The quest for truth and knowledge is as old as time. From the beginning men and women have searched for truth in the hope of better understanding life’s purposes and to improve life. The temptation put before Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was that of knowledge. If they partook of the forbidden fruit from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Moses 3:16–17), they were promised:
Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food . . . and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she . . . did eat. [Moses 4:11–12]
Just as Adam and Eve desired knowledge to become more like God, so Abraham’s desire for knowledge was linked to his quest to be a more righteous person. He stated:
I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness. [Abraham 1:2]
With the same spirit, Aristotle described the importance of possessing knowledge so that one can practice virtue and take those actions that will improve not only one’s own life but the lives of others. He said:
In practical matters the end is not mere speculative knowledge of what is to be done, but rather the doing of it. It is not enough to know about Virtue, then, but we must endeavour to possess it, and to use it, or to take any other steps that may make us good. [Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, X, 9, 1]
As Aristotle pointed out, knowledge is not the end but an important means to the end. It provides the basis for understanding, for living, and for becoming. He understood that knowledge for knowledge’s sake alone was not fulfilling. Just as Adam, Eve, and Abraham desired knowledge in order to be better people, so Aristotle associated knowledge with goodness. This same principle was taught by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:19). And further, “It is impossible for a man [or woman] to be saved in ignorance” (D&C 131:6).
The Savior’s injunction “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) sets a standard for us. One of God’s principal attributes is that of omniscience. The scriptural record provides assurance that God is infinite in his understanding (Psalms 147:5), is all-knowing (2Nephi 9:20), and possesses a fullness of truth (D&C 93:11). Elder Neal A. Maxwell has written:
God, who knows the beginning from the end, knows, therefore, all that is in between. . . .
Below the scripture that declares that God knows “all things” there is no footnote reading “except that God is a little weak in geophysics”! We do not worship a God who simply forecasts a generally greater frequency of earthquakes in the last days before the second coming of His Son; He knows precisely when and where all these will occur. God has even prophesied that the Mount of Olives will cleave in twain at a precise latter-day time as Israel is besieged. (Zechariah 14:4.)
There are no qualifiers, only flat and absolute assertions of the omniscience of God. [Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1980, p. 7; emphasis in original]
The Savior describes omniscience as the glory of God, which is “intelligence, or . . . light and truth” and then states that “light and truth forsake that evil one” (D&C 93:36–37). Intelligence is not only the capacity to analyze, synthesize, and store information but also the disposition to act righteously (see David H. Yarn, Jr., “My Age of Preparation,” BYU 1995–96 Speeches [Provo: Brigham Young University, 1996], pp. 315–21). As noted earlier, our first parents, the prophet Abraham, and Aristotle understood this important linkage.
John the Baptist bore record that Jesus received a fullness of truth from the Father. John told the Jews: “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (John 3:34–35). The process by which we obtain knowledge and gain access to truth is “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30). The Savior also “received not of the fulness at the first” (D&C 93:12–13), but, given his perfection and godly status in premortality, the Spirit was given him in full measure. He grew from “grace to grace” until he received a fullness of truth and light. Christ described himself as “the light of the world” (John 8:12), and John called Christ “the true Light, which lighteth every man [and woman] that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). Peter, James, and John became special witnesses of his extraordinary light when they beheld him in his glory on the mount as the “only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). The three apostles reported that Christ’s “face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). It is significant that John links the Savior’s light and truth with his royal birth (John 1:4–14). In the appearance of the Father and the Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph, too, became a witness of their omniscience, or light and truth. He describes the pillar of light as “above the brightness of the sun” and their personages as having “brightness and glory” beyond “all description” (JS–H 1:16–17).
Man’s Search for Truth
Not only are the Father and Son filled with light and, therefore, possessors of all knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, but we are told that it is possible for us to receive light and truth until we are “glorified in truth and [know] all things” (D&C 93:28). The eternal potential of men and women includes a fullness of light and truth.
As noted above, the first principle underlying the acquisition of knowledge and intelligence is diligence (i.e., persistent mental and physical exertion). Generally, the acquisition of knowledge is in proportion to one’s effort to learn. As students apply themselves to a particular subject, their capacity to understand increases and their mastery of the subject allows them to use the discipline to inform others, to produce innovations, and to discover new truths.
The second principle is obedience to law. The discovery of secular truth generally occurs when certain principles are followed. First, a hypothesis is formulated that relates cause and effect. Second, data is gathered, and then the hypothesis is tested. An error term is usually included in the model to represent the unknown variables that have been omitted. The smaller the error term in the test, the greater one’s confidence in the results. A large error term will lead one to reject the hypothesis.
The acquisition of sacred knowledge follows the same principles. Spiritual truths are received through faith and obedience. Joseph Smith stated “that when a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force” (Lectures on Faith, compiled by N. B. Lundwall [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, n.d.], p. 61 [7:3]). Diligent mental exertion is required in one’s desires and efforts to learn sacred truths. The mental exertion required in the laboratory of faith is at least as much as that required in the art studio or the science lab. Further, the principle of diligence in the discovery of spiritual truth is a necessary but not a sufficient condition. Spiritual truth is known only through the Spirit, and obedience to God’s commandments is required in order to access the Holy Ghost (see 1 Corinthians 2:9–14).
In this dispensation, revelation has made clear the responsibility of each person to search for truth–both secular and sacred. We are to be
instructed . . . in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel. . . .
Of things both in heaven and in the earth . . . ; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass . . . ; the wars and the perplexities of the nations . . . ; and a knowledge also of countries. . . .
. . . and . . . languages, tongues, and people. [D&C 88:78–79, 90:15]
We are commanded to seek “diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).
Here are some of Brigham Young’s comments concerning the purpose of mortality:
This life is worth as much to us as any life in the eternities of the Gods. [JD] 9:170.
The object of this existence is to learn, which we can only do a little at a time. 9:167.
What are we here for? To learn to enjoy more, and to increase in knowledge and in experience. 14:228.
The whole mortal existence of man is neither more nor less than a preparatory state given to finite beings, a space wherein they may improve themselves for a higher state of being. 1:334. [Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1941), p. 87]
Brothers and sisters, we have the privilege of being engaged in the loftiest of pursuits at Brigham Young University–the search for truth and the dispensing of it. As individuals we are internally motivated by our divine nature to pursue truth. The core of our being is intelligence, or “light and truth.” The scripture states that “man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” (D&C 93:29). A part of us has always existed. It is intelligence, or light. We are told that “intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence . . . ; light cleaveth unto light” (D&C 88:40). One light to which our intelligence cleaves is the added light given at birth called the Light of Christ. Every human being receives this light so that he or she may know good from evil and be invited to do good (see Moroni 7:15–16). No wonder people hunger for truth. The insatiable desire is innate within each person and is enhanced by the Savior’s light. It is a driving force that propels us along the path of eternal progression. When we act on the light, more light is received. When we lose light through sin, the insatiable desire may be partially or wholly reduced as our capacity to accept additional light is diminished.
The Search for Truth at Brigham Young University
What is BYU’s role among the major universities in the search for truth? The purpose of any university is at least fourfold. The first is to discover truth; the second is to organize those discoveries; the third is to store knowledge for current and future generations; and the fourth is to teach truth to students and others. At this university we add one additional function. Students are to be taught how to live for the eternities. Where is BYU in this process?
From the beginning the university has emphasized teaching, or the dissemination of truth. Brigham Young Academy was a normal school established for the purpose of training teachers. The quality of teaching is still critical. A hallmark of this university is the attention that faculty give to students. During the past two years I have interviewed a number of BYU graduates who are now graduate students at other universities. I have asked them about their progress relative to their colleagues from other highly reputable institutions. Invariably the students share with me the fears and concerns they had at the time they entered graduate school. At first, like almost every other graduate student, they were unsure regarding their ability to compete. Within three to four months, however, many realized that their BYU education was equal or superior to the undergraduate experience of their friends. When asked about the strengths of their BYU experience, their answers often pointed to the quality of instruction and the close relationships they had with BYU faculty members. Recently an outstanding graduate of one of the top three or four major universities in America enrolled at BYU for additional undergraduate training. The reason given was that he was unable to obtain the quality of instruction desired because faculty access was almost nonexistent at the other school. At the particular institution in question, emphasis on research seemed to preclude faculty from spending time with undergraduate students outside the classroom.
Given a 90:10 undergraduate-to-graduate ratio and an emphasis on quality instruction, is the search for truth at BYU relegated to a second priority? The answer must be no! The discovery of truth is as important at this university as its dissemination, for a number ofreasons. The quest for and discovery of knowledge helps the
(1) . . . faculty to remain current in their disciplines and “alive” in teaching; (2) scholarly work contributes directly to the education of the students, both graduate and undergraduate; (3) scholarly work establishes the credibility of BYU and the . . . faculty in national academic/professional circles. [“A Model for Directing Scholarly Work at Brigham Young University,” Brigham Young University Office of Research and Creative Activities, 1994, p. 6]
The search for truth is part of the divine nature, and I believe there are some secular truths yet to be discovered that have been reserved for the faithful. We must be contributors to the world’s storehouse of knowledge to improve the lives of others.
During the past three decades, creativity in the arts and scientific research have become an integral part of BYU’s program. I use the word integral for a special reason. My experience at five universities suggests that the best teachers, sacred or secular, are engaged in the discovery process. The discovery of truth and the creation of beauty are exhausting experiences, but they are also exhilarating ones as new light and energy are unleashed. Key attributes of a good teacher are knowledge and enthusiasm. Both are generated by the discovery process.
The most notable change in this university during the past three decades is the maturation of our scholarship. Funding from the board of trustees has allowed faculty loads in many areas to be reduced to a level that makes both the discovery of truth and quality teaching possible. Funding combined with quality faculty has resulted in a paradigm shift. An article inspired by Dean Addie Fuhriman and researched and written by M. Sue Bergin in the most recent Brigham Young Magazine describes the change as one from “teaching against research” to “teaching via research” (M. Sue Bergin, “Teaching via Research,” Brigham Young Magazine 51, no. 3 [fall 1997], pp. 23–24). The author points out that hundreds of BYU faculty involve both graduate and undergraduate students in their research projects. The result is a “synergy that benefits both professor and student” (Bergin, “Teaching via Research,” p. 24).
If Brigham Young University is to be a Zion university, as described by Presidents John Taylor and Spencer W. Kimball, the search for truth must be an integral part of the BYU experience. President Taylor said: “You will see the day that Zion will be as far ahead of the outside world in everything pertaining to learning of every kind as we are to-day in regard to religious matters” (John Taylor, JD 21:100 [13 April 1879]).
President Kimball spoke extensively on this subject on a number of occasions. Typical is the following:
This university shares with other universities the hope and the labor involved in rolling back the frontiers of knowledge, but we also know that, through divine revelation, there are yet “many great and important things” [Articles of Faith 1:9] to be given to mankind which will have an intellectual and spiritual impact far beyond what mere men can imagine. Thus, at this university among faculty, students, and administration, there is, and there must be, an excitement and an expectation about the very nature and future of knowledge. That underlies the uniqueness of BYU. [Spencer W. Kimball, “Installation of and Charge to the President,” Inaugural Addresses, Brigham Young University, 14 November 1980, p. 9]
These prophecies will be realized only as BYU faculty and staff are filled with light and truth. The filling process requires diligent mental exertion in both secular and spiritual dimensions, which then must be combined with obedience to secular and spiritual laws. These actions will guarantee access to the Spirit, which will accelerate the discovery process.
It is obvious from the above statements thata Zion university is not a copy of other institutions. The paradigm is faithful scholars involved in extending the frontiers of knowledge while engaging their students in the discovery process. In the words of President Kimball: “This university is not of the world any more than the Church is of the world, and it must not be made over in the image of the world” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Second Century Address and Dedication of Carillon Tower and Bells,” Brigham Young University, 10 October 1975, p. 3).
Each member of the faculty, staff, and administration must be filled with truth. We must be not only the best scholars, the best staff and administrators, but also the best people we can be. This is crucial in light of the unique institution of which we are a part and its connection with the Church.
Academic Freedom and the Search for Truth
In the search for truth, the university has a responsibility to provide an environment in which the discovery of truth is fostered. Two environmental conditions are essential for the discovery process to be as fruitful as possible. The first is freedom of belief or freedom of thought. If anyone understands the importance of the right to pursue one’s own beliefs, it is the LDS people. The sesquicentennial year is an important reminder. As stated in the Statement on Academic Freedom (SAF) at Brigham Young University:
Individual freedom lies at the core of both religious and academic life. Freedom of thought, belief, inquiry, and expression are crucial no less to the sacred than to the secular quest for truth. Historically, in fact, freedom of conscience and freedom of intellect form a common root, from which grow both religious and academic freedom. [Statement on Academic Freedom at Brigham Young University (SAF), BYU 1997–98 Undergraduate Catalog, p. xvii]
The right to ask difficult questions, to rigorously analyze results, and to report one’s work are vital to the discovery and dissemination process. We believe that faculty members should be able to research and teach in their disciplines without interference as long as a second environmental condition is allowed to operate. Before proceeding to that condition, it should be noted that individual academic freedom is “broad” and “presumptive,” whereas any limitations coming from the second condition are “exceptional and limited” (SAF, p. xix).
The second environmental condition concerns the right of an academic institution to pursue its defined mission and to be free from outside control. Every university (public, private, religious, or nonreligious) places limitations on individual freedom in order to create an environment that fosters the discovery and dissemination of truth within the context of its institutional mission (see “Editor’s Preface,” George S. Worgul, Jr., Issues in Academic Freedom [Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1992], pp. viii–ix). Public universities, for example, prohibit faculty members from advocating religious beliefs in class in order to preserve a separation between church and state. Most universities limit faculty members in denigrating individuals or groups based on race, gender, religion, or nationality. Some universities establish obscenity standards that prohibit the use of certain language, films, and written materials in the classroom.
From the beginning Brigham Young University has been open in declaring its mission and expectations while at the same time protecting the freedom of the individual as much as possible. The statement made by Brigham Young to Karl G. Maeser regarding the responsibility to teach by the Spirit encompasses the two expectations enunciated in the university’s Statement on Academic Freedom. The first expectation is that all LDS members of the university community should “live lives of loyalty to the restored gospel” (Faculty Rank and Status: Professorial Policy, Policy and Procedures Section, University Electronic Handbook [rev. 1 September 1994], sec. 3.1.1). For LDS members of the faculty, staff, and administration, this expectation has been defined as accepting “as a condition of employment the standards of conduct consistent with qualifying for temple privileges” (Administrative/Staff Employment Policy, University Electronic Handbook [rev. 4 August 1997]; see also Faculty Rank and Status: Professorial Policy, sec. 3.1.1). For people of other faiths, the standard is the Honor Code coupled with a willingness to “respect the LDS nature of the university and its mission, while the university in turn respects their religious convictions” (SAF, p. xviii).
The second expectation is a clarification of the first. It asks community members not to engage in “behavior or expression [that] seriously and adversely affectsthe university mission or the Church” (SAF, p. xix; emphasis in original). Examples include public behavior or expression that “contradicts or opposes, rather than analyzes or discusses, fundamental Church doctrine or policy” or that “deliberately attacks or derides the Church or its general leaders” (SAF, p. xix). In addition, BYU’s Statement on Academic Freedom contains an important safeguard. It states: “A faculty member shall not be found in violation of the academic freedom standards unless the faculty member can fairly be considered aware that the expression violates the standards” (SAF, p. xix).
Why are these expectations important to the university’s mission? Do they relate to the discovery and dissemination of truth? When one understands our faith, one realizes that the university’s expectations are, in fact, encased in the enabling principle of obedience. Obedience to sacred laws is necessary for access to the Spirit. Our faith teaches and our experience confirms that the Holy Spirit is an important aid in the discovery and dissemination of truth–sacred or secular. The university’s mission could not be accomplished and community members would be handicapped in the search for truth if the condition of faithfulness was eliminated. This condition supports more than the establishment of a congenial community of believers engaged in higher education. For us, the condition is fundamental to the educational process.
Some have stated that the principle of obedience is inconsistent with the principle of agency. Elder Neal A. Maxwell has commented on this point as follows:
We are in a universe of physical and spiritual laws; it is these which demand obedience. It is actually enlightened obedience to follow freely those laws which produce the desired result. . . . That course is hardly blind obedience. . . .
Freedom does not always multiply options. A scientist wishing to create water must use two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. “There is a law. . . .”
Freedom does not free us from law. [Neal A. Maxwell, Deposition of a Disciple (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), p. 96–97]
As declared in BYU’s Statement on Academic Freedom, the university mission is to
nourish a community of believing scholars, where students and teachers, guided by the gospel, freely join together to seek truth in charity and virtue. For those who embrace the gospel, BYU offers a far richer and more complete kind of academic freedom than is possible in secular universities because to seek knowledge in the light of revealed truth is, for believers, to be free indeed. [SAF, p. xx]
Recent Challenges to BYU’s Statement on Academic Freedom
As all are aware, the university’s Statement on Academic Freedom, its application, and our role as a religious institution have been challenged during the past year by the national organization of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The national AAUP was asked by its local chapter to investigate last year’s denial of continuing status to Professor Gail Turley Houston of the English Department. Currently the university and the AAUP have an understanding not to release the organization’s report or the university’s response until both are published in the September/October issue of Academe, the organization’s magazine.
Today, in keeping with that understanding, I will not disclose the report’s contents or our response, even though a draft report has been released in violation of the understanding. Moreover, the recipient used the report as the basis for a Sunstone presentation earlier this month. A summary of his comments appeared in newspapers both locally and across the nation. Although I will not reveal the report’s contents, as all of the material will be available at the appropriate time, there are some aspects of the Associated Press story that should be discussed because they illustrate the kinds of misstatements that are being made about the university.
You may remember that the Associated Press article begins with a story about my attempts to recruit a potential faculty member. The first few paragraphs indicate that I “pulled out all the stops” to recruit Professor David Babbel of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It describes his expertise and says that he was an LDS bishop–“just the sort of exemplar Bateman wanted.” It then states that a meeting was arranged between Mr. Babbel and myself in New York to discuss a faculty position and that “Babbel assured Bateman he would give the offer serious consideration.” The article then suggests that Babbel eventually turned down the offer for two reasons–the university’s temple eligibility requirement and BYU’s troubling “record on issues of academic freedom.” Mr. Vern Anderson, the AP reporter, uses this story as a lead-in to Bryan Waterman’s discussion of the AAUP’s draft report to support an argument that the university is experiencing difficulty in recruiting faculty (see Vern Anderson, “BYU May Face Censure by Professors’ Group,” Deseret News, 10 August 1997, p. B5). In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In general, the faculty pool is the deepest it has ever been in the history of the university.
The story appeared on the weekend of August 9–10. On August 11 Mr. Babbel was shown a copy of the AP article. He faxed me a letter. With his permission, I share the relevant portions:
Dear President Bateman,
It was with horror that I read an AP article by Vern Anderson on BYU’s academic freedom. I have never been contacted by him, nor by Bryan Waterman, nor had I ever heard of either of them prior to reading the article.
It is deplorable to be co-opted into somebody’s “grandstanding” campaign. In my view, “grandstanding” is an aberrant and disrespectful forum for discussing viewpoints. As I read the article and saw the numerous errors throughout, it gave me a better appreciation of how people in your situation must feel, from time to time, as you are subjected to an unremitting barrage of screaming accusations. It is little wonder that some of the Brethren are loathe to discuss anything with the press, or with people who may go to the press.
Mr. Babbel then states the following in a footnote:
Some of the errors in the Anderson article include:
(1) There was never an “arranged” meeting in New York–it was a happenstance meeting, and I had already been in discussions of an informal nature with the Marriott School for two years about opportunities there.
(2) You never “pulled out all the stops” to recruit me–indeed, had you done so, I would already be there.
(3) I was never offered a position at BYU–only an opportunity to apply for one.
Mr. Babbel then questions what might be done to correct the errors and expresses his desire to meet with me. The letter is signed “David F. Babbel.”
I met with David Babbel last week, and additional exchanges will follow. As Professor Babbel noted, he was never asked by Mr.Anderson or Mr. Waterman as to the truthfulness of the story–nor did they ask me.
Mr. Anderson’s story is typical of other press articles dealing with BYU personnel issues that have appeared in recent years. The university does not conduct its business in the press; consequently, articles dealing with personnel issues are biased in favor of those who do seek out reporters and use the press. Occasionally we will comment on a report if it does not require us to reveal confidential information or if the individual in question has released the pertinent data. Most of the time, however, little or no information is provided by the university, and the amount of truth published is one-half or less. The stories generally are embellished well beyond the facts and are used to distort university policies and actions.
This is well illustrated by the Babbel story. Babbel and I met by happenstance in New York at a BYU alumni event. We conversed for three or four minutes. I did not know at the time that he was in conversation with the Marriott School about a position. I did not discuss a job offer with him. Nor did he assure me that he would give serious consideration to a faculty position.
Part of the reason for misstatements made about BYU is that many people are opposed to BYU’s mission and have an agenda to undermine it. Professor Douglas Laycock, the Alice McKean Young Regents Chair in Law and associate dean for research at the University ofTexas Law School, has commented on the absolutist position of the secularists in higher education as follows:
The secular side controls 97% or so of the institutions. Can the three percent have some existence of their own? Can the three percent strike their own balance of religious and academic commitments? Or is the secular model so absolutist that it cannot tolerate a three percent minority with a different solution? That is the issue. [Douglas Laycock, “The Rights of Religious Academic Communities,” Journal of College and University Law 20, no. 1 (summer 1993), p. 26]
Professor Laycock has carefully analyzed BYU’s Statement on Academic Freedom in light of AAUP guidelines and has made the following statement:
Ironically, by purporting to expel from the academic community any school that invokes the limitations clause, or to deprive schools of any benefit even when they invoke it, the AAUP ensures that few academically serious universities will ever disclose potential limits on academic freedom. The most notable exception is Brigham Young, which has recently completed a courageous effort to state as carefully as possible the limitations on academic freedom necessary to its mission. [Laycock, “The Rights,” p. 29]
Laycock further states: “The Brigham Young Statement is probably as full a disclosure as can reasonably be achieved” (“The Rights,” p. 32).
Although it is important that outside scholars consider the Brigham Young University Statement on Academic Freedom to be fair and evenhanded, it is far more important that our university community understand that our statement, which was generated by a faculty committee drawn from disciplines across campus, is a fair, open, and clear expression of university values. The genius of our statement is that it gives faculty members clear notice of conduct or expression that may be considered to be in violation of the statement.
A faculty member shall not be found in violation of the academic freedom standards unless the faculty member can fairly be considered aware that the expression violates the standards. [SAF, p. xix; emphasis added]
Any criticism that charges the university with creating an unclear standard quite simply misses the mark. The university mission and the expectations necessary to preserve and further that mission are clear.
Brothers and sisters, Brigham Young University is a wonderful place filled with extraordinary people acquiring light and truth. The mission of the university was defined 120 years ago by a prophet of God. There has been no deviation since, nor will there be. We must be diligent in our efforts to safeguard individual academic freedom while fostering the university’s unique purpose. Faithful faculty and staff understand that all truth is spiritual. They know by experience that the search for sacred and secular truth is enhanced by a spiritual environment that provides additional light. Ultimately there is no dichotomy. Truth is truth! The search for truth at Brigham Young University will prosper over time because of the way the community lives and the peace that prevails.
Also, the discovery process will become an even more integral part of the instruction that is offered as original scholarship increasingly informs outstanding teachers. If the common bond of the gospel stretches across the campus and includes every discipline–and if we are diligent in obeying both sacred and secular laws–we will have the respect of the One who counts. In the end, scholars and prophets will measure us by what we produce.
May the Lord bless each of us as we begin a new year, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Merrill J. Bateman was President of Brigham Young University when this address was given at the Monday morning session of the BYU Annual University Conference on 25 August 1997.
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