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I could be wrong, but I have a running hypothesis that, in terms of controversy, tone is more important than content. It's the difference between your mother sitting you down and saying, "Sweety, you're growing up and it's time to use deoderant" and having kids on the school bus chant, "You stink!"

Very good that BYU encourages students to write on topics related to church history and doctrine.

But yes, I too was turned off by the whole issue of the papers having to be "faithful". I mean, if BYU is supposed to be a real university instead of an advanced Sunday school they really have to start thinking more closely about their standards. In this way they lose all credibility as a university in my eyes. Faithful is good, but there is a time and place for everything.

Northerner, I'm not sure if the "faithfulness" requirement is just added by the spokesperson or whether it reflects an actual requirement of a winning (or submitted) paper.

Apparently the 16 winning papers are published in an annual publication: here a link to the BYU Bookstore page for the 2003 publication, entitled Student Symposium 2003. Maybe someone can find it in the bookstore or the library and post the table of contents? I'm just curious whether the articles are Sunday-Schoolish or FARMSish.

I participated in the first such held a 3-4 (?) years ago. My uninformed impressions:

1. I'd like to think it is more FARMish than not. My piece delt with Ipsissima Verba (sp?), i.e. first person statements by deity in the Book of Mormon. Result = roughly 1 in 8 verses.

My article then morphed into a 1-page research in progress summarized in the monthly FARMS newsletter.

My entry for the 2nd year wasn't published, the same deal but this time on the Bible. Who can say?

My recollection of the first two years published pieces was that of entry level graduate student papers; some with real promise and no real fluff.

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