On a group I’m on, a major scholar in the Church asked if we would begin to compile stories on how FARMS, Nibley’s writings, or other scholarly LDS research has changed our lives for the positive.
For the request by the scholar, I wanted a post here on it, as we have a large and faithful following. I’m not interested in attacks or negative stories on any of these. Just positive experiences that have helped you. Any negative stories will be deleted.
I joined the Church in 1975, at 16 years of age. I discovered Hugh Nibley after my mission. I joke that while reading the first two books (A New Approach to the BoM, and Lehi in the Desert), I had uncontrollable nose bleeds. Eventually, Nibley’s writings rewired my brain. I believe for the good.
He helped me see the gospel and scripture in ways that no one else was doing. From him, I began reading FARMS publications. About 20 years ago, I joined Bill Hamblin’s Morm-Ant list serv (the first email list focused on Mormonism and Antiquities). I became an ardent student of LDS scholarship. In doing my own research, many of these scholars have welcomed me with open arms, many commenting positively on articles I’ve posted on my blog, here, and Feast Upon the Word blog, etc.
Most of you know that I consider myself a gospel student, eager to learn and share new things. Perhaps some of you have read the Gospel Doctrine lessons I provide at my personal blog: joelsmonastery.blogspot.com. It all begins with Nibley, Welch, Sorenson, Peterson, Hamblin, and FARMS .
I continue to be astounded at how much there is to learn about the Book of Mormon. New things that I haven’t seen, or things I discover that help others to take a new look. I’m on my high council, and the stake president asked me a couple weeks ago about our stake’s focus. I discussed with him my understanding of the atonement and grace, much of which has come to me from great scholars in FARMS and in the LDS community. He called me later to get more thoughts on it, and used it as the foundation for his talk at last week’s Youth Conference. That would not have happened had it not been for quality scholars doing quality research and sharing it with me.
To this day, “Approaching Zion” is in my top 5 LDS books, and I reread it frequently. If it wasn’t for FARMS, we would not have easy access to Nibley’s writings today. We wouldn’t know about the Limited Geographic Theory. We wouldn’t know about chiasmus. We wouldn’t know about Nephi’s Asherah. We would have no answers to the Church’s critics. We would see many more people streaming out of the Church today, because no one would have answers to all the Ed Deckers in the world today.
I thank Hugh Nibley, John Welch, John Sorenson and all those others who have provided such a great work and service to the Church and its members. Let’s hope that continued scholarship continues, perhaps with a rebirth of FARMS as part of the great Internet work now being done by FAIR, SHIELD, Temple Studies, SaltPress.org, and so many other wonderful blogs and websites.
So, how has FARMS, Nibley, etc., improved your life?