An experience with Hugh Nibley

An experience with Hugh Nibley June 28, 2022

 

It was built in 1888.
Inside the Assembly Hall on Temple Square  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

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These three new items went up today on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:

 

“Nibley Lectures: Time Vindicates the Prophets — A Prophet’s Reward”

From March 7 to October 17 in 1954, Hugh Nibley delivered a series of 30 weekly lectures on KSL Radio that were also published as pamphlets. The series called “Time Vindicates the Prophets” was given in answer to those who were challenging the right of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to call themselves Christians.

Lecture 3 is a discussion of what a prophet is and a suggestion that a prophet’s reward isn’t acceptance in this life.

 

Come, Follow Me — Old Testament Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 28, July 4–10: 2 Kings 2–7 — “There Is a Prophet in Israel”

Jonn Claybaugh contributes yet another set of his concise notes for students and teachers of the scriptures.

 

Audio Roundtable: Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 28 “There Is a Prophet in Israel” 2 Kings 2–7

The Interpreter Radio Roundtable for Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 28, “There Is a Prophet in Israel,” on 2 Kings 2–7, featured Martin Tanner performing solo.  So was it really a “roundtable”?  Well, anyway, that’s what we call the ongoing series.  So . . . This roundtable was extracted from the 29 May 2022 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show. The complete show may be heard at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-May-29-2022/.  And, in fact, the Interpreter Radio Show can be heard every week on Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640.  Or, if radio hasn’t yet arrived in your portion of the globe, you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.

 

The Assembly Hall on Temple Square was finished in 1888.

(Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)

 

Late this morning, I delivered the weekly devotional address at Ensign College in Salt Lake City (formerly known as LDS Business College).  I spoke in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.

 

I think that it went fairly well, although the stars seemed, several times, to be aligned against us.  I simply couldn’t prepare for the devotional during our extended trip in Europe; I had neither the time nor, for much of our sojourn overseas, adequate internet connection.  So I asked my very tech savvy friend Tom Pittman for his help, and he generously agreed.  He put together images to accompany my remarks — and then, for a brief but horrible period, after he had just finished everything his work seemed to disappear.  But that’s not all:  This morning, until literally about two minutes before the devotional assembly began, it didn’t seem that the images would be available for sharing with the audience on the Assembly Hall’s screen.  It was some sort of issue between Mac and non-Mac systems.  Fortunately, Tom was there, and several very kind technical people associated with Ensign College were also there to help, as well.  It took at least forty-five minutes but, in the end, I was able to use the images.  I doubt that the people in the audience even noticed.

 

This was a first for me, by the way: I’ve never spoken in the Assembly Hall before.  I did, though, once preside over and conduct a lecture there by Hugh Nibley (whose extraordinary radio lecture series Time Vindicates the Prophets is now, as mentioned above, being made available on the website of the Interpreter Foundation.)  And I must say that things didn’t go altogether well on that occasion.  It was one of Professor Nibley’s last public speeches, as I recall, and some of his amusing eccentricities were on full display.  For part of his talk, he leaned forward over the pulpit or lectern to address the audience.  Leaning forward was very friendly and chatty.  But it also meant that the directional microphone extended over his right shoulder, pointing beyond him at nothing in particular — with the result that it didn’t pick his voice up very well.  So people beyond the first few rows had a difficult time hearing him.  At other times, though, he would turn around to look at the Egyptological images — hieroglyphic texts, for example, and other visuals related to the three facsimiles in the Book of Abraham — that were being projected on the screen behind him.  His back was turned, in other words, both to the audience and to the microphone, which meant that it didn’t pick his voice up very well and people couldn’t hear what he was saying.  More than once, in fact, he became so excited by and so enthralled with what he was seeing (and with some things, even, that he seemed to be noticing for the very first time) that he would seemingly forget about the audience and carry on a kind of vocalized internal monologue.  (“Hmmm.  Now that’s interesting, isn’t it!  Quite remarkable!”)

 

Throughout the lecture, I was trying to figure out what to do.  He corrected himself a couple of times when I had indicated that he should speak to the microphone.  But within a few minutes he would revert to previous form.  It was, frankly, a bit of a long evening for me.

 

Some time thereafter, I presided over and conducted another lecture by Professor Nibley — I believe that it was actually on the same subject, just for another audience in a different location — down at the auditorium of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on the campus of Brigham Young University.  This time, though, I made sure that Brother Nibley was equipped with a microphone that was attached to his lapel.  However, that evening also had its moment of unique awkwardness.  The auditorium is a large one — I’m terrible at such estimates, but I’m guessing that it might well have a capacity of something like eight hundred to a thousand seats — but there were nonetheless too many people in the audience.  They were not only filling all the seats but were standing in the doorways and sitting in the aisles.  And so, just before things were set to begin, a fire marshal (!) who happened to be there for the lecture came up and told me that it was illegal (because unsafe) to have people sitting in the aisles, and that I would need to tell them to leave.  Which I did.  Making me perhaps not quite the most beloved person in the room that evening.

 

***

 

Roughly a week ago, a few eager seekers of truth over on the Peterson Obsession Board suddenly began to wonder how much longer this blog of mine is likely to last.  One of them suspects that, over the past few days, the Brethren have been considering whether to pull the plug on it.  Perhaps it will be taken down as early as last week.  Perhaps it will be euthanized sometime this week.  In any case, they suggest, it will be shut down relatively soon.

 

I’m on pins and needles.  Will I survive the week?  I hope that somebody will tell me how it turns out!

 

 

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