Historical Mormon Smackdown: Academic influence Edition!

Hello and welcome back. I have been thinking a lot about the influence of LDS academics on the landscape of our church. They do have influence, but is it enough or the right variety? What is the role of the LDS academic? Well, what better way to begin this than with a web-poll.

To that end, I was wondering if you feel that, since we’ve had LDS academics of one stripe or another since the 50’s, if they have had any influence on the leaders of the church? Certainly not the kind of influence that Christ has had (nor am I suggesting otherwise), but have they helped shape the way that the Brethren understand and teach LDS theology. I think yes, but I am not sure how much. With that bias in mind, we have the following:

Which LDS academic’s influence was most evident over conference: Hugh W. Nibley or Robert Millet?

Obviously, Hugh Nibley is the LDS scholar par excellance. Would we even have LDS scholarship without him? Probably, it would look and sound much differently. He is an essayist, theologian, ancient historian, firebrand, and mensch. He is particularly fond of the gospel as taught by President Brigham Young. Go here to read his article on Brigham Young in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (you’ll need to scroll down).

Robert Millet was the dean of the BYU religion department . He is the author of several books, including the recent Another Jesus. He is partially responsible for the recent emphasis on grace in the church, as is evidenced here (Choose talk #11).

Please vote to the left and discuss below.

5 Replies to “Historical Mormon Smackdown: Academic influence Edition!”

  1. I vote Millet; Nibley’s an icon but no longer all that influential in theology (much to the regret of most people who’ve read his more theological work). But Millet’s the most articulate spokesperson for the newer, Christ-and-atonement-centric, back-to-the-early-1830s version of Mormon theology.

  2. for the newer, Christ-and-atonement-centric, back-to-the-early-1830s version of Mormon theology

    Far closer to the NT approach, as well.

  3. I voted for Millet, because I think his ideas about theology have been very influential amongst the brethren.

    I am curious about the Nibleyites. Where did you see his influence over conference?

  4. I see Nibley present in the condemnation of hate and racism. These are not central topics in Nibley, however this type of criticism is in his mold.

    For me to answer this question fully and accurately, I will need to go back and analyze the text of the conference which will be available Thursday.

  5. Over conference? That’s a toughy… I guess when they started showing other pre-Mormon historical figures’ struggles with what they felt was an apostasy, I thought of Nibley’s “Mormonism & Early Christianity” book, but most of the talks have that “Millet/J.F. McConkie” fluff to them. Nibley’s too brash (“A Distant View” anyone?).

    I’d rather read 100 Nibley books before 1 RM/JFM book.

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