Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sacred vs. Secular at BYU

Greg Smith has another thoughtful and very much on-target post on the difference between BYU and a secular university. He begins by quoting Elder Neal A. Maxwell on the difference between the two and how
This may seem a small point, but in fact the opportunity for the infusion of gospel concepts confers a major advantage.
Having taught the same class at both a secular university and at BYU, I can appreciate the difference. The secular subject is the same but the slight difference in approach makes a big difference in outcome. BYU simply provides more academic freedom to discuss what really matters, to integrate the gospel into one's subject, and to make one's subject interesting and relevant. Secular approaches are so much more stifling. Having experienced both, I pity those small-minded souls who abandon the "large and spacious field, as if it had been a world" (1 Nephi 8:9, 20) for the confines of the "great and spacious building" (1 Nephi 8:26, 31). Those who want to make BYU into merely another secular university are misguided.