BYU religious department addresses Christian views of life after death

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BYU’s Religious Education department will address varying Christian faiths’ beliefs about life after death. The conference is meant to build relationships across religious lines. (Universe Archives)

BYU’s Religious Education department is hosting a new public conference on different Christian faiths’ views of life after death on March 17–19 in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium.

Religious scholars representing a variety of different faiths from across the country will speak at the event.

Robert Millet, emeritus professor of ancient scripture, said the primary objective is to gain a deeper understanding of what LDS leaders and varying Christian academics believe occurs after death.

“We want to build understanding, respect and appreciation for a variety of perspectives on the subject of what happens after we die,” Millet said.

Greg Wilkinson, assistant professor of church history and doctrine at BYU, called it a “great opportunity” to hear from ecclesiastical leaders and Christian scholars. Presenters will be speaking openly to Christian millennials rather than theologians.

In addition to being a place to discuss important interfaith topics, the conference is meant to build relationships across religious lines.

“The conference is centered on religious outreach and interfaith dialogue,” Wilkinson said. “We would hope the conference will develop ongoing relationships that will bring leaders of different Christian groups together in an environment of empathy and mutual understanding.”

Each of the three sessions will include three or four speakers, who will present the views of their respective faiths followed by a question and answer session with the audience.

The event is free and no registration is required.

Here’s a look at the presenters speaking at the event,“Beyond the Grave: Christian Interfaith Perspectives”:

David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Richard J. Mouw, professor of faith and public life at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

Dennis Okholm, professor of theology at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif.

Thomas J. Oord, professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho

Lorenz Reibling, adjunct professor at Boston College

Mathew Schmalz, professor of religion at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

Justin Havens, priest at St. Peter and Paul’s Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, Utah

Luther Zeigler, pastor and chaplain at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Ella Simmons, general vice president of the Seventh-Day Adventist World Church in Silver Spring, Md.

Brent L. Top, dean of religious education at BYU and Robert L. Millet, professor emeritus of ancient scripture at BYU.

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