Message from the Chair
As an integral part of Brigham Young University and Religious Education, the Department of Ancient Scripture exists to "assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life" by teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. In this context we seek to help students reach the aims of a BYU education through providing instruction and experiences that are spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, character building, and leading to a commitment of lifelong learning and service. The central means utilized by the faculty and staff of the department to help students obtain these goals is teaching and research concerning the doctrines, covenants, ordinances and history found in the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In addition to assisting students to increase their "faith in God and in the restored gospel," those who successfully complete Ancient Scripture courses will have been instructed concerning the "reason for the hope" (JST 1 Peter 3:15, italics added) that is within them, thus emphasizing the importance of "learning, even by study and also by faith" (D&C 88:118).
Camille Fronk Olson
Camille Fronk Olson is a professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at BYU. Prior to her assignment as Department Chair, Dr. Olson acted as Associate Chair for the Department of Ancient Scripture. She earned a PhD. in Sociology of the Middle East from Brigham Young University; a Master's Degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies; and a Bachelor's Degree in Education. Her dissertation focused on Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Previous to coming to BYU, Dr. Olson taught institute and seminary in the Salt Lake area and was Dean of Students at LDS Business College. She is a former member of the Young Women General Board and served a full-time mission to Toulouse, France. Dr. Olson teaches courses in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Women in Scripture at BYU and has taught at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Her publication interests are centered in LDS doctrine and women in antiquity, especially the Bible. Born and reared in Tremonton, Utah, Dr. Olson and her husband Paul F. Olson reside in Provo.
Kerry received his B.S. from BYU in Psychology with a Hebrew minor. As an undergraduate he spent time at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies in the intensive Hebrew program. He received an M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from BYU and his Ph.D. from UCLA in Egyptology. He taught courses in Hebrew and Religion part time at BYU and the UVSC extension center, as well as in history at Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA. He also taught early morning seminary and at the Westwood (UCLA) Institute of Religion. His first full time appointment was a joint position in Religion and History at BYU-Hawaii. He is the director of the BYU Egypt Excavation Project. He and his wife, Julianne, are the parents of six children, and together they have lived in Jerusalem while Kerry has taught there. He has served as the chairman of a national committee for the American Research Center in Egypt, and has worked with Educational Testing Services on their AP World History exam.
Jeanine Ehat serves as the department secretary for Ancient Scripture. She is the executive assistant to the chair and assists department faculty with travel, budgeting, and scheduling issues. She also manages student hiring and maintains KRONOS, serves as the key rep for scheduling and classroom changes, and handles textbook requests. She serves as the office manager and supervises department receptionists. Jeanine earned a bachelor's degree in English from BYU. She is married to Stephen Ehat, and they have five sons and eight grandchildren.
Church History and Doctrine
Message from the Chair
As an integral part of Brigham Young University, the Department of Church History and Doctrine seeks to assist individuals in their quest for both intellectual and spiritual growth. We endeavor to foster lifelong attitudes of character improvement and service to church and community. We focus our efforts in two general areas. First, we seek to teach with verve and spirit, and thereby assist students in learning and internalizing important historical and doctrinal truths of the restored gospel. Second, we desire to become skilled researchers and writers, to publish materials which help others understand our history, our faith, and our people.
Brent L. Top
Brent L. Top is a Professor of Church History and Doctrine and is currently serving as the chair of that department. He was born and raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho and served a full-time mission to the Denmark Copenhagen Mission. He received all of his degrees from Brigham Young University-a BA in history, a Masters degree in instructional media and a PhD in instructional science and technology. Prior to joining the BYU Religious Education faculty in 1987, he worked for the Church Educational System as a released-time seminary teacher, an institute teacher and an administrator. Dr. Top served as Associate Dean of Religious Education from 1997-2002. He held the endowed Professorship in Moral Education for two years prior to his call as President of the Illinois Peoria Mission (2004-2007). He was appointed department chair in June 2009. He is married to the former Wendy Cope from Idaho Falls. They are the parents of four children and reside in Pleasant Grove, Utah where Brother Top currently serves as the President of the Pleasant Grove East Stake.
Portfolio: Faculty Development and Personnel issues, hiring and recruitment of new faculty, meeting needs of students, curriculum mailers and scheduling courses.
Brother Freeman has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1996. His key areas of teaching and research relate primarily to 20th Century Church History. He is Co-Director of the Saints at War Project which was initiated in the year 2000 to conduct research into the experiences of Latter-day Saints in wartime. He and his wife Ja Neal have six children and live in Springville, Utah.
Linda Godfrey serves as the Department Secretary of Church History & Doctrine. She is the executive assistant to the Chair and assists department faculty with travel, budgeting, and scheduling issues. She also manages student hiring and maintains KRONOS, serves as the key rep for scheduling and classroom changes, and handles textbook requests. She serves as the office manager and supervises department receptionists.