Winter 2020 Review Magazine

Strengthening Religious Education

Message from the Deans’ Office

Daniel K Judd, Dean of Religious Education

Portrait of a man

We are living in a day that is both wonderful and perilous. In the midst of increasing political polarization, religious disaffiliation, and debates over issues such as gender identity and immigration, many are facing what could be considered an epistemological crisis. There is an anxiety and uncertainty among some about how we can confidently know what is true. At the same time, we are living in what the Apostle Paul prophesied as being “the dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10). As a vital part of the restoration of “the fulness of his gospel” (Doctrine and Covenants 133:57), the Savior has provided living prophets to provide continuing authoritative revelation to assist us in discerning truth from error.

In June 2019 the faculty and staff of Religious Education received direction from our prophet-leaders titled “Guidelines for Strengthening Religious Education in Institutions of Higher Learning.” This two-page document includes the following direction concerning the role of religious education generally:

“The purpose of religious education is to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from the scriptures and modern prophets in a way that helps each student:

  • Develop faith in and a testimony of Heavenly Father and His ‘great plan,’ the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His infinite atoning sacrifice, and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the Prophet Joseph Smith; and the other modern prophets, seers, and revelators.
  • Become lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ, who make and keep covenants, who love God and others, and who are able, willing, and committed to gather Israel on both sides of the veil.
  • Strengthen their ability to find answers, resolve doubts, respond with faith, and give reason for the hope within them in whatever challenges they may face.” (Board of Trustees, 12 June 2019)

At the heart of the truth of what we teach isn’t an abstract set of principles, but a living God, a Heavenly Father who loves us and who has sent his Son. The most important assignment we have is to assist those we teach to come to a knowledge of the Truth—Jesus Christ. How blessed we are to be led and loved by living prophets to guide us through these perilous times. The faculty and staff of BYU Religious Education and the BYU Religious Education Review are committed to following their prophetic direction. Please know how grateful we are to those who support us in this great cause.