About Us

The Religious Studies Center is the research and publishing arm of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. It was established in 1975 under the direction of Dean Jeffrey R. Holland. Watch a video of Elder Holland and others describing the history of the RSC.

Our mission is to encourage, sponsor, and publish serious, faithful, gospel-related materials. We encourage authors to submit their research for publication. We publish and market high-quality religious books and periodicals of both an academic and devotional nature.

Our goal is to promote greater understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its importance in the lives of Latter-day Saints.

We have published groundbreaking works on Latter-day Saint culture and history as well as in-depth studies dealing with scripture and doctrine.

 

Religious Studies Center Personnel


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Jared W. Ludlow
Publications Director
Office: 185A HGB
Phone: 801-422-2403

Jared has been teaching in the Department of Ancient Scripture at BYU since 2006. Previous to that, he spent six years teaching religion and history at BYU–Hawaii and served the last two years as chair of the History Department. Jared received his bachelor's degree from BYU in Near Eastern studies, his master's degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Biblical Hebrew, and his PhD in Near Eastern religions from UC–Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union. His primary research interests are in ancient Judaism and early Christianity. His dissertation was published as a book, Abraham Meets Death: Narrative Humor in the Testament of Abraham, by Sheffield Academic Press. He has also produced a world history textbook, Revealing World History to 1500, and a book related to the Apocrypha, Exploring the Apocrypha from a Latter-day Saint Perspective. Jared has regularly presented papers at the Society of Biblical Literature meetings and has participated in Sperry and similar symposia at BYU. He enjoys teaching Bible courses, Book of Mormon, world religions, and world history. Jared served a Latter-day Saint mission to Campinas, Brazil, and has also lived in Germany and Israel, teaching twice at the BYU Jerusalem Center, 2011–12, 2016–17. He likes sports, hiking, snorkeling, and traveling. He is married to Margaret (Nelson), and they have five children: Jared Jr., Joshua, Joseph, Marissa, and Melia.


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Mike Goodman
Associate Publications Director
Office: 270G JSB
Phone: 801-422-2706

Michael A. Goodman is the RSC’s associate publications director. He has worked for the Church Educational System since 1989 and was the manager of CES College Curriculum before joining the Department of Church History and Doctrine in 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a public relations, a master’s degree in information technology, and a PhD in marriage, family, and human development. He is a coinvestigator on the Family Foundations of Youth Development longitudinal research project. His research focus is on adolescent and family faith development and mental health outcomes with a special emphasis on suicidality. He has been married to Tiina Anita Goodman from Lahti, Finland, since 1985.

Courses Taught: The Eternal Family, Missionary Preparation, The Living Prophets and Doctrine and Covenants; Book of Mormon, New Testament, Old Testament and Pearl of Great Price

Areas of Research: Marriage and Family / LDS Doctrine / Missionary Work and the International Church / Adolescent Development / Suicidality with a special emphasis on LGBTQ adolescents.
 


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Joany Pinegar
Publications Coordinator
Office: 185 HGB
Phone: 801-422-6975

Joany Pinegar is originally from Minnesota. She graduated from BYU with a degree in elementary education. She taught first grade for a time and loved teaching elementary children. She also traveled across the U.S., training library personnel to use library automation software. Joany likes to read, hike, travel, and go camping. She also loves to spend time with her seven beautiful children and eight incredibly adorable grandbabies! In her duties for the RSC, Joany works closely with the publications director, executive editor, production supervisor, and great student employees on all RSC publications. She also assists with travel, budgeting, media relations, special projects, and other office management responsibilities. Joany could also be called communications director since all communication addressed to the RSC goes through Joany to be recorded and processed. Anything sent any other way or through any other person runs the risk of being undocumented and lost. Submissions, return for edits, and reviews come to Joany and then are sent to the publications director for processing.


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Devan Jensen
Executive Editor and Social Media Manager
Office: 167A HGB
Phone: 801-422-9304

Devan Jensen is the executive editor and social media manager for the BYU Religious Studies Center and BYU Religious Education. He coordinates the office’s editing activities and has edited 250 books or book-length projects that have garnered many awards, including five from the Mormon History Association. He and a talented team of researchers have written a book on Latter-day Saints in Micronesia. He has served as president or chair of several professional boards, including Latter-day Saints in Publishing, Media, and the Arts and BYU's Office Professionals Annual Conference. In 2016 Devan received the BYU President’s Appreciation Award. As a National Merit Scholar, he received his MA and BA degrees in English from BYU. He and his wife, Patty, live in Orem, Utah, and have four children and an adorable granddaughter. He enjoys cycling, pickleball, singing, and magic. 


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Brent R. Nordgren
Business and Production Supervisor
Office: 167C HGB
Phone: 801-422-3293

Brent R. Nordgren is the operations and production supervisor for the BYU’s Religious Studies Center (RSC). As such, he oversees the operation and production of the publications, marketing, photo editing, and oversees legal matters of the RSC. With the help of a talented team he produces, markets, prints, and distributes the RSC books, journals, and magazines. He is also the managing editor of the BYU Religious Education Review magazine. He has authored many articles for the magazine, has facilitated and gathered most of the Review's content throughout its history, and has also been the RSC website administrator since its inception in 2008. Brent has been the website administrator for two other websites before working for BYU. He received an AS degree with honors from Utah Valley University, a bachelor's degree in business management from Brigham Young University, and an MBA from Utah State University. He is the recipient of the staff and administrative employee recognition award (SAERA) from Brigham Young University for his innovative work and by going above and beyond his responsibilities. He also originated the idea of inviting Deseret Book to copublish books with the RSC and has served as the RSC point person with Deseret Book ever since. For more than forty years, Brent has owned and/or operated several businesses, including two McDonald's restaurants. While at Provo High School he was the head yearbook photographer for three years, a layout designer, and served as the school's public relations manager. He received the Eagle Scout Award and is a former candidate for the Provo City council. He and his wife, Annette, have four children and 12 grandchildren.


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Don L. Brugger
Managing Editor
Office: 167D HGB
Phone: 801-647-9289

Don L. Brugger began his editing career as a proofreader at the Los Angeles Times and refined his skills by teaching high school English and completing a master’s degree at BYU. Along the way he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, served a full-time mission in Argentina, and consecrated his wordsmithing craft to advancing the venerable aims of Latter-day Saint publishing: “to copy, and to correct, and select, that all things may be right before [the Lord]” (D&C 57:13). His zeal to assist inspired minds in producing top-notch publications aligned with the faith led him to editing stints at the Church’s Curriculum Department, Deseret Book, the Ensign, and FARMS/Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. A former bishop, Don taught editing classes at BYU for nine years. He and his wife, Tonya, have five children and three grandchildren. After a day’s work, Don enjoys watching the stars come out while he plays bluegrass guitar or, more recently, blues harmonica.


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Julie Newman
Editor
Office: 167B HGB
Phone: 801-422-1529

Julie Newman graduated from BYU with a BA in English and a minor in editing. Having written four young adult fantasy manuscripts of her own, she expected a career in editing fiction—until she discovered her passion for editing gospel-related publications. As an editor at the BYU Religious Studies Center, she puts that passion to good use. Before joining the RSC, Julie interned at the Church Publishing Services Department. She later worked as a contract editor, professionally editing and proofreading books, articles, and lessons for several clients, including the Church, the Interpreter Foundation, and Covenant Communications. In her free time, Julie enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano, crocheting, and spending time with her husband, Joseph.


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Alex Socarras
Lead Designer
Office: 167B HGB

Alex Socarras is a graphic designer at the BYU Religious Studies Center. He graduated from BYU–Idaho with a BA in art. There, he discovered his interest in printmaking. Alex enjoys creating woodblock prints and oil painting. He is originally from Colombia, where he studied graphic design. After some time away from design he moved to Miami and joined the Church. He served a mission in Orlando, Florida. Besides art, Alex enjoys reading, watching movies, figuring out what kind of music he likes, replaying the one song he knows on the ukulele, and spending time with his wife, Rachel, and their son. At the Religious Studies Center, he contributes to the design, typesetting, and layout of various publications.


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Carmen Cole
Graphic Designer
Office: 167 HGB

Carmen Cole first published at age ten and again, nationally, at age fourteen and has continued her interest in publishing ever since. She earned her BA in print journalism from Brigham Young University and has twenty years’ experience in editing, typesetting, and graphic design. Carmen serves as a typesetter, graphic designer, photographer, and social media marketer for the RSC and anything else they need. Carmen has also worked for FARMS/Neal A. Maxwell Institute, BYU Marriott School, Orem Daily JournalBYU MagazineDaily Universe, Provo and Alpine school districts, and VASA Fitness. In addition to graphic design, Carmen has studied ballroom dance, music, foreign languages, nutrition and fitness, home construction and landscaping, and early childhood education. When she isn’t mothering her children, you can find her designing or dancing.