Jerry M. Perkins, Selections from the Religious Education Student Symposium 2004 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), v–vi.
The Religious Education Student Symposium was conceived as a BYU faculty member listened to an Apostle of God. The Apostle spoke of what could be, and the faculty member captured that vision and then went about to make it happen.
In 1998, at the BYU faculty training seminar, Elder Henry B. Eyring spoke of BYU’s potential of becoming the best undergraduate school in the nation. He spoke of the potential of BYU professors’ acting as mentors to guide students in their quest for learning. He also stated that this excellent institution should assist its students in publishing an article before they graduated. This idea captured the imagination of Religious Education faculty member Richard E. Bennett, who thought, “This can be done in Religious Education; this must be done in Religious Education.”
Brother Bennett realized that a whole new generation of Latter-day Saints—faced with new challenges, trials, possibilities, and potentials—needed their own vision of the grandeur of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He believed that through the pondering, writing, synthesizing, comprehending, editing, praying, and marveling that was needed to prepare a publishable paper, this vision could be distilled, enhanced, and clarified. The authors who submit papers for the Religious Education Student Symposium become a new voice, speaking for a new generation, addressing how this singular gospel applies in the lives of their generation.
This is such a noble goal that the deans, the chairs, the faculty and staff of Religious Education; the editors, directors, and staff of the Religious Studies Center; the anonymous donors who provide the funding of the gifts; and most importantly the students of this magnificent university have given their full support to make this endeavor fulfill its purpose. Since its inception, the symposium has provided the forum for hundreds of students to become a new voice for their generation. This publication adds fourteen more voices sharing their vision of the grandeur of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jerry M. Perkins
Religious Education Student Symposium, 2004