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 Post subject: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:05 pm 
Master Mahan

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 5604
I would like to subtitle this thread:

Piecing Together FARMS's History.

In the wake of the "Are the Apologists Set Apart by the Brethren?" thread, I have been thinking about a number of things. At the heart of that discussion is a very basic question concerning the Church's relationship to "official" apologetics. Of course, apologists have long denied that the Brethren have anything to do with apologetics---something which, as critics have rightly pointed out, often seems like a stretch. There is really no denying that a long, dark shadow has been cast over this particular facet of Mopologetics, and in this thread, I would like to try and dissolve some of the mystery.

In the course of my thinking, I realized that the best place to look for evidence of a FARMS-BYU connection lay during the time period, in the mid-1990s, when FARMS was "officially" incorporated into the University. This was an important step, as many people have observed. But why did this happen? Apologists have long tried to portray themselves as being almost an entirely volunteer effort (hence their bristling at any suggestion that they get paid), so why not remain so? Why "incorporate" with BYU?

Here is one reply, from Noel Reynolds:

Quote:
The new invitation offers to take the relationship a step further, making FARMS a full-fledged part of the BYU family. This relationship offers many advantages to FARMS, according to FARMS president Noel B. Reynolds. "One of the chief advantages for FARMS, of course, is financial. While FARMS will continue to be dependent on sales, subscriptions, and private donations to fund its research and other projects, it will now enjoy the advantage of significant BYU budgetary support as well."


John Welch, one of FARMS's founding members, provides another answer:

John Welch wrote:
In 1980, when I came to BYU, I asked Academic Vice President Robert K. Thomas if I should terminate FARMS or bring it with me. He said, "By all means, bring it." Ever since, FARMS and BYU have been closely intertwined. Soon BYU gave us some unused space in the basement of the law school and then some offices in the old Amanda Knight Hall. As FARMS grew, it became obvious that sooner or later BYU and FARMS would need to define their mutual relationship.
[Note: I will post links to all my sources at the end of the post.]

As Bro. Welch explains things, the incorporation of FARMS into the university during the 1990s came about as a result of necessity. FARMS was "growing," and thus its relationship with BYU needed to be "defined." Again: what does this mean? What kind of "growth" was occurring? The answer comes from a variety of sources.

An early notice of FARMS' plans for exponential growth appeared in a 1995 issue of Church News:

Quote:
Groundbreaking for a new 25,000-square-foot building for The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies is tentatively scheduled for next April, according to Brent Hall, FARMS director of development and operations. Construction of the building will take approximately 18 months to complete, he said.
....

The design of the new building suggests elements of the world of the Bible - a dome, arches and pyramid - and the world of the Book of Mormon - stone work reminiscent of Meso-American pyramids and other structures.


This massive edifice to apologetics would have been like recreating a structure out of Zarahemla, and it would have stood as a powerful symbol of Mopologetics' accomplishments and power. But there were problems. Some time near the announcement of the building, the following letter, dated 20 November 1995, was sent out to FARMS supporters:

Quote:
In the last newsletter we announced the campaign to raise the funds to build the Book of Mormon Research Center.... Your help is needed. Many of you have already responded with generous contributions for which we are grateful, but more is needed. Local building costs are escalating rapidly. Presently the architects estimate the project will cost some seven million dollars.... We invite those of you who have abundant means to be very generous.... Please don't delay


Was this referring to the same building? Given FARMS's status as a purely volunteer effort, one would have to assume so. But other troubles were brewing.

It is worth back-tracking at this point in order to reflect on what was happening in the world of Mormonism during this time period. The 1980s had seen the Mark Hoffman scandals, along with the rise of the Tanners, and, in 1993, the very public troubles with the September 6. Moreover, a very important new development called the Internet was beginning to spread across the world. Could it be that the Brethren had at last begun to see the need for a Church-financed, Church-supported apologetic effort?

Or, was it the other way around? Interestingly, in the course of an interview, Noel Reynolds revealed the following:

Quote:
Our need to be better known led us to promote publicity that raised concerns in the church and the university and led to the new BYU president's interest in merging FARMS with the university. This late 1996 proposal from President Bateman moved the two-year conversation with the previous administration to a higher level. On September 10, 1997, President Hinckley proposed in the monthly meeting of the BYU board of trustees that FARMS be invited into the university with partial funding for it and for CPART being provided.


Could Reynolds here be referring to the "Ziggurat" announced in the Church News piece? Was FARMS growing at a pace which had begun to alarm Church leaders? In any case, whatever happened around 1995 led to some lengthy conversations, culminating in President Hinckley's approval of the "merger." And yet, all of this seems to have occurred behind closed doors:

John Welch wrote:
I remember saying to President Bateman in a private conversation, "As far as I am concerned, we can go either way, on campus or off. What we need is an answer that will stick. If President Hinckley will tell us what he sees as best, we will do it." Two months later, President Hinckley invited FARMS to become a part of BYU. He gave no explanations but saw a bright future for this work under the university umbrella.


Apart from the "need to be better known" and the "promot[ion] of publicity" mentioned by Noel Reynolds, what would have persuaded the Brethren to associate themselves with FARMS in this way? Clearly, there would have been a number of problems involved: it would be a tacit acknowledgment of weaknesses in the Church; it would also be a kind of "winking" support for the belligerent attitudes and methods of many apologists. The attempts by FARMS to maintain its independence are evident in the omnipresent disclaimer:

Quote:
The opinions expressed in the articles and books [FARMS] distributes are not necessarily the opinions of anyone except the authors.


So, what would convince the Brethren to ally themselves with FARMS? One clue lies in the fact that a certain General Authority was President of BYU at the time: Merrill Bateman. Bateman had long been a supporter of FARMS:

Quote:
"I was an early supporter of FARMS, serving for a time in the early 1980s on the FARMS advisory board," says President Bateman. "As president of BYU, I am anxious for the University to produce the best scholarship. Bringing FARMS into the University will give both entities more visibility. I am excited about the work that we will be able to do together."


Thus, it seems clear that Bateman was a kind of "inside man" for FARMS, and it seems reasonable to assume that he helped negotiate the behind-closed-doors deals that led to the integration of FARMS into the University.

But what were those negotiations? In reading over several sources, I found mention again and again of a "protocol" that was written up between FARMS and BYU. I looked far and wide (as did several of my "informants"), but I was unable to locate a copy of this document. Nevertheless, according to a September 4, 1995 Deseret News article,

Quote:
The Foundation for Ancient Research & Mormon Studies (FARMS) and BYU have formalized and defined their relationship with a protocol agreement approved by the university's board of trustees.


As we all know, the "university's board of trustees" consists of the Brethren. So, whatever happened in 1995 triggered a series of discussions with the Brethren, and it ultimately led to the joining of FARMS and BYU. Was the FARMS "ziggurat" the straw that broke the camel's back, as it were? Did the Brethren feel concerned about FARMS's growing power, prestige, and fundraising capabilities? Regardless, there is no doubt that this was a pivotal time both in the Church, and for FARMS.

So, what did the protocol say? As I noted, I was unable to procure a copy of the document. But Noel Reynolds did offer up some clues:

Quote:
While about 100 BYU professors have been involved in some way with FARMS, their relationship to the organization hasn't been clear. The protocol statement, a two-page document, outlines how BYU professors may pursue religious research with FARMS support.

``Teaching religion classes is the sole responsibility of the religious education departments,'' Brother Reynolds said. ``But who is responsible for research on scriptural and religious topics? The answer that the protocol states very clearly, and this with the complete agreement of BYU religious education leadership, is that religion-related research, scripture research, is appropriate for anyone on campus as long as it's approved through normal university channels.''


It would seem, then, that this document helped to provide the basis for apologists' repeated denials that they are paid to do apologetics. Certainly, I would be interested to learn what "approval through normal university channels" consists of.

So, with the implementation of the Protocol of 1995, FARMS was well on its way to being fully integrated into BYU. But not everyone was completely happy about this move. Here again is Noel Reynolds:

Quote:
"We have thought long and hard about this move," says Reynolds. "Our organizational independence has served us well in our formative years, and we are very confident that FARMS will continue in the future to deliver the same dynamic, innovative, and superb scholarship as it has in the past.


And, perhaps more emphatically, Daniel Peterson, who told this to Peggy Fletcher Stack:

Quote:
Daniel Peterson, FARMS chairman and professor of Islamic studies and Arabic, said he is ``cautiously optimistic'' about the move.


He elaborated later on in the article:

Quote:
``In some ways, we are already part of BYU. Almost everyone on the board is a member of the BYU faculty,'' Peterson said. Still, the group ``did enjoy being independent, rather like being an entrepreneur.''

University officials have promised FARMS scholars that they will not interfere in the editorial policies or administration of the group, but Peterson wonders if FARMS' members will feel as free to engage in speculation and discussion of Mormon scripture.

``FARMS has often had a polemical edge and we are curious to see how or whether that will be accommodated,'' he said. ``The minute I write something offensive, we'll see if I get a call.''


This is very interesting. Did the protocol mention something about this? People have observed that the FARMS Review has mellowed somewhat during the past decade or so. Was this due to the influence of the Brethren? Or, was it covered in the 1995 Protocol? Although DCP told Peggy Fletcher Stack in 1997 that he was "cautiously optimistic," the truth seems far more grim. By 1997, DCP had become Chair/President of FARMS, and he may have begun to receive payment for his services:

Quote:
As I've said before, I wasn't paid for doing apologetics. Neither my salary (for teaching and editing and directing research and publication projects) nor that temporary board chairmanship fee -- which compensated me for weekends taken away from my family and personal interests by fundraising trips, for weeks of travel to Italy and Lebanon and Mexico and elsewhere to supervise digitizing teams and negotiate partnerships with local institutions, for hours and hours and hours of time spent working out the details of the Institute's affiliation with the University, etc., etc. -- paid me to do apologetics.


By 1999, the parties involved were still bickering over the details of the merger, and it nearly brought DCP to his knees:

Quote:
I didn't mind a bit that I was given some extra compensation for the hours and hours and hours that I spent working on the merger agreement for FARMS with BYU, which came on top of my editing and teaching duties and which almost destroyed my personal research and writing for several years.


Elsewhere, DCP revealed that the stress during this time period (1997-1999) was so great that he nearly walked away altogether from BYU. Again, one has to ask: what were the details of this "merger agreement"? Clearly, it had its origins in the Protocol of 1995, and there was enough contention that the details were still being hammered out nearly five years later--two years after Pres. Hinckley had rather mysteriously "invited" FARMS to join BYU.

* * * * *

At the beginning of this post, I expressed my hope in dissolving some of the cloudiness that obscures the relationship between apologetics and the Church. In looking over these materials, I believe that a hypotheses can be formulated:

To put things simply, I believe that FARMS had begun to expand to rapidly, and it had begun to step on the Brethren's toes. This all culminated in the failed "Ziggurat" which would have been financed to the tune of over $7,000,000 dollars. This had, as Noel Reynolds revealed, begun to raise eyebrows both within the Church, and within BYU. The GAs observed this rapid growth and increasing power (including huge donations from Alan "WordPerfect" Ashton), and decided that a leash needed to be put on FARMS. At this point, the 1995 Protocol was initiated, and a period of very stressful negotiation ensued.

There had to have been bruised egos amidst all of this. Reynolds, DCP and others all expressed regret over FARMS's loss of "independence." (Recall that DCP worried that the "polemical" tone of the Review might be affected.) Prof. Peterson said that he nearly resigned over the "hours and hours" that he spent, but it seems hard to believe that his angst and frustration was simply a matter of work and time. This is a man, after all, who repeatedly speaks of his impressive multi-tasking, such as teaching two classes, presiding as bishop for his ward, grading 100+ papers, taking phone calls from the Egyptian consulate, and trekking off to Scottsdale and then Dubai all in the same breath. I would guess that DCP's stress arose from other things: his fears over having the Brethren squash the Review, for example.

It could be, too, that something was amiss financially with FARMS, and the Brethren felt that they needed to intervene. DCP revealed that FARMS's accountant was fired during this very tumultuous and eventful time. Did the firing in some way relate to the FARMS "Ziggurat"? Perhaps.

In the end, I realize that I have not learned as much as I would have liked. But I do believe that this information, when taken in total, shows that there is a much stronger link between the Brethren and FARMS than the apologists would have us believe. It could be that the apologists themselves aren't quite sure what influence the Brethren are exerting, as evidenced by John Welch's remark (i.e., he stated the Pres. Hinckley gave no explanation). Hopefully, the text of the various agreements--including the 1995 Protocol--will one day be made public. Then we can know with much more clarity just how, exactly, FARMS (and apologetics more generally) are connected to the Church, and to the Brethren.

***Works Cited***

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/insights ... m=10&id=49

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/insights ... m=1&id=102

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/insights ... m=12&id=97

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/insights ... m=11&id=91

http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no90.ht ... %20DOLLARS!

N.B. Additional sources were furnished to me by anonymous informants. I can provide the citations if necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:40 pm 
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Not nearly as awful, as wackily conspiracy-fantastic and paranoid, as usual.

But you go off the tracks here and there, and especially at the end.

There was no particular "bickering" or "contention" about negotiating the merger. It was simply a difficult and complex thing to bring a multi-million dollar California 501c(3) foundation into a Utah university. We owned property. What was to become of it? We had staff. How would they be integrated into the University? We had a few employees with Ph.D.s, or approaching Ph.D.s. Would they be treated as faculty? How would rank advancement work for them? Or would it? Would they be affiliated with specific departments? If so, which ones? How? To whom in the administration would we report? Who would manage our endowment? How much money would we still need to raise for operations? How was that to be managed? What rules would govern our employees? Would our pension arrangements for our employees be transferred into the University's? How? Where would we be housed? How much would the University seek to control us? Would we have the right to choose our own leaders, or would the University administration name them? We had a board. The University had no boards, except for the overall Board of Trustees. Would our board continue? If so, in what capacity? Who would name the board members? Should the University president at least have representation on the board? Would we be free to contract independently on the printing of our materials, or would we need to use the University's press services? Could we market our own materials? Could we contract with outside entities to do so? How would our budget relate to the University's budget? Who would be in charge of our accounting?

There were lots of questions -- many more than I've enumerated here, but by no means unexpected in such a complex affiliation process -- and they all had to be worked out, and worked out in such a way that, when new University officials emerged who had had nothing to do with the affiliation agreement, determinations would be clear and lasting.

It took an enormous amount of time, and, although I knew it all had to be done, I hadn't gone into academia to be an administrator. I found it incredibly frustrating, and unbelievably exhausting. But the Review was never threatened, nor, with the exception of one quip that I can recall, even discussed during the affiliation process.

The firing of the accountant had nothing to do with the projected building. We had strong reasons to fire him -- reasons that are confidential and precisely none of your business.

_________________

http://mormonscholarstestify.org
http://mormonscholarstestify.org/category/testimonies

I quote dead people.


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:07 pm 
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Thanks for compiling and providing all that, Mister Scratch. It must've taken quite a while.

I'm curious, however: You mentioned, more than once, that the alarm had been raised among both the brethren and BYU about FARMS's growing power and influence. Maybe I missed it, but what led you to this conclusion? Why not conclude that both the brethren and BYU were excited and pleased about the growth of FARMS (as opposed to alarmed by it) and decided they wanted in on the action?

You also provided the following quote:

Noel Reynolds wrote:
"Teaching religion classes is the sole responsibility of the religious education departments,'' . . . "But who is responsible for research on scriptural and religious topics? The answer that the protocol states very clearly, and this with the complete agreement of BYU religious education leadership, is that religion-related research, scripture research, is appropriate for anyone on campus as long as it's approved through normal university channels.''

Perhaps I'm slow on the uptake, but I'm afraid I can't make heads or tails of that statement. Will you please break it down for me? Specifically, since when was religion-related research, scripture research, inappropriate for anyone on campus who wanted to do it? And why would anyone need to approve it, university channel or otherwise?

Daniel Peterson wrote:
There was no particular "bickering" or "contention" about negotiating the merger. It was simply a difficult and complex thing to bring a multi-million dollar California 501c(3) foundation into a Utah university. We owned property. What was to become of it? We had staff. How would they be integrated into the University? We had a few employees with Ph.D.s, or approaching Ph.D.s. Would they be treated as faculty? How would rank advancement work for them? Or would it? Would they be affiliated with specific departments? If so, which ones? How? To whom in the administration would we report? Who would manage our endowment? How much money would we still need to raise for operations? How was that to be managed? What rules would govern our employees? Would our pension arrangements for our employees be transferred into the University's? How? Where would we be housed? How much would the University seek to control us? Would we have the right to choose our own leaders, or would the University administration name them? We had a board. The University had no boards, except for the overall Board of Trustees. Would our board continue? If so, in what capacity? Who would name the board members? Should the University president at least have representation on the board? Would we be free to contract independently on the printing of our materials, or would we need to use the University's press services? Could we market our own materials? Could we contract with outside entities to do so? How would our budget relate to the University's budget? Who would be in charge of our accounting?

Wow, what a nightmare. Wouldn't it have been far, far easier to politely decline President Hinckley's invitation and remain fully independent? If so, why wasn't the invitation declined?

_________________
"Somebody owes somebody a new printing press."

--James, 11/21/2014


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:28 pm 
Master Mahan

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 5604
Dr. Shades wrote:
Thanks for compiling and providing all that, Mister Scratch. It must've taken quite a while.

I'm curious, however: You mentioned, more than once, that the alarm had been raised among both the brethren and BYU about FARMS's growing power and influence. Maybe I missed it, but what led you to this conclusion? Why not conclude that both the brethren and BYU were excited and pleased about the growth of FARMS (as opposed to alarmed by it) and decided they wanted in on the action?


There are a number of reasons why I think this, Dr. Shades. One is this Noel Reynolds quote:

Quote:
Our need to be better known led us to promote publicity that raised concerns in the church and the university and led to the new BYU president's interest in merging FARMS with the university.


Here, Reynolds is saying, in essence, that the Church and BYU were "concerned" with what FARMS was doing. And, as Professor Peterson helpfully explained in his recent post, there were also apparently some concerns amongst the Brethren about the "polemical" tone of FARMS work. One "quip" in particular seems to have been the topic of conversation.

But, I think it's important to note that much of this happened under a "cloak of secrecy," as it were. John Welch admitted that he found President Hinckley's invitation unaccountable.

Quote:
You also provided the following quote:

Noel Reynolds wrote:
"Teaching religion classes is the sole responsibility of the religious education departments,'' . . . "But who is responsible for research on scriptural and religious topics? The answer that the protocol states very clearly, and this with the complete agreement of BYU religious education leadership, is that religion-related research, scripture research, is appropriate for anyone on campus as long as it's approved through normal university channels.''

Perhaps I'm slow on the uptake, but I'm afraid I can't make heads or tails of that statement. Will you please break it down for me? Specifically, since when was religion-related research, scripture research, inappropriate for anyone on campus who wanted to do it? And why would anyone need to approve it, university channel or otherwise?


That's a good question, and in fact, I wondered the same thing. On the other thread, some posters pointed out that BYU religion faculty are set apart by the Brethren. Perhaps this 1995 Protocol helped to redefine or alter that particular practice.

Quote:
Daniel Peterson wrote:
There was no particular "bickering" or "contention" about negotiating the merger. It was simply a difficult and complex thing to bring a multi-million dollar California 501c(3) foundation into a Utah university. We owned property. What was to become of it? We had staff. How would they be integrated into the University? We had a few employees with Ph.D.s, or approaching Ph.D.s. Would they be treated as faculty? How would rank advancement work for them? Or would it? Would they be affiliated with specific departments? If so, which ones? How? To whom in the administration would we report? Who would manage our endowment? How much money would we still need to raise for operations? How was that to be managed? What rules would govern our employees? Would our pension arrangements for our employees be transferred into the University's? How? Where would we be housed? How much would the University seek to control us? Would we have the right to choose our own leaders, or would the University administration name them? We had a board. The University had no boards, except for the overall Board of Trustees. Would our board continue? If so, in what capacity? Who would name the board members? Should the University president at least have representation on the board? Would we be free to contract independently on the printing of our materials, or would we need to use the University's press services? Could we market our own materials? Could we contract with outside entities to do so? How would our budget relate to the University's budget? Who would be in charge of our accounting?

Wow, what a nightmare. Wouldn't it have been far, far easier to politely decline President Hinckley's invitation and remain fully independent? If so, why wasn't the invitation declined?


Lol. Yeah, right, Shades. The apologists would have had to kneel before the Brethren. Hence DCP's life-altering anxiety and stress.


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:51 pm 
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Mister Scratch wrote:
There are a number of reasons why I think this, Dr. Shades. One is this Noel Reynolds quote:

Quote:
Our need to be better known led us to promote publicity that raised concerns in the church and the university and led to the new BYU president's interest in merging FARMS with the university.


Here, Reynolds is saying, in essence, that the Church and BYU were "concerned" with what FARMS was doing. And, as Professor Peterson helpfully explained in his recent post, there were also apparently some concerns amongst the Brethren about the "polemical" tone of FARMS work. One "quip" in particular seems to have been the topic of conversation.

Okay, it's starting to become clear[er]. It seems that, according to Reynolds (my former Deacon's Quorum advisor and scoutmaster), that FARMS's "promoting publicity" raised concerns, not anything else. . . not their polemical edge, not their emerging Internet Mormon heterodoxy, etc.

Just musing aloud here, but maybe the brethren feared that as FARMS became more well-known that people would begin mistaking them for an official arm? In that case, why not just force them to issue a more clear disclaimer, rather than self-fulfil their own fears by making them, indeed, a quasi-official arm of the church, or at least BYU?

Sorry. You tried to clear things up about FARMS's past, but here I am muddying the waters.

Quote:
But, I think it's important to note that much of this happened under a "cloak of secrecy," as it were. John Welch admitted that he found President Hinckley's invitation unaccountable.

Unaccountable to whom? Or did you mean "inexplicable?"

Quote:
Quote:
Specifically, since when was religion-related research, scripture research, inappropriate for anyone on campus who wanted to do it? And why would anyone need to approve it, university channel or otherwise?

That's a good question, and in fact, I wondered the same thing. On the other thread, some posters pointed out that BYU religion faculty are set apart by the Brethren. Perhaps this 1995 Protocol helped to redefine or alter that particular practice.

So you're saying that the protocol made it clear who would be "set apart" and who wouldn't? Specifically, religion instructors would be, but religion researchers would not be?

If that's the case, then it would seem that your premise that FARMS apologists are set apart to do apologetics is untrue. Therefore, you must mean something else, but I'm afraid I don't quite understand what it is.

Who knows, maybe I just drank too much Coke today.

Quote:
Quote:
Wow, what a nightmare. Wouldn't it have been far, far easier to politely decline President Hinckley's invitation and remain fully independent? If so, why wasn't the invitation declined?

Lol. Yeah, right, Shades. The apologists would have had to kneel before the Brethren. Hence DCP's life-altering anxiety and stress.

If FARMS authors are indeed independent of the brethren, as they so carefully point out, then it seems that they'd be free to decline such an invitation, since President Hinckley was quite clearly "speaking as a man" when he extended it. If they couldn't refuse, then their ties to the brethren are more strong than they're admitting.

Either way, it seems to me that DCP should've just had the employees at the COB work out the details, since that's what they get paid for. Why did he agree to become their sacrificial lamb?

_________________
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--James, 11/21/2014


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:25 pm 
Master Mahan

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 5604
Dr. Shades wrote:
Okay, it's starting to become clear[er]. It seems that, according to Reynolds (my former Deacon's Quorum advisor and scoutmaster), that FARMS's "promoting publicity" raised concerns, not anything else. . . not their polemical edge, not their emerging Internet Mormon heterodoxy, etc.


But, Dr. Shades---what on Earth could "promoting publicity" refer to? It seems like a "catch-all" phrase, does it not? And bear in mind that Reynolds's tenure as FARMS President ended shortly after he uttered that statement.

Quote:
Just musing aloud here, but maybe the brethren feared that as FARMS became more well-known that people would begin mistaking them for an official arm? In that case, why not just force them to issue a more clear disclaimer, rather than self-fulfil their own fears by making them, indeed, a quasi-official arm of the church, or at least BYU?

Sorry. You tried to clear things up about FARMS's past, but here I am muddying the waters.


No, I think you're simply reiterating my own hypothesis---i.e., that the Brethren ordered FARMS to get in line, as it were. The "promoting publicity" that Reynolds alluded to (and possibly other things) led to the Brethren demanding that FARMS be a part of BYU.

Quote:
Quote:
But, I think it's important to note that much of this happened under a "cloak of secrecy," as it were. John Welch admitted that he found President Hinckley's invitation unaccountable.

Unaccountable to whom? Or did you mean "inexplicable?"


Well, since this all took place in secret, my answer had to be: "Both."

Quote:
Quote:
That's a good question, and in fact, I wondered the same thing. On the other thread, some posters pointed out that BYU religion faculty are set apart by the Brethren. Perhaps this 1995 Protocol helped to redefine or alter that particular practice.

So you're saying that the protocol made it clear who would be "set apart" and who wouldn't? Specifically, religion instructors would be, but religion researchers would not be?


That could very well be the case. I hope that the Protocol is made available for us to read.

Quote:
If that's the case, then it would seem that your premise that FARMS apologists are set apart to do apologetics is untrue. Therefore, you must mean something else, but I'm afraid I don't quite understand what it is.


No, no, Shades---I never meant to suggest that the apologists absolutely, 100% *were* set apart. I merely said that it seemed *VERY REASONABLE* to assume that they were. But, I am willing to be corrected. In light of all this new information (for which I am infinitely indebted to my informants), I now realize that there was far more "official" intervention than I had initially realized. Now, all things considered, I would imagine that there is a very specific, "in writing" "protocol" for giving blessings to apologists. Heck, Shades---FARMS and the Brethren spent five years hammering all this stuff out.



Quote:
Quote:
Lol. Yeah, right, Shades. The apologists would have had to kneel before the Brethren. Hence DCP's life-altering anxiety and stress.

If FARMS authors are indeed independent of the brethren, as they so carefully point out, then it seems that they'd be free to decline such an invitation, since President Hinckley was quite clearly "speaking as a man" when he extended it. If they couldn't refuse, then their ties to the brethren are more strong than they're admitting.


If FARMS consists of legitimate TBM Mormons, then there is no way that they can say "No" to the Brethren. There is much joking about how the "hive" mindset does not exist in Mormonism, and yet, look at this. I would be willing to bet that a great deal of DCP's anxiety over all of this had to do with the fact that he felt he was being told what to do by the Brethren (even if only implicitly, which was probably the case, given the evidence).

Quote:
Either way, it seems to me that DCP should've just had the employees at the COB work out the details, since that's what they get paid for. Why did he agree to become their sacrificial lamb?


Because, as Kevin Graham has rightly observed, "apologetics is his passion." The reason the transition was so upsetting for him is because his power was being stripped from him by the GAs. The truth of the matter is that most apologists operate according to old grudges. The hardcore Mopologists love what they do because it allows them to correct all the mistakes they made as missionaries. What was so painful about the FARMS/BYU merger was the fact that these RM apologists would now be limited in terms of the revenge they could exact upon critics, ex-Mormons, and anti-Mormons. I would wager that this is what upset Reynolds, DCP, and others more than anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:52 pm 
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Shades:

Reasonable questions, so I'll answer them.

A then-chairman of the Department of Ancient Scripture, in a meeting with me and one or two others from FARMS during the affiliation process, asserted that, given his title, anything taught or written on campus that dealt with ancient scripture came under his jurisdiction. I found this astonishing, not only as an attempt to assert control over FARMS but as a perhaps unintended assertion of jurisdiction over the Hebraists in my Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, which is housed in the College of Humanities, not in the College of Religious Education. Quoth I: "It'll be a cold day in hell before my dean will agree that you have jurisdiction over members of his faculty." It would, I said, be as if the law school were to tell Political Science that any classes on the Constitution came under the jurisdiction of the dean of the law school. Fortunately, the dean of Religious Education agreed with me that this was an entirely unprecedented and unjustifiable assertion of control. In our talks with the University, we wanted it made clear that FARMS did not come under the control of the chairman of Ancient Scripture, and that, say, professors of Hebrew who published on Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls did not, for that reason, fall under the jurisdiction of the chairman of another department in an entirely separate college.

Why did we not turn President Hinckley's invitation down? Because, chapel Mormons that we are, we regarded him as the Lord's prophet. We had, however, turned down an earlier invitation from President Bateman. As chairman of the board, I had asked him whether he was inviting us in his capacity as a General Authority or in his capacity as president of BYU. When he unhesitatingly replied that it was in the latter capacity, I responded "Great! Then the answer is No." But he came back the next year with an invitation from President Hinckley, and that, we felt, we could not turn down. For various reasons.

Finally, the Brethren didn't insist on our publishing disclaimers. We did. That was entirely our idea, though they would have been quite justified in asking for such disclaimers if we hadn't published them.

Mister Scratch wrote:
And, as Professor Peterson helpfully explained in his recent post, there were also apparently some concerns amongst the Brethren about the "polemical" tone of FARMS work.

I offered no such "explanation." I said no such thing.

You're making this up.

Mister Scratch wrote:
One "quip" in particular seems to have been the topic of conversation.

I said there was a "quip." I didn't say that the quip was a "topic of conversation" -- it wasn't; it was just a passing quip -- and I didn't say what the quip was about.

You're making this up.

Mister Scratch wrote:
But, I think it's important to note that much of this happened under a "cloak of secrecy," as it were.

Most of the University's more or less internal affairs are kept pretty much internal. When departments are merged or institutes are established or programs are terminated or faculty members are promoted or continuing faculty status is denied or budget decisions are made or deans are chosen, the deliberations that led to the decision are rarely if ever made public. And, though BYU is certainly somewhat more private than most schools, that's probably pretty much the way things are at other universities, as well. To call it a "cloak of secrecy" is nothing more than conspiracy-fantasy melodrama.

Mister Scratch wrote:
John Welch admitted that he found President Hinckley's invitation unaccountable.

More melodrama.

Mister Scratch wrote:
On the other thread, some posters pointed out that BYU religion faculty are set apart by the Brethren.

I wonder if that's true. If it is, I've never heard of it.

Mister Scratch wrote:
Perhaps this 1995 Protocol helped to redefine or alter that particular practice.

I'm really eager to see a copy of this mysterious document. I hope you find one.

Our negotiations with the University over affiliating FARMS with BYU, though, never involved anything connected with the way Religious Education was managed nor with any of its procedures. We weren't interested in those issues, nor concerned with them in any way.

Mister Scratch wrote:
The apologists would have had to kneel before the Brethren. Hence DCP's life-altering anxiety and stress.

I don't recall saying anything about either "anxiety" or "stress." I simply said that the affiliation process took enormous amounts of time, and that I found that frustrating.

You're making the rest up.

Mister Scratch wrote:
I would imagine that there is a very specific, "in writing" "protocol" for giving blessings to apologists.

???????

Have you really failed to notice my repeated declaration that I've never received such a blessing, and that I've never heard of such a blessing? Or is it simply that your default assumption is always that I'm lying?

There is no reason to believe that such blessings have ever been given -- a pre-FARMS blessing for safety during a trip through the remote Arabian Peninsula in the mid-1970s is scarcely a relevant counterexample -- let alone that we spent five-years "hammering out" some sort of "protocol" to govern such blessings.

Are you playing some sort of elaborately weird gag, or are you really crazy? I honestly can't decide.

Mister Scratch wrote:
I would be willing to bet that a great deal of DCP's anxiety over all of this had to do with the fact that he felt he was being told what to do by the Brethren. . . . The reason the transition was so upsetting for him is because his power was being stripped from him by the GAs. The truth of the matter is that most apologists operate according to old grudges. The hardcore Mopologists love what they do because it allows them to correct all the mistakes they made as missionaries. What was so painful about the FARMS/BYU merger was the fact that these RM apologists would now be limited in terms of the revenge they could exact upon critics, ex-Mormons, and anti-Mormons. I would wager that this is what upset Reynolds, DCP, and others more than anything.


I had no "anxiety," wasn't "upset" (except about the long hours of administrative work that severely hindered my research and writing), felt no "power . . . being stripped" from me, suffered no "pain." I had a pretty good and happy mission, and don't feel that I made any major mistakes -- let alone any that I need now to "correct." And your bizarre notion that my colleagues and I are motivated by desires for "revenge" seems to be about as transparently obvious a case of projection as I'm ever likely to encounter. (You're still furious at me because you wrongly think I had you kicked off of the old FAIR list.)

You're making this all up.

Your wacked out conspiracy notions and fruitcake attempts at amateur mind-reading don't improve with time. I think I've now provided more than enough information for your insatiable maw. Get the rest from your creepy network of anonymous informants. If you ever find the mysterious all-explaining 1995 Protocol, though, please do post a copy. I'm really curious about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:46 am 
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What I love is the emphasis on the word Protocol, which is reminiscent of that much more famous and vile document, the Protocols of Zion.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:31 am 
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I admit I don't have the depth of interest in this topic that some do, so I may be asking a stupid question that everyone already knows the answer to, but I'll ask it anyway. The question is triggered by the discussion over who would oversee religious research.

Is it generally accepted at BYU that any professor may use his time on campus to conduct religious research? Was the only contested point who would have the ultimate control over that research? IOW, does BYU view it as an appropriate use of professional time for a Math professor to engage in religious research?

I must admit I was astonished at the idea of a 25,000 square foot building. Perhaps I've been misinterpreting past comments, but I thought FARMS largely consisted of volunteers who would submit articles from their own, perhaps remote, locations. What does FARMS consist of that a 25,000 square foot building would be required to house it? What does it consist of that a set procedure for advancement needs to be spelled out?

BTW, Scratch, I think these type of essays could provoke a lot of interesting discussion, versus the ones that are primarily focused on DCP himself. To be honest, those do tend to have a bit of flavor of a vendetta, whereas this essay addresses a much broader topic. So, personally, I would like to see more of these and less of the latter. One of the best posts you wrote, IMO, was the one that went into the detail of the origination of FAIR (now MAD). You took the time to look up and analyze the series of events, and lay them out chronologically, in such a way that it made the event quite clear. This one is just as interesting, and I may be back with more questions.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:59 am 
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beastie wrote:
BTW, Scratch, I think these type of essays could provoke a lot of interesting discussion, versus the ones that are primarily focused on DCP himself. To be honest, those do tend to have a bit of flavor of a vendetta, whereas this essay addresses a much broader topic.


I concur with beastie. Notice too Dr. Peterson's informative response. Great stuff.

I am curious about how the office of Ancient Studies fits into the whole "Mormonism and antiquity" scene at BYU. The Ancient Studies office was Nibley's domain for many of my years at BYU. Then he shared it with W. Griggs, but before long S. Kent Brown (a fine gentleman) replaced Griggs. One of my last visits to the office was to drop in on Brown, from whom I had taken Coptic, who told me about the NHM discoveries. I recall being really excited at the time.

I was privy to the Nibleyite rumor mill at the time (by Nibleyite I refer to those students who hung out in the ancient studies library and had a worshipful awe for things Nibley, so you can guess how accurate our rumor mill was). We had impression that Nibley was not overly fond of Griggs, especially at the time when Griggs had his "successor" speech at the HFAC.

I would also be curious to know the fate of the abortive attempt at an Ancient Studies MA program. I was supposed to be one of the first students, but the program never materialized, so I left BYU with an MA in Comparative Literature, of all things, instead. I had heard that there was a sort of turf battle because Classics was trying to exert too much control over the whole thing, whereas others felt they should be in charge. I thought it was a real shame it never came together, because it could have been like Chicago's Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World, one of the programs I had a great interest in when I was applying to grad programs. In the end I decided against Chicago because the average time to PhD was somewhere around 9 years. Too long for me.

Anyhow, it seemed when I was at BYU that there was a multiplication of different entities that were contributing, in their own way, to the study of Antiquity from an LDS point of view, but that there was a degree of redundancy in it. I am curious to know whether these things ever got worked out and streamlined. It seems like Jack Welch has decided to focus on educating the members and is working with John Hall in producing works for that purpose. What does Ancient Studies do? Does it still exist? The 90s seem to have been a lively, if somewhat disorganized, time for the study of Antiquity through a Mormon lens at BYU.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:11 am 
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Beastie wrote:
I must admit I was astonished at the idea of a 25,000 square foot building. Perhaps I've been misinterpreting past comments, but I thought FARMS largely consisted of volunteers who would submit articles from their own, perhaps remote, locations. What does FARMS consist of that a 25,000 square foot building would be required to house it? What does it consist of that a set procedure for advancement needs to be spelled out?


Beastie, you really stole my thunder on this one, this is a *very* good question. One that has puzzled me ever since Tom verified the reality of a dream I had a while back regarding a Mopologetic Conference Center.

Let's think about Scratch's statements about the growing power of FARMS and its ability to independently raise funds and gather interest. The immediate focus seems to be "wow! FARMS was able to raise 7 million dollars to build that edifice? That's a lot of money!" But your question draws out the much more profound and intimidating reality, "What was FARMS doing -- what was its operating budget -- such that a 7 million dollar building would be cost effective to accomodate their work load?"

The implication being, 7 million for a building implies many, many millions more raised or forcasted for the goings-on within that building.
When you add that into the equation, then clearly the brethren choked on their oatmeal when they read about FARMS building this edifice in the Church News that morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:28 am 
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Quote:
would imagine that there is a very specific, "in writing" "protocol" for giving blessings to apologists.


If this is the case, as some are led to believe, and if the work of apologetics had exploded in this time period as the facts seem to indicate, then there may have been a special room designated in the plans for the proposed edifice, a room dedicated primarily to ecclesiastical intersections with apologetics, such as, giving blessings to apologists.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:40 am 
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Trevor:

You're quite right that there have been turf battles about studies of antiquity at BYU, between the classicists and the Semiticists, often involving the relevant folks from Ancient Scripture, and even sometimes including the Mesoamerican archaeologists. They go back to before my own student days.

It's a complex story, and even I probably don't accurately understand it all. I certainly can't explain the sometimes-mysterious status of Ancient Studies.

Gadianton wrote:
If this is the case, as some are led to believe, and if the work of apologetics had exploded in this time period as the facts seem to indicate, then there may have been a special room designated in the plans for the proposed edifice, a room dedicated primarily to ecclesiastical intersections with apologetics, such as, giving blessings to apologists.

Good grief.

Gadianton simply has to be acting out some strange and rather pointless satirical charade.

beastie wrote:
Is it generally accepted at BYU that any professor may use his time on campus to conduct religious research?

Of course. But it isn't universally accepted that research and publication on religious topics should count for annual performance reviews, nor even, curiously, that time spent and publications appearing on Mormon topics shouldn't effectively count against scholarly productivity. Some departments and colleges are very supportive; some are not.

(Nobody is suggesting, of course, that Mormon-related work should be the totality of a history professor's or Hebraist's output. But should it be recognized as potentially legitimate scholarship at all, or not?)

beastie wrote:
IOW, does BYU view it as an appropriate use of professional time for a Math professor to engage in religious research?

See above.

Incidentally, a response has been produced out of the Statistics Department to the recent Criddle study on Book of Mormon authorship. (I have a copy.) It will shortly be submitted to a mainstream journal. If it's accepted, I can see no reason why it shouldn't count as legitimate scholarship for its authors. But if, as is planned, a more popular and substantially different version of the article then appears in, say, the FARMS Review, will that count, as well? I don't know how the Statistics Department comes down on such matters, but this is the kind of issue that arises.

beastie wrote:
Was the only contested point who would have the ultimate control over that research?

I don't know precisely what the then-chairman of Ancient Scripture had in mind when he asserted his suzerainty over the Hebraists in Asian and Near Eastern Languages. The response (not only from me but from others, including his dean) was so immediately negative that we never got into the details.

beastie wrote:
I must admit I was astonished at the idea of a 25,000 square foot building. Perhaps I've been misinterpreting past comments, but I thought FARMS largely consisted of volunteers who would submit articles from their own, perhaps remote, locations. What does FARMS consist of that a 25,000 square foot building would be required to house it?

FARMS is, yes, mostly the product of volunteers, many operating from a distance. But the building wasn't only for FARMS.

We were, at the time, growing very, very rapidly -- for example, in our Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts -- and, knowing that we would get only one shot at this, wanted to make sure that we didn't build a building that would be too small within a short time. And the building was initially conceived as housing not only what has now become the Maxwell Institute (which includes CPART and the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative) but other somewhat hard-to-classify operations like the Smith Institute, the Ancient Studies Institute, BYU Studies, and the New World Archaeological Foundation -- we call them "orphans" -- that have often moved around campus.

We had also, having sponsored numerous conferences on campus, noticed the lack of a certain kind of medium-sized auditorium and certain small-sized seminar rooms, and proposed to include them in our building for general University use as well as our own. And we wanted some small-to-medium exhibit space. (Those needs have now been satisfied, to a degree, in the new Joseph F. Smith Building. But they were pressing at the time.)

beastie wrote:
What does it consist of that a set procedure for advancement needs to be spelled out?

At the time, we had several people working for us who were, in terms of their qualifications and in terms of our expectations of them (except for teaching), indistinguishable from regular faculty. But they didn't have appointments in regular departments. I had, working with me on METI, a freshly-minted Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Arabic studies and a new Ph.D. from Columbia University (now teaching for the History Department) in the history of Islamic science. My associate director of CPART had a Ph.D. in Semitic studies from Hebrew Union College. (He also had a medical degree, and has now returned to his practice as an eye surgeon.) Also working for me, but now serving in my place as director of CPART, was a doctoral candidate in Syriac studies from the University of Oxford (who has now finished his degree). He helped me to launch both our Eastern Christian Texts and Library of the Christian East series, with the help of a doctoral candidate in patristics from the Catholic University of America, who still works with us. And, of course, we had and have John Gee, with his Ph.D. in Egyptology from Yale. And we were thinking about hiring at least one more Ph.D.

Our question was how these people would be treated within the University. Would they be staff, or faculty? If faculty, would they go through standard rank advancement procedures? If so, how? Would they be assigned to regular departments? Or would we play the role of department and college review, before turning their files over to the University review committee and the administration? Would they be eligible for "continuing faculty status" (the BYU near-equivalent of "tenure")? I think that Trevor, at least, will recognize the importance of these and related questions.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:09 am 
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Brilliant and thoughtful, Mr. Scratch.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:35 am 
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Daniel Peterson wrote:
How much would the University seek to control us? Would we have the right to choose our own leaders, or would the University administration name them? We had a board. The University had no boards, except for the overall Board of Trustees. Would our board continue? If so, in what capacity? Who would name the board members? Should the University president at least have representation on the board? Would we be free to contract independently on the printing of our materials.


There is a lot in here.

I find it insightful how much validity you give to your own board compared to the one that lays claim to be the one and only legitimate revelatory conduit from almighty God on this earth.

I think I can understand why you would conclude this board (the revelatory head of BYU) would prove impotent and non representative of your work (although it is somehow necessary to lend your little group validity).

I recall a few others in history that shared many of your challenges, Dan:

King Henry VIII
Joseph Smith III
The Thirteen Colonies
Satan

28 ..When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves..
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:15 am 
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Daniel Peterson wrote:

Why did we not turn President Hinckley's invitation down? Because, chapel Mormons that we are, we regarded him as the Lord's prophet. We had, however, turned down an earlier invitation from President Bateman. As chairman of the board, I had asked him whether he was inviting us in his capacity as a General Authority or in his capacity as president of BYU. When he unhesitatingly replied that it was in the latter capacity, I responded "Great! Then the answer is No." But he came back the next year with an invitation from President Hinckley, and that, we felt, we could not turn down. For various reasons.


I'm curious: Why did FARMS want so badly to remain independent? As Reynolds pointed out, you guys would have had access to money. Is it as you suggested above--i.e., that you desired to maintain the "polemical" tone of the review, and you worried that BYU and/or the Brethren would put a stop to it?

Quote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
And, as Professor Peterson helpfully explained in his recent post, there were also apparently some concerns amongst the Brethren about the "polemical" tone of FARMS work.

I offered no such "explanation." I said no such thing.


You told Peggy Fletcher Stack that you worried that it would be stopped.

Quote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
One "quip" in particular seems to have been the topic of conversation.

I said there was a "quip." I didn't say that the quip was a "topic of conversation" -- it wasn't; it was just a passing quip -- and I didn't say what the quip was about.


Well, I assume it was Prof. Hamblin's "Metcalfe is Butthead" gaffe? Did the Brethren tell you that that sort of thing was unacceptable?



Quote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
Perhaps this 1995 Protocol helped to redefine or alter that particular practice.

I'm really eager to see a copy of this mysterious document. I hope you find one.


Why don't you track it down? You'd have a far easier time locating it than I would.

Quote:
Mister Scratch wrote:
The apologists would have had to kneel before the Brethren. Hence DCP's life-altering anxiety and stress.

I don't recall saying anything about either "anxiety" or "stress." I simply said that the affiliation process took enormous amounts of time, and that I found that frustrating.


You said that you considered resigning completely from BYU. That seems to extend well beyond garden-variety "frustration."


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:27 am 
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beastie wrote:
I admit I don't have the depth of interest in this topic that some do, so I may be asking a stupid question that everyone already knows the answer to, but I'll ask it anyway. The question is triggered by the discussion over who would oversee religious research.

Is it generally accepted at BYU that any professor may use his time on campus to conduct religious research? Was the only contested point who would have the ultimate control over that research? IOW, does BYU view it as an appropriate use of professional time for a Math professor to engage in religious research?


I think that cuts to the heart of the issue, Beastie. It seems that many of the difficulties and stresses during this time period revolved around one simple question: Would BYU pay people to do apologetics? What's unclear is where the lines were drawn: did DCP and other FARMS people argue in favor of paid apologetics? Or, was there tacit understanding all along that paying people to do apologetics would undermine the cause?

Sure: I realize there was probably a lot of run-of-the-mill academic infighting and whatnot, but I'd be willing to bet that the issue of paid apologists was always hovering over everything. (Notice that DCP never clarified as to whether or not "Mormon scholarship" could count for advancement and tenure.)

Quote:
I must admit I was astonished at the idea of a 25,000 square foot building. Perhaps I've been misinterpreting past comments, but I thought FARMS largely consisted of volunteers who would submit articles from their own, perhaps remote, locations. What does FARMS consist of that a 25,000 square foot building would be required to house it? What does it consist of that a set procedure for advancement needs to be spelled out?


Obviously, it had grown enormously, and its ambitions were huge. That is what I learned as I was piecing the OP together---it appears that the Powers That Be were threatened by FARMS's rapid growth, and they decided that it needed to be reined in.


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:29 am 
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Gadianton wrote:
Quote:
would imagine that there is a very specific, "in writing" "protocol" for giving blessings to apologists.


If this is the case, as some are led to believe, and if the work of apologetics had exploded in this time period as the facts seem to indicate, then there may have been a special room designated in the plans for the proposed edifice, a room dedicated primarily to ecclesiastical intersections with apologetics, such as, giving blessings to apologists.


Actually, I had the reverse in mind. Given Professor Peterson's staunch denials that these blessings ever took place, I would think that the Protocol explicitly forbade setting apart or blessing apologists. I am beginning to think more and more that a lot of the lengthy, five-year discussion involved determining how to preserve "plausible deniability" for the Brethren.


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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:51 am 
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Inconceivable wrote:
Daniel Peterson wrote:
How much would the University seek to control us? Would we have the right to choose our own leaders, or would the University administration name them? We had a board. The University had no boards, except for the overall Board of Trustees. Would our board continue? If so, in what capacity? Who would name the board members? Should the University president at least have representation on the board? Would we be free to contract independently on the printing of our materials.

There is a lot in here.

I find it insightful how much validity you give to your own board compared to the one that lays claim to be the one and only legitimate revelatory conduit from almighty God on this earth.

I think I can understand why you would conclude this board (the revelatory head of BYU) would prove impotent and non representative of your work (although it is somehow necessary to lend your little group validity).

I recall a few others in history that shared many of your challenges, Dan:

King Henry VIII
Joseph Smith III
The Thirteen Colonies
Satan

28 ..When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves..
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:28 - 29)

What???????

And again, What???????

The BYU Board of Trustees doesn't micromanage the University, let alone the University's individual constituent parts (e.g., the College of Nursing, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages, Food Services, or the grounds crew).

The question was never whether FARMS (now the Maxwell Institute) would be governed by somebody other than, or directly accountable to somebody other than, the overall BYU Board of Trustees. Rather the question was by whom (apart from that overall board) it would be governed and to whom (other than that overall board) it would need to report. It's a simple matter of lines of accountability and administrative organization.

My point about boards was nothing more than this: In the University, colleges and departments don't have boards. The University works through individuals (deans, department chairs, directors) with clear chains of command, not through boards. But we had a collective leadership that didn't mesh well with the University's organizational chart, and this was a problem that needed to be worked out.

Your attempt to depict this as some sort of Promethean rebellion against the divine will is simply ridiculous, if not altogether malicious.

Mister Scratch wrote:
Why did FARMS want so badly to remain independent?

You get one set of questions today. Maybe you'll get another tomorrow, but don't count on it.

Autonomy is easier than entanglement with bureaucracy. Example: Some years ago, we got a call from Mary Miller, at Yale, wanting help with the purchase of an expensive special lens for a photographic expedition to Guatemala, leaving within a week. We weren't yet affiliated with BYU, so I, as chairman of the board, polled my board members, got their approval, authorized the purchase, and directed one of our staff to buy it the next day. However, I feared that such ability to move quickly might be damaged by incorporation into the large bureaucracy that is any modern university. (It turns out, incidentally, that my fears on that score have proved largely unfounded.)

Mister Scratch wrote:
Is it as you suggested above--i.e., that you desired to maintain the "polemical" tone of the review, and you worried that BYU and/or the Brethren would put a stop to it?

I was worried about micromanagerial interference with our editorial decisions. Controversial writing is only a small part of what we do.

Mister Scratch wrote:
Quote:
I said there was a "quip." I didn't say that the quip was a "topic of conversation" -- it wasn't; it was just a passing quip -- and I didn't say what the quip was about.

Well, I assume it was Prof. Hamblin's "Metcalfe is Butthead" gaffe? Did the Brethren tell you that that sort of thing was unacceptable?

You misunderstand. I referred to a quip made in the course of the affiliation negotiations. It was the only mention of the Review during those discussions, so far as I remember.

You've been seeking to portray the Review as a major reason for the affiliation, and as a principal source of my mythical anxiety and stress over the affiliation. But, though you're as determined as ever in your bizarre theorizing, you're completely wrong. As you typically are.

Mister Scratch wrote:
Why don't you track it down? You'd have a far easier time locating it than I would.

Because I don't know what you're talking about, don't care, don't intend to devote additional energy to your Scratchoscopies, and see no important issue here.

Mister Scratch wrote:
You said that you considered resigning completely from BYU. That seems to extend well beyond garden-variety "frustration."

It was just a passing mood. And I've already explained, several times, what it involved: The affiliation process was so time-consuming and so terribly complex that it brought my research and writing essentially to a halt for a period of two to three years.

If you're not going to believe anything I say, why do you continually pester me with your interrogations?


.

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Last edited by Daniel Peterson on Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:57 am 
Seething Cauldron of Hate
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Mister Scratch wrote:
Actually, I had the reverse in mind. Given Professor Peterson's staunch denials that these blessings ever took place, I would think that the Protocol explicitly forbade setting apart or blessing apologists.

He just won't give it up, folks.

Such blessings have never been an issue. I'd never even thought about the notion of such a blessing until this thread. Nobody that I know of has ever sought one, received one, refused one, negotiated about one, spoken about one.

But it goes on and on and on and on, based on, literally, absolutely nothing.

Scratchism on parade.

How can I not find this oddly fascinating?

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 Post subject: Re: Building the FARMS Ziggurat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:13 pm 
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Daniel Peterson wrote:
He just won't give it up, folks.

How can I not find this oddly fascinating?


Yeah, it is intriguing. Scratch is looking for any opportunity he can find to call the activities of Mormon apologists into question and discredit their work. It is a quest that has truly taken on a life of its own. As you know, I have sometimes thought it must be a gag of some kind, but I admit defeat. Who would keep a gag going this long? That's religious dedication for you.

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