At the founding of BYU, Brigham Young’s charge to Karl G. Maeser was, “I want you to remember that you ought not to teach even the alphabet or the multiplication tables without the spirit of God.” Since that time, prophets have continued to envision a unique and inspiring role for this university. Indeed, the prophecies and promises are staggering.
Below are a small sample of quotes from our LDS prophets regarding the role, function, and destiny of BYU. What do these statements mean for a BYU faculty member today? How should the teaching and research done at this university differ from what is done at other institutions? What role can the average faculty member play in bringing to pass the destiny envisioned by those who have gone before us?
As part of their support of faculty members at BYU, the Faculty Center seeks to help faculty explore these and related questions. One vehicle to do this is through the By Study and Faith blog. Through this blog, we hope to raise both the quantity and quality of reflection and conversation on the unique mission of BYU. We also want to encourage faculty to experiment and try new things in their teaching, research and professional service and to share what they are doing and learning with others at the university.
Quotes about BYU from LDS Prophets
Because of its combination of revealed and secular learning, Brigham Young University is destined to become, if not the largest, at least the most proficient institution of learning in the world, producing scholars with testimonies of the truth who will become leaders in science, industry, art, education, letters, and government. (David O. McKay)
Brigham Young University, led by its President, must never forget its role in bringing to reality the ancient prophecy–to build the mountain of the Lord’s house in the tops of the mountains, so great and so glorious that all nations may come to this place and be constrained to say “show us your way that we may walk therein.” (See Isaiah 2:3.) (Harold B. Lee)
In all the world, the Brigham Young University is the greatest institution of learning. This statement I have made numerous times. I believe it sincerely. …The uniqueness of Brigham Young University lies in its special role–education for eternity–which it must carry in addition to the usual tasks of a university. This means concern–curricular and behavioral–for not only the “whole man” but for the “eternal man.” (Spencer W. Kimball)
On this campus, in due time, there will be an increasing number of textbooks written by inspired men of the Church. There will be less and less a tendency to subscribe to the false teachings of men. There will be more and more a tendency first to lay the groundwork of the gospel truth in every subject and then, if necessary, to show where the world may fall short of that standard. (Ezra Taft Benson)
This institution is unique. It is remarkable. It is a continuing experiment on a great premise that a large and complex university can be first class academically while nurturing an environment of faith in God and the practice of Christian principles. You are testing whether academic excellence and belief in the Divine can walk hand in hand. (Gordon B. Hinckley)