Daniel K Judd, Associate Dean of Religious Education
In February of 2016, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provided direction to a worldwide audience of religious educators and described several of the challenges we are facing in the twenty-first century. Elder Ballard described one of these challenges as follows: “Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and a teacher responded, ‘Don’t worry about it!’ Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue. Gone are the days when students were protected from people who attacked the Church.”
For many years, our students were reared “as calves of the stall” (1 Nephi 22:24); they were sheltered from the criticisms of the Church and the restored gospel. Today, however, electronic media has made nearly every conceivable objection instantly available. This significant change underscores the need for teachers to respond to Elder Ballard’s direction to provide “the best LDS scholarship available” while at the same time teach in such a manner that our students can “warm [their] hands by the fire of [our] faith.”
I am grateful to be associated with the men and women of Religious Education who are striving to follow the Savior’s command to both “instruct and edify” (D&C 43:8) those we teach as a means of blessing students both intellectually and spiritually. Thanks to everyone who supports Religious Education and the Religious Studies Center in our unique mission.