Religion professors host Y-Religion podcast about recent research

A screenshot shows the Y-Religion Spotify page. The podcast is produced by the Religious Education department at BYU. (Spotify Music)

Three BYU Religious Education professors created “Y Religion,” a biweekly podcast about gospel research conducted by faculty in their department.

Professors Casey Griffiths and Ryan Sharp host, while professor Anthony Sweat produces. The podcast is dedicated to helping members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learn more about the gospel.

Griffiths said the project began because of the evolving world in which members of the Church live. As media consumption moved to online means, he said he and other coworkers wanted to create an outlet for professors to share their work through a new type of media.

“The world is changing, and we just realized that the traditional way we reached people, through articles and books, is just not as effective as it used to be,” Griffiths said. He said podcasts have a wider reach than printed materials.

Ryan Sharp, a professor in the Ancient Scripture department, explains the purpose of the Y-Religion Podcast. He said the podcast is intended to reach a broader audience than traditional publications have. (Stacia O’Leary)

Each week, a different professor is interviewed about the research they have done in a specific field. One of the goals of the podcast is to help students and members of the Church to see these specific topics discussed by those who actively study in the field discussed, bringing a different perspective to the topics, according to Sweat.

The podcast was also created to allow students the opportunity to learn about the work their professors do even after they have finished their classes, Sweat said.

“This is a great format to let students learn from our research and to keep learning from their professors,” he said.

Sharp said he believes the beauty of the podcast is in the variety of topics covered. Each week the topics vary, with some weeks covering church history, some on perspectives of the Book of Mormon and others discussing pop media coverage of Church events.

Topics and interview subjects for the project come from recently published work from professors in the BYU religion department, who are interviewed by either Griffiths, Wilcox, Sharp or Jared Halverson, another professor in the department. After the interviews are completed, student editors compile the audio clips and prepare them to be published online.

Sharp said he hopes the podcast can “provide opportunities (for students) to really dive in during their own scripture study and their engagement with the gospel.”

Some episodes are meant to enhance a listener’s personal study of the Book of Mormon, Sharp said. For members of the Church who feel stuck as to what to study next, various episodes provide a “different angle,” with insights into the scriptures from a more scholarly perspective.

Moving forward, the professors involved in the podcast say they hope more students can learn from the podcast and hear about the research those in the religious education department have done.

“It is a way to have the blessings of your religion teachers in your pocket,” Sweat said.

Sweat said he hopes the podcast can enlighten and edify those who listen to it, as well as feel strengthened and uplifted by the testimonies and research shared by the professors who are interviewed each week.

The Y-Religion Podcast is available for streaming and downloading on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Pandora.

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