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.
While most church history sites provide guided tours or historical markers for visitors, some contain little to no information. Yet where might we turn for more insight on these locations? How can we engage with these living sites and gain a witness of the Restoration? Dr. Mary Jane Woodger and her colleagues answer such questions in the book series Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide for Travel and Studies. In this episode, Dr. Woodger discusses the power that comes from being in church history sites. She shares how to use mini devotionals to think, talk, and learn about these locations like a church historian, and she details how such works can complement the resources and activities provided at each of these holy places.
- “The London Missionary Society in the Cook Island: Restricting Religious Freedom” (in Religious Liberty and Latter-day Saints: Historical and Global Perspectives, Religious Studies Center, 2023)
- “Time and Intensity: Growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Greece” (Religious Educator, 23.2, 2022)
- “Praying a Mission into Existence: Frantiska ‘Mamousek’ Vesela Brodilova” (Religious Educator, 18.2, 2017)
- “Abraham Lincoln and the Mormons” (in Civil War Saints, Religious Studies Center, 2012)
- “Building the One Hundredth Temple: A Test Case of Religious Freedom in New England” (in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: The New England States, Religious Studies Center, 2004)
- Search, Ponder, and Pray: Missouri Church History Travel Guide (Cedar Fort, 2023)
- Search, Ponder, and Pray: New England Church History Travel Guide (Cedar Fort, 2023)
Click here to learn more about Professor Mary Jane Woodger
While Isaiah taught many precious truths about the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ, his teachings were anything but plain and simple. But what approaches can we take to engage with complex passages of scripture? In “‘Except Some Man Should Guide Me’: Studying Isaiah with Nephi and Jacob,” Ryan Sharp, professor of ancient scripture, outlines the divine role the Book of Mormon prophets play in understanding Isaiah. Nephi wrote, “For I will liken [Isaiah’s] words unto my people” (2 Nephi 11:2). In this episode, Dr. Sharp outlines Nephi and Jacob’s pedagogy, naming their three-step approach as the setup, the passages, and the follow-up. In addition, he explains how to apply the method in our own scripture study. In following this model, our souls may also delight in the words of Isaiah.
- “Helping Students Rely on the Redeemer” (Religious Educator, 13.1, 2012)
- Meeting Christ in the Book of Mormon (Amazon.com)
- “Gentiles in the Book of Mormon” (Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, 33, 2019)
- “Alma, Ambiguity, and the Development of Doctrinal Understanding” (in Give Ear to My Words, Religious Studies Center, 2019)
Click here to learn more about professor Ryan H. Sharp
As World War II loomed in the Central Pacific, the islands of Micronesia served as strategic battlefields between Axis and Allied forces. But how did these isles transform so quickly from war-ravaged lands to sacred temple grounds? The prophet Jacob foretold, “Great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:21). In this episode, BYU Religious Studies Center executive editor R. Devan Jensen discusses his recent book Battlefields to Temple Grounds: Latter-day Saints in Guam and Micronesia, coedited by Rosalind Meno Ram. Brother Jensen highlights how Latter-day Saint servicemen and humanitarian workers arrived during and after the war, planting the branches that would expand the global presence of the Church and fulfill revelation and promise.
- Battlefields to Temple Grounds (Religious Studies Center, 2023)
Click here to learn more about executive editor R. Devan Jensen
After four years of hosting and producing, Anthony Sweat is handing the podcast’s reins over to his friend and colleague, John Hilton III. In this bonus episode, John interviews Anthony about the inception of the podcast, who has contributed to its creation, what goes into each episode, and the reach of the podcast. They conclude by talking about future directions for the podcast, and Anthony’s testimony of the Lord’s work.
Click here to learn more about John Hilton III
After translating and publishing The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was inspired to embark on a Bible translation project to restore “many plain and precious parts” (see 1 Nephi 13:28) that had been lost throughout time. But how was this work accomplished? How has this translation of Genesis 1:1—Genesis 6:13 been received by early and modern Church members? In this episode, professor of ancient scripture Aaron P. Schade discusses his recent publication The Book of Moses: From the Ancient to the Latter Days, co-authored with Professor Matthew L. Bowen. Professor Schade describes the revelatory translation process, highlights its historicity in the Doctrine and Covenants, and examines how the Book of Moses transcends time and continues to influence Church members today.
The Book of Moses: From the Ancient of Days to the Latter Days (RSC/Deseret Book, 2021)
Summary write up of The Book of Moses: From the Ancient of Days to the Latter Days (Review Magazine, 2022)
Click here to learn more about professor Aaron Schade
In July 1835, members of the Church donated money to acquire four Egyptian mummies and a collection of papyrus scrolls from a traveling exhibition. Through revelation, the Prophet Joseph Smith identified that one scroll contained “the writings of Abraham.” But what do we know about the history and context of the papyri? How was it translated? Why was it important for God to reveal the history of Abraham? In this episode, Professor Kerry Muhlestein, an Egyptologist and Abrahamic scholar, discusses his recent book Let’s Talk about the Book of Abraham. He highlights stories of the Book of Abraham, examines the common criticism of authenticity and translation of the papyri, and offers ways to examine the divine text on our own.
Let’s Talk About the Book of Abraham (Deseret Book, 2022)
A Guide to the Book of Abraham (BYU Studies, 2023)
Click here to learn more about professor Kerry Muhlestein
In the Bible, the prophet Nathan used a story about lambs to help King David recognize his errors with Bathsheba. Why did he take that approach rather than being direct? In this episode, Dr. Stephan Taeger shares his research on the power of teaching using the concept of “distance” in stories to help learners recognize truth and overcome self-deception, leading to positive Christ-like change.
“Alive to the Other: Using Distance to Help Listeners Overcome Self-Deception” (Homiletic, 2023)
“Using Narrative Distance to Invite Transformative Learning Experiences” (Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning, 2020)
“Using Elements of Narrative to Engage Students” (Religious Educator, 2015)
Click here to learn more about professor Stephan Taeger
Do members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have better, the same, or worse mental health when compared to members of other religions, or those of no religion? Despite some popular narratives, what does peer-reviewed academic research find? In this episode, professor Justin Dyer takes us into what the collective scholarly publications between 2005-2022 have to say on this important subject, and the reasons why more active Latter-day Saints tend to have better mental health.
“Choosing Christ’s Light Burden” (BYU Devotional, 2023)
Click here to learn more about professor Justin Dyer
About one third of the book of Isaiah is quoted in the Book of Mormon. A challenge can arise, however, with what is known as Deutero-Isaiah. This is a theory that there were additional authors who wrote portions of Isaiah after Lehi and his family fled Jerusalem with the brass plates. Because the Book of Mormon quotes from these portions, some have thought that these quotations are out of place. In this episode, professor Joshua Sears summarizes Latter-day Saint approaches to Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.
“Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: Latter-day Saint Approaches” in They Shall Grow Together: The Bible in the Book of Mormon (RSC, 2022)
Click here to learn more about professor Joshua Sears
Readers often approach the Book of Mormon spiritually, seeking for inspiration and application, or apologetically to know or defend its truthfulness. Those are excellent and needful ways to approach the text. But they aren’t the only ways. The Book of Mormon can also be approached narratively, literarily, theologically, historically, politically, or socially, to name a few. In this episode, Dr. Joseph Spencer guides listeners into the current world of Book of Mormon studies and the myriad ways the inspired text can, and should be, explored.
Publications: Book of Mormon Studies: An Introduction and Guide (RSC/Deseret Book, 2022)
Click here to learn more about professor Joseph Spencer