On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a Mormon Studies class and a French class. I like both for different reasons. I like the Mormon Studies class, because it examines issues facing LDS Intellectuals in academia rather than big issues being dealt with in Mormon culture or the news. It is pretty fascination because while most religious traditions have professional academics who are part of the structure of the religion, Mormonism does not. Most people who study Mormonism do so as part of a university instead of being paid by a church. BYU has a number of academic who are Mormon studying Mormon history and religious text, but BYU doesn’t have anyone who studies Mormon theology or anthropology. Historian, philosophers, theologians, anthropologists, literary critics, scriptorians, and what not who study Mormonism as a part of their academic profession are almost always employed outside of the LDS formal educational bureaucracy and because of that there is a lot of tension between the actual LDS church and academics who study Mormonism even if the intellectual in question is a loyal, believing member of the LDS church. What we examine in class rarely is discussed in church if ever other than when an LDS religious leader acts against university professors who study Mormonism.
I like the French class because it is a welcome relief from my other classes. The French class is hard, but it is not nearly as serious an endeavor as the Philosophy of Mormonism, Rhetoric, and the study of American Novels.