Statement on Teaching
"I took the long way around getting to BYU. Before becoming a professor here, I was a professional writer...a marketing manager in the tech industry...a vice-president at a small communications firm...the manager of a marketing communications group in a tech company...I even attended law school for a year and worked for a Manhattan law firm for a summer. And through all those great experiences, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I've now been teaching for over 25 years and can honestly say I've loved being a teacher more than any other job I've had. I love being in the classroom and teaching my BYU students. I try my best not to just stand in front of the room and give out information, but I strive to involve my students, discuss the text with them, and help them learn—by study and by faith. I consider it a great honor and privilege to be a professor and to be a part of teaching and learning with my students."
Dr. Swift has studied at The University of Dallas, Brigham Young University, and Columbia University. He has written a number of articles and book chapters, with his primary research interest being the study of the scriptures through a literary lens. Because a related literary research interest is creative writing, he also writes fiction, having published short stories and a novel, The Newman Resident. In the classroom, he tries to help his students learn how to better understand the scriptures by more closely reading and analyzing the text and discussing it as a class.
Selected Courses Taught
- The Book of Mormon (REL A 121, REL A 122)
- The New Testament (REL A 211)
- Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel (REL A 250)
- Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon (REL A 275)
- The Book of Mormon as Sacred Literature (REL A 336)
- Forthcoming: "Samuel, the Lamanite: Key Prophet in the Returning Prophet Type-scene," in Samuel the Lamanite: That Ye Might Believe, editor Charles Swift (Provo, UT, and Salt Lake City: Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, 2021), 183-222.
- “Upon Mount Shelem: The Liminal Experience of the Brother of Jared,” in Illuminating the Jaredite Records, editor Daniel L. Belnap (Provo, UT, and Salt Lake City: Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, 2020), 85-128.
- “‘The Lord Slayeth the Wicked’: Coming to Terms with Nephi Killing Laban,” in The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 28, August 2019, 127-69.
- “‘After This Manner Did He Speak’: Mormon’s Discourse on Faith, Hope, and Charity,” in The Religious Educator, vol. 19, no. 2, July 2018, 62-81.
- “Boxes,” in The Massachusetts Review, vol 59, no. 2, 2018, 363-73.
- "Gray Noise," in The Massachusetts Review, vol 56, no 3, 2015, 374-83.
Major Areas of Research
- Scripture as literature
- Creative writing
Selected Awards and Recognition
- Nominated for the John Whitmer Historical Association Best Theological Article for 2020.
For “‘The Lord Slayeth the Wicked’: Coming to Terms with Nephi Killing Laban,” in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 28, August 2019, 137-169.
- The Harvey B. and Susan Easton Black Outstanding Publication Award, 2019.
For “‘The Lord Slayeth the Wicked’: Coming to Terms with Nephi Killing Laban,” in The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 28, August 2019, 127-69.
- Robert J. Matthews Teaching Award, 2017-2018.
“This award is granted annually to a faculty member whose instructional contributions and teaching record exhibit excellence” (Religious Education Handbook).
- Semi-finals in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (top 1% of entries—best 50 of 5,000 entries).
For The Newman Resident (Provo, UT: Fifth East Publishing), 2014.
- Alcuin Fellowship, Brigham Young University, 2013-2016.
“The Alcuin Fellowship recognizes outstanding teacher-scholars whose work at the university transcends the limits of their disciplines,” President Jeffrey R. Holland said, “and who have made significant contributions in the general education and honors curriculum at BYU” (Deseret News).
- Outstanding Faculty Member Award, Phi Eta Sigma (BYU Chapter), 2008.
Award for outstanding teaching of Freshmen.
Honors and Awards
- Member, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (2021 - Present)
- Finalist for John Whitmer Historical Association Best Theological Article for 2020, John Whitmer Historical Association (2020 - 2020)
- The Harvey B. and Susan Easton Black Outstanding Publication Award, BYU Religious Education (2019 - 2019)
- Robert J. Matthews Teaching Award, BYU Religious Education (2017 - 2018)
- Alcuin Fellow, Brigham Young University (2013 - 2015)
- Phi Eta Sigma Outstanding Faculty Member, Phi Eta Sigma, BYU Chapter (2008 - 2008)