BYU Student Symposium inspires further learning on religious topics

Dallin Preece gives his presentation on The Parable of the Prodigal Son. BYU hosted the 18th Annual Religious Education Student Symposium. (Madison McBride)

Students and other members of the community gathered together to enhance their learning of religion on Friday Feb. 19, 2016. The 18th Annual Religious Student Symposium gave BYU students of different majors an opportunity to research, write and present on different religious topics.

The BYU Student Symposium was inspired by President Eyring’s service as the Church Commissioner of Education, according to Casey Griffiths, a Church History professor.

“Since the creation of the symposium a wide variety of topics have been shared, and a number of promising young thinkers have gotten their start in academia,” Griffiths said.

Some of the thought-provoking subjects included Mormonism in American culture, modern-day Anti-Christs, Mormonism and homosexuality, alleviating poverty and keys of effective families.

Dallin Preece, a freshman studying finance, presented on his textual analysis of The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Preece spent the last three months studying, researching, writing and practicing for this presentation.

“I learned a lot from doing it. I enjoy the parable itself but I really enjoyed writing about it,” Preece said.

Paper submissions for this year’s symposium were due last semester, according to Andrew Reed, a Church History and Doctrine professor. Reed is a member of the symposium selection committee. 32 were chosen out of the 80 papers that were submitted.

“We evaluated them based on their strengths and weaknesses and then the best papers were chosen to be presented at the conference,” Reed said.

Nathan Phair received an award from the Mormon History Association. Many students received different awards for their papers at the Student Symposium. (Madison McBride)

The event ended with a luncheon for presenters, guests and committee members. Some of the student presenters received awards for their papers.

Nathan Phair, a senior studying history, won the 2016 Davis Bitton Student Research Paper Award of Merit from the Mormon History Association.

“It felt really nice to have my research validated,” Phair said.

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