The mission of Religious Education at Brigham Young University is to assist individuals in their efforts to come unto Christ by teaching the scriptures, doctrine, and history of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through classroom instruction, gospel scholarship, and outreach to the larger community.
Dean: Scott C Esplin
Associate Dean: Gaye Strathearn
Associate Dean: Tyler J Griffin
Religious Education oversees the teaching of and research into scripture, doctrine, Latter-day Saint and Christian church history, and world religions. We strive to create a learning environment and provide resources that are "spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building" and an educational experience that results in "lifelong learning and service" (The Aims of a BYU Education).
Religious Education seeks to spread the light of restored truth to Latter-day Saints and to those not of the Latter-day Saint faith in three ways:
Instruction. We seek in Religious Education to find new ways and more effective ways to communicate timeless truths and to provide "a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued" (BYU Mission Statement). In general, we search for ways to enhance the educational experience and to build a faith in and a commitment to the restored gospel that is as stimulating and satisfying to the mind as it is soothing and settling to the heart.
Scholarship. The search for new truths and the quest to better understand well-known truths are central to the work of Religious Education. While the ultimate interpretation of doctrinal matters rests with apostles and prophets, we seek to discover historical backgrounds, provide cultural and linguistic details, and explore new avenues of understanding into our faith, history, and way of life.
Outreach. An important dimension of the work of Religious Education is outreach, the effort to teach, share, and discuss the teachings, practices, and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the larger community of scholars and to foster understanding between men and women of all faiths.
Religious Education offers two programs leading to a master's degree: Master of Arts Religious Education designed for individuals recommended by Seminaries and Institutes and Master of Arts Chaplaincy for military, hospital, and prison chaplain candidates.
For further information on these programs, please contact the Religious Education Office. No other degree programs are offered in this area.
Doctrinal Foundation and Religious Electives
Religion courses are an integral part of the university curriculum that conforms to university standards and expectations. While students are enrolled at BYU, they are required to take religion courses from BYU. See Doctrinal Foundation and Religious Electives information on the University Core Explained page in this catalog.
Religious Studies Center
Daniel K Judd, Director
Scott C. Esplin, Publications Director
The Religious Studies Center (RSC) is the research and publication arm of Religious Education. It continues to pursue its original charter to encourage and sponsor serious, faithful, gospel-related scholarship and the ensuing publication of that scholarship. It fulfills the charge to help meet the university's commitment to religious studies and Religious Education's aim to teach and preserve the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also serves the greater Church through the publication of the works of Religious Education faculty and other scholars who have written important, timely, scholarly work of a faith-promoting nature.
To encourage and promote religiously oriented scholarship, the RSC awards grants and provides other financial assistance. It proactively reaches out to faculty to encourage research in specific areas and supports them in the publication of their findings. To accomplish this the RSC sponsors two faculty mentors, known as area directors, who oversee and fund research in Church history and ancient scripture.