The ISPART Fork

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Gadianton
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The ISPART Fork

Post by Gadianton »

It looks like once again the apologists have placed themselves in a fork, where they either lose the rook or lose the queen.

You can either believe option 1, that FARMS was one of three other organizations all under ISPART, and that the power and importance of FARMS has greatly been exaggerated by the FARMS crew, or option 2, that (perhaps I was right all along years ago) METI was created as a front, "tier 3" advertising campaign for Mopologetics, and that the apparent distancing of FARMS from these other organizations was all for deniability, to fool potential customers into thinking the Mopologetics, yellow journalism arm of the business had nothing to do with the serious antiquities project.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... qus_thread

we were worried that too explicit a connection between the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and an organization expressly dedicated to “Mormon studies” might generate unfounded suspicions. It sometimes did, as a matter of fact.

Anyway, in 2001, we created an overarching name for an umbrella organization in which METI and CPART and FARMS could all be constituent parts — — with FARMS always being the dominant element.


Now here's a critical thinking question for everyone. Assume the above is true, how best to account for:

according to this new historical fiction, Bill Hamblin, Louis Midgley, and I have concealed the fact that FARMS became a part, and only a part, of a pre-existing Maxwell Institute at BYU. President Hinckley, so the story goes, invited FARMS to join it


Let's think really carefully here. Why would there be -- assuming the above is true -- a fictional history where FARMS became a small part of a greater and separate structure?

------

Answer:

Because according to what's just been admitted, assuming it's true, that was the whole point of the conspiracy!! The whole point, per the authors own words, was to create deniability, so that to the outside world, METI appeared to have a great deal of separation and independence from the disreputable apologetics. A name, ISPART, was created in hasty desperation and the whole thing was done secretly by a few hidden players, and then suddenly, wallah! METI is just another division of the university!

Imagine if the individual accused of spinning a "false narrative" were to have taken a call from the Vatican all those years ago when METI was trying to get its customer base going. Suppose this lying individual from a hate site were to tell the Vatican authority, "No sir, FARMS is a small independent thing, nothing at all to do CPART and METI -- no reason at all to be concerned, a lot of those affiliated with the other organizations don't care about FARMS."

Isn't that EXACTLY what the proprietor would have wanted? certainly he wouldn't the response to have been, "Yes sir, I heard about that secret meeting with Bateman, where they are doing this big re-org, with FARMS secretly in control, trying to make it look like METI has nothing to do with apologetics but it's all part of a well-planned deniability campaign to convince folks like you that METI has nothing to do with apologetics. But it's all controlled by apologetics --- FARMS controls it, that was established in the secret meeting with Bateman."

Again the fork:

Either certain folks associated with apologetics are guilty of dishonestly making it look like FARMS was a small part of a larger organization in order to quell fears that METI was a tool of apologetics, when it was totally controlled and dominated by apologetics, or these folks are guilty of dishonestly making it look like FARMS had more power than it did all along -- it really is the case that it was a small part of a large organization, but now the history is spun to make it sound like all along, it dominated everything.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Philo Sofee »

Gawd if I only had HALF your brain power to sleuth......... VERY stimulating detective work here! Cassius University reigns again.....
Is Midgely serious? Peterson's blog is a patty-cake, surface only, all too frequently plagiarized bit of ephemeral nonsense. Why would anyone suppose avatars must be real? Midgley has lost his tiny little mind. Maybe he can go over to never-neverland and harass Peter Pan for not really knowing how to fly. -Lemmie-

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Re: The ISPART Fork

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Dean Robbers:

I think it’s important to remember that Dr. Peterson willingly walked away from METI. Whereas he had to be forcibly removed as editor of the “Review,” he abandoned METI with little more than a shrug.
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Gadianton
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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Gadianton »

Doctor Scratch wrote:Dean Robbers:

I think it’s important to remember that Dr. Peterson willingly walked away from METI. Whereas he had to be forcibly removed as editor of the “Review,” he abandoned METI with little more than a shrug.


Suppose I were a Chemist but also a notorious anti-Vaxer. I have my following who believe the hatchet jobs I and my lackeys undertake, but to get beyond that, I need more credibility. So I start a medical test company that does really mundane yet important stuff, and we do it to high standards. To our testing clients, we claim as much deniability as possible about the anti-vax stuff. To our anti-vax clients and to critics, we go on and on and on about the medical testing we do, and say things like our brains don’t suddenly transform when we move from doing these precise tests to thinking about vaccinations.

As you point out, if I’m walking from one of the two it will be medical tests, which are pointless without their servitude to the cause of unhinges pseudoscience.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Lemmie »

In reading background for this topic, I came across this thread:
http://www.mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3 ... 9&start=84

I’ve heard about the dispute with Peterson over whether he earned money doing apologetics, and I was aware of the 990 forms, but it was still quite shocking to see, first hand, this:
FARMS
June 30, 1999
SCHEDULE OF COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS
FORM 990 PART V
Daniel C. Peterson ....... Board Chair........ $20,400.00

https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/19 ... 60-1-9.pdf



And then to read this response to Scratch from Dan Peterson:
I don't know what our professional accountant told the IRS in 1999, and I wouldn't trust your reading of anything more nuanced than a telephone book (if even that). Perhaps I'll look at these documents sometime.

But I simply wasn't ever paid anything remotely like $20K for serving as chairman of the board. Period.

http://www.mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3 ... 28#p176528


I don’t know how else to interpret this. Daniel Peterson lied.

Sorry, gadianton, I don’t mean to hijack your thread, but as a relative newcomer to the reading of mopologetics, I cannot get past this evidence. Peterson was lying about this. The evidence is irrefutable.

Gadianton:

Either certain folks associated with apologetics are guilty of dishonestly making it look like FARMS was a small part of a larger organization in order to quell fears that METI was a tool of apologetics, when it was totally controlled and dominated by apologetics, or these folks are guilty of dishonestly making it look like FARMS had more power than it did all along -- it really is the case that it was a small part of a large organization, but now the history is spun to make it sound like all along, it dominated everything.


This money issue and Peterson’s consequent lying about it supports your point completely. If the FARMS apologetic work was really the main thrust of the work of the Maxwell Institute— which Peterson is now arguing, then his rationale that the payments he recieved were only for non-apologetic work falls apart.

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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by moksha »

If there was a cover to prevent METI from having the taint of apologetics (from the freedom-hating evil apostate gentile outsider perspective), why have Dr. Peterson associated with it in the first place?
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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Gadianton »

moksha wrote:If there was a cover to prevent METI from having the taint of apologetics (from the freedom-hating evil apostate gentile outsider perspective), why have Dr. Peterson associated with it in the first place?


METI was his idea and his venture. Kind of hard not to have him there.
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Lemmie »

Gadianton wrote:It looks like once again the apologists have placed themselves in a fork, where they either lose the rook or lose the queen.

You can either believe option 1, that FARMS was one of three other organizations all under ISPART, and that the power and importance of FARMS has greatly been exaggerated by the FARMS crew, or option 2, that (perhaps I was right all along years ago) METI was created as a front, "tier 3" advertising campaign for Mopologetics, and that the apparent distancing of FARMS from these other organizations was all for deniability, to fool potential customers into thinking the Mopologetics, yellow journalism arm of the business had nothing to do with the serious antiquities project.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... qus_thread

we were worried that too explicit a connection between the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and an organization expressly dedicated to “Mormon studies” might generate unfounded suspicions. It sometimes did, as a matter of fact.

Anyway, in 2001, we created an overarching name for an umbrella organization in which METI and CPART and FARMS could all be constituent parts — — with FARMS always being the dominant element.


Now here's a critical thinking question for everyone. Assume the above is true, how best to account for:

according to this new historical fiction, Bill Hamblin, Louis Midgley, and I have concealed the fact that FARMS became a part, and only a part, of a pre-existing Maxwell Institute at BYU. President Hinckley, so the story goes, invited FARMS to join it


Let's think really carefully here. Why would there be -- assuming the above is true -- a fictional history where FARMS became a small part of a greater and separate structure?

------

Answer:

Because according to what's just been admitted, assuming it's true, that was the whole point of the con

Isn't that EXACTLY what the proprietor would have wanted? certainly he wouldn't the response to have been, "Yes sir, I heard about that secret meeting with Bateman, where they are doing this big re-org, with FARMS secretly in control, trying to make it look like METI has nothing to do with apologetics but it's all part of a well-planned deniability campaign to convince folks like you that METI has nothing to do with apologetics. But it's all controlled by apologetics --- FARMS controls it, that was established in the secret meeting with Bateman."

Again the fork:

Either certain folks associated with apologetics are guilty of dishonestly making it look like FARMS was a small part of a larger organization in order to quell fears that METI was a tool of apologetics, when it was totally controlled and dominated by apologetics, or these folks are guilty of dishonestly making it look like FARMS had more power than it did all along -- it really is the case that it was a small part of a large organization, but now the history is spun to make it sound like all along, it dominated everything.


In reading an old thread, I ran across this, that seems to support your theory about CPART being used to disguise FARMS fundraising:

Kristian
Posted February 12, 2013 (edited)
On 2/12/2013 at 12:43 PM, Bill Hamblin said:
You would. You make a living off the funding others raised for "commercial apologetics" that is just too crass for your sensitive constitution.

I wonder if you would be so delighted if you had managed to raise $500,000 to study Syriac manuscripts, and then I was put in charge of MI, and decided to fire you and use your money to fund an endowed chair for someone else to do Book of Mormon studies.


CPART projects (Dead Sea Scrolls, Herculaneum, Vatican Syriac project) have consistently been used to raise money for apologetics and general LDS scholarship. I have no complaints. In fact I have done it myself.

Bill Hamblin

What you're saying is some of these donations went to the general endowment....

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/599 ... 1209222989
Kristian
Posted February 12, 2013
On 2/12/2013 at 1:20 PM, ERayR said:
If I understood what you wrote correctly I would consider that less than honest. Raising money for one thing and using it for something else. Are your donors apprised that their donations might be used for something other than(Dead Sea Scrolls, Herculaneum, Vatican Syriac project)?


To be precise, funds for the MI endowment were raised on the basis of all the work we do - CPART, METI, FARMS etc. Most of that went to support FARMS/LDS scholarship as that always has been the main thing we have done.

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/599 ... 1209223024

Kristian

Posted February 12, 2013
On 2/12/2013 at 1:30 PM, ERayR said:
That doesn't answer the question I posed. Are your donors who donate to a specific program apprised that their donations might not be used for the program they think they are donating to?


As far as I understand it, with the exception of the Gay Chair and the Willes Center, all large donations have gone to support the Institute in general. That means, those funds are used at the discretion of the Executive Director.

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/599 ... 1209223042


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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Gadianton »

Very interest. Now, I wouldn't say this is "my" theory, I'm just going by what I read from a blog proprietor somewhere out there on the Internet who claims to be intimately involved. He says the diffused relationship was a smokescreen so that prospects wouldn't be suspicious about the connection to apologetics. If those quotes are true, then it looks like it worked out pretty well for FARMS.

by the way, the apologists are in another fork. if donors are blistering made that they gave for Mopologetics but the money was used for CPART or some other kind of totally different Mormon studies thing, then are they going to insist all 1 Million of the money raised for the Witness Film, that has only burned through 87k so far, be used for the film?
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Gadianton wrote:Very interest. Now, I wouldn't say this is "my" theory, I'm just going by what I read from a blog proprietor somewhere out there on the Internet who claims to be intimately involved. He says the diffused relationship was a smokescreen so that prospects wouldn't be suspicious about the connection to apologetics. If those quotes are true, then it looks like it worked out pretty well for FARMS.

by the way, the apologists are in another fork. if donors are blistering made that they gave for Mopologetics but the money was used for CPART or some other kind of totally different Mormon studies thing, then are they going to insist all 1 Million of the money raised for the Witness Film, that has only burned through 87k so far, be used for the film?


Years ago, I was told by one of my most reliable "informants" that the bulk of the Maxwell Institute was "window dressing"--that was the exact phrase they used--for Mopologetics, by which I mean the sort of aggressive, vicious, "hit piece"-style material that was done at the direction of the Brethren (per Midgley) and in collaboration with the SCMC. (I can hardly believe the wealth of information that Midgley has been raining down on us lately.) Again, look at the example of METI and DCP. He went absolutely ballistic when Bradford made the move to shift the focus of the Review. METI, though? It was his own project and he just walked away from it. I simply don't buy it that the work environment was "untenable" or whatever dumb excuse he made. This is a guy who's spent his entire adult life--even going back to his mission days--"bashing" with critics and anti-Mormons. How can he willingly court a fight with James White, and post all of that stuff publicly, and yet cower away from fellow LDS scholars who are working with him on, e.g., the works of Maimonides? Were the stakes really so painfully high with these translations, that he couldn't bear it? I mean, for God's sake, man: he lost his second office over this!. Right? I admit my memory is a little fuzzy on this, but my recollection is that he was bellyaching on "Sic et Non" after his METI resignation because Bradford ordered him to clear out his *second* office. (He still got to keep his office in his main department.) That really does say a lot about priorities, though, and what the Review/the MI was meant to be under his influence.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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moksha wrote:If there was a cover to prevent METI from having the taint of apologetics (from the freedom-hating evil apostate gentile outsider perspective), why have Dr. Peterson associated with it in the first place?


Peterson was still a relatively early-stage scholar when METI started in the early 1990s, and he was not then, as far as I know, the face of apologetics that he later became. Nibley was still around and publishing, and so was still a large presence, and FARMS itself was doing non-apologetic projects like hosting conferences on the Dead Sea Scrolls and such.

Doctor Scratch wrote:Years ago, I was told by one of my most reliable "informants" that the bulk of the Maxwell Institute was "window dressing"--that was the exact phrase they used--for Mopologetics, by which I mean the sort of aggressive, vicious, "hit piece"-style material that was done at the direction of the Brethren (per Midgley) and in collaboration with the SCMC. (I can hardly believe the wealth of information that Midgley has been raining down on us lately.) Again, look at the example of METI and DCP. He went absolutely ballistic when Bradford made the move to shift the focus of the Review. METI, though? It was his own project and he just walked away from it. I simply don't buy it that the work environment was "untenable" or whatever dumb excuse he made. This is a guy who's spent his entire adult life--even going back to his mission days--"bashing" with critics and anti-Mormons. How can he willingly court a fight with James White, and post all of that stuff publicly, and yet cower away from fellow LDS scholars who are working with him on, e.g., the works of Maimonides? Were the stakes really so painfully high with these translations, that he couldn't bear it? I mean, for God's sake, man: he lost his second office over this!. Right? I admit my memory is a little fuzzy on this, but my recollection is that he was bellyaching on "Sic et Non" after his METI resignation because Bradford ordered him to clear out his *second* office. (He still got to keep his office in his main department.) That really does say a lot about priorities, though, and what the Review/the MI was meant to be under his influence.


I don't have any inside information, obviously, but from my outsider perspective at the time, ISPART certainly felt like window dressing—except I don't imagine the basement office it was in had windows. It had an office in one of the lower levels of the Lee library, off a corner not far from some some microfilm readers. Perhaps it had other offices elsewhere, but that one must have been rather small inside, given its location. And though I spent many hours a week over several months at one of the those microfilm readers for a project I was working on, I rarely saw anyone go in or come out.

Obviously, that little anecdote means nothing by itself other than it was not a very busy place at the time. Perhaps that was because the Maxwell Institute was already in the works at that point, but on the other hand one could see, as a point of contrast, plenty of activity at the FARMS office on the southern slope of campus. As I mentioned on another thread, even some people I knew that were doing something with ISPART spent a lot of time (to their frustration) at the FARMS office. That is one among many reasons why I do not exactly find De Wette's statements on the other thread about the relative importance of FARMS to be accurate. Daniel Peterson's account at least matches what I observed. The part of the administration that interacted with these guys may have had their own ideas about FARMS, but clearly the people who were doing FARMS (also the same people doing ISPART) had their own ideas, as well.

About a year before my adventures in microfilm, some student group or other (I imagine) set up a panel titled "So you want to do Ancient Studies" or something like that. This was the first time I ever really learned about FARMS, and what it was; before this meeting, I thought it was just a publisher like Deseret Book. Anyway, the panelists were two FARMSians + one professor in classics. It was quite a full room, so there was plenty of interest from the students, obviously, which surprised me at first but which became understandable as the panel got underway. I did a mental double-take when, in introducing one of the professors on the panel, it was mentioned that he had a Ph.D. in government and, indeed, was a professor of political science (Noel Reynolds). WHAT?! I thought. What's this guy gotta say about studying the ancient world?

I had gone into that meeting quite innocently thinking it was a pitch for potential classics majors, but as it turned out, "ancient studies" was just a euphemism for "FARMS apologetics." 2/3 of the panel monopolized the whole thing, talking about FARMS, basically, while the poor professors of classics could mutter only a few things here and there about why antiquity itself was interesting and worthwhile, quite apart from its utilitarian value in arguing the case that Joseph Smith found a gold book in his backyard. Noel Reynolds was a model of arrogance throughout, the only positive side-effect being his forthrightness about the dim career prospects facing would-be experts in Book of Mormon defending. His comment obviously had years of observing the dashed dreams of seminary teachers behind it. In any case, that was my first acquaintance with the FARMS people: these two really weren't interested in antiquity beyond its apologetic utility, a tool which, apparently, even a political science professor could wield as it suited him.

In short, Dr. Scratch, it was very disorienting to realize that this field I was about to sign up for was, for a lot of people on campus, really something else entirely. Luckily, the department that actually studied the ancient world wasn't dominated by the apologists. Indeed, there was only professor in classics who was associated with the FARMSians, and I would not say that he was appreciated for it, though it could have been that he was overall an insufferable person whose scholarly accomplishments were out of all proportion to his self-regard. It is remarkable, thinking back, that in the one place on campus where expertise in the ancient world was organized as a department, FARMSian apologetics was openly mocked, when it was thought about at all.

Now, I imagine that someone like Kristian Heal, who had come to ISPART around that same time, must have experienced that same kind of disorientation but much more intensely. There are probably even fewer Syriacists than there are Mormon apologists; certainly there are fewer jobs for them, although you do need more technical training than even some of the best political science Ph.D. programs provide. To land a position, then, as a Syriacist only to discover that you've entered the FARMS fortress cannot have been altogether pleasant. At any rate, the more FARMS (then the MI) brought in people to shore up its academic legitimacy (window dressing, as you call it), the more the expectation grew that it should be academically legitimate among those newcomers. The FARMS people exercised quite poor judgment in thinking they could control a second prong of secular academic studies. These people have their own reputations, careers, and scholarly goals, too.

I think Peterson must have experienced that same kind of disorientation as that second prong actually grew in influence and became insubordinate, as it were, to the FARMS mission. I can appreciate that. Here is this institution that had been building up since the late 1970s and had gained the trust and respect of the Church authorities, bu now these lately arrived Pinocchios not only think they're real boys—they actually pull the strings! I completely understand why Peterson wouldn't want to stay in that environment. It was no longer what he thought it was.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Kishkumen »

The first time I visited ISPART I think it was near the stadium.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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Kishkumen wrote:The first time I visited ISPART I think it was near the stadium.


Are you referring to that little house with the "Beit al-Hikma" inscription (discussed on another thread recently)? I believe some people working on METI were there. What I am referring to is a little office (I assume) in the library, judging from what was around it, with a brown sign near the top of the door that said in white letters ISPART.

The point I was trying to make, perhaps inarticulately, was that anyone at BYU interested in the ancient world couldn't go very far before bumping into FARMS in one form or another. For a budding scholar in the field, FARMS was worthless institution (or congeries of institutions), but something like ISPART could actually have offered some real, practical experience on small projects of the kind that many BYU undergraduates in other fields get to work on. Yet one would hardly have known of ISPART's existence except by accident.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Symmachus wrote:I don't have any inside information, obviously, but from my outsider perspective at the time, ISPART certainly felt like window dressing—except I don't imagine the basement office it was in had windows. It had an office in one of the lower levels of the Lee library, off a corner not far from some some microfilm readers. Perhaps it had other offices elsewhere, but that one must have been rather small inside, given its location. And though I spent many hours a week over several months at one of the those microfilm readers for a project I was working on, I rarely saw anyone go in or come out.

Obviously, that little anecdote means nothing by itself other than it was not a very busy place at the time. Perhaps that was because the Maxwell Institute was already in the works at that point, but on the other hand one could see, as a point of contrast, plenty of activity at the FARMS office on the southern slope of campus. As I mentioned on another thread, even some people I knew that were doing something with ISPART spent a lot of time (to their frustration) at the FARMS office. That is one among many reasons why I do not exactly find De Wette's statements on the other thread about the relative importance of FARMS to be accurate. Daniel Peterson's account at least matches what I observed. The part of the administration that interacted with these guys may have had their own ideas about FARMS, but clearly the people who were doing FARMS (also the same people doing ISPART) had their own ideas, as well.


For what it's worth, I agree with you that FARMS was the driving force behind everything. That fits with all the available facts that I've seen. I don't know if you caught it on the other thread, but I linked to this old post, which has to do with the ways that money and donations most likely factored into the history of this whole thing. I think that these guys' efforts eventually wound up reaching a "tipping point": they were garnering enough attention and money--and they were power-hungry enough--that it caught the attention of the Brethren, and so they were "brought to heel" in a sense. They were allowed to continue doing what they were doing....for a time. But I think the point is that these guys essentially "muscled" their way into "prominence" on the BYU campus. They were pretty clearly "demoted" later on; but at the outset, I do believe it's correct to say that they were the ones "pushing the agenda."

About a year before my adventures in microfilm, some student group or other (I imagine) set up a panel titled "So you want to do Ancient Studies" or something like that. This was the first time I ever really learned about FARMS, and what it was; before this meeting, I thought it was just a publisher like Deseret Book. Anyway, the panelists were two FARMSians + one professor in classics. It was quite a full room, so there was plenty of interest from the students, obviously, which surprised me at first but which became understandable as the panel got underway. I did a mental double-take when, in introducing one of the professors on the panel, it was mentioned that he had a Ph.D. in government and, indeed, was a professor of political science (Noel Reynolds). WHAT?! I thought. What's this guy gotta say about studying the ancient world?

I had gone into that meeting quite innocently thinking it was a pitch for potential classics majors, but as it turned out, "ancient studies" was just a euphemism for "FARMS apologetics." 2/3 of the panel monopolized the whole thing, talking about FARMS, basically, while the poor professors of classics could mutter only a few things here and there about why antiquity itself was interesting and worthwhile, quite apart from its utilitarian value in arguing the case that Joseph Smith found a gold book in his backyard. Noel Reynolds was a model of arrogance throughout, the only positive side-effect being his forthrightness about the dim career prospects facing would-be experts in Book of Mormon defending. His comment obviously had years of observing the dashed dreams of seminary teachers behind it. In any case, that was my first acquaintance with the FARMS people: these two really weren't interested in antiquity beyond its apologetic utility, a tool which, apparently, even a political science professor could wield as it suited him.


Wow: what a great story. That is hilarious, on so many levels. I'd love to hear further details concerning Reynolds's "arrogance," if you are willing....

In short, Dr. Scratch, it was very disorienting to realize that this field I was about to sign up for was, for a lot of people on campus, really something else entirely. Luckily, the department that actually studied the ancient world wasn't dominated by the apologists. Indeed, there was only professor in classics who was associated with the FARMSians, and I would not say that he was appreciated for it, though it could have been that he was overall an insufferable person whose scholarly accomplishments were out of all proportion to his self-regard. It is remarkable, thinking back, that in the one place on campus where expertise in the ancient world was organized as a department, FARMSian apologetics was openly mocked, when it was thought about at all.


LOL! "Openly mocked"? Would you be willing to elaborate on this?

Now, I imagine that someone like Kristian Heal, who had come to ISPART around that same time, must have experienced that same kind of disorientation but much more intensely. There are probably even fewer Syriacists than there are Mormon apologists; certainly there are fewer jobs for them, although you do need more technical training than even some of the best political science Ph.D. programs provide. To land a position, then, as a Syriacist only to discover that you've entered the FARMS fortress cannot have been altogether pleasant. At any rate, the more FARMS (then the MI) brought in people to shore up its academic legitimacy (window dressing, as you call it), the more the expectation grew that it should be academically legitimate among those newcomers. The FARMS people exercised quite poor judgment in thinking they could control a second prong of secular academic studies. These people have their own reputations, careers, and scholarly goals, too.

I think Peterson must have experienced that same kind of disorientation as that second prong actually grew in influence and became insubordinate, as it were, to the FARMS mission. I can appreciate that. Here is this institution that had been building up since the late 1970s and had gained the trust and respect of the Church authorities, bu now these lately arrived Pinocchios not only think they're real boys—they actually pull the strings! I completely understand why Peterson wouldn't want to stay in that environment. It was no longer what he thought it was.


Good points: I think you're right. It's as if they were never able to see how their "apologetics" might be harmful or hurtful; or, if they *did* see it, they didn't care. Despite my many years as the B.H. Roberts Professor, I still find myself at something of a loss when I go back and look at those ridiculous emails archived on SHIELDS. When Dr. Peterson reads that old crap, what does he think? Does he chuckle to himself? Does his imagine that this was a good, or a wise means of defending the LDS Church? Or consider something like "Metcalfe is Butthead." Mike Quinn once told me that he felt that "it's all a game to them"--that was his exact phrase--concerning the Mopologists, and he cited "Metcalfe is Butthead" is the main illustrative example. That really puts things into perspective, doesn't it? *That* is what DCP was butthurt over: that Bradford and Co. took away this crappy "good ol' boys," locker-room-esque "hit squad" atmosphere--one that gleefully put juvenile jokes into allegedly "scholarly" articles, ordered up hit pieces (or, rather, did the "dirty work" for the Brethren, who are the real ones "pulling the strings," per Midgley). He--Peterson--still seems to think that all of that crap was part of some "holy" mission that he's been appointed to fulfill.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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Doctor Scratch wrote:...ordered up hit pieces (or, rather, did the "dirty work" for the Brethren, who are the real ones "pulling the strings," per Midgley).


These revelations of late may not be new news to some, but they certainly are a gut punch to me. I mean, this is some deeply disturbing “fair game” activity, as it’s been recounted.

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Re: The ISPART Fork

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Dr Moore wrote:
Doctor Scratch wrote:...ordered up hit pieces (or, rather, did the "dirty work" for the Brethren, who are the real ones "pulling the strings," per Midgley).


These revelations of late may not be new news to some, but they certainly are a gut punch to me. I mean, this is some deeply disturbing “fair game” activity, as it’s been recounted.


They tried for many years to keep it a secret. A lot of us repeatedly pressed them on this question and they always denied it, but they were clearly lying.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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LOL! "Openly mocked"? Would you be willing to elaborate on this?


Yeah, Symmachus overthrew everything I thought I knew about the early period. While we know what real scholars think of them now, my impression was back in the early 90s, the FARMS guys were like rock stars on campus -- wasn't everyone worshiping Nibley back then, and by extension, those who were taking the torch?
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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Dr Moore wrote:
Doctor Scratch wrote:...ordered up hit pieces (or, rather, did the "dirty work" for the Brethren, who are the real ones "pulling the strings," per Midgley).


These revelations of late may not be new news to some, but they certainly are a gut punch to me. I mean, this is some deeply disturbing “fair game” activity, as it’s been recounted.
Doctor Scratch wrote: They tried for many years to keep it a secret. A lot of us repeatedly pressed them on this question and they always denied it, but they were clearly lying.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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Symmachus wrote:Are you referring to that little house with the "Beit al-Hikma" inscription (discussed on another thread recently)? I believe some people working on METI were there. What I am referring to is a little office (I assume) in the library, judging from what was around it, with a brown sign near the top of the door that said in white letters ISPART.

The point I was trying to make, perhaps inarticulately, was that anyone at BYU interested in the ancient world couldn't go very far before bumping into FARMS in one form or another. For a budding scholar in the field, FARMS was worthless institution (or congeries of institutions), but something like ISPART could actually have offered some real, practical experience on small projects of the kind that many BYU undergraduates in other fields get to work on. Yet one would hardly have known of ISPART's existence except by accident.


Huh. I wish my recollection were better. That may be it. Except that the person I was going to visit was Carl Griffin, and I do not believe that he worked for METI. I do recall seeing some set up for the Herculanaeum Project. There was some fellow who I know used to record Nibley's lectures who was working on that project too.

I think the second time I went out to that building near the stadium Carl's office had moved.

No, I understood your point, and I really loved your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to write that up. I was just testing my recollection against yours, which is much more extensive than my own.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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Gadianton wrote:
LOL! "Openly mocked"? Would you be willing to elaborate on this?


Yeah, Symmachus overthrew everything I thought I knew about the early period. While we know what real scholars think of them now, my impression was back in the early 90s, the FARMS guys were like rock stars on campus -- wasn't everyone worshiping Nibley back then, and by extension, those who were taking the torch?


That may have been how things were in the early 90s. The period I'm talking about is much later, the years just before the Maxwell Institute was established. On the mocking: one of my professors made fun of Hugh NIbley's "book" on the Jaredites, for example, wondering aloud just exactly how ridiculous it was to imagine that the Jaredites had submarines; there was a snide comment about the hagiographic seminar devoted to Hugh Nibley in the Honors program; and in general a few other comments along that vein from that one. In one course, an over-eager student asked a different professor about an idea, which he attributed to Hugh Nibley (perhaps erroneously), that the Odyssey was a kind of template to the temple endowment (it was as if Leo Strauss had ingested acid-laced Jello at a Mormon funeral...). I recall that, in addition to head shaking and light laughter, the phrase "FARMS crazy" was uttered in the answer. I wouldn't want to give the impression that FARMS really was much of a topic, though, because it wasn't in my experience, but certainly I never heard anything positive said about FARMS. It's not hard to see why on the level of scholarship, but I suspect that for some professors there may have been a low-level frustration with the fact that some students had come into the program in hopes of becoming a FARMS acolyte rather than a devotee of Homer. Other than one rather unpleasant person, nobody on the faculty who taught Classics courses had much to do with FARMS and were interested in, you know, Classics. I can think of three or four people in my cohort who actually planned to go on to study early Christianity (one actually did a Ph.D. in it, another left the Church, and I don't know about the rest), which is not exactly what most classics undergraduates are thinking about in a first-year Latin course at most places, so the influence of FARMS, however indirect, was certainly there on some of the students. You should know, too, that when I was there, we actually had two non-Mormons teaching in the Classics section, so they obviously didn't care at all about what some professor of Arabic or political science had to say about Book of Mormon antiquities.

Kishkumen wrote:Huh. I wish my recollection were better. That may be it. Except that the person I was going to visit was Carl Griffin, and I do not believe that he worked for METI. I do recall seeing some set up for the Herculanaeum Project. There was some fellow who I know used to record Nibley's lectures who was working on that project too.

I think the second time I went out to that building near the stadium Carl's office had moved.


I could be wrong about the building's overall function; I only happened to pass by once and asked just what it was, because the Arabic inscription intrigued me, and that's when I learned about METI from whoever was there (I think it was Morgan Davis). Maybe other things happened there, and I only paid attention to that part of the answer I found interesting. Maybe they had multiple locations on campus.
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Re: The ISPART Fork

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That may have been how things were in the early 90s. The period I'm talking about is much later, the years just before the Maxwell Institute was established. On the mocking: one of my professors made fun of Hugh NIbley's "book" on the Jaredites, for example, wondering aloud just exactly how ridiculous it was to imagine that the Jaredites had submarines; there was a snide comment about the hagiographic seminar devoted to Hugh Nibley in the Honors program; and in general a few other comments along that vein from that one. In one course, an over-eager student asked a different professor about an idea, which he attributed to Hugh Nibley (perhaps erroneously), that the Odyssey was a kind of template to the temple endowment (it was as if Leo Strauss had ingested acid-laced Jello at a Mormon funeral...). I recall that, in addition to head shaking and light laughter, the phrase "FARMS crazy" was uttered in the answer. I wouldn't want to give the impression that FARMS really was much of a topic, though, because it wasn't in my experience, but certainly I never heard anything positive said about FARMS. It's not hard to see why on the level of scholarship, but I suspect that for some professors there may have been a low-level frustration with the fact that some students had come into the program in hopes of becoming a FARMS acolyte rather than a devotee of Homer. Other than one rather unpleasant person, nobody on the faculty who taught Classics courses had much to do with FARMS and were interested in, you know, Classics. I can think of three or four people in my cohort who actually planned to go on to study early Christianity (one actually did a Ph.D. in it, another left the Church, and I don't know about the rest), which is not exactly what most classics undergraduates are thinking about in a first-year Latin course at most places, so the influence of FARMS, however indirect, was certainly there on some of the students. You should know, too, that when I was there, we actually had two non-Mormons teaching in the Classics section, so they obviously didn't care at all about what some professor of Arabic or political science had to say about Book of Mormon antiquities.


Yes, there were some temporary faculty. In my day there were others. They were good people whom I was sad to see go. It impoverishes BYU not to allow more non-LDS hires, and on a permanent basis.

The Nibley phenomenon did tend to suck a lot of oxygen out of the (ancient studies) room, so to speak. I recall criticisms of Nibley from Kent P. Jackson and Stephen E. Robinson. Robinson I found more irritating because of his Protestantizing tendencies. Lindsay Adams, the Hellenistic History prof. at the U of U had a special distaste for Nibley because, being a non- Mormon, he nevertheless had to listen to Mormon students gush about Nibley. It got really old.

I was lucky in that, admittedly, I went to BYU essentially for the purpose of taking classes with Nibley, but my special mixture of independence and obtuseness resulted in my love of Classics and distaste for the whole Hebrew and ANES fetish. I fell hard for Homer and held up my nose at the thought of Study Abroad in Israel to “walk where Jesus walked.” These days I am very interested in Judaea but mostly because it is a great place to study Roman imperialism in a fascinating province. It doesn’t hurt that I spend a lot of time working on the Flavians.
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