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.

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Religious Liberty and the Law
Robert Smith
December 2022

Joseph Smith once said, “It is the love of liberty which inspires my soul, civil and religious liberty to the whole human race.” This sentiment is equally relevant today. Dr. Robert Smith has dedicated much of his professional life to the study of religious liberty and the law. In this episode he discusses the campaign for religious liberty in our modern day—and why it is crucial to keep it.

Publications:

Religious Organizations and the Law, 2d (Thompson Reuters, updated 2021)

Click here to read the Church Newsroom article referenced about Church leaders speaking on Religious Liberty

Click here to learn more about professor Robert Smith

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Orson Hyde and the Church in Jerusalem
David Whitchurch
November 2022

In 1841, after years of sacrifice and travel, Orson Hyde arrived in Jerusalem. His brief but impactful mission had innumerable effects on the Church in the Holy Land. In this episode, Professor of Ancient Scripture David Whitchurch takes us through Orson Hyde’s journey, which paved the way for the miraculous opening of the BYU Jerusalem Center. Professor Whitchurch also reflects on his own journey of learning about this spiritual giant—and shows why Orson Hyde’s story is such an important example to us all. 

Publications:

The Restored Church of Jesus Christ and the Holy Land” (BYU Studies, 2020)

Click here to watch David Whitchurch’s BYU Devotional, “Orson Hyde, the Holy Land, and Brigham Young University”

Click here to learn more about professor David Whitchurch

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Slavery and Sacred Texts
Jordan Watkins
November 2022

America’s history with slavery is complicated and controversial, especially when considered in a religious context. On this episode, Professor Jordan Watkins takes us into antebellum America, showing how views over slavery were shaped by interpretations of the Bible and the country’s founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. He also examines ways these nineteenth-century interpretations continue to influence people today.  

Publications:

Slavery and Sacred Texts: The Bible, the Constitution, and Historical Consciousness in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

Click here to learn more about professor Jordan Watkins

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D&C 84 and the Priesthood Power of Women
Barbara Morgan Gardner
October 2022

Some Latter-day Saints believe that the oath and covenant of the priesthood only applies to men. But in this episode, Professor Barbara Morgan Gardner uses Doctrine and Covenants 84 and the words of prophets and apostles to share an important truth: priesthood power and promises are available to all who receive the blessings of the temple. She also speaks on what the oath and covenant of D&C 84 means to her as a wife, a mother, and a daughter of God.

Publications:

Using Section 84 to Emphasize the Priesthood Power of Women,” (Religious Educator, 2021)

Click here to learn more about professor Barbara Morgan Gardner

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Revisiting Murder among the Mormons
J.B. Haws
October 2022

Netflix’s 2021 docuseries Murder among the Mormons reached #2 on the most-viewed list in the week it came out. But how much did the documentary actually get right? In this episode, Professor J. B. Haws gives his perspective as a Church historian, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the docuseries as well as the theological implications of the Mark Hoffman murders—and the reason why this story still matters.

Publications:

Murder among the Mormons: Reflections on the Docuseries—and on Its Historical and Theological Implications” (BYU Studies Quarterly, 2022)

Click here to learn more about professor J.B. Haws

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Theodore Roosevelt’s Defense of the Saints
Carter Charles
September 2022

In 1903, Latter-day Saint Apostle Reed Smoot was elected by Utah to become a United States senator.  However, many in the country and Senate did not want to seat Elder Smoot due to his leadership position in the Church and because of the Church’s practice of polygamy.  In this episode, Dr. Carter Charles recounts this history and President Theodore Roosevelt’s defense of Reed Smoot and the Latter-day Saints.   

Publications:

Theodore Roosevelt’s Defense of the Latter-day Saints” in Latter-day Saints in Washington, DC: History, People, and Places (RSC/Deseret Book, 2021)

Click here to learn more about professor Carter Charles

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The Experience of Israelite Refugees
George Pierce
September 2022

Although its stories took place thousands of years ago, the Old Testament provides potent lessons to help confront contemporary challenges, including the world’s growing refugee crisis. In this episode, Dr. George Pierce shares research insights about ancient Israel to help us care for the displaced and marginalized in our midst.

Publications:

“The Experience of Israelite Refugees” in Covenant of Compassion: Caring for the Marginalized and Disadvantaged in the Old Testament (RSC, 2021)

Click here to learn more about professor George Pierce

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The Incommensurability of Translation
Michael Hubbard MacKay
August 2022

How did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon? Joseph’s brief answer was “by the gift and power of God,” sometimes adding that it was done by means of “Urim and Thummim.”  Some have asked why Joseph Smith didn’t give more specific details about the process.  In this enlightening episode, translation scholar Dr. Michael Hubbard MacKay discusses his research on the “incommensurability” of Joseph Smith’s divine translation work and why it gives insight into expressions of religious truth and experience.

Publications:

The Secular Binary of Joseph Smith’s Translations” (Dialogue, 2021)

Click here to learn more about professor Michael Hubbard MacKay

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Refugee Treatment under the Mosaic Law
Krystal Pierce
August 2022

The Law of Moses gives divine direction for how God’s covenant people should care for displaced refugees, foreigners, and strangers, who are referred to in the Bible as ‘gēr.’ In this episode, Dr. Krystal Pierce of BYU’s Ancient Scripture Department shares her published research on the teachings and narratives in the Old Testament and Book of Mormon related to what are commonly called the “Gēr Laws,” and discusses ways in which we can apply those teachings as covenant people today. 

Publications:

The Gēr in the Pentateuch and the Book of Mormon: Refugee Treatment under the Mosaic Law” in Approaching Holiness: Exploring the History and Teachings of the Old Testament (RSC/Deseret Book, 2021)

Click here to learn more about professor Krystal V.L. Pierce

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Considering the Cross
John Hilton III
July 2022

How do Latter-day Saints perceive images of Christ’s suffering on the cross? How does artwork influence their understanding of the Savior’s Atonement? What does it mean that Christ shed His blood for us? In this powerful episode, Dr. John Hilton III shares findings from his continued research related to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and why embracing Christ’s death upon the cross can deepen our worship of Him.

Publications:

Latter-day Saints and Images of Christ’s Crucifixion” (BYU Studies Quarterly, 2021)

Jesus Suffered, Died, and Rose Again for Us” (Liahona, 2021)

Teachings of Church Leaders on Christ’s Final Seven Statements” (Religious Educator, 2021)

Considering the Cross: How Calvary Connects us with Christ (Deseret Book, 2021)

Joseph Smith, Gethsemane, and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ” in How and What You Worship: Christology and Praxis in the Revelations of Joseph Smith (RSC/Deseret Book, 2020)

The Teachings of Church Leaders Regarding the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ: 1852–2018” (BYU Studies Quarterly, 2020)

Click here to learn more about professor John Hilton III