Letting the Nibley Family defend Nibley

I had originally intended to start a series of posts on Hugh Nibley

I have been a bit busy…and I have given up on Mormon Studies. So while I will continue to find inspiration from Nibley, it will not be a focus of my writings or research. Nor will I have time to do the project justice.

Do not despair! Over the last few months, the Nibley family has been bringing us some deep and personal insights into the real Hugh Nibley at the blog Hugh Nibley: off the record.

My favorite post so far is titled “On Religion Teachers at BYU (or Why the Called Him a Gadly)”

[Interview, 1983]

In my office at BYU they had these openings under the doors, because we had no air conditioning in those days, and in the summertime we would leave all the doors open. I always could hear across the hall exactly what was being taught in those classes because religion teachers, being of that type, usually speak in a loud voice. They are very loud and obnoxious. And they were all teaching the same sort of thing: the Book of Mormon is nothing more on earth but a tract against socialism. That’s what it is. And this was the theme they aimed at all the way through, as if that made all the difference in the world. So that was very discouraging at times, because they wouldn’t let up on that. Let it be that, as far as that goes, but you have something else to talk about, don’t you? “Oh no!”

This is very interesting. Here we are, unemployable by any academic standards, living on the welfare of the church, which has been set aside by revelation for the support of the widows, poor and so forth, and to justify ourselves we spend our days fulminating against the evils of socialism and the wickedness of the idle poor. That’s what these teachers are doing, they are living purely on the welfare of the church.

Not that we here at FPR would ever be interested in somebody taking a jab at BYU Religion faculty. :)

I may link over to the Nibley site on occasion, but I will leave the good fight up to them. They are doing a great job.

John Gee, Biblical Studies, and Credentials
Korihors, Secular Humanism, and the Book of Mormon
Biblical Texts and Historicity
The Call of Simon Peter in Luke 5:1-11
About Chris Henrichsen

Chris Henrichsen has moved Approaching Justice off of Patheos. Find his latest posts and the new Approaching Justice. Thanks!

  • el oso

    I am guessing this was before 1985 or so. I cannot imagine that the religion faculty did not listen to President Benson’s talks on the Book of Mormon and just repeat those simplistic arguments. I was at the Y just a few years later and the entire curriculum had been adjusted to conform to the blueprint ETB had described. Testimony, Christ and the Atonement, and the basic principles of the gospel were paramount.

  • Ray

    I transfered to BYUafter serving a mission in Scandinavia and all I heard in my religion classes was “You can’t be a Democrat and be a good Mormon.” Using a narrow American political definition to judge someone’s worthiness as a church member struck me as obscene. I had a Book of Mormon instructor who spent the entire semester preaching against a rent subsidy program. By the time I graduated I was wishing I had stayed at a public university.

  • Stephen R. Marsh

    I took Book of Mormon at BYU around 1973 and there was nothing political ever raised in either class.


  • Eric

    I love Nibley.