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Bombshell BYU announcement


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41 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

The only reason (it appears to me) that Bradford ever wrote the letter is that Dr. Peterson was avoiding him

Leaving on a planned trip overseas for six weeks is not “avoiding” anyone.

They had a meeting a few days prior.  Bradford could have called if he wanted another one before Dan left on his scheduled trip.

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/72469-bill-hamblin-has-passed-away/?do=findComment&comment=1209946305

In addition, Bradford never tried to contact the other editors even after they left messages asking to talk to him.  Instead, they learned of their termination from the official announcement (I heard it directly from two of the editors terminated).

Edited by Calm
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6 minutes ago, Calm said:

Leaving on a planned trip overseas for six weeks is not “avoiding” anyone.

They had a meeting a few days prior.  Bradford could have called if he wanted another one before Dan left on his scheduled trip.

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/72469-bill-hamblin-has-passed-away/?do=findComment&comment=1209946305

In addition, Bradford never tried to contact the other editors even after they left messages asking to talk to him.  Instead, they learned of their termination from the official announcement (I heard it directly from two of the editors terminated).

As I have repeatedly pointed out, this scenario seems unlikely.   It appears that Bradford tried to reach out to Dan but Dan wasn't responding.  But, even so, the wholesale sacking of the editorial board is wrong and a "hijacking" because ...?  I'm suing Scott's words.  I want him to justfy "hijacking," a term he applies to the BYU adminstration. 

As reported by Peggy Fletcher Stack, quoting a BYU authority:  "We want to ensure that the journal is clearly aligned with the established scholarly goals of the Maxwell Institute," Hadfield said. "We want to contribute in the area of textual studies, focusing both on LDS scriptures and on texts important to other traditions."

It looks like to me BYU didn't think that apologia was appropriate within the university and BYU wanted a more academic approach to scriptures and history. And that is wrong because ---?   I've heard the rejoinder that Neal A Maxwell said something along the lines that he didn't want attacks against the Church to go unrebutted at a Maxwell Institute dinner.  That's a lot to hang your argument about "hijacking" on.   One cannot presume that once that Maxwell Institute comes within the BYU umbrella it has complete and permanent carte blanche to offend and insult. 

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16 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

It appears that Bradford tried to reach out to Dan but Dan wasn't responding. 

From what evidence?

What about the other editors who were easily contacted and yet weren’t?

I agree it seems unlikely because I view it as unprofessional.  But the evidence I have heard from three people intimately involved in the terminations, Bradford did not contact the other editors at all when he had plenty of opportunity and they had reached out to him about it as well as Dan’s description that Bradford had a chance a few days before he left in a meeting...plus Dan never reported receiving a message from Bradford prior to the email trying to establish connection and given what else Dan said, the error is likely on  Bradford’s end

PS:  I am solely challenging the claim Dan was avoiding Bradford.  Not debating whether right move or not for MI.

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1 hour ago, SteveO said:

But look at the problems they’re having there..

So is that a “no”?

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8 minutes ago, Calm said:

From what evidence?

What about the other editors who were easily contacted and yet weren’t?

PS:  I am solely challenging the claim Dan was avoiding Bradford.

But let's focus instead upon the more virulent charge that the MI was "hijacked."   Which "Brethren" were involved?  That is my focus and I want answers.

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7 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

But let's focus instead upon the more virulent charge that the MI was "hijacked."   Which "Brethren" were involved?  That is my focus and I want answers.

Then stop trashing Dan by claiming he was likely avoiding Bradford, implying it was therefore Dan’s fault, that Dan’s actions prevented Bradford from being professional in the terminations.

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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

You are asking me to "find references that support what will happen in the future?"  Are you sure this is a reasonable CFR?

You aren't the first person to be CFRed about a personal opinion.

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34 minutes ago, Calm said:

Then stop trashing Dan by claiming he was likely avoiding Bradford, implying it was therefore Dan’s fault, that Dan’s actions prevented Bradford from being professional in the terminations.

It is my opinion that Dr. Bradford may have resorted to a written communication because he was unable to connect with Dr. Peterson to deliver the inevitable and expected news.   That is my opinion.  It is derived from reading the two letters, nothing more.  So I will say what I think if it is ok.

Since you want to be so difficult, please take up my request.  How was the MI "hijacked" and who were the "Brethren" behind it.  Evidence?  I think now is a good time to state the evidence.

Edited by Bob Crockett
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I attended BYU back in the late '90s / early '00s. I remember reading an article in the Daily Universe back then which listed the demographic makeup of the student body. I don't remember the exact number, but I'm pretty confident that it reported the black student population as being less than one percent. I want to say it was something like 0.6%, but I could be mistaken (it's been a few years). 

If memory serves, there were somewhere around 25-30K students at the time, so that translated into maybe 150-200 students total. That seemed like...not a lot.

I mean, I knew from going to the football games that the student body was a vast sea of white - a fact not lost on me whenever the band would play popcorn popping in anticipation of a win. But I was surprised to see that the disparity was that great.

I haven't had time to read through the entire report referenced in the OP, but I glanced through it and I certainly like some of the proposals.

For example, I don't find anything objectionable about developing a "race-conscious recruitment strategy to attract more BIPOC student applicants to BYU." That seems like a good idea. 

I do, however, have some concerns about the idea of moving from a race-neutral to a race-conscious admissions model. I tend to think that non-discrimination on the basis of race is a feature, not a bug. 

 

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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

It's not a statement of fact, as it pertains to events which have not yet occurred ("will benefit ... will disadvantage...").

I am not claiming prophecy.  I am expressing a concern about what may happen.  I have provided several examples of how this has happened at other schools, and also the specific concerns about how some of the proposed policies may work out after implementation.  See hereherehereherehere, here, and here.

If I say "It will rain tomorrow" that's a statement of fact.  And we all know that it's completely different than saying it may rain tomorrow.  

If you meant may then ok.  But you didn't say "may".  You said "will".

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Not "implies."  I have repeatedly saying that I am expressing concern about what may "happen in the future."

You said-"Race-based programs will benefit applicants, students and faculty who belong to favored racial groupings (BIPOCs) and will disadvantage applicants, students and faculty who do not belong to those groupings (Whites, Asians, Jews)."

Where in there did you use the word "may"?

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Why should I retract them?  How many times do I need to denounce racism and discrimination in order to successfully rebut implications that I am racist?

Sorry if I was confusing.  I was speaking about retracting your statement of fact that race-based programs "will benefit....BIPOC and will disadvantage...Whites, Asians, and Jews." (the full quote is provided above in italics).

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Is is possible for us to have a civil discussion without resorting to such tactics?  Look at what Pres. Worthen said:

What tactics?  Disagreeing with you?  I really don't know what you are referring to.

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"Some of {the recommendations} ... are already in process."

"Others will take more time..."

"{S}ome will require additional consideration..."

I am on board with making changes and improvements at BYU regarding alleviating racism.  I may not ultimately agree with each and every policy, but it's not reasonable to expect BYU to comply with my personal preferences in every respect.

But Pres. Worthen has said that some of these proposals "will take time," and that others "will require additional consideration."

Well, I sure hope Pres. Worthen doesn't come to this "discussion" board.  Because he'd likely be accused of racism for daring to attempt some of that "additional consideration" here.

 

This could be a case of your true intentions not coming through your posts very well, where people are reading your primary concern as making sure the Whites are being treated fairly at BYU, when that isn't your primary concern at all.  If that's the case then it's good that you've discovered the confusion and can set the record straight. 

But it's the difference between the primary concerns between you and Worthen that are causing you to get so much pushback on this thread, while he likely wouldn't get much at all.

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This board has occasionally encouraged its members to have "discussions" about race.  But some folks don't seem to really mean it.  "Discussion" must be limited to pre-approved thoughts and arguments.  

Well, it depends on the thoughts and arguments.  Those that seem to be racist in nature or which support racist systems (even if unintentioned) will receive a lot less 'discussion' and a lot more 'nope' than other thoughts and arguments.    As they should.

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Again, I find racism and discrimination deplorable and bad.  I am fully on board with the "ends" (reducing/alleviating racism at BYU).  In this thread I am laying out my concerns about possible ramifications arising from implementing some of the proposed "means" referenced in the OP.  I am trying to sort things out.  To try some of that sweet sweet "additional consideration" referenced by Pres. Worthen.

I think I get that.  It's hard to square with the many "what about the whites?" arguments you've made but I can certainly give you the benefit of the doubt on that.

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You are asking me to "find references that support what will happen in the future?"  Are you sure this is a reasonable CFR?  Are you also sure that I have not provided references already that provide some justification for my concerns about what might happen in the future at BYU?  Several times over, in fact?

Thanks,

-Smac

 

If it's reasonable for you to state what will happen in the future then it's reasonable to ask you for evidence to support it.

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15 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

It is my opinion that Dr. Bradford may have resorted to a written communication because he was unable to connect with Dr. Peterson to deliver the inevitable and expected news.   That is my opinion.  It is derived from reading the two letters, nothing more.  So I will say what I think if it is ok.

Since you want to be so difficult, please take up my request.  How was the MI "hijacked" and who were the "Brethren" behind it.  Evidence?  I think now is a good time to state the evidence.

How did we get onto this topic in this thread?  Is it relevant somehow and I missed it?

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5 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

As I have repeatedly pointed out, this scenario seems unlikely.   It appears that Bradford tried to reach out to Dan but Dan wasn't responding.  But, even so, the wholesale sacking of the editorial board is wrong and a "hijacking" because ...?  I'm suing Scott's words.  I want him to justfy "hijacking," a term he applies to the BYU adminstration. 

As reported by Peggy Fletcher Stack, quoting a BYU authority:  "We want to ensure that the journal is clearly aligned with the established scholarly goals of the Maxwell Institute," Hadfield said. "We want to contribute in the area of textual studies, focusing both on LDS scriptures and on texts important to other traditions."

It looks like to me BYU didn't think that apologia was appropriate within the university and BYU wanted a more academic approach to scriptures and history. And that is wrong because ---?   I've heard the rejoinder that Neal A Maxwell said something along the lines that he didn't want attacks against the Church to go unrebutted at a Maxwell Institute dinner.  That's a lot to hang your argument about "hijacking" on.   One cannot presume that once that Maxwell Institute comes within the BYU umbrella it has complete and permanent carte blanche to offend and insult. 

I wonder if Scott has in mind the circumstances under which FARMS was brought into BYU.  I seem to recall reading about promises or assurances about FARMS being able to keep its focus after being folded into BYU.  See, e.g., here ("BYU convinced FARMS to join with them, promising to allow it to keep its focus.").  Here's some of Bill Hamblin's summary:

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There have been a lot of rumors floating around the internet recently regarding a scandal brewing at the Maxwell Institute. In order to provide a reality check and quell some of the more wild and brazen speculations of apostates and anti-Mormons on the fringes of Mormondom, I’ll provide the following summary of my understanding of the situation. Some of the details may not be completely accurate, but I have original memos or eye-witness oral sources for almost all of this information.

Last week, Gerald Bradford {} Executive Director of the Maxwell Institute {}, dismissed Dan Peterson {}--arguably the most prominent contemporary LDS apologist--as editor of the Mormon Studies Review, where he has served for twenty-three years.

This is the culmination of a long-term struggle between radically different visions for the future of the Institute. Peterson wishes to continue the traditional heritage of FARMS, providing cutting edge scholarship and apologetics on LDS scripture. Bradford wants to move the Institute in a different direction, focusing on more secular-style studies that will be accessible and acceptable to non-Mormon scholars. Bradford is especially opposed to LDS apologetics, which he wants to terminate entirely as part of the mission of the Institute. He feels apologetics should be done by FAIR (The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research http://www.fairlds.org/ ) or other groups.

Throughout the past two years Bradford has censored several articles that Dan planned to publish, thereby delaying publication of the Review. Bradford finally concluded that he refuses to publish the most recent issue of the Review, which has been essentially ready to go to press for six months. He plans to seek a new editor for the Review to move it in the entirely new direction he envisions.

After Dan was fired as editor, he said that he felt he could no longer serve the Institute in good faith as Director of Advancement (i.e. fund-raiser), since the Institute was intentionally abandoning its original mission, and Dan did not support the new direction Bradford was taking the Institute. Dan was then threatened with further possible action against him to try to force him to continue raising money for the Institute that abandoned him. It’s worth noting that Bradford fired Dan by email while Dan was on a multi-week journey in the Middle East--in part raising funds for the Institute--specifically so Dan could not be in Provo to defend himself.

This event concludes a nearly decade-long struggle for the soul of FARMS and the Institute. The contemporary Maxwell Institute is something quite different from the FARMS of ten years ago. (Note that only one of the five “directors” of the current Institute is actually involved in Book of Mormon Studies: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/about/administration.php). Astute observers will note that there has been a steady decline in both quantity and quality of Institute publications over the past few years. (Indeed, more cutting-edge books on the Book of Mormon have being published in the past few years by Kofford Books, Salt Press, and even Oxford University Press than by the Institute.) They may also observe that most of the original core of FARMS scholars from a decade ago, including me, have nearly ceased publishing with the Institute, having been systematically marginalized, alienated, or ostracized by the Institute as it tried transform itself to conform with this new vision. Needless to say, most of the original FARMS scholars have been dismayed by this inexorable movement to remake the Maxwell Institute.

I have had no desire or inclination to publicly comment on this situation. However, this situation became public when an employee at the Maxwell Institute secretly leaked confidential memos concerning Dan’s firing to anti-Mormon apostates, who have posted these memos on the web, and have been gleefully slandering and ridiculing Dan on their message boards ever since. Since the situation has been made public by this leak from within the Maxwell Institute itself, I felt that Dan deserved the benefit of a fair public summary of the real situation. I also felt that interested Latter-day Saints, especially long-time supporters of the original mission of FARMS, deserved a more complete assessment of the situation, rather than being forced to rely on anti-Mormon and apostate slander and speculation. I felt Dan deserved better, much better than this.

The Institute, for its part, has gone into full damage-control and stonewall mode, refusing to make a public announcement, or even to answer emails or phone calls on the subject from their bewildered subscribers and donors who have heard rumors of the affair, many of whom have for years donated money to the Institute specifically to facilitate Book of Mormon studies and apologetic efforts such as the Mormon Studies Review.

I’m posting this summary of my understanding of the situation to alleviate further slander of Dan by apostates. Dan did not ask me to do this. I alone am responsible for this memo.

And another summary by Hamblin here (emphases added) :

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The Maxwell Institute (MI) controversy is not–or at least shouldn’t be–a personal feud.  It is, rather, a clash about the fundamental vision for the future of the MI.  Those who try to turn it into  a feud of “good people” verse “bad people”–as the apostates and anti-Mormons are gleefully doing–are doing a disservice to the important issues at stake here.

Let me be very clear.  Gerald Bradford is not a bad person.  I believe he is doing what he thinks is best for the future of both the Institute and for the University.  Of course, I disagree radically with his vision, but that is another matter I will discuss below.  Unfortunately, I find Bradford to be a less than competent administrator–a view shared, by the way, by many other people.  (On the other hand, I, too, would be a poor administrator, though my flaws in that regard would probably be quite different from Bradford’s.)  I feel that Bradford’s failure to contain months or years of ongoing leaks to apostate enemies of the church from within his organization shows disastrous negligence.  And I feel the way Bradford has treated Dan Peterson and the other editors of the Review–dismissing them by email when out of the country, or letting them first learn of their dismissal when the announcement was made public–was absolutely shameful.  I also believe that his decision to censor Greg Smith’s article critiquing John Dehlin–without having read the article–represents a fundamental abdication of his responsibility as Director of the MI.  I have recently told him all these things, in much greater detail, in sometimes intemperate personal emails to him–though I doubt he has bothered to read them.  All this makes him a flawed human being, but then, so am I, and so are we all.  I sincerely believe he is doing what he thinks is best.  And I sincerely believe he is dead wrong.

I also do not really object to Bradford’s vision for the MI.  I think it is perfectly legitimate to digitize Syriac manuscripts or publish dual Arabic-English editions of Muslim philosophical texts.  I actually have some personal professional interest in such things, and have read some of these publications.  I also have no real objection to a Mormon Studies Review that approaches Mormon studies from a purely academic standpoint–though I think we already have such journals (like BYU Studies, the Journal of Mormon History, Dialogue, etc.).  I therefore don’t believe there is any real purpose served by creating another one.  And, bizarre as it may sound, I also agree with Bradford that LDS apologetics should not be officially sponsored by the University or the Church.

So, why am I so vehemently opposed to Bradford’s dismissal of Dan and proposed change of direction for the Mormon Studies Review?  Here we come to the crux of the problem.  If the University does not want to sponsor apologetics, why in the world did it force FARMS to become part of the University?

I should explain that when the University first approached FARMS requesting that they join the University it was in the form of a hostile takeover.  I was on the Board of FARMS at the time, and the Board initially voted unanimously to reject the proposal.  Most of the Board members at the time were BYU faculty, and subsequently all sorts of pressure was exerted by the University to force the members of Board to accept the proposal.  When, after months of negotiations the Board of FARMS finally agreed to the proposed takeover, I still voted against the merger and resigned from the Board in protest.  I believed at the time–and it is clear that subsequent events have proved me correct–that such a merger would be bad for both FARMS and the University.  I love BYU, and love teaching here.  But if FARMS became part of the University it would begin to be perceived as part of the Church, and what it said would then be viewed as somehow “official.”  This would of course lead to correlation.  No one in the original FARMS group wanted to speak for the Church.  We wanted to engage in standard academic discourse, writing books, articles and reviews.  If we were right in our interpretations, great.  If we were wrong in our interpretations, that would be our personal problem.  It would have nothing to do with anything “official” for the Church.

The University at the time gave all sorts of assurances that they wanted FARMS to continue doing exactly what it was doing.  And it was perfectly clear to the University what they were getting by absorbing FARMS: we were publishing scholarly books and articles on the Book of Mormon and other LDS scriptures, and we were publishing responses to anti-Mormon claims–that is, apologetics.  Dan had been publishing the Review for years when the University absorbed FARMS.  It was perfectly obvious what the Review was all about.  So I ask again: If the University did not want to sponsor apologetics, why in the world did it force FARMS to become part of the University(I believe I actually know why they did it, and their motives had absolutely nothing to do with FARMS or its scholarship; but that is another story.)

The Board of FARMS was, of course, dissolved, and the University started appointing directors for FARMS/MI.  And their three choices for directors have consistently been people with no scholarly expertise in the field and/or no track record publishing with FARMS.  In other words, they installed bureaucrats who were supposed to manage, rather than scholars to lead an academic institute.  It would be like putting me in charge of the nursing school.

Which brings us to Bradford.  He was brought into FARMS as a manager to run the day-to-day operations of FARMS when it became too big to be administered on a part-time basis by the full-time BYU faculty on the Board.  He was not brought in as a scholar to single handedly determine the future academic direction of the institute.  That was the responsibility of the Board, not of any single individual.  Of course, when the Board was dissolved by the University, it was the full-time employees of FARMS who were left standing, and suddenly it was the employees of FARMS–who had originally been hired to execute the academic vision of the Board–but who were put in charge of determining the academic direction that FARMS should take in the future.

We need to understand that Bradford, even as an employee and administrative executive for the Board, was never in favor of apologetics.  He consistently opposed these activities, and tried to persuade the Board to move in different directions.  Academically, Bradford is a scholar of 19th century American Religion and William James.  He is academically at home with 19th century Mormonism, but is by no means conversant with biblical studies, ancient languages, Mesoamerica, archaeology, etc., which were the bread and butter of FARMS scholarship.  When he was the executive administrator for the Board this didn’t matter, since the Board determined academic policy; but now he is the sole director, with sole discretion to determine the future of the Institute.  Likewise Morgan Davis, was originally hired as an editor in the Mideast Translation Series, not as a director to determine scholarly policy.  He was hired to execute the academic policies of the Board, not to establish those policies.  Davis also never liked apologetics.  Precisely the same is the case with Kristian Heal, who was hired to supervise a Syriac digitization project; he also always disliked apologetics.  So note what has happened.  We have three employees, none of whom were actively researching or publishing FARMS scholars, and all of whom disliked apologetics.  Each of these three were hired to execute the policies of the Board, not to create those policies.  These three have now all become “directors” of the Maxwell Institute (http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/about/administration.php), and are now responsible to create the scholarly policy and determine the future direction for the Institute, because the Board was dissolved by the University, and power was transferred to the employees.  It’s really breathtaking how the entire nature of the Institute was turned upside down and twisted in a different direction by this phenomena.  Dan Peterson was the only scholar of the original FARMS Board who was left as a “director” of the Institute; with his dismissal classic-FARMS is gone.  There is not a single voice left in the leadership of the Institute to represent the original goals of classic-FARMS.  This is why Dan’s dismissal and marginalization is seen as such a massive betrayal.  It is the removal of the last vestige of classic-FARMS.  The pretense of the MI as the heir of FARMS can no longer be maintained.  Bradford believes this is a good and necessary thing.  And we need to understand: he always has.  This does not represent a shift of policy for Bradford.  This represents a shift of power from a Board of scholars with a particular vision, to employees who never shared that vision, but who were hired to perform strictly limited and specific tasks.  By allowing BYU to absorb FARMS the Board effectively abdicated its power to guide the future direction of FARMS.  Such mission creep and power shifts were therefore inevitable.

However, by changing the direction of the Review, Bradford is fundamentally betraying the tacit agreement the University originally made when it absorbed FARMS: that the University wanted to sponsor apologetics.  For years hundreds of people donated time, money, scholarship etc. to FARMS because they believed in the classic-FARMS goals of serious, faithful scholarship on LDS scripture and apologetics.  The core of the problem is that if Bradford was not-supportive of classic-FARMS goals he should not have accepted the position as director of the Institute.

So, as I said, I have nothing inherently against Bradford’s vision.  I believe it would have been much better for all concerned if FARMS had remained independent, and could not be seen as a voice of the Church.  My objection to Bradford’s policy is that he systematically destroyed classic-FARMS to achieve his vision.  The result is that he has taken substantial resources and donations of time, money, land and personnel that were originally given in good faith by donors to support classic-FARMS scholarship, and is diverting them to fund his new vision.  This, I believe, is fundamentally immoral, just as it would be wrong to take money donated to the engineering school and give it to the football team.  It is likewise wrong to take all the resources donated by hundreds of people over a quarter of a century and to support classic-FARMS research, and divert it to the pet-project of the new Director.  It is fundamentally wrong.  If the current directors of MI want to pursue their vision they should approach new donors as ask them if they want to donate money to digitize Syriac texts or publish stogy secular-oriented academic reviews.  (Good luck with that.)  So my objection is not that Bradford wants to create a journal to fulfill his vision of what scholarship should be done by the MI.  It is that Bradford is destroying classic-FARMS to do it.  The vast majority of donors have made their donations to FARMS not to support Bradford’s new vision, but to support the original vision of classic-FARMS.  If I were a donor, I would feel fundamentally betrayed by this.  And, indeed, I’ve talked to some donors who do feel precisely that.

FWIW, I was in Morgan's and Kristian's ward some years ago (they both live in the Tree Streets east of campus), and I had - and have - a high regard for both of them.

Thanks,

-Smac 

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20 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Since you want to be so difficult, please take up my request. 

No.

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4 minutes ago, bluebell said:

How did we get onto this topic in this thread?  Is it relevant somehow and I missed it?

No, sorry for my joining in.  Just didn’t think blaming Dan Peterson for Bradford’s choices in terminating employees was appropriate.  Will say no more on the subject.

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2 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

You are wrong. I will continue to say that.  At no time have the "Brethren" ever spoken out at all about the transition of focus for the Maxwell Institute, nor have they ever said in the course correction that the Maxwell Institute is not required to be neutral.  Furthermore, the "Brethren" is not one "Brother" speaking. 

BYU is prohibited from speaking out as to the reason for the change in emphasis at MI and the termination of the Review, as it is related to a personnel issue.  They've never said anything.  The only reason why Bradford's letter ever surfaced is that Dr. Peterson outed the letter.  The only reason (it appears to me) that Bradford ever wrote the letter is that Dr. Peterson was avoiding him, but I'm speculating.  I'll bet Dr. Bradford regretted writing the letter.

I have nothing but good to say about Dr. Peterson and his life's work.  It was in the wrong place under BYU's roof.   He publishes, in my view, to help educate seminary and institute instructors.  He writes to their level.   The Review's works seemed to be edited to that end; I know, I published two particularly long pieces and one piece went through a year of edits and rewrites with Dr. Peterson doing most of that work.  My piece went all the way up to the Church's family history division for an edit.  I met with that editor.  

But that isn't want a University does.  It doesn't publish lay pieces and submit them to peer review.   The Review was out of place.  

I think it is an outrage against BYU administration to say, as you do, that the Review and MI was "hijacked," as that term suggests that the Review and MI were stolen from their rightful owners.  I'm curious -- have you ever heard Jack Welch speak out against the transition?  After all, he was the founder.

Dr. Peterson was never "fired" from any job.  He was asked to remain on the MI Board but resigned.  

 

Outrage or not it is the essence of what happened. 
 

And the Brethren did change the focus  away from it being a “neutral” academic institution. President Nelson sent Elder Holland down to speak to them with the specific charge to make that clear to them. He told them they needed to be “disciple-scholars” and that they ought not be “bracketing” their faith apart from their scholarship. Doesn’t sound much like “academic neutrality” to me. Here’s a report I found of Elder Holland’s talk:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/be-faithful-disciple-scholars-even-in-difficulty-elder-holland-says-at-maxwell-institute?lang=eng

To imply that Dr. Peterson and colleagues dumbed down their work to make it accessible to the great unwashed (“seminary and institute instructors”) reflects arrogant elitism. To make a piece comprehensible is a mark of good writing, something that perhaps more academics should strive for. 
 

Peterson was not avoiding Bradford. That’s pure disinformation. Just before departing on, of all things, a fundraising trip to support the institute, Dan spent, as I recall, hours in a conference with Bradford, trying to ascertain what Bradford wanted. 
 

Why did you put the word “fired” in quotation marks? Whom were you quoting? We’re you purporting to quote me? I never said that. 
 

I will say, however, that Dan was unceremoniously dismissed by long-distance email from the editorship of the Review. You and I both know it. And with all the rumor and innuendo circulating at the time, Dan had a perfect right to set the record straight about what happened, notwithstanding the intent on the part of management to cover it up. They could have publicized their side of the story if they had chosen to. 
 

This is not a thread about the Maxwell Institute, so I don’t intend to say any thing more about it on this thread, unless it’s to correct inaccuracy. I only brought it up as an illustration that BYU, laudable though it is, is not altogether immune from error or internal politics. 

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8 minutes ago, bluebell said:

How did we get onto this topic in this thread?  Is it relevant somehow and I missed it?

Relevant or not, as the one who opened the thread, I'm okay with it. :) 

I've seen too many threads stop interesting discussion because the thread authors were (in my view) too narrow about what was on or off-topic. 

I think it relates because it's about internal and internecine politics and conflict at BYU, and I think the OP topic certainly fits under that. I think that the FARMS/Maxwell saga (whatever one thinks of it) might have a bearing on this particular issue, or the gay dating one of a year ago. BYU/the Honor Code Office certainly didn't have a monolithic position (or any position, for a couple of weeks, and then it was Elder Paul Johnson) as controversy and conflict swirled. 

This, so far isn't as chaotic. The Committee has released its action step list, and President Worthen has said that it will now be considered and debated. That's more than anyone said about or during the fracas a year ago. And the communication of the FARMS/Maxwell thing was also vague and imprecise. 

I think they all are related, even if only somewhat. 

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9 minutes ago, Calm said:

No, sorry for my joining in.  Just didn’t think blaming Dan Peterson for Bradford’s choices in terminating employees was appropriate.  Will say no more on the subject.

Nor will I.

As I said in my post just above, I only raised it as one of two examples demonstrating that BYU is not immune to error. 

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11 minutes ago, Calm said:

No, sorry for my joining in.  Just didn’t think blaming Dan Peterson for Bradford’s choices in terminating employees was appropriate.  Will say no more on the subject.

I was just confused on how we got there.  :lol:

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3 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I was just confused on how we got there.  :lol:

I think that the organic "life of its own" nature of threads is interesting to watch. It's unpredictable, but I think the "Plinko chip bouncing" nature of threads (that aren't heavily focused) leads to some interesting discussions and side conversations. Anyone who wants can always go back to the narrow OP topic, in my view. 

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39 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Outrage or not it is the essence of what happened. 
 

And the Brethren did change the focus  away from it being a “neutral” academic institution. President Nelson sent Elder Holland down to speak to them with the specific charge to make that clear to them. He told them they needed to be “disciple-scholars” and that they ought not be “bracketing” their faith apart from their scholarship. Doesn’t sound much like “academic neutrality” to me. Here’s a report I found of Elder Holland’s talk:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/be-faithful-disciple-scholars-even-in-difficulty-elder-holland-says-at-maxwell-institute?lang=eng

To imply that Dr. Peterson and colleagues dumbed down their work to make it accessible to the great unwashed (“seminary and institute instructors”) reflects arrogant elitism. To make a piece comprehensible is a mark of good writing, something that perhaps more academics should strive for. 
 

Peterson was not avoiding Bradford. That’s pure disinformation. Just before departing on, of all things, a fundraising trip to support the institute, Dan spent, as I recall, hours in a conference with Bradford, trying to ascertain what Bradford wanted. 
 

Why did you put the word “fired” in quotation marks? Whom were you quoting? We’re you purporting to quote me? I never said that. 
 

I will say, however, that Dan was unceremoniously dismissed by long-distance email from the editorship of the Review. You and I both know it. And with all the rumor and innuendo circulating at the time, Dan had a perfect right to set the record straight about what happened, notwithstanding the intent on the part of management to cover it up. They could have publicized their side of the story if they had chosen to. 
 

This is not a thread about the Maxwell Institute, so I don’t intend to say any thing more about it on this thread, unless it’s to correct inaccuracy. I only brought it up as an illustration that BYU, laudable though it is, is not altogether immune from error or internal politics. 

I'd say that you are willing the throw BYU administration under the bus when it doesn't suit your particular apologetic view of things, which is based upon supposition and innuendo.  The truth is that BYU had every right in the world to eject a program inconsistent with its academic mission.  And it obviously did.

I remember when I was at BYU and Elder Holland replaced Elder Oaks, there was a wholesale revision of religious life emphasis in academia.  We are seeing it again, apparently.  I am told through my sources that BYU is intentionally drifting to a system where religion courses will be taught by professors in other disciplines and that the Department of Religion will fade away with retirement and attrition.  BYU is not wedded to tradition.

Smac's reference to original promises made about the Maxwell Institute are all well and good, I think those stories are a crock of baloney.  I was there.  There were understandings but no enforceable promises, and certainly not promises upon which to claim "hijacking."  An outrage, really, to claim "hijacking."  That defames and discredits a lot of really good people.   Dr. Bradford especially.  Spencer Fluhman, whom I know from my work as the executive director at the Mormon Studies program at Claremont.

And, again, it was the best thing for Dr. Peterson's mission.  He has a lot more support at the Interpreter than he ever did at BYU.  He can publish materials written by hacks (such as myself) on apologetic topics.  He can "dumb it down" for seminary and institute directors.  At his funeral he will be remembered for all the work he did to support the Church in many different venues and across many different platforms.  Had he stayed in MI at BYU his work would have been throttled. 

Edited by Bob Crockett
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What do people think the practical implications and ramifications of #21 from the action steps will be? 

>>>Ensure that the dress code/honor code is applied with „cultural competence and sensitivity.“<<<

Do you see this as withering and whittling away the dress code, eventually? It's already gotten very "scuzzy," in my curmudgeonly view (long hair, beard, mullets, mustaches on men). 

I think that honor code enforcement was already going to be not as hair-triggered after the controversy of recent years. 

What do you think the actual thought / meaning / practical result of how it was worded is (assuming that #21 is implemented in some form)? 

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Another possibility could be long hair on men.  Native Americans may wear their hair long for many reasons.  Some of those reasons don't really go with gospel beliefs and we should be willing to give up things of the world for things of God, but many of those reason on the list are beautiful and fit well with living as a zion people.

 

Edited by Rain
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43 minutes ago, rongo said:

What do people think the practical implications and ramifications of #21 from the action steps will be? 

>>>Ensure that the dress code/honor code is applied with „cultural competence and sensitivity.“<<<

Do you see this as withering and whittling away the dress code, eventually? It's already gotten very "scuzzy," in my curmudgeonly view (long hair, beard, mullets, mustaches on men). 

I think that honor code enforcement was already going to be not as hair-triggered after the controversy of recent years. 

What do you think the actual thought / meaning / practical result of how it was worded is (assuming that #21 is implemented in some form)? 

I would guess it is meant to combat those who believe that protective hairstyles (like different kinds of braids or cornrows, etc. often worn by people of color) are prohibited under the 'no extreme hairstyles' part of the dress code.  

Also, things like nose rings for Hindus (which are a part of the religion) or turbans (for sikhs), probably wouldn't fly under the previous dress code. 

(or like Rain pointed out about long hair on men for Native Americans)

Edited by bluebell
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