The Cyclical Nature of BYU’s Religious Education

A guest post from Mrs. Silence DogoodOne of the most interesting books on Mormon history to appear in the last year was Thomas Simpson’s American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism (University of North Carolina Press). You can read reviews of the book here, here, here, and here, as well as interviews here and here. As a summary, Simpson argues that the Mormon tradition’s awkward, uneven, but relentless interaction with higher education drove much of the Americanization process dur … [Read more...]

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Taylor Petrey is Tenured: What does This Mean for LDS Scholars of Religion?

We’ve been running our Tips on Applying Series for nearly a decade. We heard from Taylor Petrey back in 2010 when he offered some advice on securing an academic position in religious studies. Taylor has recently received tenure, which is a big deal not only for him, but for all Latter-day Saints involved in the study of religion. He graciously agreed to talk to us about his work and how he earned tenure.  … [Read more...]

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Diachronic or Synchronic? A Response to Nicholas J. Frederick

IntroductionThe fact that New Testament (NT) language appears throughout the Book of Mormon (BM) has troubled many readers. Some of the initial written responses to the work described in detail the King James English that pervades the text with special attention given to the NT passages that appear sprinkled throughout the book.[1]  Elder B. H. Roberts, who spent many years of his life writing about and defending the BM, discussed the presence of NT phraseology and ascribed the phenomenon to … [Read more...]

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10 Reasons to be Excited about the Study of Religion at BYU

In the spirit of the 10 tidbits series at FPR, I offer (for once!) a positive outlook on Religious Studies at BYU. Good things (too) are happening in Provo! In no particular order, and with no pretensions of comprehensiveness: … [Read more...]

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“Are Mormons Christians?”: A Blog Round Table (Updated)

Author's Note: This post is cross-posted at Approaching Justice.Are Mormons Christians?For most Mormons, the answer to this question is obvious. Yes, yes they are. They believe in Jesus Christ. This settles it for themFor people from other religious perspectives, the answer is obvious but in the negative. Mormons are not Christians. The reasons for this response is varied.For some, few answers are obvious. Instead, this question is more one of inquiry. For me, the question … [Read more...]

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The Value of an Outsider’s Perspective

Several years ago I was asked to accompany an investigator to church.We showed up a few minutes early and sat in the chapel. On the way to church, this investigator explained that he had never been to a Christian service before. He seemed quite eager to take in the experience.After I briefly introduced what takes place in a sacrament meeting service, we sat quietly in the chapel. Several moments went by as he looked around, and then asked, "What does that mean?" He was pointing to the organ p … [Read more...]

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Approaching Antiquity: BYU Church History Symposium 2013

In case you haven't seen it, take a break from Wheat and Tares Apologizing and attend the BYU Church History Symposium on Joseph Smith's Study of the ancient world. Richard Bushman, Sam Brown, Matt Bowman, and many more! Looks to be, um, historic! … [Read more...]

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Wheat and Tares Apologetics

Apologetics has obviously been on my mind recently. In previous posts I discussed how certain kinds of apologetics might be pursued at places such as BYU. Indeed, I believe that religious institutions such as BYU should produce apologetics in the sense of scholarship that explains, explores, and defends the truth claims of Mormonism. I also believe that this scholarship should be fit for a university, meaning that it should largely meet the criteria of scholarship within the broader academic com … [Read more...]

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