Robert T. Smith recently returned from serving three years as mission president of the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission. Before his Church service, Professor Smith served for ten years as the managing director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University. During his tenure, the Center became a leading voice for religious freedom globally through its research and efforts to organize dozens of international conferences annually. In addition to his overall responsibilities at the center, Professor Smith helped initiate an annual international religious freedom conference in Africa and helped form the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS). To date, ACLARS and the center have now hosted and published papers from large international conferences in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa. Professor Smith also helped initiate the center’s Religious Freedom Annual Review, a large annual gathering of religious freedom scholars and leaders held each summer. Professor Smith is coauthor with W. Cole Durham Jr. and William Bassett of the four-volume treatise Religious Organizations and the Law 2d ed. and has authored or coauthored numerous articles on religious freedom topics. He has lectured on religious liberty topics in many countries including Argentina, Australia, China, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Namibia, Nepal, South Africa, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States. Professor Smith has testified before Congress on international religious freedom and has represented members of the Utah Legislature and many other parties before the United States Supreme Court in notable religious freedom cases. He has also taught a course on the taxation of religious organizations at the J. Reuben Clark Law School.
Before joining BYU’s Law School, Professor Smith was a shareholder and chairman of the corporate and tax department of Kirton & McConkie in Salt Lake City, where he represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its affiliated entities. Before moving to Utah, he practiced law with Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago and with Miller & Chevalier in Washington, DC. He has also served as executive vice president and general counsel of CaseData Corporation. Professor Smith spent his early career working as a CPA for Deloitte & Touche in California and Washington, DC. Before entering academia, he had tax, business, litigation and professional publications and presentations to his credit.
Born in Berkeley, California, Professor Smith graduated magna cum laude from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he served as editor in chief of the BYU Law Review and was named a member of the Order of the Coif. He graduated magna cum laude with an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and has an accounting degree from BYU. He and his wife, Kristine, are the parents of eight children, and they currently have seven adorable grandchildren.
Courses Taught: Book of Mormon (REL A 122), Missionary Preparation (REL C 130), Taxation of Religious Organizations (LAW 796 R), Accountancy I (ACCT 20100, Notre Dame), Accountancy II (ACCT 20200, Notre Dame)
Areas of Expertise: The Book of Mormon, missionary preparation, U.S. and international religious freedom
Areas of Research: Church doctrine, religious organizations and the law