In College of Fine Arts and Communications, Lectures

The lecture will take place on Thursday, April 4 at 11 a.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall

Kevin John

Communications professor Kevin John. (Nathalie Van Empel)

In April’s Faith + Works lecture, BYU School of Communications professor Kevin John will examine how to reconcile conflicts between secular and spiritual learning.

“Learning is not limited to secular matters; there are spiritual underpinnings to all forms of learning we participate in during mortality,” said John. “These two forms of learning are inseparably connected — yet, significant conflicts can, and do, occur between what we learn from our secular research and what we know from our spiritual research.”

John’s research has focused on health communication, or the development of strategic campaigns designed to promote beneficial health behaviors. His most recent projects have explored cancer, body image, substance use, narratives and end-of-life care.

During the course of John’s research, he has routinely seen conflict between the research community’s recommendations and the standards set by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Luckily, he has found a way to balance these different viewpoints.

“In these cases, while we necessarily give greater weight to spiritual truths, we should not disparage the path of gaining secular knowledge, even when it produces seemingly contradictory results,” said John.

For John, these conflicts have not been a trial of faith but a building block for his testimony.

“The tension that can sometimes exist between these two forms of learning is not unlike the duality of spiritual beings housed within temporal bodies, said John. “There is beauty in seemingly contradictory forms that come together to form something better. How we handle these conflicts, and the perspective we apply to them, will define us as both temporal and spiritual researchers.”

To learn more about how John sees the world with both secular and spiritual eyes, attend the lecture on April 4.

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