Wednesday, October 22, 2014

School for cash

If the young rich man had earned his wealth, what had he done to earn it? Thousands of struggling students at Brigham Young University work harder than anyone would have to work under the law of consecration to make ends meet. Why do we pass them by and notice them not? Is it because of the chilling thought of being less rich than we really are? This is the question. Ah, yes, but if you gave these students much more than they have, they would be less spiritual. Is that really so? As long as that condition continues, why should there be a school for the sole purpose of students preparing themselves? It is becoming the only purpose for which anyone attends school anymore. This is a new trend of just the past few years. They go not to get an education but to learn to acquire wealth, to earn more money. Students think there is something idealistic about that because they sacrifice for a time. ("Law of Consecration", Approaching Zion)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The reality of war

[I recall] certain dashing, wonderful men who, during World War II, used to brief the various units of the 101st Airborne Division which they were leading into battle. (The classic Leader's Oration before the Battle enjoyed a revival in airborne operations where the army, a short hour before the battle, could sit quietly on the grass one hundred miles from the enemy and listen to speeches.) It was the high point of their careers, the thing they had been working and hoping and looking forward to all their lives—to lead a crack regiment or division into battle, and they made the most of it. The feeling of euphoria was almost overpowering—they were smart, sharp, vigorous, compelling, eager, tense, exuding optimism and even humor, but above all excitement. Invariably General Maxwell Taylor would end his oration with: "Good hunting!" It was wonderful, thrilling; you were ready to follow that man anywhere.But before the operation was a day old, every man in the division was heartily wishing that he was anywhere else, doing anything else but that; everyone knew in his mind and heart that he was not sent to earth to engage in this nasty and immoral business. The heroism and sacrifice were real—the situation was utterly satanic and shameful; the POWs we rounded up to interrogate were men just as good as we were, the victims of a terrible circumstance that the devil's game of power and gain had woven around them. ("Beyond Politics")

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The main weakness of our students

What is the main weakness of our students? Undoubtedly the desire for recognition rather than interest in what they are doing. They are decidedly degree-seeking rather than knowledge-seeking. Eager to be successful, they want to rush into production without any foundation. The gospel is only for the honest in heart, we are told; to others it shows an infinitely exalted but also remotely distant goal for which they have not the diligence to work or the patience to wait, but whose allure they cannot resist. So they anticipate the goal, sometimes in forms and ceremonies (we take our academic ritual in deadly earnest), sometimes by cultivating an invincibly cocky self-confidence, and sometimes in mental and emotional crackups. We want to be rewarded and recognized for our study, and that is not a proper motive for learning. ("Writing and Publication in Graduate School")

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Loyalty cannot be coerced

Loyalty is one of the few words in existence about whose meaning dispute is virtually impossible. Everyone knows what loyalty is, and what a desirable, nay indispensable thing it is to the survival of any community. Like honor and chastity, it is strongest when least talked about, and thrives only in a climate of uncritical acceptance. A virtuous investigation of loyalty is like a noisy oration in praise of silence, and the appearance of loyalty order and loyalty a sign of lost confidence, a desperate groping in empty air for something which groping fingers only push farther out of reach. ("The Unsolved Loyalty Problem: Our Western Heritage", The Ancient State)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

We don't really know that much

It is better to be ignorant and interested than ignorant and not interested, and there's no third alternative here. ("Apocryphal Writings and Teachings of the Dead Sea Scrolls", Temple and Cosmos)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The church and gospel are not the same thing

It is quite inconceivable that the gospel should ever be under condemnation, though the Church has been from time to time. They are not the same thing. The one is a teaching; the other, an organization to foster that teaching. Is the organization free to adjust and control the doctrine? Can it decide on the basis of public relations what would be most appropriate for what audience and for what occasion? What to emphasize and what to play down? Does any organization through its officers have that discretion? ("Mediocre Meditations on the Media", Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The modern state of Church "education"

As administrative problems have accumulated in a growing Church, the authorities have tended to delegate the business of learning to others, and those others have been only too glad to settle for the outward show, the easy and flattering forms, trappings, and ceremonies of education. Worse still, they have chosen business-oriented, career-minded, degree-seeking programs in preference to the strenuous, critical, liberal, mind-stretching exercises that Brigham Young recommended. We have chosen the services of the hired image-maker in preference to unsparing self-criticism, and the first question the student is taught to ask today is John Dewey's golden question: "What is there in it for me?" ("Educating the Saints", Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints)