Mormon Quotes


Joseph F. Smith
If our Church schools would confine their so-called course of study in biology to that knowledge of the insect world which would help us to eradicate the pests that threaten the destruction of our crops and our fruit, such instruction would answer much better the aims of the Church school than theories which deal with the origin of life. These theories may have fascination for our teachers and they may find interest in the study of them, but they are not properly within the scope of the purpose for which these schools were organized. Some of our teachers are anxious to explain how much of the theory of evolution, in their judgment, is true, and what is false, but that only leaves their students in an unsettled frame of mind. They are not old enough and learned enough to discriminate, or put proper limitations upon a theory which we believe is more or less a fallacy.... On the other hand we have abundant evidence that many of those who have adopted in its fullness the theory of evolution have discarded the Bible, or at least refused to accept it as the inspired word of God.... Even if it were harmless from the standpoint of our faith, we think there are things more important to the daily affairs of life and the practical welfare of our young people. The Church itself has no philosophy about the modus operandi employed by the Lord in His creation of the world, and much of the talk therefore about the philosophy of Mormonism is altogether misleading...
Joseph F. Smith, Juvenile Instructor, 46(4):208-209, April 1911, Philosophy and the Church Schools
David O. McKay
I have been happy over the years to know that the faculty itself some years ago resolved that the first qualification for appointment to the faculty of Brigham Young University is that of an "attitude toward and adherence to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." I am happy, also, to know that a very large number of faculty members are now serving with general boards, or as stake presidents, bishops, and high council members, and in other Church positions. I would urge all members of the faculty, whether they have a Church position or not, to teach the principles of the Gospel and standards in every class whenever the opportunity arises, whether that class be a class in theology or otherwise.
David O. McKay, Letter from President David O. McKay to Ernest L. Wilkinson and the BYU Faculty
David O. McKay
I am aware that a university has the responsibility of acquainting its students with the theories and doctrines which are prevalent in various disciplines, but I hope that no one on the faculty of Brigham Young University will advocate positions which cannot be harmonized with the views of every prophet of the Church, from the Prophet Joseph Smith on down, concerning our belief that we should be strong and self‑reliant individuals, not dependent upon the largess or benefactions of government. None of the doctrines of our Church gives any sanction to the concept of a socialistic state.
David O. McKay, Letter from President David O. McKay to Ernest L. Wilkinson and the BYU Faculty
David O. McKay
In these days when there is a special trend among certain groups, including members of faculties of universities, to challenge the principles upon which our country has been founded and the philosophy of our Founding Fathers, I hope that Brigham Young University will stand as a bulwark in support of the principles of government as vouchsafed to us by our Constitutional Fathers.
David O. McKay, Letter from President David O. McKay to Ernest L. Wilkinson and the BYU Faculty
Bruce R. McConkie
The Joseph Smith Translation, or Inspired Version, is a thousand times over the best Bible now existing on earth.
Bruce R. McConkie, Restored Light on the Savior's Last Week in Mortality, June 1999
Boyd K. Packer
The dangers I speak of come from the gay‑lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever‑present challenge from the so‑called scholars or intellectuals.
Boyd K. Packer, All‑Church Coordinating Council
Boyd K. Packer
I have come to believe that it is the tendency for many members of the Church who spend a great deal of time in academic research to begin to judge the Church, its doctrine, organization, and leadership, present and past, by the principles of their own profession. Ofttimes this is done unwittingly, and some of it, perhaps, is not harmful. It is an easy thing for a man with extensive academic training to measure the Church using the principles he has been taught in his professional training as his standard. In my mind it ought to be the other way around. A member of the Church ought always, particularly if he is pursuing extensive academic studies, to judge the professions of man against the revealed word of the Lord. Many disciplines are subject to this danger. Over the years I have seen many members of the Church lose their testimonies and yield their faith as the price for academic achievement. Many others have been sorely tested.
Boyd K. Packer, The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect, Brigham Young University, August 22, 1981
Boyd K. Packer
One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the Church or destroy the faith of those not ready for 'advanced history', is himself in spiritual jeopardy. If that one is a member of the Church, he has broken his covenants and will be held accountable.
Boyd K. Packer, The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect
Gerald N. Lund
So how do we deal with these false philosophies? Fortunately, Mormon not only gave us Korihor's doctrines, he also gave us an inspired answer to them. This is the real value of the Korihor account. The first thing to note is that Alma does not get into philosophical debate with Korihor. He doesn't allow himself to be pulled onto the ground that Korihor tries to define as the area of debate. There is a great lesson in that. We combat false philosophies with revelation and true doctrine, not academic debate.
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
Other illustrations of how our strengths can become our downfall concern the activity of learning. A desire to know is surely a great strength. A hunger to learn is laudable, but the fruits of learning make a person particularly susceptible to the sin of pride. So do the fruits of other talents and accomplishments, such as the athletic or the artistic. It is easy for the learned and the accomplished to forget their own limitations and their total dependence upon God. Accomplishments in higher education bring persons much recognition and real feelings of self‑sufficiency. But we should remember the Book of Mormon's frequent cautions not to boast in our own strength or wisdom lest we be left to our own strength or wisdom (e.g., Alma 38:11, 39:2; Helaman 4:13, 16:15). Similarly, the prophet Jacob referred to "that cunning plan of the evil one," remarking that when persons are "learned," which means that they have knowledge, "they think they are wise" (2 Nephi 9:28), which means that they think they have the capacity for the wise application of knowledge. Persons who think they are wise in this way "hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves." In that circumstance, the prophet said, "their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish" (2 Nephi 9:28). "But to be learned is good," the word of the Lord concludes, "if they hearken unto the counsels of God" (2 Nephi 9:29).
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
"Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward Church authorities, general or local. Jude condemns those who 'speak evil of dignities.'" (Jude 1:8.) Evil speaking of the Lord's anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Criticism,' Latter‑day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Dallin H. Oaks
It's wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Criticism,' Latter‑day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle
George Franklin Richards
When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and his cause.
George Franklin Richards, Conference Report, Apr. 1947, p. 24; Address to Church Educational System teachers, Aug. 16, 1985
D. Michael Quinn
B.H. Roberts, a seventy, had problems directly involved with the writings of Church history. In November 1910, Church President Joseph F. Smith told the Salt Lake Temple fast meeting that Elder Roberts doubted that Joseph had actually received a priesthood restoration from John the Baptist. Church president Heber J. Grant also required B.H. Roberts to censor some documents in the seventh volume of the History of the Church. Elder Roberts was furious. 'I desire, however to take this occasion of disclaiming any responsibility for the mutilating of that very important part of President Young's manuscript,' Roberts replied to President Grant in August 1932, 'and also to say, that while you had the physical power of eliminating that passage from the History, I do not believe you had any moral right to do so.'
D. Michael Quinn, Dr. Michael Quinn, Mormon scholar, Sunstone, February 1992, pp. 13‑14
D. Michael Quinn
Academic freedom exists at BYU only for what is considered non‑controversial by the university's Board of Trustees and administrators. By those definitions, academic freedom has always existed at Soviet universities (even during the Stalin era).
D. Michael Quinn, D. Michael Quinn to F. Lamond Tullis, August 29, 1988, in 'On Being a Mormon Historian,' p. 94
D. Michael Quinn
One of [J. Reuben Clark's] "fundamental rules" was "that I never read anything that I know is going to make me mad, unless I have to read it. To this rule I have added another, which is applicable here: I read only as time permits materials which merely support my own views." This stunned fellow lawyer Wilkinson to whom he wrote this explanation, "You do not have to get very far down in any article before you can tell whether or not the fellow is writing or saying something that is generally along the line of your own beliefs." More often he did not bother to read publications before dismissing their significance. Thus, he could draft a two‑page list of general criticisms about Fawn M. Brodie's biography of Joseph Smith and write a proposed review of the book even though he had not read it. In this letter to his brother Frank, Reuben explained that he circulated his proposed review among trusted friends "who have read the book." They told him that his sight‑unseen evaluation "more or less characterizes the whole treatment" in Brodie's No Man Knows My History. For example, his proposed review stated: "While the book seems popularly to be appraised as a chronicle of new and hitherto unpublished documents giving a true picture of the Prophet Joseph, the fact is it is almost wholly a rehash of charges against the Prophet that began to be made over a hundred years ago, which, being then discarded, were buried as base falsehoods. Since then they have from time to time been dug up and paraded again, only to be reburied because again found false. They are now dug up again and re‑paraded from motives that are quite apparent from the book itself. ... There is very little material used or cited that has not been already published. The book has a veneer of pseudo‑scholarship." That was a remarkable set of observations by someone who had not actually read the book he was formally reviewing.
D. Michael Quinn, Elder Statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark
Sterling M. McMurrin
Yes, and church leaders still bring it up whenever they're inaugurating a president at BYU or Ricks. It quite clearly lays down the law on matters of academic freedom in church institutions: there is to be no freedom in matters pertaining to religion and morals. Clark laid it out very firmly.
Sterling M. McMurrin, Matters of Conscience
Bryan Waterman
[The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Economist both] pointed out the unusual nature of the campus demonstrations, which included not only public protests, but also spray‑painted graffiti ("Farr should teach here" was scrawled across a south campus stairwell) and a large swastika burned into the administration building's carefully manicured lawn. (Student organizers denied responsibility.)
Bryan Waterman, The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at BYU, December 15, 1998
The Economist
On the BYU campus, most people's idea of a free thinker is someone who wears shorts cut away at the thigh.
The Economist, "In a Glass House," Economist, 26 June 1993, 27
J. Reuben Clark
I assume that I am an apostate, that I am no friend of higher learning, that I am just a low‑down ignoramus, but in that ignorance I want to say to you that I am not at all concerned with the relative fewness of our attendance at the Y who are graduate students. In this ignorance of mine, I have a feeling that the mission of the Brigham Young University is not to make Ph.D.s or M.A.s, but to distribute among as wide a number as possible the ordinary collegiate work leading to Bachelor Degrees and to instill into the students a knowledge of the Gospel and a testimony of its truthfulness.
J. Reuben Clark, Letter to Ernest Wilkinson, President of BYU
J. Reuben Clark
The function of this Committee is to pass upon and approve all materials, other than those that are purely secular, to be used by our Church Priesthood, Educational, Auxiliary, and Missionary organizations in their work of instructing members of the Church in the principles of the Gospel and in leading others to a knowledge of the Truth. To meet such required standards for use by Church organizations, such materials must: (1) Clearly set forth or be fully consistent with the principles of the restored Gospel. (2) Be wholly free from any taint of sectarianism and also of all theories and conclusions destructive of faith in the simple truths of the Restored Gospel, and especially be free from the teachings of the so‑called "higher criticism." Worldly knowledge and speculation have their place; but they must yield to revealed truth. (3) Be so framed and written as affirmatively to breed faith and not raise doubts. "Rationalizing" may be most destructive of faith. That the Finite cannot fully explain the Infinite casts no doubt upon the Infinite. Truth, not error, must be stressed. (4) Be so built in form and substance as to lead to definite conclusions that accord with the principles of the Restored Gospel which conclusions must be expressed and not left to possible deduction by the students. When truth is involved there is no place for student preference or choice. Youth must be taught that truth cannot be blinked or put aside, it must be accepted. (5) Be filled with a spirit of deepest reverence. They should give no place for the slightest levity. They should be so written that those who teach from and by them will so understand. (6) Be so organized and written that the matter may be effectively taught by men and women untrained in teaching without the background equipment given by such fields of learning as psychology, pedagogy, philosophy and ethics. The great bulk of our teachers are in the untrained group.
J. Reuben Clark, First Presidency's 1944 letter on the Literature Censorship Committee, later renamed the Committee on Publications
J. Reuben Clark
[One of my] fundamental rules [is] that I never read anything that I know is going to make me mad, unless I have to read it. To this rule I have added another, which is applicable here: I read only as time permits materials which merely support my own views.
J. Reuben Clark, J. Reuben Clark to Ernest L. Wilkinson, 28 February 1950
J. Reuben Clark
[We'll develop BYU's School of Theology] only for the purpose of developing and demonstrating the truth of the Restored Gospel and the falsity of the other religions of the world, and thereby up build the faith and knowledge of post‑graduate scholars.
J. Reuben Clark, Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, and David O. McKay to Committee on Publications (Joseph Fielding Smith, John A. Widtsoe, Harold B. Lee, and Marion G. Romney), 9 Aug. 1944
J. Reuben Clark
[Unless the organization drops its support of Dale L. Morgan's history of Mormonism,] the Guggenheim Foundation and the Guggenheim interests [would come] into ill repute in this area [referring to the Kennecott copper mine].
J. Reuben Clark, Thomas G. Alexander, "Utah, the Right Place,"; also Leonard J. Arrington, "A History of Bingham Copper Mine"
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