Surrounded by Change


Scott A. Esplin

As a new school year is set to begin at Brigham Young University, we are surrounded by reminders of change. The leaves on the trees of the nearby mountain peaks slowly transform from the dark green of summer to vibrant autumn tones of yellow and red. The campus itself awakens from its summer “slumber” of EFY and Education Week as tens of thousands of young adults return, excited to learn.

This fall, significant changes are evident within Religious Education as well. Since our last Review magazine, the university has announced changes to the leadership of Religious Education. Brent L. Top completed his successful term as dean of Religious Education. Under his dedicated leadership, changes to the core curriculum hope to improve doctrinal, scriptural, and historical literacy among our youth. Additionally, faculty have been charged with the dual mission of producing high-quality scholarship in their fields of academic training as well as gospel scholarship that can bless the lives of Latter-day Saints. We are grateful for Dean Top’s influence.

Effective July 1, 2018, professor of ancient scripture Daniel K Judd began service as the interim dean of Religious Education. He most recently served as associate dean and previously served as chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture. He is the author of pathbreaking studies on Latter-day Saint mental health. Robert C. Freeman, professor of Church history and doctrine and author of several books examining the experience of Latter-day Saints in wartime, will continue to serve as associate dean. J. B. Haws, associate professor of Church history and doctrine and author of studies on the public perception of Latter-day Saints in the twentieth century, will also serve as an associate dean. We are excited for their leadership.

Within the Religious Studies Center, Thomas A. Wayment accepted a position in classical studies at Brigham Young University and also completed his term of service as publications director. We are grateful for his vision as he led out in improving both the number and quality of our publications.

Though there are many changes at Brigham Young University, readers of this issue of the BYU Religious Education Review will also find consistency. We continue to produce high-quality scholarship, with projects involving the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Church history highlighted in this issue alone. A replica of the ancient tabernacle graced campus for several weeks, a translation of the New Testament for Latter-day Saints as well as a study edition of the Book of Mormon are about to hit bookshelves, and professors are actively pursuing scholarship on the life and ministry of Brigham Young. We hope you will be as excited as we are about these projects and the growth that can come through change.