Special Event | BYU Studies

Special Event

May 16, 2017
Special Event
BYU Distinguished Faculty Lecture
BYU Studies Staff

On May 16, 2017, BYU Professor Brent Slife will deliver the Distinguished Faculty Lecture on BYU campus. It will be broadcast on BYU-TV live and will later be made available as video and transcript at BYU Speeches. Dr. Slife also presented “My Journey as a Scholar of Faith” at BYU on October 17, 2013, available here.

Dr. Slife is the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding and Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University. His complete vita includes many awards and professional responsibilities.

Dr. Slife states about his research interests: “I am both a clinical and theoretical psychologist. My interests encompass the theoretical underpinnings of psychotherapy and scientific methodology, and my current research involves two basic elements. The first element asks the somewhat novel question, at least in psychology: what if God truly mattered in the theory, research, and practice of psychology? The second element is the exploration of a relational ontology for psychotherapy and psychology in general. This second interest also entails theory, research, and practice on a new way of thinking about human nature as well as the good life, both vital topics in psychotherapy.”

We are honored that Dr. Slife published an article in BYU Studies several years ago. His article “Values of Christian Families: Do They Come from Unrecognized Idols?” (issue 38, no. 2, 1999) asks the question, What are our values based on and why? Do we seek personal happiness above all else? Do we place obedience to commandments as our aim? Do we have a relativistic view that God dispenses unconditional love and acceptance? Or do we rely on a relational bedrock, with God as the head of the family? Slife concludes that it is our relationships and covenants with God that give the best foundation:

This relational center must surely be good news for Christian parents, who are saddled with a difficult responsibility in today s society. It is perhaps this kind of burden that led Christ to say, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). With a relationship to God, parents are no longer solely responsible for their children’s happiness or obedience to a set of moral principles—including those of the relativist. The good news is that Christian parents are not alone in leading their families. In fact, part of being a Christian parent is pointing consistently and continually to the real family Leader. Parents still have responsibilities and must lead, to be sure, but their leadership and responsibilities lie with their responsiveness to God’s leadership and their facilitation of their children’s relationship to their Lord. Christian parents love, for example, not because they are tolerant (as in relativism) or because a moral principle says they should (as in moralism) or because love provides them a reward (as in hedonism). Christian parents love because they are responsive to their own loving relationship with God (1 John 3:16).