The Chicago Experiment: Finding the Voice and Charting the Course of Religious Education in the Church

In many professions, Latter-day Saints often struggle to find harmony between their religion and their career. This has been especially true in academia, in most of its diverse disciplines. These challenges were particularly fierce when the Church began developing its own corps of professional religious educators to teach and lead in the newly founded seminary and institute programs of the early twentieth century. In the early 1930s, religious educators in the Church developed a close relationship with the School of Divinity at the University of Chicago. Eleven young Latter-day Saint scholars earned advanced degrees at the school at the Church’s request during that period. This study focuses only on those who left behind extensive recollections and correspondence, telling their stories in their own words where possible. The LDS scholars encountered a liberal climate that challenged their religious beliefs but also expanded their knowledge of biblical scholarship. This article gets at the heart of the dynamic between faith and scholarship in the field of religion.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 49:4
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