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The four new Cornerstone courses are Foundations of the Restoration, Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel, Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon, and The Eternal Family.

November 19, 2015
Writer: Clint Urick

The Department of Religious Education has introduced
four new courses this semester to provide a deeper learning experience for students. The new courses, called "Cornerstone" courses, will comprise the core of the religion class requirements at all CES schools.

According to Religious Education faculty, the department developed these new courses to accommodate a more scripture- literate student body. The university conducted a course/ curriculum analysis that found areas for improvement in religion courses. Using their findings, the university went to work developing the new Cornerstone classes.

The four new Cornerstone courses are Foundations of the Restoration, Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel, Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon, and The Eternal Family. These courses, along with six electives, will fulfill the Eternal Truths requirements for the 2015-2016 catalog. The previously required courses are still available as electives.

The new curriculum, which took nearly two years to develop, focuses more on the doctrines of the gospel rather than the storylines in the standard works.

"The Cornerstone courses provide a deeper look at the doctrine," said Rex Butterfield, acting department chair of the Department of Religious Education. "For example, we don't start in 1 Nephi and end at Moroni. These courses assume you already know the storyline and are familiar with the text, and are ready to delve into some of the doctrines and teachings found in the scriptures."

While the courses have only been taught for half a semester, early feedback indicates that students are finding them to be relevant and enjoyable.

"I was super excited going into it, but the feedback from students has been far better than expected," said Kyle Black, who teaches one of the new courses. "We are shocked at how well the students are responding to it."

Black thinks the new classes will have a huge impact on the students.

"The hope," Butterfield said, "is that the Cornerstone courses will help students be better able to understand their beliefs, be better able to defend them, and be better able to articulate those beliefs."