The following originally appeared on John Gee’s blog.
Speaking about the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (which would later be renamed the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship) at the FARMS Annual Recognition Banquet, 27 September 1991, Elder Neal A. Maxwell said:
I’ve never made any secret of my appreciation for FARMS. As I see you grow larger and become more significant, I’ll never have any greater appreciation than I did a few years back when our enemies were lobbing all sorts of mortar shells into our Church encampment and among the few guns blazing away were the guns of FARMS. . . . As big and wonderful as you will become and I hope you do, my memories are always nurtured by those moments when so few stood up to respond and among those who did were scholars who have taken the lead in FARMS. . . . This organization, independent as it is, is nevertheless committed, as I see it, to protect and to build up the kingdom of God. . . . I hope you don’t underestimate the significance of what you do as articulators of the faith. In praising C. S. Lewis Austin Farrar said the following (and when I think of this quote I think of FARMS), “Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.” An excellent quote. . . . I mention also to you, in the spirit of appreciation, that I believe much of the vindication that will come to the Prophet and to this work of the Restoration, will come by scholars who are committed to the kingdom, who are unequivocally devoted to it. . . . I myself would be reluctant if you ever moved away from what had become your traditional role. Enterprises of scholarship may be like some businesses who fail at enlargement or lose the essence of what they have been successful at doing.