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...]

Wilford Woodruff Conference at Yale

This upcoming conference at Yale is the same weekend as the conference on Mormonism and Politics at Princeton. It looks like there are going to be some interesting papers, but it is unclear exactly if any of them are going to be more than historical recitations. If you are in the area, please go and let us know how it was!The only question is why this conference is being held at Yale. All but one of the presenters is BYU faculty (Richard Lambert is a US attorney in Utah who runs the Mormon … [Read more...]

BYU Hiring Ancient Scrip Prof

BYU is looking to hire a professor of ancient scripture in their department of Religious Education. For the entire posting go here.Here is an excerpt from the listing. Below it are some thoughts. … [Read more...]

Rate My Institute Teacher

Any teacher worth their salt as a teacher desires constructive feedback. Students desire to leave feedback, often anonymously, especially if it's negative. From early personal experience, I know it's hard to get sincere and thoughtful feedback when spontaneously asking the question face-to-face. Thus was RateMyProfessor.com born, in which students can rate their professors on a variety of characteristics and provide a brief description.Assuming one can get an accurate enough perspective to be … [Read more...]

Does FARMS Still Matter?

The latest issue of the FARMS Review offers useful insight into the past, present, and possible futures of FARMS. The issue (19/1) is a hodgepodge of topics, themes, and approaches. It addresses ancient scripture, Mormon history, debates with evangelicals, tributes to a recently deceased Mormon historian, reflections on a Joseph Smith biography, an essay on Mormon studies, book reviews, a lecture by Terryl Givens, and a BYU lecture on theology by Jim Faulconer. The FARMS Review is, indeed, a … [Read more...]

How To Get Hired at BYU Religion

As an amateur, I am not really eligible for this, but in speaking to some friends of mine going through the process, I must say that I find the BYU Religion hiring process to be really weird, and a bit insulting. Perhaps some of you who are going through it/have gone through it can illuminate me on the ins and outs. What is mostly disturbing about the hiring process is that it seems incredibly ad hoc and much more demanding on grad students time and resources than any other job application. … [Read more...]


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