BYU Religious Education Student Symposium announces this year’s winners

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BYU Religious Education Student Symposium committee chair Brad Farnsworth announced this year’s student winners on Feb. 19. There were 11 cash prize winners out of 20 video presentations. (BYU Religious Education Student Symposium)

The BYU Religious Education Student Symposium announced this year’s winners on Feb. 19 and posted student video presentations online.

Each year BYU Religious Education accepts student submissions of research papers on gospel subjects. A committee reads through the papers and selects the best submissions to present at the yearly symposium. Presenters are eligible to win cash prizes and have their papers published.

The 2021 symposium was the first to be held completely online to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

Twenty prerecorded student presentations summarizing their research papers are now available on the BYU Religious Education YouTube channel. Symposium committee chair Brad Farnsworth announced 11 cash prize winners in a Zoom meeting Friday, Feb. 19.

Religious education graduate student and seminary teacher Michael Burnham won the $2,000 top prize. His presentation was titled “Spindles and Lots: Ancient Near Eastern Divination as Context for the Liahona’s Spindles.”

Michael Burnham, a BYU religious education graduate student and seminary teacher, presents on the Liahona’s spindles in a video for the BYU Religious Education Student Symposium. Burnham won the symposium’s top prize for his research paper and presentation. (Michael Burnham/BYU Religious Education on YouTube)

Seth Hord, a religious education graduate student, won the second place prize for his presentation “Loving Strangers.”

Third place went to political science junior Grant Baldwin, who gave a presentation on letters written by Christians from Liberty and Birmingham jails.

Caleb Litster, a mathematics education junior, won the Book of Mormon Central prize of $1,000 for his presentation “The Intent of God’s Grace.”

Seven students also won $500 cash prizes for their presentations and papers.

Farnsworth encouraged students to write down what they learned from their experience with the symposium.

He recognized all 67 students who submitted papers this year, saying it was his privilege to scan each one. “We just thank you for being such pioneers in this very unique and yet powerful symposium,” he said on behalf of the committee.

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