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.
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
One of the great debates of the 16th century took place between William Tyndale and Thomas More over Tyndale’s translation of the Bible into English. Both men knew how words had the power to shape theology. Tyndale’s translation informed later English translations, including the King James Version. But were Tyndale’s choices right? In this episode, Dr. Jan Martin shares her research on how the King James language in the Book of Mormon provides amazing insights into these theological translation debates.
“The Theological Value of the King James Language in the Book of Mormon” (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 2018).
Click here to learn more about professor Jan Martin
If we seek to teach in the Savior’s way, a common approach the Lord used was parables. In fact, Mark says that “without a parable spake he not unto them” (Mark 4:34). Good parables are multi-layered, and the teacher often leaves them uninterpreted to cause listeners to reflect and draw meaning. In this episode, BYU Religion’s Hank Smith shares insights from his publication on the parables of Jesus, why the Lord utilized them to teach, and why we should seek to do the same today.
Living the Parables: Applying Christ’s Teachings to our Lives (Covenant Communications, 2019)
Click here to learn more about professor Hank Smith
Doctrine and Covenants 25 is unique and powerful. It is one of the two modern revelations directed specifically toward a woman, Emma Smith. It is also unique because of the progressive teachings it contains when studied in context, which makes it crucially relevant today. In this episode, Dr. Carter Charles analyzes the context and content of this important section, discussing how Emma Smith becomes a type for all sisters of the Church as “elect” ladies by virtue of their covenants.
“'Thou Art an Elect Lady': How Christ Includes and Empowers Women in Doctrine and Covenants 25,” in “How … and What You Worship”: Christology and Praxis in the Revelations of Joseph Smith (RSC/Deseret Book, 2020)
Click here to learn more about professor Carter Charles
The recent home-centered and Church supported plan that focuses on gospel teaching and learning in the family has re-emphasized that parents have the primary responsibility to teach the gospel to their children. In this episode BYU Religion’s Dr. Byran Korth discusses how family gospel teaching is an “echo of a celestial pattern.” Using scriptural examples such as Alma, he explains the doctrinal WHYS and practical HOWS of parents teaching children to believe in Christ.
“Parents Teaching Children to Believe in Christ: ‘An Echo of a Celestial Pattern’” in Give Ear to My Words: Text and Context of Alma 36 – 42 (RSC/Deseret Book, 2019)
Click here to learn more about professor Byran Korth
In the summer of 1842, Joseph Smith was busy. He implemented the endowment, entered plural marriages, dealt with John C. Bennett’s fallout, and went into hiding from an attempted extradition. BYU’s Jordan Watkins is an editor of the Joseph Smith Papers publication covering this pivotal time. In this episode, we learn learn about events from this demanding period of Joseph’s life, but also how those events gave rise to his revelations, showing the beauty of an eternal that encompasses the temporal.
Documents, Volume 10: May–August 1842 (Joseph Smith Papers, 2020)
Click here to go to the Joseph Smith Papers website for Documents, 1842
Click here to learn more about professor Jordan Watkins
Because of Christ’s greatness, we must be careful to not put him in a box, confining our understanding through partial perspectives. Certainty can be counterproductive if it stifles our openness to learning more about Jesus. In this episode, Dr. Daniel Becerra discusses the character of Christ and the Lord’s ministry in 3rd and 4th Nephi, helping us come to better know and follow the Savior, and perhaps even be a little surprised by what we find.
3rd, 4th Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction (Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2020)
Click here to listen to Daniel Becerra discuss the publication on the Maxwell Institute’s podcast series.
Click here to learn more about professor Daniel Becerra
We can sometimes think that Joseph Smith’s understanding of key Restoration doctrines came fully formed from the start. But the reality is that many concepts were revealed more slowly, here a little and there a little. Beginning with the tragic death of Joseph’s brother Alvin up through temple ordinances in Nauvoo, BYU religion’s Michael Goodman and Devan Jensen discuss how the Prophet grew in his understanding of doctrines related to the eternal family, and how God works with all of us line upon line.
“‘Line upon Line’: Joseph Smith’s Growing Understanding of the Eternal Family” (The Religious Educator, 2019)
While existing artwork that portrays the Restoration is rich and beautiful, until now many key events in early Latter-day Saint history have not been depicted. In this episode, Anthony Sweat discusses his work to paint and write about 25 of these events, including 19th century female healing blessings, the early ordination of Black men like Q. Walker Lewis, the first baptism for the dead, and many others, illustrating why expanding our visual imagery can expand our understanding of the Restoration.
Repicturing the Restoration (Religious Studies Center/Deseret Book, 2020)
Click here to learn more about professor Anthony Sweat
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