An absolutely marvelous quotation — even a prophetic one — from the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell, regarding what he saw as the mission of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), which, after his death, became the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship:
For what little it’s worth, I was present at that banquet back in late September of 1991, and, as it happens, in a slightly embarrassing way:
I had been invited to offer the invocation and the blessing on the food. Immediately after I said “Amen,” Hugh Nibley called out “He didn’t bless the food!” A little whispered disagreement broke out among the audience about whether I had or hadn’t — I thought I had — but, after a minute or so, a bit chagrined, I returned to the lectern and offered a second prayer, an addendum, in which I most definitely did bless the food. Later, by the way, at the conclusion of the program, Elder Maxwell sought me out and said “You blessed the food the first time.” For a still quite junior faculty member, it hadn’t gone altogether well.
He was, among many other things, a remarkably gracious man, and I miss him very much.
(I should note, by the way, that the quotation comes from a transcription of a tape of Elder Maxwell’s oral remarks, made about a week after their delivery. So, if his words on this occasion seem slightly less precise and polished than his words often were, that’s the reason.)