Student papers wanted for religious symposium

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    By Natalie Clark

    Presenting ideas in a university symposium, publishing a paper and receiving a cash award are three reasons to submit a paper for the eighth annual BYU Religious Education Student Symposium.

    ?The Religious Education Student Symposium is a forum in which students can really apply their writing skills to gospel topics,? said Keith Wilson, professor of ancient scripture and symposium committee member. ?The student symposium is a great forum for students to put forth their ideas, to refine them and to get feedback.?

    Students can submit a 10 to 12 page paper on any religious topics ranging from scriptural topics and church history to world religions and teachings of living prophets.

    ?The church is interested in not only building testimonies at BYU but seeing people excel intellectually in the faith,? Wilson said.

    The cash awards for the winning papers include $1,000 for first place, $750 for second and $500 for third place.

    The papers are due on or before Nov. 28 in the Faculty Support Center in the JSB. Applicants will be notified of acceptance on or around Jan. 17, 2006. The student symposium will take place on Feb. 24, 2006.

    Approximately 50 papers will be accepted. Last year, almost 25 awards were given to participating students.

    Individuals will present their papers for about 15 minutes with a question and answer session following the presentation.

    The students? level of scholarship and spiritually is very encouraging, said Patty Smith, supervisor of the Faculty Support Center for Religious Education. The presentations have been very bright and faithful, she said.

    The symposium started after Elder Henry B. Eyring encouraged the Religion Department faculty to support students in their attempts to be published before they graduate.

    ?Elder Eyring gave us a charge to begin to develop the best scholars in the church,? Wilson said. ?Part of that is learning to write soundly with a cloak of faith.?

    Elder Eyring?s encouragement is not the only reason faculty started the symposium.

    ?There hadn?t been a forum here before where students could write meaningful papers in church history and doctrine where they could give their own and this new generation?s perspective and viewpoints on matters of the church,? said Richard Bennett, professor of church history and developer of the symposium. ?We felt like the time was right for this initiative.?

    Undergraduate and graduate students who will attend school next semester are eligible to submit a paper.

    For more information about submitting a paper, students can visit religion.byu.edu.

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