The Trouble with BYU’s Religious Education (Part I)

This post isn’t meant to discuss the specifics of Randy Bott’s circumstances. Instead, I’d like to write about how the Bott situation signals two long-standing methodological problems for Religious Education as a whole. I believe this contributes to an ongoing discussion within Religious Education, but since I’m not privy to that discussion, I’d like to raise the issues here. … [Read more...]

Tips on Applying to Tenure Track Positions in Religious Studies, Part I: Important Resources

We're expanding the Tips on Applying series to move beyond applying to graduate programs in religious studies. The next series of posts will focus on applying to tenure track positions in religious studies (or related) departments. To start I'd like to point out some useful resources: … [Read more...]

Tips on Applying: Spotlight on Duke

This spotlight comes from Ariel Bybee Laughton, who graduated from Duke in May 2010 with her Ph.D.Dr. Laughton, take it away...  … [Read more...]

Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies, Part IX: The Writing Sample

Most PhD applications and some master's applications require a 10-20 page writing sample. Personally I'd say that this was the weakest part of my application. Not because I didn't have a decent writing sample to provide, but because what I did submit was not directly related to the interests of some of the programs I applied to. In retrospect, this probably disqualified me from a few places.Some guidelines to choosing a writing sample are as follows:1. Choose an 'A' paper. In other words, … [Read more...]

Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies, Part VIII: MA or PhD

In this post I want to address the question of whether one should first apply to master's programs in religious studies, or whether it's possible to be directly admitted into a PhD program without obtaining a master's degree. Below are some quick thoughts. As always, feel free to chime in since I'm speaking more from my own experience than any comprehensive study I've done on. … [Read more...]

Dear BYU Religious Education

Dear BYU Religious Education,I can only speak for myself here--one LDS graduate student studying religion; but I know this sentiment is shared, and that those who share it are apprehensive about expressing it. Over the next few years, however, you, Religious Education, will hire several new professors. I believe there is one search ongoing now in Provo (using the same ad), and another in Hawaii; so this is something you should probably know sooner rather than later.You think much higher of … [Read more...]

Symptoms of Parallel-o-Mania

I recently came across this presentation by Daniel Peterson given at the annual FAIR Conference in 2009. Admittedly I haven't read much of Peterson's work, but from conversations I've had with others I get the sense that he's rather well respected in the field of Islamic Studies. I know he's also very involved in Mormon Studies. I gather that he's one of the best comparativists that LDSs have since he's deeply knowledgeable of Islam and Mormonism. … [Read more...]

There are no Private Choices?

I taught Sunday School this past week, and in preparation I came across the following quote from the manual:Elder James E. Faust said: “Private choices are not private; they all have public consequences. … Our society is the sum total of what millions of individuals do in their private lives. That sum total of private behavior has worldwide public consequences of enormous magnitude. There are no completely private choices” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 101; or Ensign, May 1987, 80). … [Read more...]