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...]

A Student Comment on Social Justice, Rawls, and Chris H.

Professor H,A student in your Political Philosophy course asked that these comments be forwarded to you since they could not fit in the comment box available on the Student Ratings survey: This is from a student in my Political Science 309r: Special Topics in Political Philosophy. The special topic was “Social Justice.” No, this was not a response to Glenn Beck. His comments came out a couple months into the term and about 7 months after the topic had been chosen. The primary focus of the cla … [Read more...]

Church Stance on Birth Control, Public and “Private”

Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA), the Church's insurance company, does not cover prescriptive contraception, for any reason that relates to ("voluntary") contraception. That is, any Church employee or covered spouse (including BYU employees) that wants contraception requiring a prescription must pay for it entirely out of pocket. The only exceptions for this relate to the physical (not mental) health of the woman: endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc. Postpartum depression is not a … [Read more...]

Optimism and Naiveté for LDS Religion Scholars

I just finished Sheldon Greaves, "The Education of a Bible Scholar" in Dialogue 42:2, Greaves's spiritual autobiography recounting both his loss of place in the LDS church in the mid-nineties and his appreciation for modern critical biblical studies. It was a fascinating, if familiar, account of the disillusionment of a LDS scholar with the kinds of questions that could be asked of sacred texts, with a view of the frustration with the tendencies of many in BYU religion to discourage, avoid, and … [Read more...]

A Religious Studies Major at BYU Pt. I

Okay, I know it will probably never happen, but... … [Read more...]

A Brief Apologia for Going to Teach in the Religious Education Department at BYU

A commenter on another post said "To think that a couple years ago I envisioned myself wanting to work in the BYU Religious Department. For some reason however, I see myself more and more hoping to never do so. Hopefully smb is right and this will pass with the next generation." I'm not picking on him, it's a common enough sentiment, but he reminded me of this. … [Read more...]

BYU Religion Dean on Premortal Life, Part II: Scripture “Mastery”

This is part II of a post begun a week and a half ago in response to a devotional lecture given by Terry Ball, dean of the BYU college of religious education. That discussion centered on what I argued to be the problematic connection Ball makes between the pre-existence, Isaiah 28, and mortality. This post focuses on the scriptural aspects of his argument. … [Read more...]

BYU Religion Dean on Premortal Life, Part I: Race and Nobility

Last week Terry Ball, Dean of the College of Religious Education, gave BYU's weekly devotional address (mp3 file available here, Daily Universe report here). His talk raises many issues relevant to recent discussions here and elsewhere. My reaction to his talk will be divided into two posts: first, a discussion of some of the problematic themes that Ball raises, and second, an analysis of the way this Professor of Ancient Scripture handles scripture. … [Read more...]


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