Readers’ Forum: 3/3/20


The disadvantages of specialization 

In his book “Range”, David Epstein outlines a problem he discovered while studying the world’s top performers: “The challenge we all face is how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyperspecialization.” While specialization is necessary, I would contend that we put too much emphasis on specializing and too little on gaining new and differing perspectives. Are we doing ourselves a disservice by becoming too specialized?

After reading this book my eyes were opened to the possibility that those who see only through the lens of their specific specialization may lose valuable opportunities because of their one-sided perspective. I initially felt like this ran directly counter to what college is all about. Pick a major, learn all the available knowledge on the subject, become competent at that one specific thing, and then rake in the paychecks of the immediate post-graduation hire. I realized however that this is the wrong way to view a college education.

Students do not enter college to learn one skill and then stop learning forever but rather to create habits of lifelong learning. Continuous learning is the antidote to hyperspecialization. There is certainly a need for doctors who know how to be doctors and contractors who know how to be contractors. Specialization is not a bad principle, but by constantly pushing for security though experience and non-stop specialization, we stunt our capacity to confront challenges.

When it comes to careers, our majors are not the most important aspect of our resumes. Instead it is our perspective and capacity for growth. By spending our lives in pursuit of learning, hyper-specialization no longer needs to be the cause of missed opportunity.

Reese Hunsaker
Filer, ID

Provo dating culture

We’ve all witnessed, or even experienced, the atrocity that Provo dating culture is. We’re
sick of the game, but know it needs to be played if we ever want to tie the knot. Scrolling
through our newsfeeds and seeing updates from our friends such as, ‘in a relationship’, ‘got
engaged to’ or, worst of all, ‘got married to’, only perpetuates that desire for our own meaningful, lasting connection. But two prevailing extremes of dating in Provo prevent us from pursuing many relationships that could otherwise be really great: the NCMO, and what we could call the ACC. And no, I’m not talking basketball. What I’m talking about is an ‘Automatic Commitment Complex.’

Many people are under the impression that agreeing to go on a date automatically
means you’re interested in pursuing a committed relationship. This is not the case. As one of
our beloved professors concludes, “it’s just dinner.” If Jake from your Bio 100 class asks you
out, he is under no obligation to take you on a second date or be your boyfriend. There is no
automatic commitment, so let’s take things slow and eliminate the ACC!

Conversely, this all-in attitude of many BYU students may be causing what we now call
‘Non-Committal Make Outs.’ People have become so afraid, perhaps after the rattling
experience of a third date proposal, that they feel they have to jump to the opposite extreme in dating. This end of the spectrum consists of being so careless, casual and comfortable that the relationship never has a chance to progress.

So, to prevent the emotional damage that comes from NCMOs, we need to take the
pressure off those first few dates. Boys, that means actually asking the girl on a date! Girls,
don’t put that added pressure on guys to jump into an ‘official’ relationship after only one or two dates. Your time for that will come. But for now, let’s spend more time getting to know people at a deeper level and take things one step at a time.

Abbey Flora
Eagle Mountain, UT

Women’s divine roles and representation

Throughout history, literature has excluded women from the narrative. While in recent centuries women’s rights have taken monumental strides (made evident through representation in literature), past inequality still affects our worship today. The Bible is the most widespread piece of literature, yet accounts of feminine reality are numbered.

Women’s representation in the realm of revelation should be further discussed in order to demonstrate the encompassing love God provides to all of his children, regardless of gender.
Raised reading both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we base our faith around the countless examples of men receiving revelation. Locating accounts of women is futile when seeing that only 8% of scriptural figures are women. The lack of a prophetess and accounts of women’s connection to heaven fosters the question: Is gender indicative of a person’s accessibility to heaven? While I have come to know for myself that we all have the same claims to the mysteries of God, the stories and experiences we share from scriptures do not relay the same message.

Women are missing from the celestial light found in the pages of scripture; few are mentioned by name and account for a meager percentage of the divine found within. Despite the few narratives of female prophetesses and righteous women, we hear more about the seduction of
Bathsheba than the courage of Esther or the wisdom of Miriam.

While my intent isn’t to rewrite a keystone book of religion, it mirrors an archaic time when women were not part of society in a fundamental way. However, I propose we start discussing women’s divine roles, addressing impactful women and breaking the unfounded silence around our Mother in Heaven. Representation of strong, faithful women would’ve helped me as a child, and it will strengthen women of the church for decades to come.

Dain Harper
Tulsa, OK


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