Elder Renlund to speak at BYU Education Week

Preston Crawley
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve waves to a congregation. Elder Renlund will be the BYU Education Week campus devotional speaker on Aug. 22. (Preston Crawley)

BYU Education Week will feature Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve as the campus devotional speaker on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

Elder Renlund’s devotional address will take place at the Marriott Center at 11:10 a.m.

Education Week runs from Aug. 21-25 and features hundreds of classes on education, religion, family, mental health, finance and more. It is open to all individuals ages 14 and above.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Belief enhances inquiry, study amplifies faith and revelation leads to deeper understanding.” The theme comes from BYU’s message, “For the Benefit of the World,” according to the Education Week website.

Education Week visitors sit in the Marriot Center waiting to hear from the 2021 Quorum of the Twelve speaker. Elder Renlund will speak at Education Week in the Marriot Center on Tuesday, Aug. 22. (BYU Photo)

The Sunday School General Presidency, Young Women General Presidency and Young Men General Presidency will also speak in sessions throughout the week.

“People love having a connection with BYU,” Program Administrator Bruce Payne said. “Education Week is a program where anyone can attend classes and benefit from the atmosphere and resources of BYU.”

Payne said BYU spends all year planning for Education Week. They receive proposals and applications from potential presenters in September and review hundreds of class outlines before choosing 250 presenters to teach individual classes. They also coordinate travel and housing for presenters and participants, and work with all campus departments involved in the program.

“There are literally thousands and thousands of details that go into putting the program together,” Payne said.

There is a class schedule app available to participants that list classes and instructors and allows users to plan out which classes they want to attend each day.

“We have had the app for several years and thousands of people take advantage of it,” Payne said.

However, all classes remain first-come, first-seated. Payne reassured attendees that even if a specific class is filled, there are many others to attend.

“With more than 900 classes available, people can find classes in many areas of interest,” he said.

Last year Education Week featured the first class offered in a language other than English. According to Payne, this year will again hold presentations in Spanish on Monday, Aug. 21 in the Jesse Knight Building.

Debra Theobald McClendon, a licensed Utah psychologist, will be one of this year’s presenters. Her series of presentations, titled “Anxious, Anyone?” will take place over the course of the week.

“Mental health is such an important piece,” McClendon said. “Anxiety is particularly relevant because it’s so common.”

McClendon said the most frequent thing people seek outpatient therapy for is anxiety.

“Luckily, anxiety is one of the best things psychologist treat. It responds really well to treatment,” she said.

Crowds on campus participate in the Education Week festivities. This year’s BYU Education Week will feature Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve as the campus devotional speaker on Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Addie Blacker)

In her series, McClendon will discuss anxiety treatments, toxic perfectionism, religious obsessive compulsive disorder and more.

McClendon focuses on religious and moral OCD, also known as scrupulosity, frequently in her work outside of Education Week. She said anxiety can sometimes warp an individual’s view of God.

Scrupulous individuals are “overly concerned that something they thought or did might be a sin or other violation of religious or moral doctrine,” according to the International OCD Foundation.

Scrupulosity is relevant to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Utah community, McClendon said.

“My clients are scared of God. It’s not that our doctrine teaches that, it’s that the anxiety creates that,” she said.

McClendon recently published a book titled “Freedom from Scrupulosity: Reclaiming Your Religious Experience from Anxiety and OCD” that outlines perspectives on one’s view of God. The book “examin(es) its processes and detail(s) proven treatment practices,” according to a news release from the BYU Religious Studies Center.

“I love to teach about treatment to help empower people,” McClendon said.

She also said her classes are for family members of individuals experiencing anxiety. She said her classes can provide support.

“Family members particularly can get really worn down when someone is over-anxious,” McClendon said.

McClendon said even attending Education Week classes can trigger anxiety for some, but encourages participants to seek out classes they feel prompted to attend.

“I just invite people to have the courage — if they feel prompted — to attend any class, not just my class,” she said. “It can be life-changing.”

Education Week also features a series of evening events, including a musical concert called “The Redeemer,” featuring Jenny Oaks Baker, Dallyn Vail Bayles, Lexi Walker and others. The concert is centered around the life and mission of Jesus Christ and will take place in the Marriott Center Aug. 23-24 at 7:30 p.m.

BYU Dining Gift Cards will be available to those in attendance beginning Saturday, Aug. 19. The gift cards can be loaded in increments of $25 and used at all BYU Dining locations and provide discounts on meals at the Cannon Commons.

This year’s class schedule can be found on the Education Week website.

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