Beginnings and Endings
JARED W. LUDLOW (email@example.com ) is the publications director of the BYU Religious Studies Center.
Our lives rotate through endless cycles of beginnings and endings. A day ends; another begins. A month ends; a new one begins. A year comes to an end; then we celebrate a new year.
In the Creation accounts in the Pearl of Great Price, the Lord states that part of the reason for the creation of the sun, moon, and stars was “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years” (Moses 2:14; see also Abraham 4:14). What many of these changing cycles offer is an opportunity to reflect and renew. We can take a moment to reflect on that day, that week, or that year and resolve to accomplish better things the next day, week, or year. Part of being on a covenant path is the opportunity to prepare, repair, and renew our commitments to God and Jesus Christ as we strive to be faithful disciples.
In this issue we feature the groundbreaking Islam conference held on the BYU campus in the fall. Organized and hosted by Grant Underwood, the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding, this conference brought together scholars of Islam from around the world to tackle issues related to Islam in the modern world. It also provided the opportunity for leaders such as Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Gerrit W. Gong to share the importance of building interfaith relationships of friendship. Our graduate chaplaincy program in BYU Religious Education keeps growing and getting stronger thanks to the efforts of its advisers. In one piece, we feature Matthew Ikenoyama, who because of his thesis project work was able to make an important presentation to military chaplains and leaders on moral injury. Chaplains are at the forefront in the efforts to assist soldiers who suffer moral injuries due to traumatic episodes they experience while deployed that go against their previous moral values. We also highlight the interesting intercultural work done by Kerry Hull and Lincoln Blumell, who found ancient Near Eastern and Mayan texts in Japanese archives and museums that had never been published. You can read the back stories by some authors as they tell us more about their recent scholarly books that come from the RSC. Don’t miss a discussion with Brad Wilcox about the Church’s Children and Youth program.
As we continue another cycle here at the Religious Studies Center with me as a new publications director, it is my hope that the RSC can provide material that will strengthen and aid each reader in their efforts to stay on the covenant path. We invite you to dive into scholarship related to the scriptures and Church history to find those insights that will enlighten your mind, motivate your heart, and invite the Spirit into your life.
Jared W. Ludlow
BYU Religious Studies Center