Each year, Brigham Young University Religious Education professors produce hundreds of publications on subjects related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This podcast brings this research into one place to enlighten the everyday seeker of truth. Interviewing the author, we discuss why the study was done, why it matters, and why the professor chooses to be both a scholar, and a disciple. This is Y Religion.
Although some Latter-day Saints fly American flags on July 24th to celebrate settling in the Rocky Mountains, the irony is that the pioneer Saints were desperately trying to flee the USA. After years of being persecuted, Church leaders concluded that the existing US government would not protect their civil and religious rights as a minority group, and the Saints decided to leave. In this fascinating episode, Dr. Gerrit Dirkmaat shares his research on this history, along with lessons learned for today.
“Safely ‘Beyond the Limits of the United States’: The Mormon Expulsion and US Expansion,” in Inventing Destiny: Cultural Explorations of US Expansion (University Press of Kansas, 2019).
Click here to learn more about professor Gerrit Dirkmaat
President Russell M. Nelson was sustained as the 17th president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January 2018. Things in the Church have not been the same since. BYU religion professor Mark Ogletree has recently published on President Nelson’s tenure, and his remarkable life that prepared him for this moment. This episode explores the ministry of Russell M. Nelson, giving powerful lessons from this modern prophet, seer, and revelator.
“Russell M. Nelson” In Presidents of the Church (Cedar Fort, 2019)
Click here to learn more about professor Mark Ogletree
While many commandments are fairly clear, how to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” has been debated for millennia. Professor Gaye Strathearn from BYU Religious Education has researched this discussion during the centuries surrounding Jesus’s mortal ministry. This episode explores efforts to navigate the Sabbath day by Israelites in the late second temple period, and how we can learn from them to remember and keep the Sabbath holy today.
“Remembering and Keeping the Sabbath Day in the Late Second Temple Period: What Modern Latter-day Saints Might Learn about Sabbath Worship” in Seek Ye Words of Wisdom: Studies of the Book of Mormon, Bible, and Temple in Honor of Stephen D. Ricks (Interpreter Foundation, 2020).
Click here to learn more about professor Gaye Strathearn
What does it mean that our Savior is both human and divine? This is a question Christianity has wrestled with for centuries, with profound theological implications. In this insightful episode, BYU religion’s Dr. Jason Combs explains four types of beliefs about the nature of Christ that were prevalent in ancient Christianity, why this dialogue was important, and how learning from ancient Christians can help Latter-day Saints to better understand the God we worship.
“‘Christ’ after the Apostles: The Humanity and Divinity of the Savior in the Second Century” in Thou Art the Christ, the Son of the Living God: The Person and Work of Jesus in the New Testament (RSC/Deseret Book, 2018)
Click here to learn more about professor Jason Combs
My God, why hast thou forsaken me? Over the years, that spiritual cry has been felt internally and uttered verbally by many believers in their most pressing trials, including by Jesus upon the cross. But does it mean what we think? BYU religion professor Shon Hopkin has published on the background and significance of that phrase. In this episode he analyzes and applies Messianic verses from its origin in Psalm 22, strengthening our hope in our trials through Christ’s suffering and redemptive triumph.
“‘My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?’: Psalm 22 and the Mission of Christ” (BYU Studies, 2013)
“The Psalm 22:16 Controversy: New Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls” (BYU Studies, 2005)
Click here to learn more about professor Shon Hopkin
Scriptures are a revelatory tool. Although using it may be intuitive to some, like any tool some expert instruction is often helpful to unlock its full capacity. While many Christians know what a “Study Bible” is to aid them in understanding, fewer Latter-day Saints know about or utilize one. In this episode, professor Joshua Sears introduces the concept, addresses common reservations, and shares insightful reasons why a study Bible can be a great asset to our scripture study.
“Study Bibles: An Introduction for Latter-day Saints” (Religious Educator, 2019)
Click here to learn more about professor Joshua Sears
Although it is common to view Gadianton and his followers in the Book of Mormon as driven by a purely evil desire for power, there could be more to their movement. Why else could their rebellion persuade “the more part of the righteous…to believe in their works” (Helaman 6:38)? Professor Dan Belnap examines the root of this rebellion, and why it may have more application today than some might think.
“‘They Are of Ancient Date’: Jaredite Traditions and the Politics of Gadianton’s Dissent” in Illuminating the Jaredite Record (Religious Studies Center, 2020).
Click here to learn more about professor Dan Belnap
Since 2012, archaeologists at the Galilean village of Huqoq have been uncovering an intricate mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue. This 5th century mosaic depicts biblical scenes of Samson, Jonah, Noah’s ark, Pharaoh’s army, and snapshots of daily life in antiquity. In this episode, BYU religion’s Dr. Matthew Grey—who was supervising the synagogue excavation when it was uncovered— discusses details from this discovery, and how the archaeology of Roman Galilee can inform our understanding of the Bible.
Click here to read a BYU Magazine article and see images from the Huqoq mosaic.
“Simon Peter in Capernaum: An Archaeological Survey of the First-Century Village” in The Ministry of Peter, the Chief Apostle (Religious Studies Center, 2014)
Click here to learn more about professor Matthew Grey
The word “liminal” isn’t in most people’s everyday vocabulary. Although the word is rare, the experience it summarizes is not, particularly in religious life. Liminality means to be in an in-between space, on the verge of transformation, or at a threshold—like a doorway. In this insightful episode, Dr. Charles Swift analyzes the Brother of Jared’s liminal experience in Ether 2 and 3, and what it can teach us today about our own interactions with and answers from the Lord.
“Upon Mount Shelem: The Liminal Experience of the Brother of Jared” in Illuminating the Jaredite Record (Religious Studies Center, 2020).
Click here to learn more about professor Charles Swift
The Prophet Joseph Smith once taught that “all priesthood is Melchizedek.” Thus, the restoration of the priesthood can be understood as a series of heavenly events, including a relatively unknown experience with the Lord at Peter Whitmer Sr.’s farmhouse. In this powerful episode, Dr. Michael Hubbard MacKay explains what happened “in the chamber of old Father Whitmer” (D&C 128:21) and why it matters to our understanding of priesthood.
Click here to learn more about professor Michael MacKay
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