Randy L. Bott

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Randy L. Bott
Born1945 (age 73–74)
Utah, U.S.
ResidenceProvo, Utah, U.S.
EducationB.S. Psychology
M.S. Education
Ed.D. Educational leadership
Alma materUtah State University
Brigham Young University
OccupationReligion professor at BYU
Known for2008 RateMyProfessors.com #1 National Professor
Spouse(s)Vickie (Pehrson) Bott

Randy L. Bott (born 1945) was an American professor of religion at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, United States. He taught classes on missionary preparation and the Doctrine and Covenants, and wrote LDS doctrinal and motivational literature. Bott retired from BYU in June 2012 not long after controversy about remarks he made to the media.[1]


Education and personal life[edit]

After earning a B.S. in psychology from Utah State University, Bott earned his M.S. degree in education from the same university and an Ed.D. from BYU in 1988.[2] Bott also speaks Samoan.[3]

Bott is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served in various capacities for the church, including bishop, high councilor, stake presidency counselor (twice), and as a mission president in Fresno, California. Bott married Vickie Pehrson in September 1969.[4] They had three boys and three girls, and became the grandparents of 14 children.[3] (As of 2014)

Professional life[edit]

Bott said in 2008 that he spent four to six hours every day answering phone calls and e-mails from his students, which "enables him to have a more personal touch with the students he teaches".[5] At the beginning of every class, he also invites students to ask any question they wish about missionary life, LDS Church doctrine, and personal comportment.[citation needed] Bott's tests, which he calls "celebrations", are open-note, open-book.[citation needed] In 2008, Bott taught 3,149 students at BYU, which is more than 10 percent of the university's student body.[6]

In 2008 Bott was the highest rated professor in the United States on the website Ratemyprofessors.com.[7][8]

It was announced in March 2012 that Bott would be leaving his teaching post at BYU to serve as a senior missionary with his wife.[1]

Washington Post article[edit]

In February 2012 Bott was quoted in a Washington Post article about the LDS Church's stand on race.[9][10] In the article Bott referred to former church teachings and practices, speculating on possible underlying reasons for a ban on ordaining people of black African descent to the LDS priesthood. Whether Bott's reasons for denying ordination to black men prior to 1978 were ever official LDS doctrine or merely folk belief, as some LDS maintain, is disputed.[11] Bott said that one possible reason for the ban was the belief that black people descended from Cain through Egyptus, who married Ham, Noah's son. Bott pointed to a passage in Mormon scripture that suggested to him that Cain's descendants were marked with dark skin and were prohibited from holding the priesthood.[9] Before the priesthood ban was lifted in 1978, some Latter-day Saint leaders had made similar statements. However, the 1978 revelation which lifted the ban said nothing about the reasons for the ban.[12]

On February 29, 2012, the LDS Church issued a press release in response to the Post article, saying that the reasons for the ban are not precisely known, and condemning racism in any form.[13][14][15] Then, in December 2013, the LDS Church posted a page on "Race and the Priesthood" on its official website that described the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood as a product of an "American racial culture," not "divine disfavor." The statement formally disavowed the past teachings that sought to create doctrinal justifications for the ban:

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.[16]


Bott has authored and co-authored books on missionary preparation, LDS Church doctrine, application of doctrine to life, and the writings of Joseph Smith.[3]

Non-fiction - religious and general interest
  • Bott, Randy L. (1995). Prepare with Honor. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-0-87579-954-4. OCLC 32921793.
  • —— (1995). Serve with Honor. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-0-87579-955-1. OCLC 32894312.
  • —— (1995). Home with Honor. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-0-87579-956-8. OCLC 32925501.
  • —— (1997). Send forth with Honor. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-0-9660231-1-4. OCLC 39207000.
  • —— (1997). Divorceless Marriage. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-0-9660231-0-7. OCLC 41553104.
  • —— (2003). Preparation Precedes Power. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-06-6. OCLC 54996984.
  • —— (2003). Parenting with Eternal Perspective. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-01-1. OCLC 60354112.
  • —— (2003). Eternal Marriage. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-03-5. OCLC 60354110.
  • —— (2003). Death: Finding Hope Beyond the Sorrow. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-04-2. OCLC 60354111.
  • —— (2003). Depression: Finding His Light amid the Storm. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-02-8. OCLC 60354109.
  • —— (2005). Overcoming Addictive Behavior. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-28-8. OCLC 62099022.
  • —— (2007). Abuse: Breaking the Cycle. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-48-6. OCLC 173182318.
  • —— (2007). Broken Covenants. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-47-9. OCLC 173182629.
  • Shute, R. Wayne; Nyman, Monte S.; Bott, Randy L. (1999). Ephraim, Chosen of the Lord: what it means to be of the tribe of Ephraim. Salt Lake City, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-0-9660231-3-8. OCLC 42018902.
  • Bott, Randy L. (2005). "The Vision: Doctrine and Covenants 76". In Black, Susan Easton; Skinner, Andrew C. (eds.). Joseph: exploring the life and ministry of the prophet. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-1-59038-471-8. OCLC 59817848.
  • —— (2006). "Understanding mortal trials: enlightenment from the Doctrine and Covenants". In Shute, R. Wayne; Krogh, John E. (eds.). Clay in the master's hands: understanding trials, tragedy and tribulation. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 978-1-932597-33-2. OCLC 159966337.
  • Bott, Randy L. (1988). A comparison of gain scores and retention rates of four selected learning strategies (Ed. D.). Dept. of Educational Leadership, Brigham Young University. OCLC 22015388.
  • Marett, Kevin M; Gibbons, W Eugene; Memmott, Rae Jeanne; Bott, Randy L.; Duke, Lee (1998). "The Organizational Role of Clinical Practice Models in Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice". Clinical Social Work Journal. Springer. 26 (2): 217–225. OCLC 360558760.


  1. ^ a b "BYU religion prof Bott retiring in June", Daily Herald (Utah), March 22, 2012, retrieved 2013-08-22
  2. ^ BYU Alumni Directory (Restricted access), BYU, retrieved 2008-06-01
  3. ^ a b c "Randy L. Bott", Religious Education: Faculty Directory, BYU, retrieved 2013-08-22
  4. ^ Masters, Lauren (13 February 2003), "Happily ever after: Professor love stories", The Daily Universe, retrieved 2013-08-22
  5. ^ "Beehives and Buffalo Chips", Daily Herald (Utah), 13 December 2008, retrieved 2013-08-22
  6. ^ Walsh, Tad (11 December 2008), "BYU professor sits atop national rankings", Deseret News, retrieved 2013-08-22
  7. ^ Peterson, Janice (9 December 2008), "BYU professor rated 2008's best on Web site", Daily Herald (Utah), retrieved 2013-08-22
  8. ^ "Top 10". Ratemyprofessors.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  9. ^ a b Horowitz, Jason (February 28, 2012), "The Genesis of a church's stand on race", The Washington Post, retrieved 2013-08-22
  10. ^ "The Genesis of a church's stand on race - The Washington Post". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  11. ^ "Interview: Jeffrey Holland", The Mormons, PBS, 2007, retrieved 2013-08-22
  12. ^ http://archive.is/hWmcl#selection-1849.110-1861.210
  13. ^ "Official Statement – Race and the Church: All Are Alike Unto God", Newsroom (mormonnewsroom.org), LDS Church, retrieved 2013-08-22
  14. ^ Bennion, Kate (February 29, 2012), "Washington Post article on black priesthood ban spurs concern, outrage: Professor didn't follow university media policy when speaking with newspaper", The Daily Universe, retrieved 2013-08-22
  15. ^ Walker, Joseph (February 29, 2012), "LDS Church condemns past racism 'inside and outside the church'", Deseret News, retrieved 2013-08-22
  16. ^ "Gospel Topics – Race and the Priesthood", LDS.org, LDS Church, retrieved 2014-01-02

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