. Apparently this curriculum will also be initiated in all BYU campuses, and throughout CES.
1. Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel: A study of the Savior and His roles in Heavenly Father’s plan as taught across all the standard works
2. Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon: A study of the teachings and doctrine of the Book of Mormon with emphasis on the Savior’s ministry
3. Foundations of the Restoration: A study of the key revelations, doctrine, people, and events of the Restoration
4. The Eternal Family: A study of the central role of the family in the plan of salvation as taught in the scriptures and the words of modem prophets
Attached is the letter from Dean Top detailing these plans.
I understand that the faculty of Ancient Scripture initially voted 33 to 1 against this proposal. (The rumor is, the Dean has decided to change the name of their department to “Ancient Prooftexters.” Note: the previous sentence is a joke.)
Personally, I find this new curriculum appalling. It will result in the further decay of scriptural literacy–already a significant problem among the Saints. Scripture study in the Church has now become nothing more than completely decontextualized proof-texting. There is, practically speaking, no further institutional support by the Church for the actual study of scripture–as opposed to Church doctrine, devotion and daily application.