Scholarship in America is as Dead as the Dodo

[Letter excerpt May 24, 1958]

Where fourteen or fifteen ineffectual Stubenmenschen read my articles, hundreds of thousands have read Lehi [in the Desert] in the form of a priesthood manual, and I get communications all the time telling how one way or another some of the stuff I have ground out has changed the life of this person or that – and they are not all fools.

No, my dear fellow, scholarship in America is as dead as the dodo and has been for at least 30 years: go to their conventions if you don’t believe they’re a bunch of ineffectual zombies; they are simply marking time waiting for nothing to happen. I prefer a more active role. At least I have the illusion of getting somewhere, which is more than my friends do.

It is my object to post this before the new rates go into effect. It had to wait while I pinned two hundred and seventy three odd footnotes onto a 13 page no 12 page article on temples for an English jnl. I think the article was a little gem, but who [sic] would probably think otherwise. Make an effort to behave and be assured of my continual cooperation. Greetings to all concerned (this could get rather involved), hey just a minute.

A gang of long-robed mollahs out in the hall – they are a delegation from Iran, obviously the real thing, too picturesque for words. I went out and talked with them and they all spoke Arabic; lit up like neon-lights, whereupon their escort, a pompous band of local Educationists, angrily whisked them on their way to look at more buildings, a thing which they consider particularly idiotic. That is the sort of thing one has to put up with everywhere in our society; I trust you have looked at W. H. Whyte’s Organization Man (now available in paper cover); if not please do so and oblige,

Y’r ob’t & h’bl s’vt


About Hugh Nibley

Hugh Nibley, 1910-2005, was simultaneously the LDS Church's greatest intellectual defender from attack from the outside and Mormon culture's strongest critic from the inside. This blog is composed mainly from Nibley's unpublished writings, letters, interviews and conversations, with occasional posts from associates who had personal interactions with him.
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One Response to Scholarship in America is as Dead as the Dodo

  1. Heinz Mahler says:

    Interesting posts…but more background and setting for each letter would be appreciated.

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