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Scott Lloyd

A course correction for the Maxwell Institute?

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53 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Hah, love the attempts to dismiss a POV by calling it a conspiracy, keep these hot takes coming!  

We have at minimum three people agreeing to hide the facts of what really happened for years and outright lying about it to the public and close friends.  How is that not a conspiracy?

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

There is quite a bit there last time I read it about an hour ago.  Crap job of deleting to hide it if he did delete it.  Too lazy to compare to the original quotes.

I found it.  I guess it hasn't gone down the memory hole yet.

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Good. But some unnamed person who claimed wrongly that you did and who just approved or your response to me claimed that you did. So your problem is with the Nameless One and not me. Please take this matter up with the Nameless One, who I believe is one of your colleagues.

The BYU President and the Academic and Associate Academic Vice President were involved in giving Professor Peterson the boot. His eventual firing by email yet when he was on university business in Jerusalem, was Jerry Bradford's decision that he told me did not sit well with the BYU Administration. It also came as a shock to the Brethren. But the really bizarre attempt to get Professor Peterson to resign was known to at least President Samuelson. How do I know this? I had the memo that President Samuelson wrote in which he ordered Professor Peterson not to publish Gregory Smith essay detailing the apostasy of John Dehlin my hand long enough to scribble down its contents. Samuelson indicated that he did not agree with, support or approve of anything that Dehlin believes or says, but he believed that the Brethren wanted to deal with Dehlin in their own time and way. And that Professor Peterson could not publish that very long and detailed essay. Instead of resigning, Dan said that we would not publish it.

But what President Samuelson did not know is that one of the Brethren--Elder Packer, for any who are interested, urged us to have Gregory Smith write that essay. And I have it reviewed by several of the Brethren by sending a copy to Elder Bruce Porter, who had constant contact with the Apostles. He was in charge of all the Apostolic committees, including the Area Committee. And I also sent a copy to the secretary to the Strengthening the Church Members Committee so that the Seventies who constitute that committee comment on it. So President Samuelson flatly wrong about what the Brethren wanted done about Dehlin. The fact is that they wanted us to expose Dehlin's demonic mischief.

What seems to have led to Samuelson knowing about Greg Smith's essay detailing Dehlin mischief, was that Morgan Davis, still and employee of the Maxwell Institute either by accident or intentionally informed a disciple of Dehlin about Greg Smith's essay and Dehlin made a huge fuss about what he called a "hit piece" we were about to publish. But Samuelson, Bradford, Morgan Davis, Brent Webb, or John Dehlin had read a word of Greg Smith essay. Quite a few of the Apostles and Seventy had read it and made comments about it, and fully approved of our publishing that essay.

Please remember Elder Maxwell's famous statement that Elder Holland quoted--"No more slam dunks." The Brethren have wanted and expected qualified Latter-day Saint scholars to defend the faith, including people like Denver Snuffer, as well as John Dehlin. Some of our most serious problem have always come from those on the fringes of the community of Saints. And the often prefer that we deal with them rather than have to try to do so themselves.

Why is it that Professor Peterson has had access to Elder Holland's remarks? Because Elder Holland sent him a copy and gave him permission to use them as he saw fit. Please notice that Dan did not use them as a way of drawing attention to expression of concern and disappointment in the intentional shift at the Maxwell Institute from what Elder Maxwell and his Apostolic associates really liked about what was previously call the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) before the decision was made to rename it for Elder Maxwell. It is simply impossible to read Elder Holland's remarks as anything other than an Apostolic scolding and call for repentance. To read those remarks as merely a pat on the back involves a large dose of self-deception.

I don't see any of this involving hatchets. That seems to me as more insulting language unbecoming those genuinely striving for sanctification by keeping their covenant to build and defend the Kingdom of Go. In the six plus years since the meltdown and the new direction, I have hardly given a thought to the Maxwell Institute. Just recently I have been pleased to see that the Institute is about to publish a version of the Book of Mormon, and I very much like the recent essay by Janice Johnson in which see has been able to discover more about how the first Saints read the Book of Mormon, other than what one can discover from published materials, all of which I have read. So there is hope.

The remaining question I have is whether those at the Maxwell Institute will step up and help in responding to the growing number of criticisms of the faith of the Saints, some and even many of which come from those who still nominal members of the Church.

Finally, I am amused by talk of changing the mission statement of the Maxwell Institute. Those things to not make real decisions, do not do research, edit or write essays. It is disciple-scholars who actually accomplish something good or not so good. Elder Hollard could not have pounded that home for eloquently than he did on November 10th. And "conciliatory notes" are right there with "mission statements" in not doing much of anything but managing appearances.

Move on if you want to stay in the thread. :beatdeadhorse:

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2 hours ago, Peppermint Patty said:

Blair,

Do you think you'll ever have Mpho Tut Furth back on your podcast? I've listened to it several times. There was so much good material.

Sorry for the derail everyone. Please carry on about who was involved in Dan's firing back in 2012, or whatever it is everyone is now discussing.

It was an honor to interview her! I suppose it's possible someday to have her back on the show, but I don't have any current plans for that. 

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9 hours ago, BHodges said:

You're welcome for the clarification. There's little I can do, aside from saying nothing (which is sometimes the wisest approach) to prevent someone from misreading my words like the "anonymous individual" did. My clarification neither confirms nor denies Dr. Peterson's account of events. I'm simply attempting to state that the Institute and University have not spoken—nor are there any plans to speak—on how particular lines of authority were involved in Dr. Peterson's dismissal as editor. Morgan isn't in a position to reveal confidential personnel information any more than I am, as he's also a university employee. What's clear to everyone is that, for whatever reason, the university and its administration have stuck by the decision for the past six years, regardless of how the decision was made. It's far in BYU's rear-view mirror at this point. 

Maybe someday it will become clear to more people that the very few active critics of Dr. Peterson seem to be more interested in riling him up and sowing division than they are in knowing who actually ordered what and when. A really weird hobby, to be sure, but one that is fueled by the reaction of the offended, IMO.

 

 

I offered the misquote from the anonymous individual only as evidence that I was not alone in failing to grasp your meaning and that maybe the fault, dear Brutus, is not entirely in one’s stars but may be at least partially in oneself. 

“Banner and shield” is me engaging in hyperbole. But is my recollection not correct that Jerry Bradford’s goal for his storied “new direction” for the Mormon Studies Review was that it pursue “Mormon studies” as a secular discipline so that the Maxwell Institute and BYU could be more like other universities? As Dr. Peterson has now joined us, perhaps he could check my memory regarding this matter. 

Finally, does the off-loading of Mormon Studies Review to the University of Illinois Press amount to a divestiture, meaning that henceforth, Mormon Studies Review will no longer be associated with Maxwell Institute?

I find it sadly ironic if that be the case. It means that Dr. Peterson and his editorial team were ejected   from their posts — and ultimately severed from NAMI — over what would amount to an ill-fated scheme, or at least one that in a half-dozen years would no longer have any meaningful connection with the Maxwell Institute or BYU. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I offered the misquote from the anonymous individual only as evidence that I was not alone in failing to grasp your meaning and that maybe the fault, dear Brutus, is not entirely in one’s stars but may be at least partially in oneself. 

“Banner and shield” is me engaging in hyperbole. But is my recollection not correct that Jerry Bradford’s goal for his storied “new direction” for the Mormon Studies Review was that it pursue “Mormon studies” as a secular discipline so that the Maxwell Institute and BYU could be more like other universities? As Dr. Peterson has now joined us, perhaps he could check my memory regarding this matter. 

Finally, does the off-loading of Mormon Studies Review to the University of Illinois Press amount to a divestiture, meaning that henceforth, Mormon Studies Review will no longer be associated with Maxwell Institute?

I find it sadly ironic if that be the case. It means that Dr. Peterson and his editorial team were ejected from their posts — and ultimately severed from NAMI — over what would amount to an ill-fated scheme, or at least one that in a half-dozen years would no longer have any meaningful connection with the Maxwell Institute or BYU. 

Spencer Fluhman's vision for the Mormon Studies Review was articulated in the first volume he edited here:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=2402&index=1

After six volumes Fluhman, along with the Institute advisory board and BYU administration, decided to transfer the journal completely to UIP. The quality of the work was high, but it was decided that the Institute's resources would be better put to use elsewhere, especially toward mentoring and developing disciple-scholars. Ironically, Fluhman himself, who edited each volume, oversaw this development as director of the Institute. It didn't fit the emerging vision well enough to remain. That will certainly disappoint some folks. But the caravan, as they say, moves on. 

 

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10 hours ago, BHodges said:

Spencer Fluhman's vision for the Mormon Studies Review was articulated in the first volume he edited here:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=2402&index=1

After six volumes Fluhman, along with the Institute advisory board and BYU administration, decided to transfer the journal completely to UIP. The quality of the work was high, but it was decided that the Institute's resources would be better put to use elsewhere, especially toward mentoring and developing disciple-scholars. Ironically, Fluhman himself, who edited each volume, oversaw this development as director of the Institute. It didn't fit the emerging vision well enough to remain. That will certainly disappoint some folks. But the caravan, as they say, moves on. 

 

If secular “Mormon studies” is not a priority today, I have to wonder why it was in 2012 — so much so that it entailed radical reinvention of a journal that had been a prominent and thriving part of the institute and its predecessor organization almost from the beginning. 

It’s hard for me not to view the 2012 initiative as an experiment gone awry and recent direction from the Brethren as a return to prior values. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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I'm back here to explain what I see as the most plausible explanation of all that was said by Midgley and others, since we somewhat debated it.

Midgley has continue to respond and offer more info.

You will all recall that Midgley stated the Dehlin piece was ordered by Elder Packer.  Greg Smith quickly chimed in to say that was not true.  Midgley conceded saying he muddled things together.  

Midgley offered more

Says he:

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I sometimes would get a phone call from Salt Lake asking for information or if we were planning to respond to some attack on the Book of Mormon and so forth. Then Bradford telling me that "we don't take orders from Salt Lake." Those were his exact words.

Then, in our frequent early morning phone conversations, he complained about our having published Greg Smith essay defending Elder Packer from criticisms, and then he told me that Greg Smith, who wrote that essay, was not one of us. He had previously approved of our adding him to our editorial team and made a host of promises to him. He never acted on one of the promises.

It appears, sometimes, Midgley fielded calls from Salt Lake wherein certain attacks that the brethren wanted to see addressed were discussed.  In this context Midgley brings up a Greg Smith piece that defended Elder Packer from criticisms.  The likely candidate for the Smith defense of Packer is “Shattered Glass: The Traditions of Mormon Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Encounter Boyd K. Packer” * from 2011.  

So it appears what Midgley muddled together, earlier, was the events that took place which inspired the defense of Packer's 2010 Gen Conference talk and the events that inspired the Dehlin hit piece.  

Bradford, according to Midgley, really did not like the idea of taking orders from Salt Lake, and learning that he wanted MI to be more of a scholarly endeavor than it was, being associated with BYU and all, that makes sense.  It appears Bradford took exception to the Smith piece, going so far as trying to distance the MI from Smith, because it was something that Salt Lake (Packer) discussed with Midgley.  Apparently Bradford saw it as something that was ordered from Salt Lake.   

And thus, hopefully, ends the mystery of the Midgley rants and divulging of details.  

*Special thanks to Tom at MDB for helping me identify this particular essay

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4 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

If secular “Mormon studies” is not a priority today, I have to wonder why it was in 2012 — so much so that it entailed radical reinvention of a journal that had been a prominent and thriving part of the institute and its predecessor organization almost from the beginning. 

It’s hard for me not to view the 2012 initiative as an experiment gone awry and recent direction from the Brethren as a return to prior values. 

Those who felt the FARMS Review was the pinnacle of the Institute's work before 2012, and who wanted the Mormon Studies Review to be the pinnacle of the Institute post-2012, have reason to be disappointed that MSR performed a different function than FR and that MSR is moving away. But I wouldn't say the Institute is undergoing a "return to prior values" since it's continuing to do many of the things it's been doing since 2012 and in some respects before. The amount of time, effort, and finances spent to meet the Institute's mission adjusts, of course. For example, I anticipate we'll see even more things geared directly for Latter-day Saints in particular than before, but we've been putting out books, podcast episodes, lectures, and other materials for church members all along. But more than a publisher, the Institute is a research hub for gathering and nurturing disciple-scholars. I believe there are more resident scholars at the Maxwell Institute working directly on Latter-day Saint subjects than ever before (15 or so in 2019). And the number of student research assistants (about 40 over the course of 2018 alone) is far more than the Institute has ever had. 

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On January 3, 2019 at 4:26 AM, Exiled said:

I thought you were the one who believed in UFO's ...... 🤣

Anyway, I think Dr. Peterson erased the offending comments from Dr. Midgley on his site.  So, it never really happened ......

I erased nothing.

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On January 3, 2019 at 4:09 AM, Exiled said:

E. Packer gave some marching orders.

I never heard of any.

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On January 3, 2019 at 4:40 AM, Exiled said:

Dr. Peterson erased the offending Dr. Midgley comments.

I erased nothing.

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9 minutes ago, Daniel Peterson said:

I erased nothing.

We should all be grateful for that.  I'm intrigued by Midgley's claim that he received calls from Salt Lake to address certain criticisms at various time.  Did you receive similar calls?  I do believe Midgley is saying the piece written in 2011, linked in my above post, was the one wherein Packer himself called Midgley and asked Greg Smith to respond to those who criticized his 2010 conference talk.  

This really speaks, it seems to me, to the 2012 change/takeover thing.  I get why Bradford wanted such a drastic change now.  He didn't seem to like the idea of scholars at BYU being army men for them at their beckon call, if you will.  True?  

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14 minutes ago, Daniel Peterson said:

Not so far as I know.

And no, I never received any such calls.

Finally, it's true that Dr. Bradford disliked the notion that LDS scholars should ever be at the beck and call of the leaders of the Church.  We disagreed on how scholars should respond to requests from Church headquarters.  But such requests were, to put it mildly, exceedingly few and far between.  It was, essentially, a theoretical issue.  More relevant was the question of whether we should, on occasion, DEFEND the Church and its leaders.  My position was that we should.  His position was that we should not.

I greatly appreciate your response.  

it seems odd that Midgley sometimes received these calls, but you never got any.  Perhaps he had certain connections.  I wonder if he sees his "sometimes" in getting those calls in the same range as your "exceedingly few and far between".  I think I got that he didn't want to see MI as a force for defending the Church and its leaders, but I didn't realize he seemed so adamantly opposed to responding to requests or demands from Salt Lake.  I'm sure it goes hand in hand from his perspective, but it says something that he wanted to fight against the notion of responding to requests or demands from Salt Lake.   Midgley quoting him as saying "we don't take orders from Salt Lake" seems rather informative.  He thought, as Midgley suggested, there were orders coming down from Salt Lake, at least sometimes.  he thought, it appears, in acquiescing to those requests/orders it was going to continue to steer the whole enterprise in the wrong direction.  This definitely helps explain why the drastic changes he implemented.  It's interesting there were others on board with his takeover, scheming behind the scenes.  

I still maintain the way it was handled was terrible and feel badly you took the brunt of it.  

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20 minutes ago, Daniel Peterson said:

Not so far as I know.

And no, I never received any such calls.

Finally, it's true that Dr. Bradford disliked the notion that LDS scholars should ever be at the beck and call of the leaders of the Church.  We disagreed on how scholars should respond to requests from Church headquarters.  But such requests were, to put it mildly, exceedingly few and far between.  It was, essentially, a theoretical issue.  More relevant was the question of whether we should, on occasion, DEFEND the Church and its leaders.  My position was that we should.  His position was that we should not.

Even when I "disagree", or have "issues", I will always DEFEND, the Church, or the Gospel, and those who are called to lead. So, I agree, you should "defend", especially someone with the education and respect of so many, not just yourself, but all who teach at a school owned and funded by the Church. If our leaders are to suffer the "slings and arrows" of the world, they should not have to defend against such,  coming from behind them, from their own people. 

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50 minutes ago, Daniel Peterson said:

I erased nothing.

Someone made an observation that up and down voting might have affected what posts one saw or at least the order, so one might have expected comments to be a certain place and then not seeing them there assume they were deleted.  I know when I switched from viewing by "best" to "oldest to newest" I was able to see everything just as I had originally seen it.

 

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I am, by the way, unaware of any request from Elder Packer for us to write or to publish anything -- not in general and certainly not in order to defend him in particular.  I've never so much as heard of such a thing before.

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23 minutes ago, Daniel Peterson said:

You're plainly a person of deep faith.

There has never any kind of agreed-upon story or set of talking points.  We tell the story, when necessary, as accurately as we can.  Period.

I don't claim to have any kind of special access to information.  I don't know if your version of events or Midgley's or Greg Smiths, or anyone else's version of events are accurate.  I haven't met any of you in person and am only commenting as a a complete outside observer.  

29 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

We should all be grateful for that.  I'm intrigued by Midgley's claim that he received calls from Salt Lake to address certain criticisms at various time.  Did you receive similar calls?  I do believe Midgley is saying the piece written in 2011, linked in my above post, was the one wherein Packer himself called Midgley and asked Greg Smith to respond to those who criticized his 2010 conference talk.  

This really speaks, it seems to me, to the 2012 change/takeover thing.  I get why Bradford wanted such a drastic change now.  He didn't seem to like the idea of scholars at BYU being army men for them at their beckon call, if you will.  True?  

I agree with what you've recounted as a plausible sounding version of events, that perhaps Midgley confused one phone call from church HQ to write a response to some issue, with another call from church HQ.  

I'm not surprised at the idea that church HQ is trying to use its employees to write responses to criticism, this has been done for a long time.  What organization in this modern day doesn't do this?  I think Midgley's story about meeting with Elder Maxwell and feeling he has life long calling to be a defender of the faith shows that there are very willing soldiers out there who don't need a whole lot of prodding to write responses to critics.  I do wish that the church would be more transparent about these things though, just own up to the idea that they are going to defend against the critics, instead of pretending that they aren't in the apologetics business.  Of course they are.  

One other important thing that we got confirmation of during this series of disclosures is that the church not only supports these third party apologetic groups by encouraging their use, but that the church also is supporting them financially.  I had suspected this in the past, so I'm not surprised.  

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I haven't met any of you in person and am only commenting as a a complete outside observer.  

Not quite.  You are commenting as a complete outsider observer with a heavy bias, imo.

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perhaps Midgley confused one phone call from church HQ to write a response to some issue, with another call from church HQ. 

Or he interpreted a casual comment approving of something as instruction to pursue given he sees himself as a defender.

Quote

I do wish that the church would be more transparent about these things though, just own up to the idea that they are going to defend against the critics, instead of pretending that they aren't in the apologetics business.  Of course they are.  

And the bias is shown again.

Quote

One other important thing that we got confirmation of during this series of disclosures is that the church not only supports these third party apologetic groups by encouraging their use, but that the church also is supporting them financially.  I had suspected this in the past, so I'm not surprised.  

Consider the source made a significant error which he admitted to.  The only confirmation you are getting is of your own bias.

Edited by Calm
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Just now, Calm said:

Not quite.  You are commenting as a complete outsider observer with a heavy bias, imo.

Thankfully, I've been eating my Wheaties and have the strength to carry such a heavy bias.  :lol:

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Didn't Dr. Petterson occasionally used to lighten things up, when they got too heavy around here, by making jokes about donuts?🍥🍪

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5 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Thankfully, I've been eating my Wheaties and have the strength to carry such a heavy bias.  :lol:

More likely you are throwing it around so much that others are having to carry the burden for you.

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

More likely you are throwing it around so much that others are having to carry the burden for you.

Ha!  Sorry if you're feeling burdened.  I try to be kind when expressing my perspectives.  

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