Hugh B. Brown on Freedom of the Mind

Hugh B. Brown on Freedom of the Mind January 11, 2015

Hugh B. Brown

I have long admired Hugh B. Brown. His famous “God is the Gardener” speech delivered at BYU is one of my all-time favorite sermons. President Brown was a strong advocate for the position that as long as men and women remain humble, there is room for diversity of thought within Mormonism. I felt that this quote would serve as a nice follow-up to my post concerning Mormonism as a cerebral religion. On this subject, he once famously declared:

“I admire men and women who have developed the questioning spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas and stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent – if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression. This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence nor any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.” Hugh B. Brown, counselor in First Presidency, Speech at BYU, March 29, 1968.

For those with differences of opinion in the market place of ideas, the key of course, as Hugh B. Brown recognized, is humility.

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