Joseph F. Merrill became the first native Utahn to earn a PhD. Working at the University of Utah, he labored to reconcile the secular world with the spiritual world of his youth. In 1912 he helped establish the first Latter-day Saint seminary at Granite High School. As Church commissioner of education, he helped establish the institutes of religion, with a mission to allow college students to reconcile the secular truths learned in university settings with the truths of the gospel. He created the Religion Department at Brigham Young University and encouraged young scholars to produce professional studies of the Latter-day Saint religion. In 1933 Merrill was called as an Apostle, and in that role he continued his work to modernize the Church. In the final years of his life, Merrill continued to work to show that science and religion could be reconciled.
Casey Paul Griffiths is an assistant teaching professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University. He was born and raised in Delta, Utah. He completed a BA degree in history at Brigham Young University. He later earned an MA in religious education and a PhD in educational leadership and foundations at BYU. His studies focused on the development of religious education programs among the Latter-day Saints. Before joining the faculty at BYU, Griffiths served in Seminaries and Institutes for eleven years as a teacher and a curriculum writer. His research focuses on the history of religious education among Latter-day Saints, the history of the Church in the Pacific, and diverse movements associated with the Restoration.
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