The Light and Dark Side of a Religion-based School

BYU is amazing. Top professors, professional classes, LDS environment — there’s plenty of amazing, top-quality things about this university. But the one negative aspect (besides the beard policy) is that religion is so integrated into the classes that it can become distracting.

Case in point: I am taking History 201, world civilization. The first few lessons in this class revolve around the evolution and migration of Homo sapiens and other early hominids. I am fascinated by all aspects of evolution and evolutionary biology (it’s the single aspect of biology that doesn’t make me cringe). The problem here is that students can’t separate their religious views from the lesson to the point that the professor (a 28-year old graduate student himself) is almost terrified to make it look like he believes in evolution, lest the masses of zealous returned missionaries label him a heretic and/or apostate. Lessons are repeatedly interrupted with questions like “But the scripture says….”. Which is fine, if this was a religion class, but it’s not, and in these instances, people’s religious views are distracting and we then spend about half an hour discussing Mormonism and evolution — which is definitely interesting, but not what the class is about, and distracts the professor from his intended lecture so that he can appease these RM’s who feel the need to make their opinions heard that they do not endorse what he is teaching.

Forget what Elders B. H. Roberts and James E. Talmage believed, I was taught this, this, and this, and I refuse to open my mind to anything else. That’s the kind of ignorant, stubborn mentality that Joseph Smith so despised almost two centuries ago.