The Center enjoys the support and participation of remarkable people from many walks of life. We are privileged to engage in dialogue with scholars, legal professionals, religious leaders, and government officials from an ever-increasing number of nations, who join in an ongoing international discussion concerning timely issues involving law and religion – on line, at conferences throughout the world, and at our headquarters in Provo. To make this dialogue possible we rely upon an outstanding International Advisory Council and Academic Advisory Board, a rich network of Academic Research Advisors, and a small but dedicated group of faculty, staff, and student assistants. For more information about these people, please see the information below and in navigation links to the left.

Image for Neil A. Lindberg

Neil Lindberg has joined the International Center for Law and Religion Studies  (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University as Senior Fellow. He and his wife, Senior District Judge Denise Lindberg (ret.), have been named Co-Directors of an ICLRS initiative to the Organization of American States in Washington, DC.

After receiving a Bachelors degree in Sociology from Brigham Young University, Mr. Lindberg, a Southern California native, joined the city planning staff of the City of Norwalk, California. He later joined the Community Development Department of Provo City, then the second largest city in Utah. During his 14-year tenure with Provo Mr. Lindberg rose from Senior Planner to Assistant Department Director and earned a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) degree. Looking to expand his horizons, Mr. Lindberg returned to law school, receiving... more

Image for Sherie Rogde joins the Center as Conference Liaison

Sherie Rogde has joined the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University as a Conference Liaison. Sherie’s past experience includes working for several years in BYU’s Division of Continuing Education as a program administrator, planning and executing numerous conferences, and providing a variety of educational opportunities to many people. Sherie earned a master’s degree from BYU’s Marriott School in Organizational Behavior with an emphasis in international development. She has served on nonprofit boards of directors and participated in development and humanitarian efforts in West Africa, Egypt, Central and South America. Her responsibilities at the Center include acting as a key liaison officer for the Religious Freedom Annual Review, assisting with the International Law and Religion Symposium, and coordinating other conferences worldwide. Sherie is excited to work with her colleagues in the Center to help fulfill its mission.

Image for In Remembrance: Angus H. Belliston

The Center mourns the passing of long-time friend and supporter, Angus H. Belliston on November 2, 2018. 

Born April 17, 1932, in Nephi, Utah, Angus was the son of Elsie Maughan Belliston and Albert Henry Belliston. 

Angus grew up in Nephi, with the exception of two years in Hawaii, while his father served as president of the Hawaii Temple. He married Marcelle Greenhalgh in the Salt Lake Temple, September 5, 1951. They are the parents of seven children. Angus graduated from the University of Utah, and enjoyed a long and successful banking career, primarily with Zions Bank, enjoying rewarding associations with many fine people. The family lived in Bountiful and Salina, before settling... more

Image for ICLRS Student Management Board 2018-2019

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce the Student Management Board for 2018-2019. Members of the board are chosen based on their interest in law and religion and their skills in writing, research, editing, and languages. Throughout the school year Board Members participate in research, writing and editing projects, conferences, and other assignments with the Center. The 2018-2019 Board Members are continuing members  Shaun Belliston, Andrew BirkinshaMelissa Hartman, Kyle Harvey, Justin Miller, Malea Moody, Jox Moxon, Sara PlaterShelise Rupp, and Taylor Shaw, and new members Abdullah Hassan, Austin Atkinson, Erin Cranor, Miranda Cherkas, Diana Flores, Fabiana Lauf, Madison Moss, Rachel Whipple, and Kyra Woods, along with LLM student from Brazil, Tiago Camargo.

Image for Student Research Fellows for 2018

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce the 2018 Student Research Fellows. Each year the Center invites outstanding students to spend the summer between their first and second years at J. Reuben Clark Law School in externships with offices of the Area Legal Counsels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in many parts of the world and at the General Counsel's office in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to this work, the Fellows participate in Center research, writing, and publishing projects. This year's thirteen students will travel to Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Erin Cranor, Externship in Salt Lake City, Utah

Erin Cranor’s first interaction with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies was while attending the Religious Freedom Annual Review in the summer of 2016. She was serving on the school board in Las Vegas and attended the conference to gain more insight into protected class legislation around sexual orientation and gender identity issues as well as looking for ways to promote civility in the conversation. A year later she would return to Provo as a first year law student and spend the summer of 2018 assisting in the organization of the Religious Freedom Annual Review and serving an externship at the Office of General Counsel, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Salt Lake City.  

Erin found herself busy the first few weeks of the summer overseeing volunteers and the general logistics of the Religious Freedom Annual Review. Under the direction... more

Image for The Center Presents 2018 Meritorious Service Student Awards
Joshua Prince, Reed Adlish, Thomas Palmer, Nate Kinghorn, Alex Alton, Elizabeth McLaughlin, David Headley, Jacob Crump, Sarah Clifford, Ryan Hughes, Jane Wise, ICLRS associate director. Not pictured: Kaleb Brimhall and Jessica Farnsworth

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies presented 12 third year law students with Meritorious Service Awards at the annual Barrister’s Ball and Awards Banquet. Held at the Provo Marriott on March 29, 2018, the Barrister’s Ball is an opportunity for the BYU Law School to recognize students and faculty for outstanding achievement. 

Students were selected based on their dedicated service to the Center and the cause of religious freedom. Recognized students have served as student research fellows, on the Center’s Student Management Board, or on the Symposium Student Executive Committee. Many have assisted in the organization of and attended foreign conferences. Associate director, Jane Wise, presented the awards to the following students... more

Image for 2018 Graduation Spotlight: Elizabeth MacLachlan

Recently recognized in a BYU Law School Graduation Spotlight, third-year law student Elizabeth MacLachlan was an active part of the Executive Committee for the International Law and Religion Symposium for 2016 and 2017 and received one of the ICLRS Meritorious Service Awards for 2018. 

Graduation Spotlight: Elizabeth MacLachlan

by Ellen Huish

Elizabeth MacLachlan’s path to law school wasn’t clear to her at first.  All of her family members were in STEM-related fields. When... more

Image for ICLRS Welcomes Senior Fellow Ruth Lybbert Renlund

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is honored to announce that noted Salt Lake City attorney Ruth Lybbert Renlund has accepted an appointment as a Center Senior Fellow. Formerly president of the law firm Dewsnup, King & Olsen, where she practiced plaintiff civil litigation for 20 years, she was associate attorney general of the state of Utah, served on the board of directors for the Deseret News, Murdock Travel, and the Workers Compensation Fund of Utah, served as chair of the Judicial Conduct Commission for the State of Utah, and was the first female president of the Utah Trial Lawyers Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Utah and a juris doctorate from the University of Maryland.

In February 2016 she delivered a lecture "Think about It: The Value of Law School" at the Women in Law Luncheon at BYU Law School. Introducing... more

Image for Center Welcomes Denise Posse-Blanco Lindberg as Senior Fellow for Latin America

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School is pleased to announce that Denise Lindberg, Senior District Judge, Third Judicial District Court, State of Utah, has joined the Center as a Senior Fellow for Latin America. Denise was born in Cuba, and educated in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States. In 1963, her family came to the US, settling in New Rochelle, New York.

Denise attended Brigham Young University, where she received a bachelor's degree in Communications, and the University of Utah where she received a master's degree in Educational Psychology in 1973, a master's degree in Social Work in 1978, and a Ph.D in Health Sciences in 1980. During—and... more

Image for ICLRS Announces Two New Senior Fellows: Neville Rochow SC and Hannah C. Smith

Neville Rochow

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is honored to announce that two distinguished legal professionals have accepted appointments as Senior Fellow, Australia barrister Neville Rochow SC and American advocate Hannah Clayson Smith. 

Hannah Smith brings an unparalleled interest in and a distinguished record of service to the core issues of religious liberty in the United States. She twice clerked at the US Supreme Court, for Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and between clerkships was an associate in private practice at national law firms in Washington D.C., representing clients before state and federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court in civil, criminal, and constitutional cases. Most recently she served as Senior Counsel at Becket Law, where she helped secure victories in key U.S. Supreme Court religious liberty cases, including Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School... more

Image for The Center Welcomes Jane Wise as an Associate Director

Jane Wise has joined the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School as an Associate Director. She comes most recently from twenty years as an adjunct professor (advocacy faculty) at the Law School, where she served on the legal writing and external relations committees. She taught legal writing, lawyering skills, and law and literature courses in the classroom, as well as legal writing classes online. She developed curricula for the American legal academy including materials for English as a–second-language law students, and the writing curriculum she helped design for BYU Law's Rex E. Lee Advocacy Program was ranked 17th in the nation for legal writing programs in law schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2000,... more

Image for The Center Welcomes Sharman Blood as a Conference Liaison

Sharman Blood has joined the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University as a Conference Liaison. Sharman's past experience includes working for the Office of Public Liaison at the White House and later as a research assistant for a policy research group before moving to San Francisco. While in the Bay Area, Sharman earned an MA in education from Stanford University and taught high school for several years working with at-risk students. She has also owned her own bookkeeping business and served for a time as the Public Affairs Director for the San Francisco Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sharman will assist in coordinating and organizing the annual International Law and Religion Symposium as well as other conferences worldwide. She looks forward to working with others who are passionate about the Center's mission.

Image for Management Board Students Compete in National Law and Religion Moot Court
Tanner Bean, McKenna Mills Collins,
Jessica Farnsworth, Joshua Prince

Four members of the Center Management Board competed in the Touro Law Center's Fourth Annual National Law and Religion Moot Court. The two teams, 3Ls Tanner Bean and McKenna Mills Collins, and 2Ls Jessica Farnsworth and Joshua Prince, each wrote an appellate brief as if briefing for the U.S. Supreme Court, on both sides of a religious freedom issue. Specifically, the students argued whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding from Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC concerning the ministerial exception’s application to employment discrimination claims, should extend to cover wrongful termination claims about breach of contract... more

Image for The Center Bids Farewell to Akinola and Dolapo Ibidapo-Obe

The Center was honored and most pleased to enjoy the visit of Professor Akinola Ibidapo-Obe and his wife, Dolapo, to Provo during the 2016-2017 school year. Professor Ibidapo-Obe ("Professor Akin") is former dean of the Faculty of Law and former director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria. As a visiting scholar at BYU Law School Professor Akin was part of the teaching team for the advanced courses in International Protection of Religious Freedom and U.S. Church and State, taught by Professors Brett Scharffs and Cole Durham. 

Professor Akin has been a key figure in several successful events sponsored by the Center in Nigeria over the past two years, beginning with his hosting, as Dean of the Faculty of Law at Lagos, an international conference "Towards Law and Religious Freedom in Africa" in February 2015, and including... more

Image for Center Welcomes Ján Figeľ to the Academic Advisory Board

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University is honored to announce that Dr. Ján Figeľ, the European Commission's first Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) outside the European Union, has accepted the invitation to join the Center's Academic Advisory Board. The fourteen members of this distinguished group of globally recognized scholars make outstanding contributions to illuminating the intricacies of religious freedom principles and promoting enlightened discussion of those principles, significantly advancing the Center's mission and the cause of religious freedom throughout the world. Since his appointment as Special Envoy in May 2016, Dr. Figeľ has worked tirelessly throughout the world to fulfill his mission, and in the process has enriched a great many of the Center's endeavors... more

Image for Erlend 'Pete' Peterson Named as Center Senior Fellow for the Middle East

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU Law School is pleased to announced that Erlend "Pete" Peterson, recently retired from service as Brigham Young University's Associate International Vice President, has accepted a position as Center Senior Fellow for the Middle East.

During his fifty years of full-time employment at BYU, Pete served in several professional positions in Admissions and Records (35 years), as Assistant Dean, Associate Dean, and Dean of Admissions and Records (25 years). For the past 15 years he was Associate International Vice President, which included many international roles and hosting, including a close working relationship with the International... more

Image for The Center Welcomes Adesina J. Olukanni in the Role of Senior Fellow for Africa

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School is pleased to announce that Adesina J. Olukanni, recently retired as the Director of Public Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for Africa West Area, has accepted an invitation to serve as the Center's Senior Fellow for Africa. He was the Country Director in Nigeria for Church Education Systems between April 2004 and March 2007. He came into Public Affairs in April of 2007 as the Director of Public Affairs for the Church in the Africa West Area and the Africa South East Area.

Adesina has served in numerous Church positions, including high counsellor, branch president, district president’s counsellor, district president, mission president’s... more