The BYU Religion Department issued a call for student papers last week as part of its annual Religious Education Student Symposium. BYU undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit 10- to 12-page papers on "any religious topics ranging from scriptural topics and church history to world religions and teachings of living prophets." Winners get their paper published and may also receive cash prizes of up to $1,000. I would be interested in seeing a list of titles of papers submitted in prior years, but no links were given in the story.
The story quoted the apparent spokesperson for the program as saying past submissions have been "very bright and faithful." One of the goals of the program, she said, is "learning to write soundly with a cloak of faith." Cloak of faith — interesting metaphor. And what happens to the student who submits a paper that is not sufficiently cloaked with faith? Maybe the development of good cloaking skills is one of the goals of the program. The story notes that the program was started with the encouragement of a visiting General Authority, in order to develop gospel scholarship among the students. Before this program, notes a BYU prof, there had been no forum where "students could write meaningful papers in church history and doctrine where they could give their own ... perspective and viewpoints on matters of the church." The deadline for paper submissions is November 28.