When I was dismissed as editor of the Mormon Studies Review (until recently, the FARMS Review), published by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Studies and, soon thereafter, resigned as the Institute’s Director of Advancement (on which, see this), I fully anticipated that I would continue as a member of the Institute’s academic faculty, particularly because I’m the editor in chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (METI); since I brought it under the aegis of the organization many years ago, METI has functioned under the umbrella of the Institute. I expressly pointed out that I intended to continue in that position, as editor in chief.
Thus, to me, perhaps the lowest, least justifiable, and most insulting blow of the whole episode came when I was informed that I must vacate my office at the Institute. (Because of my professorial appointment in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, I have a principal office up on campus in the Joseph F. Smith Building.) My wife and I — overwhelmingly my wife — had finally gotten the new Maxwell Institute office into useable shape by the end of April. I knew that I would be gone, off and on, much of the summer (four weeks of that absence, including the recent tour of Turkey that just concluded late Saturday night, came in connection with one of my assignments at the Maxwell Institute), but I had planned my fall teaching schedule so as to maximize the uninterrupted time I could spend in my new Institute office. The intent was to get myself back into full involvement with METI, and into close physical proximity to its daily editing and production. I’ve been looking forward to this with great pleasure and enthusiasm.
Even after the axe fell (by email, during a trip to Israel that I had undertaken because of my assignment with the Maxwell Institute), I imagined myself settling, sadly but quietly, into my secondary METI office, off the hill to the south of campus.
But now I’ve been ordered to get out of that office ASAP. My office, it seems, is urgently needed for somebody else, even though it was given to me not all that long ago, and even though there was never the slightest mention of any shortage of office space prior to the mid-June putsch, when I evidently became persona non grata there. (The Maxwell Institute building has actually long had at least one or two offices that were being used only partly, or not at all.)
Thus, my wife has just headed off this morning to begin boxing up the books that she had put up only a few weeks ago on the shelves in my new office. (I have no idea where they’re all going to go.)
One of the purposes of a blog, I suppose, is self-therapy. Not just opining, but airing gripes. Bellyaching. Whining. (So, if you don’t want to read my howls and lamentations, stop now. No. Wait a minute. Sorry. Too late.)
And it’s true: I feel a bit better now. But only just a tiny little bit.
There is no good reason for this to be happening.