New Faculty Spotlight: Natalie Hancock

New FHSS professor Natalie Hancock had an “aha” moment on the first day of her undergraduate interior design class at BYU. Her professor was listing a few majors that might interest students who liked the class. “When she said Family and Consumer Sciences Education, I knew that was the major for me,” Professor Hancock said.

Then-student Hancock had always loved sewing and cooking, and she’d taken a few FACS classes during junior high, but it took the interior design professor’s comment to make Professor Hancock realize what she wanted to do with her life.

“I love Family and Consumer Sciences Education”

Natalie HancockSince taking that undergraduate course, Professor Hancock has given her all to helping family and consumer science students. She worked as a middle school and high school teacher for several years, where she integrated technology, math, science, and even social media into her classroom.

“Once I entered the teaching profession I loved learning how to become a better teacher. I wanted to share that passion with others,” Professor Hancock said. “I love Family and Consumer Sciences Education and believe everyone should major in this program.”

Professor Hancock said she has a clear goal in returning to BYU as a professor: to help students all over campus know about the FACS Education major. “The skills that are taught to secondary students by our FACS Education majors are vitally important,” Professor Hancock said. “FACS graduates can have a tremendous influence after they graduate and enter the secondary education classroom.”

Pursue What Inspires You

Professor Hancock said students should pursue what inspires them. They should also get to know their professors, she said, who “are wonderful people who want you to succeed.”

Looking back on her own undergraduate and graduate studies, Professor Hancock said the most valuable lesson she learned was to always do her best work. That way, she knew she was being true to her potential, and she could happily accept any grade she received.

Her parting word of advice? “One thing I absolutely loved about being a student at BYU was being able to attend devotionals and forums. Make sure you are attending.”

Welcome back to BYU, Professor Hancock!

BYU to host Social Work Conference on Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence. It seems like a daunting issue that only comes up in TV shows until it affects a loved one or happens to you. This serious public health problem, and the focus of the 12th Annual School of Social Work Conference, happens to both male and female individuals of all ages, socio-economic statuses, and religious affiliations. BYU Social Work professor and conference organizer Jini Roby states that “because human relationships are the foundation of security and happiness in life, intimate partner violence (IPV) can seriously impair the quality of life. At the extreme end, it is a leading cause of homicide in our country. Without intervention, IPV will impact not only the couple but also the children involved.”

While there is some misconception that Utah and Utah County have lower IPV rates, the area is about average with the national norm. Professor Roby notes that “there is also a greater stigma [here] so victims don’t come forward as readily, allowing the problem to escalate and subjecting children to [the] trauma of witnessing the abuse.” This year’s Social Work Conference, held November 3rd from 8 am to 5 pm in the Wilkinson Center, will

  • help professionals and community members understand the prevalence, dynamics, and impact of IPV on victims, perpetrators, and affected children in the family.
  • improve understanding of IPV on the couple’s relationship and the power dynamics in the family.
  • help individuals understand the research on IPV and how it can be used to develop effective treatment methods for victims, perpetrators, and affected children.

The conference will feature speakers such as

  • Dr. Sandra Stith of Kansas State University, who has written extensively about treating and understanding IPV;
  • Dr. Casey T. Taft of the National Center for PTSD in the VA Boston Healthcare System and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, who serves as Principal Investigator on several grants focusing on understanding and preventing partner violence;
  • Jennifer Oxborrow, the Executive Director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and an active volunteer with the statewide Crisis Intervention Stress Management team debriefing first responders after traumatic incidents; and
  • Stuart Harper, therapist and Treatment Coordinator at Orem’s Family Support and Treatment Center where he serves children and families whose lives have been affected by abuse and trauma.

For the schedule of when these individuals will present, click here. joseph-gonzalez-273526The Social Work Conference is formatted primarily for clinicians but members of the public are welcome. The conference may be particularly helpful for ecclesiastical leaders, community leaders and members, and family members of those affected by IPV.

When asked what someone could do to help a friend affected by IPV, Roby advised that they let the victim know that being a victim of domestic violence is not their fault. They should know that there are resources that they and their children can plug into. Some of these include:

  • domestic violence hotlines for their area (they can also call 911 if it is an emergency),
  • domestic violence service shelters in 17 cities in Utah ranging from Brigham City, St. George, Blanding and Vernal;
  • counseling,
  • legal services available through service centers.

 

Halloween Costumes Based on Your Majors and Minors

It’s that time of year again, where we get to dress up as our favorite characters, monsters, or people. There are so many options that it can be hard to pick your costume. To remedy that, here are costume ideas based on your FHSS major or minor.

History or Women’s Studies

Last year, History professor Ed Stratford hosted two “dead debates,” which were fun events in which various professors acted as “resuscitated” dead U.S. presidents and queens and debated modern political and gender issues. Watch this “Between Two Ferns” parody trailers for the Dead Queens Debate for costume ideas:

 

Geography

Embrace your inner explorer and dress up as Christopher Columbus! To dress like him, you would need:

  • baggy pants, tucked into
  • white knee socks
  • floppy hat
  • long sleeved shirt
  • Long, plain vest

For some ideas on how to create simple spyglasses out of paper cups, check out this post. To see some of the maps the geography department has made of the nation, click here.

Adobe Spark (16)

Anthropology

Dressing up like an anthropology major would be very easy, if this post is any indication.

Political Science

Abraham Lincoln or any current or past American president are just a few of the options available for political science students. Here are instructions for creating President Lincoln’s famous stovepipe hat.

For updates on the political science department, check out their blog.

Halloween doesn’t have to be hard; there are a plethora of people you can dress up as. So why not show some academic pride and dress up as someone from your major or minor?

Photo credits: Christopher Columbus.

Does Exercising Together Bring Couples Closer? New Study Says Maybe Not.

A new study done by BYU Family Life professor Dr. Lee Johnson shows that exercise, while helpful for individuals, might not be good for couples. It might, in fact, be an indicator of problems in the relationship. Women in couples therapy with their husbands reported that the more they exercised, the more intense their arguments tended to be.

The Study

The study consisted of daily surveys from 36 heterosexual couples, cohabitating or married. The questionnaire included such queries as:

  • What did you argue about?
  • How heated was the argument?
  • Since you last reported, did you spend time exercising?
  • How many minutes did you exercise?

couple 2Dr. Johnson found that when males were more stressed, they reported a higher level of argument intensity. Male exercise had no significant impact on the variables. However, when females reported exercising, both partners reported higher argument intensity.

This result was surprising, and ran counter to the hypothesis Johnson and the other investigators were looking to prove. “Exercise has been an important part of my life,” said Dr. Johnson, “and has contributed to bettering my relationships.  I have also seen in be helpful in the lives of couples I work with in therapy. At first, we were surprised by the finding.  There is a lot of research on the benefits of exercise helping many mental and physical aspect of our life but no research on how exercise will influence couples who are attending therapy.  However, when we thought further about the findings, we came up with the explanation that as time exercising increases that is time away from the relationship, which can contribute to increased arguments.  This is our current hypothesis that we need to conduct additional research on.”

Additionally, they posit that some partners might withdraw from their spouses to exercise because of increased argument intensity. Exercise, in this sense, can be an indication of decreased relationship quality.

Meaning and Next Steps

exercise

With those findings and theories in mind, Johnson offered the following advice to clinicians:

  • be conscientious of how they prescribe exercise interventions in couples therapy
  • help males learn to be attentive to their own physiology and facilitate self and partner soothing

By extension, then women and men in couples should be conscientious of how they use exercise in their relationships: as escape or aid.

The researcher plans to continue this study using accelerometers to gauge physical activity as opposed to using participants’ responses. “This study opens many areas for future research. These include generalizing the current study to a sample including non-white couples and non-heterosexual couples,” said Johnson.

 

Exercise photo courtesy of Curtis MacNewton

 

95 Things You Didn’t Know about Martin Luther, From A World Ablaze

Five hundred years ago, almost to the day, Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses. Even though five centuries divide us from the famous Reformer, historians, religious scholars, and even laypeople still talk about the impact his ideas had on Christian Europe. Unfortunately, few people know the whole story. In a new book, A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation, BYU history professor Craig Harline tells the story of the man who shook Christianity to its core. Harline’s book, published just recently, is refreshingly readable; he dives into the story and makes it interesting to non-historians. A must for anyone who likes a good storyline, the book’s pacing and suspense make it read like fiction.

FHSS commemorates the anniversary of the day Luther sent out his theses—October 31st—by sharing 95 interesting facts about his life and personality.

Luther’s Theses

  1. Nailing or gluing theses to church doors was a common practice in the early 1500s, but there’s no historical record indicating whether Luther actually posted his own 95 theses on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.
  2. We do know that Luther sent his theses (written in Latin) to two local bishops and an archbishop. A few days later, he began sending copies to his friends, asking for their opinions.
  3. Luther’s theses spread as clergymen forwarded copies to each other. There were no laws against reprinting another person’s work, so someone eventually arranged to print more copies, and those made their way around the Holy Roman Empire.
  4. Printers began publishing German translations of Luther’s theses in early 1518. That allowed laypeople, not just scholars, to access his ideas.
  5. What exactly is a thesis? It’s a claim supporting a larger idea, often defended or attacked in a debate-like setting known as a disputation.
  6. Luther’s bishop discouraged him from holding a disputation, so Luther didn’t have the chance to defend his theses in the usual forum in 1517 or 1518.
  7. The topic of Luther’s theses? The practice of the Catholic church offering “indulgences,” or forgiveness of sins a person had committed in exchange for certain actions, such as a specified prayer, the visiting of a particular place, the performance of specific good works, or the giving of alms.
  8. In  particular, he opposed the funding of the construction of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome and the paying-off of the debts of the Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz by alms gathered from indulgences.
  9. Luther wrote his 95 theses carefully, but many people interpreted them as attacks on the pope himself.
  10. Pope Leo X read Luther’s theses in early 1518. He sent word that Luther should keep silent on the subject of indulgences, but he didn’t do anything else… at first.
  11. Luther published an eight-page pamphlet, A Sermon on Indulgences and Grace, in March 1518 to clarify and expound on his ideas about indulgences.
  12. Luther’s Sermon, written in German, was even more popular than his theses. The pamphlet went through 14 printings in 1518.
  13. Luther spent much of 1518 writing papers to defend his theses, to refute his critics’ arguments, and to preach on other subjects. He was on his way to becoming one of the most prolific writers of his century.
  14. Luther also wrote a 170-page document called Explanations, which he sent to the pope to elaborate on his 95 theses.
  15. Luther rewrote some of his theses in Explanations, using stronger language against indulgences and saying that “the pope [was] only human and [could] err in matters of faith and morals.”
Ninety-five_Theses_(Basel)
Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, as printed in a pamphlet in Basel.

Luther’s Trial

  1.  After reading Explanations, the pope ordered Luther to come to Rome for a trial. Luther feared that a Roman trial would condemn him and keep him from ever returning to Germany.
  2. Prince Frederick, who ruled most of Saxony (including Wittenberg) and carried lots of political clout, intervened and changed the trial’s location from Rome to Augsburg, Germany.
  3. On the first day of the trial, Luther got into a yelling match with Cardinal Tomasso Cajetan, who led the trial.
  4. Johann von Staupitz, Luther’s superior in the Augustinian order of monks where he served, rushed to Augsburg after hearing about the disastrous first day. He convinced Luther to prepare a statement for the following days in court.
  5. In Luther’s written statement, he explained his position and included many scriptures, but Cajetan dismissed everything as “mere words.”
  6. The trial ended with Cajetan threatening Luther with excommunication and telling him not to return unless he was ready to recant.
  7. Rumors spread around Augsburg that Cajetan was going to order Luther’s arrest.
  8. As the highest-ranking Augustinian in Augsburg, Staupitz knew that he could be ordered to arrest Luther, so Staupitz absolved Luther of his vow of obedience. This effectively divorced Luther from the Augustinian order.
  9. Staupitz then fled Augsburg before Cajetan could take further action.
  10. Luther remained in the city until October 20. He posted an appeal to the pope on the church door, then rode out of Augsburg on an unsaddled horse.
  11. Luther rode back into Wittenberg on October 31, 1518. It was the first anniversary of the fateful day he sent out his theses.
800px-Wittenberg-1536
Wittenberg, 1536 (during Luther’s lifetime). Public domain.

Luther’s Tenuous Status in Saxony

  1. Even though Luther was no longer an Augustinian friar, he was still a preacher and a professor at Prince Frederick’s university in Wittenberg. He spent most of the fall of 1518 worrying that he would have to suddenly flee the city to avoid arrest.
  2. Knowing that Luther relied on Prince Frederick’s protection, Cajetan wrote to the prince to say that Luther should be arrested, or at least thrown out of Saxony.
  3. Two months after receiving Cajetan’s letter, Prince Frederick wrote back to say that Luther wasn’t a heretic because he still hadn’t had a real trial and no one had actually forced him to recant.
  4. Enrollment at Prince Frederick’s university increased sharply (from about 400 to 552) in 1518, mainly because students wanted to be taught by the famous Luther. The spike in enrollment is one reason behind the prince’s protection.
  5. The prince might have privately agreed with Luther’s concerns. He was intelligent, and he usually believed expert opinions when he heard them.
  6. But for political reasons, Prince Frederick couldn’t show obvious support of Luther. Frederick feared attack from other German princes (who could use Luther’s “heresy” as a pretext to attack Frederick), the taking of his lands by his own family members, excommunication, and subsequent loss of political power.
  7. Luther’s next big publication hit the press in December 1518: Acta Augustana, his account of the Augsburg trial and his assertion that Cajetan had labelled him as a heretic before the trial even began.
  8.  Pope Leo sent Karel von Miltitz, a Saxon nobleman who ran in the papal circles, to bargain with Prince Frederick over Luther’s fate. Miltitz, an inexperienced delegate, couldn’t convince the prince to arrest Luther, but he did secure a meeting with Luther himself.
  9. Miltitz and Luther met and reached a compromise, but Emperor Maximilian, of the Holy Roman Empire, died just days later. The pope wanted a particular person installed as the next emperor, and Prince Frederick was an elector who got to help choose the emperor, so the two parties shelved their discussion on Luther’s fate until the new emperor had been elected.
  10. Even with the conversation paused, the pope wrote to Luther and said that Miltitz had told him that Luther was willing to recant. Luther replied that Miltitz was mistaken and that he’d only recant if someone could prove he was wrong.
  11. In the meantime, Luther was appointed dean of Prince Frederick’s university.
Rose_Martin_Luther_1530_couleur.svg
Luther’s rose, which he personally designed as a letter seal. It symbolizes his ideology and religious beliefs.

Luther’s Long-Awaited Disputation

  1. In early 1519, a scholar named Johann Eck began preparing for a disputation that seemed to target Luther’s ideas, even though Eck only invited Luther’s friend and ally Karlstadt to participate. Luther wasn’t sure if he’d be invited to debate Eck or not, but he prepared just in case.
  2. The disputation was important to all of Christian Europe, and Luther knew how influential its outcome would be. That’s why he put so much effort into preparing, without even knowing if he could participate.
  3. While Luther was preparing for the disputation, his ideas became even more radical. He studied the topic of the pope’s authority and said he wasn’t sure “whether the pope is the Antichrist himself or whether he is his apostle.”
  4. In May 1519, Luther published a thesis hinting that the pope’s authority wasn’t supreme. Luther wrote that scriptures and church history and the church’s fathers all proved that the pope didn’t actually have as much authority as he claimed.
  5. Luther’s friends asked him to drop the subject of the pope’s authority, but Luther said he knew Christ was with him, or else he already would have been burned at the stake.
  6. With less than a week to go before the disputation, Eck still hadn’t invited Luther to participate, but Luther made the 50-mile trip to Leipzig (the disputation’s setting) anyway. About 200 Wittenberg students followed his wagon.
  7. Just three days before the disputation, a fight broke out between the students who supported Luther and the students who supported Eck. Luther’s side took the heat for the encounter, so Leipzig officials stationed 34 guards near the Wittenberg group’s lodgings.
  8. On June 27, the first day of the disputation, Eck finally asked Luther to debate him after he’d finished his disputation with Karlstadt. Luther agreed.
  9. The first round of the disputation (between Eck and Karlstadt) lasted days, but Luther called it “wretched.” The two men only debated free will, not indulgences, papal authority, or any of Luther’s other favorite subjects.
  10. Luther kept a couple of good-luck charms nearby during his own portion of the disputation: roses and a silver ring that probably contained an amulet in a capsule.
  11. During the disputation, Luther argued that scriptures—not church fathers—were the most authoritative source of doctrine. He also explained that scriptures like Matthew 16 (“you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”) had always been misinterpreted.
  12. Eck discredited Luther by comparing him to notorious and widely-feared heretic Jan Hus. Luther fell into the trap and responded that some of Hus’s teachings weren’t so bad, so Eck immediately attacked him for that. From then on, Luther’s critics often compared him to Hus.
  13. Luther left Leipzig as soon as the disputation was over, leaving before he could even find out who would judge the winner, let alone who would be declared winner of the disputation.
  14. It took months to declare the winner; the university scholars appointed to judge the disputation didn’t want to touch such a controversial topic. Eventually, other scholars from the Universities of Cologne and Leuven condemned Luther’s writing.
Statue of Martin Luther outside the Frauenkirche, Dresden, Germany.

Luther’s Excommunication

    1. The pope finally put a commission together to draft a bull, or decree, threatening Luther with excommunication. Shortly afterward, the pope invited Luther’s rival, Eck, to join the commission.
    2. The bull named forty-one of Luther’s teachings as evidence against him. It said he had sixty days, from the time the bull was posted in Wittenberg, to recant, or else he’d be officially labelled as a notorious heretic.
    3. Two men, Eck and a church official named Aleandro took the bull into German lands. Aleandro met the brand-new emperor in the Netherlands and convinced him to proclaim the bull, as well as order burnings of Luther’s books.
    4. Eck had a much harder time convincing Germans to post the bull in their cities, and he feared for his safety as he did so. In the end, he paid militiamen from Leipzig to take the bull into several Saxon cities, including Wittenberg.
    5. The university rector in Wittenberg refused to post the bull, but he showed it to Luther right away, marking the beginning of the 60-day grace period.
    6. Wittenberg University’s enrollment immediately dropped. A quarter of the students left, fearing that they would be condemned alongside Luther if they didn’t get out right away.
    7. Even after reading the bull, Luther remained firm. He wrote to a friend that he would never be reconciled to Rome and that he’d burn their books if they were burning his.
    8. Throughout 1520, Luther called for drastic reform within the church, even before he read the bull against him. He published a book calling on German nobles to lead the church, which many Germans viewed as a call for greater independence from Rome.
    9. In early October, Luther published a book that criticized the church’s sacraments and openly called the pope the Antichrist.
    10. On the day that Luther’s 60-day grace period expired, he organized a book burning, in which he personally threw the pope’s bull into the fire.
    11. Luther was excommunicated in another bull dated January 3, 1521. But Aleandro feared certain political consequences and didn’t publish it until October, so no one knew about it until then.
512px-Decet_Romanum_Pontificam
The papal bull that excommunicated Luther on January 3, 1521. Public domain.

Luther’s Writings

  1. Luther was a prolific writer whose books and pamphlets brought good business to printers. Publishing exploded in German lands during the 1520s, in large part thanks to Luther.
  2. Between 1520 and 1526, Luther’s writings accounted for 20 percent of the pamphlets published in German lands.
  3. Most scholars refused to write at a level that laypeople could understand, but Luther didn’t mind doing so. He had always preached simply, and he adopted the same style in his writing.
  4. Luther didn’t just publish works that attacked the pope or church practices. He also wrote pastoral works for laypeople on topics like prayer, good works, and the Ten Commandments.
  5. Luther’s writings were popular because he seemed to give answers to real-world problems, including political, social and economic issues.
  6. Luther was meticulous about the way his books and pamphlets looked: he insisted that his printers use good fonts, and he preferred interesting cover designs.
  7. With an overall literacy rate of 5 percent in German lands (30 percent in towns), most people didn’t learn about Luther’s ideas by reading them. Instead, preachers read Luther’s books aloud, or people heard Luther’s ideas through word of mouth.
  8. Luther’s writings made good money for printers, but the author himself never took a cent of the money.
633px-Lutherbibel
Luther’s translation of the Bible, published in 1534.

The End of Luther’s Story

    1. In spring 1521, Luther finally had a hearing in front of the emperor. He apologized for the tone of some of his writings, but he refused to recant.
    2. On May 5, 1521, Luther was on his way back to Wittenberg when two horsemen kidnapped him and took him to Wartburg.
    3. The catch? Prince Frederick owned a remote, little-used castle in Wartburg. Knowing he needed to protect his citizen from harm, Frederick cooked up the plan and let Luther in on the secret before he set out for Wittenberg.
    4. Luther remained in hiding at Wartburg Castle for months. He went by “Knight George” during his sojourn there, and barely anyone was even aware that someone was staying there. Only five men knew his true identity.
    5. Luther continued to write during his time at Wartburg. He sent his manuscripts to print through the men who knew his real identity.
    6. During that time, Luther wrote out against monastic vows, and the response was immediate: many monks and friars quit their offices for good.
    7. While hiding at Wartburg Castle, Luther translated the New Testament into German. It wasn’t the first German translation to hit the press, but Luther translated it into everyday, idiomatic German.
    8. Quiet Wittenberg became a hotspot of religious reform during Luther’s absence. Preachers made major changes to the Mass, even though Prince Frederick asked them to keep their reforms in check.
    9. Prince Frederick wanted Luther to remain in hiding, but Luther returned to Wittenberg on his own, determined to be the shepherd the city needed.
    10. Although Luther advocated for reform, he wanted change to take place slowly and peacefully. He wanted to make sure that his followers’ hearts changed before their religious practices did.
    11. Luther quickly restored order to Wittenberg, then gradually reformed Mass and other religious practices.
    12. Throughout Luther’s career as a preacher, he gave 4,000 sermons (more than 100 per year). Today, we have records of about 2,300 of them.
    13. Luther wrote and published an average of 1,800 pages per year.
    14. Luther also translated the Old Testament into understandable German, and his translation was eventually published in the same volume as his earlier translation of the New Testament.
    15. He married a former nun in 1525 and had six children with her (four of whom survived to adulthood).
    16. He died in 1546 after years of suffering from bad health.
1529MartinLuther
Martin Luther; 1529 painting from the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder.

 Luther’s Character and Personality

    1. Luther originally planned to study law, but he dropped out to become a friar because, as he told everyone, “God gave him no choice.”
    2. He was highly critical of himself, especially in his early years as a friar. He often punished himself for sinning.
    3. Luther was fairly timid and humble when he first sent out his famous 95 theses, telling Archbishop Albrecht that he knew he was just a “speck of dust.”
    4. Luther became bolder as he wrote and spoke against church practices. He wrote what he thought and didn’t care about the consequences, believing that he was doing God’s will and that nothing else mattered.
    5. He was stubborn and often ignored Prince Frederick’s advice, even knowing that he needed Frederick’s protection.
    6. Luther was a highly-skilled preacher and writer, always teaching people on a level they could understand.
    7. Luther said he married his wife for three reasons: to please his father, to spite the pope, and to practice what he preached about marriage. It was not a romantic union.
    8. Luther’s temper had never been good, but it worsened toward the end of his life. He wrote out caustically against Catholics and Jews; even if he didn’t believe in killing Jews, like many of his contemporaries did, he thought they should be deported and their synagogues burned.
    9. The last words Luther ever wrote were, “We are beggars. That is true.” Those simple phrases characterized his religious beliefs and attitudes well.

We’ve done our best to share Luther’s story concisely, but the truth is that it’s almost impossible to do it justice in 95 bullet points. (And given his love for writing and commitment to churning out dozens of publications a year, Luther himself would probably agree.)

We highly recommend A World Ablaze; in fact, we guarantee that it’ll be the best nonfiction you read this year.

The book is available from Oxford University Press, on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Christianbook.com, and eBay.

 

New SFL Professor Aims to Mix Religion and Science

alyssa witting“There is no conflict between science and religion. Conflict only arises from an incomplete knowledge of either science or religion, or both,” said Elder Russell M. Nelson. New School of Family Life professor Dr. Alyssa Witting believes that religion and science can tremendously inform and help each other in the field of therapy. She intends on bringing this perspective to her work at BYU. 

The Scientific and the Spiritual

“As an LDS scholar, I have an overarching hope that my work will help in the effort to bridge gaps in AND between our gospel understanding and scholarly understanding of how to heal from trauma. We know that anything true is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ…. There is much to be learned about what we can and should do to help those affected by mass and personal traumas by turning to the scriptures and the words of modern-day prophets as well as the wonderful work and work of trauma researchers and theorists,” said Dr. Witting, who studies trauma.

Work with Students

The scholar is also excited to be teaching at BYU, calling her relationship with educating others a “love story.” While teaching at another university, she “learn[ed] to approach [her] students with an aim to serve them and stretch them rather than impress them.” This led to “[being filled] with confidence and peace that I had something to contribute. It also allowed me to practice…trying new things all geared toward creating an environment where people enter and feel respected, challenged, stretched and cared about, just like I do in my clinical work.”

She offered the following advice to students:

  • Rise above the fear that you are not good enough. Look outwards and find people that you can help and encourage. “Actively consider and pray to know how your talents can fit the needs [of those] around you. It will truly alleviate anxiety about being good enough because you will see the work the Lord has given you is uniquely suited for you. There is no one better for your mission than you.”
  • View failure as “inspiring learning.” Use your setbacks and challenges to reach farther and climb higher.

Time at BYU

“I feel very humbled to be a faculty member at BYU. I have truly extraordinary researchers and teachers who are people of great character to interact with and learn from as my colleagues and I feel privileged to be surrounded by the incredibly bright and dedicated students here in FHSS. I can honestly say there is no place I would rather or even would have continued my work as an academic,” said Dr. Witting. Welcome to BYU, Dr. Witting!

Utah Special Election 2017: Why Your Student Vote Matters

As millennials, we hate hearing over and over again that we are not civically involved because we actually are, according to education researcher Catherine Broom: we volunteer in our community, we generally know who our political representatives are, and we petition for positive change on social media. But there’s one thing that our generation has continually forgotten or neglected to do: vote.

When public office candidacies are determined by a handful of votes, it’s an understatement to say that every vote matters. This is the trend that’s being seen in recent past elections, yet research shows that nationally only 42% of 18-24 year-olds were registered to vote, a 40-year low, and only 17% of registered voters cast a ballot in the 2014 elections.

On November 7, Municipal General Elections as well as a Special General Election will be held and your votes are needed. The elections consist of the following:

Municipal General Elections

Municipal general elections are how you vote for your local mayor and city council members. In Provo, candidates for mayor include Michelle Kaufusi, Sherrie Hall Everett, and write-in Odell Miner. Acting as the executive branch in local government, the mayor’s responsibilities include, among other things, enforcement of all laws applicable to those residing or conducting business in Provo.

Municipal elections also allow individuals to vote for the city council member who will represent their local district. As the legislative branch and policy makers of Provo, the City Council

  • Establishes laws.
  • Sets policy.
  • Oversees the city’s budget.
  • Provides opinion on the administrative branch’s execution of the law
  • Approves long-term contracts and commitments of city resources.

Political science professor Chis Karpowitz  notes that there are two major reasons why BYU students should care about these local, and specifically mayoral, elections in a recent The Daily Universe article:  “One reason is that decisions made in Provo directly affect a student’s life — things like where they can live, where they can park, what community resources are available to them. The second reason they should care is because students could turn the election…they turned out to vote.”

Special General Election

Utah’s 3rd Congressional District representative Congressman Jason Chaffetz resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives this past June, leaving a vacancy. The House of Representatives is responsible for making and passing laws, formed by the bills and resolutions introduced by our own district representatives. Candidates for the position include current Provo Mayor Republican John Curtis, Democrat Kathie Allen, Libertarian Joe Buchman, United Party Jim Bennett, Independent American Party Jason Christensen, and unaffiliated candidate Sean Whalen.

John Curtis and Kathie Allen have taken a particular interest in college students and the millennial generation.

john curtis
Courtesy of John Curtis

In the past month both candidates have in fact made special efforts to spend time with and reach out to millennials. Curtis has held several “meet and greets” with students at Slab Pizza and Sodalicious, later posting on his Twitter account that “these people will change the world.” Kathie Allen has likewise held special town hall events where she told millennials that “if they would own their voting power, they could change the outcome of this special election and elections nationwide”.

katie Allen
Courtesy of Kathie Allen.

In a town where one third (32.6%) of the population is college or graduate school students, Provo millennials need to accept the challenge and responsibility to vote. “We don’t have a right to complain about [politics] if we have this right to vote and we don’t exercise it because that’s how things change. It’s a really cool power we have, so why not use it?” shared Samantha Frazier, a Political Science major and President of BYU’s Republican group on campus in a recent article

Make change with your votes, Cougars.

How To Vote

elliott-stallion-105205The first step to vote is to register. The last day to register in person at the Utah County Election Office (see the state website for necessary documentation, hint: you don’t have to have a Utah license if you still intend to be a Utah resident) is October 31st, but you can also register online (just remember to have your Utah drivers license with you) by that date. Since all ballots will be conducted entirely by mail, make sure you register as soon as possible and that your registered address is your current residence. Your completed ballot must be postmarked no later than November 6th to be counted in the election.

In the past, BYU students have led several projects to help millennials lift their political voice, but this year’s special and municipal elections are the time to put these initiatives into action. Vote November 7th and join one of the many BYU campus clubs geared towards politics and civic engagement to stay involved until the next election.

 

David Baron on the Other Eclipse That Enlightened America

This past August wasn’t the first time the world raced to see a solar eclipse roll over the United States. In 1878, a total solar eclipse passed over the western half of the country, with an arguably larger effect. David Baron, a former NRP science correspondent who has spent five years studying that eclipse, says that, on July 29, 1878, many influential individuals and scientists, including Vassar College astronomer Maria Mitchel, an all-female expedition, and Thomas Edison, came to observe the astronomical wonder gained insight and inspiration from the eclipse that year. Mr. Baron will speak on this eclipse and its effects on October 26 at 11 am in the Education in Zion Auditorium (B192 JFSB).

rodion-kutsaev-48565“The eclipse of 1878 was really important because it came at a time when America was just trying to prove to the rest of the world that it was not just some industrial power but that it actually was an intellectual nation,” shared Baron in an NPR interview earlier this year. “This was our chance – an eclipse in our own backyard – to show what we could do in science.” Since that time, the United States has continued to show that it can accomplish many incredible scientific feats, starting with the invention of the Edison light bulb the year following the eclipse. 

charles reddDavid Baron is a former NPR science correspondent and the author of American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. His last book, The Beast in the Garden, won the 2003 Colorado Book Award. This event will be hosted by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and is free to the public.

 

Older and Wiser too: The Benefits of Aging

In general, people think of aging as a bad thing. When you age, you get wrinkles, become less mobile, and your brain literally shrinks in size. But there’s a different, better way to think about aging, says Dr. Mark E. Agronin, a presenter at BYU’s 2017 Gerontology Conference. In this brief video, Dr. Agronin suggests that when areas of the brain become less separated and begin to “mesh together” when individuals age, “instead of using just one part of the brain, we can use many parts of the brain,” a great strength that allows people to

  • develop mental resilience and the ability to rebalance one’s perspectives over time and deal with adversity.
  • increase creativity that can be used to overcome adversity and strengthen relationships.

Are you embracing the blessings of your age?


Dr. Agronin’s full lecture is available here.

This post is part of a series of videos available on our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.

Celebrate Reformers at the Dead Reformers’ Debate

Five hundred years after Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of a church, he is known as the leader of the Reformation. John Calvin was a Protestant reformer whose doctrines gave birth to Calvinism.  St. Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish nun who pushed for Carmelite reform and eventually founded and oversaw seventeen convents in her native country. All three have taken their places in history as reformers who changed the direction of their societies, the ripple effects of which are still felt today. On October 30, our History Department will feature their “reincarnations,” as well as that of William Tyndale, in its third annual Debate of the Dead: the Dead Reformers’ Debate.

We hope that people will gain a sense of the historical Reformation, some doctrine, but also have some laughs,” said Professor Ed Stratford, who will serve as moderator of the debate. The event will celebrate the Reformation, and take place on the day before Luther put his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church. Though the particular day was far less dramatic than it has come to be remembered, we’ll have some fun with it.”

The Reformers

For Martin Luther’s role in the Protestant Reformation, he was dubbed “one of the most influential figures in the history of Christianity” by Britannica Academic. In 1517, he wrote the Ninety-Five Theses, which proposed a debate on certain religious practices. The theses were disseminated throughout Germany, resulting in a massive religious upheaval and reformation. Professor Stratford called him “an obvious choice” for inclusion in the debate.

william Tyndale
William Tyndale

William Tyndale was an English scholar who, in 1525, completed an English language translation of the New Testament. He was executed before he could finish translating the Old Testament. John Calvin was highly esteemed by the puritans of his time, who brought his teachings with them to America. St. Teresa of Ávila was the author of many spiritual works in the late 1500’s. She was elevated to the position of Doctor of the Church and considered to be a powerful Roman Catholic mystic. She pushed for Carmelite reform and eventually founded and oversaw seventeen convents in her native country. 

Previous Debates

calvin
John Calvin

The previous debates—the Dead Presidents and the Dead Queensfocused on modern political and gender issues respectively. In the former, which took place prior to the 2016 presidential election, Presidents Jackson, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, and Lincoln debated Trump’s and Clinton’s stances regarding foreign and immigration policies, what their strengths were, and whether or not Trump was justified in having hurt feelings.

teresa
St. Teresa of Ávila

The queens at the latter debate were Joan of Arc, Empress Cixi, Martha Ballard, and Hurrem Sultan. They discussed women’s role in the politics, the workforce, and whether or not women were better off in modern society. At the conclusion of the debate, the women offered advice: “Joan admonished that it is ‘important to listen to what God wants you to do.’ Hurrem said to overcome obstacles and ‘believe in yourself.’ Martha encouraged women to keep journals, and Cixi offered sage advice about addiction: “[It] is bad. Pursue your education.’”

The Dead Reformers’ Debate will be held on October 30th in the Varsity Theater at 4pm.

Photo credits: Martin Luther, St. Teresa of Ávila, William Tyndale, and John Calvin.