Universities are about scholarship, but not as an end in itself. Scholarship has value only as it advances the general welfare of society. That means the findings of scholars need to be shared. One of the places where sharing occurs is the classroom. There is, however, a much broader audience that benefits from good scholarship. Through publication, professors can share their findings with this larger audience.
What goes for scholarship in general applies to religious studies as well. The Religious Studies Center is the research arm of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. It was established in 1975 under the direction of Dean Jeffrey R. Holland. Its mission is to encourage, sponsor, and publish serious, faithful, gospel-related materials. To help accomplish this mission, the publications office was created. It encourages Church Educational System faculty to submit their research for publication, and it publishes and markets high-quality religious books and periodicals of both an academic and devotional nature.
Since its inception, the center has published groundbreaking works on Latter-day Saint culture and history as well as in-depth studies dealing with scripture and doctrine. Though there is some overlap with the materials produced by BYU Studies and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, the center ranges much more broadly. The following titles show the breadth of material the RSC publishes.
- Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith
- Don F. Colvin, The Nauvoo Temple: A Story of Faith
- Hugh W. Nibley, Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless
- Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate Jr., The Book of Mormon Symposium Series
- Kenneth L. Alford, ed., Civil War Saints
- Mark L. Grover, A Land of Promise and Prophecy: Elder A. Theodore Tuttle in South America, 1960-1965
- Frank F. Judd Jr. and Gay Strathearn, eds., Sperry Symposium Classics: The New Testament
- Kent P. Jackson and Frank F. Judd Jr., eds., How The New Testament Came to Be: The 35th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium
The center’s triannual publication, the Religious Educator, has received high praise both for its content and assistance to those teaching in a religious setting. Though its articles range widely, all focus on the gospel, impart a message of faith, and highlight the what or the how of teaching gospel truths.
In sum, the publications office exists to promote a greater understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its importance in the lives of Latter-day Saints.