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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Episode 105: Biblical Criticism for Scriptural Insight
Jason R. Combs
June 2024

“Latter-day Saints believe in the pursuit of truth through ‘study and faith’ and are thus not opposed to intellectual examination of scripture” (Dr. David R. Seely). One way we might examine the scriptures is through the use of biblical criticism, or historical criticism, an approach regularly used by biblical scholars to assess the meaning of a text—it's original context, audience, and authorship. In this episode Dr. Jason Combs, associate professor of ancient scripture, discussed his chapter “Historical Criticism of the Bible among the Latter-day Saints.” He outlines the history of biblical criticism and explains how it may serve as a tool to aid our scripture study. Further, Dr. Combs details how such approaches may provide a more well-rounded vision of the scriptures, especially in studying the Old and New Testaments and comparing multiple accounts of the same events. In doing so we should balance biblical criticism with the application of scriptures and the gospel to our daily lives.  

 

Publications 

Click here to learn more about Jason Combs 

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Episode 104: A Relational Approach to the Plan of Salvation
Brian Mead
May 2024

In his October 2021 general conference talk President Ballard expressed, “We must always remember that our true happiness depends upon our relationship with God, with Jesus Christ, and with each other.” How do we build and shape these relationships? In this episode assistant professor of Church history and doctrine Brian Mead discusses his article “The Important Role of Relationships in Our Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation.” Dr. Mead defines doctrinal and relational approaches to the Plan of Salvation and examines how they strengthen our understanding of eternal relationships. Further, he addresses how using a relational approach to teach the Plan of Salvation aids in answering a number of why questions: Why do we need a mortal experience? Why must we repent? Why do we need a Savior? Such an approach builds upon our personal understanding and connections to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, family, and others. 

 

Publications: 

 

Click here to learn more about Brian Mead

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Episode 103: An Interfaith Approach to Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy (Andrew Reed)
Andrew Reed
May 2024

For thousands of years the Sabbath as an institution has remained a core aspect of religious life, and people have constantly fought to keep it holy. The prophet Isaiah declared the Sabbath “a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable” (Isaiah 58:13). How can we observe the Sabbath and keep it holy? How might rituals of neighboring religions inform Latter-day Saint experiences with making the Sabbath a delight? In this episode Dr. Andrew Reed, associate professor of Church history and doctrine, discusses his chapter “‘The Erosion of Sabbath Worship Is Now Extensive’: The Imperative to Learn Holiness from Other Religious Traditions.” Dr. Reed presents an interfaith approach for slowing the erosion of Sabbath worship. He outlines efforts by religious communities to reengage believers with the Sabbath (including thinking about the secular), analyzes the ways both Jews and Christians think about sacred time, and examines potential applications for Latter-day Saints. 

 

Click here to learn more about Andrew Reed

 

Publications:

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Episode 102: Strengthening Marriage
Jenet Erickson and Jason Carroll
April 2024

According to a 2023 U.S. News & World Report, Utah’s economy continuously ranks first across all 50 states. Experts have even deemed the state’s noteworthy economic growth, strong business climates, and high rates of economic mobility a miracle. But what are the major contributing factors for this “Utah economic miracle”? In this episode Dr. Jenet Erickson, associate professor in the Department of Church History and Doctrine, and Dr. Jason Carroll, family initiative director of the Wheatly Institute and a professor in the School of Family Life, discuss one of the strongest predictors of state economic success: strong families. In examining the “Utah family miracle,” they detail the foundation of strong, resilient relationships and highlight which factors make relationships more fragile. They emphasize how the blessings of religion help us develop the characteristics and virtues to strengthen relationships and marriages.

 

Click here to learn more about Jenet Erickson and here to learn more about Jason Carroll

 

Jenet Erickson Publications:

 

Jason Carroll Publications

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Episode 101: Jacob and Mental Health
Jared Halverson
April 2024

The word anxiety (or anxious) is used nine times in the Book of Mormon, and it appears in both positive and negative forms. In the positive form it refers to something more akin to “eagerness” (see Mosiah 29:38 and 3 Nephi 3:3), whereas the negative refers more to “uncertainty” or “troubling fear” (see 2 Nephi 1:16 and Mosiah 28:12). Of the seven negative references, four are penned by the prophet Jacob, including one in which he couples “great anxiety” with the counterbalancing attribute of “faith” (see Jacob 1:5). In this episode Dr. Jared Halverson, associate professor of ancient scripture, discusses the mental, emotional, and spiritual issues related to anxiety as explained in the life and teachings of Jacob. Professor Halverson closely examines Jacob’s writings on the anxiety born of adversity (trauma), anxiety due to responsibility (pastoral perfectionism), and anxiety over one’s standing before God (scrupulosity). In analyzing Jacob’s words, we can find counsel and compassion, whether we struggle with anxiety or are anxious to support those who do.

 

Click here to learn more about Jared Halverson

 

Publications:

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Episode 100: I Know That My Redeemer Lived
Tyler J. Griffin
March 2024

As we prepare for the Easter season and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we often sing the hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” But what if we temporarily shift our focus from rejoicing that the Redeemer lives to rejoicing in how he lived for us? In this episode Professor Tyler J. Griffin, associate dean of Religious Education, discusses his article “I Know That My Redeemer Lived” from The Power of Christ’s Deliverance. He emphasizes how everything the Savior did and said in his day-to-day life was focused on helping others and doing God’s will. In recounting Christ’s service and miracles, trials and tribulations, and Crucifixion and Resurrection, Professor Griffin illustrates how the Savior chose to live each day for us. Ultimately, knowing how Christ lived for us can empower us to emulate his example and become more like him. 

 

Click here to learn more about Tyler J. Griffin

 

Publications:

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Episode 99: Mourning with Hope
Hank R. Smith
March 2024

In John 11:35 we learn that “Jesus wept” with Mary and Martha as they mourned the loss of their brother Lazarus. Like the Savior, we too might experience “the sting of death” (Mosiah 16:7-8) as we bereave our loved ones. In this episode, Professor Hank R. Smith, associate teaching professor of ancient scripture, discusses his article “Mourning with Hope” from the anthology Learn of Me: History and Teachings of the New Testament. He examines how we can mourn with hope as we navigate the sorrows of death and exercise faith and hope in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

 

Click here to learn more about Hank R. Smith

 

Publications:

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Episode 98: Unique Voices in the Book of Mormon (John Hilton III)
John Hilton III
February 2024

Some 150 voices unite in the Book of Mormon to provide a clear witness of the Savior Jesus Christ. What insights might we gain from examining their distinctive voices? And what meaning can studying unique voices of the past lend to our lives today? In this episode BYU professor of Ancient Scripture John Hilton III answers such questions in discussing his recent book Voices in the Book of Mormon—Discovering Distinctive Witnesses of Jesus Christ. Dr. Hilton details some of the linguistic characteristics of major speakers, from Nephi and Mormon to Jacob and Jesus Christ. He also explains how voices speak in harmony, especially as later prophets use teachings from their predecessors. Finally, Dr. Hilton asks us to consider applying Elder Boyd K. Packer’s question, “therefore, what?” as we examine who is speaking, to whom, and for what purpose, and how such unique voices might teach principles relevant to our lives. 

 

Publications:

 

Click here to learn more about John Hilton III

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Episode 97: The Power of Stillness
Ty Mansfield
February 2024

Elder M. Russell Ballard expressed, “It is important to be still and listen and follow the Spirit. We simply have too many distractions to capture our attention, unlike any time in the history of the world.” The Restoration began with a young boy who sought stillness in a sacred grove, and President David O. McKay taught that meditation is one of the “most secret, most sacred doors” through which we come to know God. How can more stillness and mindful presence deepen our experience of intimacy with God, ourselves, and one another? In this episode, Professor Ty Mansfield discusses his book The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints, coauthored with Jacob Z. Hess, Carrie Skarda, and Kyle Anderson, and outlines ways we might balance anxious engagement with intentional stillness. Dr. Mansfield discusses methods for implementing mindfulness into our daily lives and how such practices can deepen our conversion to the gospel and prepare us to receive more of the healing and enabling power of Jesus Christ. 

 

Publications:


Click here to learn more about Ty Mansfield

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Episode 96: Helping Students Grow without Growing Their Stress
Rob Eaton
January 2024

Amid nationwide calls for increasing mental health services for students, researchers recommend increasing teacher training to support student mental well-being in the classroom. In his book Improving Learning and Mental Health in the College Classroom, coauthored with Steven V. Hunsaker and Bonnie Moon, Professor Rob Eaton offers practical tips for teachers to design courses and teach students in ways that reduce unnecessary stress while boosting learning for all students. These techniques allow teachers–without adding to their workloads or duplicating campus services—to better support the unique needs of each student and maintain the academic rigor of the course. Professor Eaton explains that such small, deliberate changes to our course design can enhance the learning environment, increase student retention, and strengthen participation for all students. In taking such actions, we move forward measures to destigmatize mental health challenges, provide students with an environment to thrive, and enhance our abilities to teach in the Savior’s way.

 

Publications:

 

Click here to learn more about Rob Eaton