People Archive

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, have been named Co-Directors of an ICLRS initiative to the Organization of American States in Washington, DC.  After receiving a bachelor’s 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 his Juris Doctor degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1990.    More …

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…

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

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…

Brett Scharffs Appointed to BYU Law School’s Rex E. Lee Chair

by Andrew Hoffman, BYU Law Student

On 15 November 2017, the J. Reuben Clark Law School held the final of this semester’s three investiture ceremonies. Professor Brett Scharffs was honored with appointment to the distinguished Rex E. Lee Chair, a position created to honor the late Rex E. Lee, a former Solicitor General, Dean of the Law School, and President of Brigham Young University. Dean Gordon Smith and Professor Cole Durham provided a few introductory remarks before Professor Scharffs was formally invested.

Dean Smith praised Professor Scharffs for his achievements in the field of legal scholarship. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, while president of BYU, remarked that it is the duty of the law school to produce great scholarship that is not just great in the eyes of church membership, but in the eyes of the general citizenry. Throughout his twenty years of teaching, Professor Scharffs has published in renowned legal journals and is well-known…

Jane Wise

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,…

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.

Management Board Students Compete in National Law and Religion Moot Court

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…

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…

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…

Brett G. Scharffs Appointed Director of International Center for Law and Religion Studies

Outgoing BYU Law School Dean James R. Rasband announced the appointment, effective May 1, 2016, of Brett G. Scharffs as the new Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

The Center, since its beginning on January 1, 2000, has played an internationally significant role in the work of the Law School. With a mission to help secure the blessings of freedom of religion and belief for all people, Center faculty and staff, aided by hundreds of BYU law students, have worked to disseminate knowledge and expertise regarding the interrelationship of law and religion, through scholarship, network building, participation in law-reform processes, and organization and sponsorship of hundreds of conferences, at BYU and throughout the world….

Robert T. Smith

Managing Director and Regional Advisor for the United States and Africa (2006-2016)

Robert Smith served as the Managing Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies from 2006 until his call in June 2016 to Buenos Aires, Agentina to serve a three-year term as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his role at ICLRS Professor Smith oversaw the activities of the Center, including supervising the Annual International Law and Religion Symposium and numerous international conferences each year, in addition to overseeing academic publications and participating in law-reform consultations. He served as the Center’s Regional Advisor for the United States and…