‘Hit pigeons flutter’

I am being given a tryout at BYU this fall in the religion department. Good or bad, it won’t necessarily turn into a job, but it could. Anyhoo, I have been thinking over my BYU religion class experiences, what was good and what was bad. I had two classes from religion professors, two from a language professor, and two from grad students. My first class was horrible, my remaining classes were better, because I got better at choosing them. I think this is the general pattern of most students. The class that I didn’t like had a heavy emphasis on memorization and moralizing. The others focused more on doctrine and patterns within scripture.

The question is: BYU grads or current students, look back on your experiences in religion classes. What worked for you and what didn’t? Please don’t mention names (possible future employment is important to me), but feel free to share crazy stories. Besides, we’ll have fun trying to guess who your talking about.

  • Anonymous

    Congrats, John. This is a little difficult for me as my religion classes count as some of my least memorable courses at BYU. A couple of things to steer clear of:-turning into a stand-up comedian/EFY-style entertainer.-sycophany (this could be a warning in any department in any field)-having kids memorize scriptures or quotesI would give a hearty recomendation for giving the kids access to sources and have them write papers that explore. Posted by J. Stapley

  • Anonymous

    I second J. Stapely’s suggestion that you “give kids access to sources and have them write papers that explore.”One of the best religion courses I had required me to write two papers on specific themes (eg, the temple, or repentance) given a certain set of scriptural passages. It was much more challenging than anything I’d been given to do in any other religion course, but the exercise was (cliche alert) totally worth it.Contrast this with being required to memorize every name in the second half of the Book of Mormon. Totally lame.Good luck! Posted by Justin H

  • Anonymous

    i took plenty of religion classes and worked for several religion professors at the Y. I liked my honors classes; which focused more on reading texts and then writing papers, with lots of classroom discussion. fabulous. if you have to give out grades; either make it a cake-walk so student’s don’t stress about it and can focus on the learning; or…making it like the honors classes where you really ahve to work for the grade. i disliked memorization. most animating, spiritual professor was a part-time professor who used to be a state legislator. he focused on doctrine and application to daily life.  Posted by lyle stamps

  • Anonymous

    Avoid Freshmen if you can. They tend to have seminary/EFY-like expectations. Posted by Ben S.

  • Anonymous

    Avoid the deep doctrine, “second and third (non-saving) principles of the gospel” lessons. Also the implication that the whole purpose of making it to the CK is to keep our genitals.I had a teacher, who has since gone on to write several books based on his class outlines, who had us buy a huge stack of documents from the copy center. They were letters written to general authorities, their responses, McConkie doctrines (like how when we meet Christ, we won’t be pals with him), and personal letters from Church leaders regarding birth control and abortion. It was all very troubling, and the class did not help my testimony much. Also, talk in language that college students understand. One teacher talked about the dangers of “cohabitation” a word which no one under 50 uses for the term “living together”.Also, one teacher at the end of the semester revealed that our Book of Mormon course was identical to the honors class he taught. The only difference was the honors students believed they were honors students and we did not.Don’t make mention of any theory that all gays should be put on a raft and set adrift.Go easy on the grades. The grad school I am in is much easier than several of my BYU classes. And I’m at a well known school now.


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