I first wrote a history of Religious Education at Brigham Young University during the 1970s in preparation for publication of the university’s centennial history. This present brief history was written during the 1990s in response to an assignment from Dean Robert L. Millet and is now being updated at the request of Dean Terry B. Ball. I have appreciated the encouragement and assistance of these leaders as this project has moved forward. I am also grateful to Patty Smith, who has compiled several large scrapbooks containing a variety of clippings, photographs, programs, minutes, and other documents that have been valuable sources of information. Richard D. Draper, former associate dean of Religious Education, worked with me in this update, and I particularly appreciate his helpful effort.
Kent P. Jackson (associate dean) suggested to Richard Neitzel Holzapfel (publications director, RSC) that this short history could be enhanced by the inclusion of many more images and additional subject matter and published as a hardback edition. The story deserves this special attention. I therefore appreciate the RSC for making this happen, including R. Devan Jensen (editor), Nathan E. Richardson and Kristin McGuire (designers), and Stephanie H. Wilson and Brent R. Nordgren (production managers).
Having joined the faculty in 1961, I have personally experienced many of the events described here. The opportunity to have taught the gospel to thousands of students for nearly half a century and to have associated with outstanding colleagues has been a rare privilege. I hope that this history adequately reflects the important individuals, decisions, and developments shaping Religious Education’s present status, mission, and accomplishments and that reading this work will help you more fully understand and appreciate our role in the university and in the Church.
Richard O. Cowan