Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Scholars seem stubborn and proud, whereas laypeople seem complacent and unaware."

"During parts of Mauss's life, LDS intellectuals did not always enjoy an entirely comfortable place in the church. Devoted as he was, he was sometimes summoned by leaders to account for some of his scholarly publications on Mormon matters.  Church leaders, not familiar with the ways of intellectuals and a little skeptical, did not immediately recognize these publications' potential usefulness.  The hardest thing for ordinary Mormons to appreciate is the battle intellectuals are called upon to fight to make sense of the world. Their very effectiveness as intellectuals grows out of their commitment to ideas and evidence. Whereas most people want simple, clear conclusions in harmony with their own preconceptions, scholars have to deal with the evidence and hammer out ideas.  The advice to "forget it" when they come across a troubling idea is precisely what they cannot do. Their work would be useless if they did not make these pains. Inevitably, there will be misunderstandings. Scholars seem stubborn and proud, whereas laypeople seem complacent and unaware. Even when both parties act with goodwill, it takes time to achieve mutual understanding."


From Richard Bushman's foreword of Armand L. Mauss's memoir: "Shifting Borders and a Tattered Passport: Intellectual Journeys of a Mormon Academic".

1 comment:

Stewart said...

a great quote and very clarifying