Latter-day Saint photographer Charles Ellis Johnson captured this striking image of Orson Pratt’s scientific observatory, constructed just south of the Salt Lake Temple around 1869. The temple and the observatory. These two structures—one rustic, one majestic—have become emblematic of the Latter-day Saint impulse to reconcile heavenly and earthly concerns, to interweave the intellectual and spiritual.
The image is also emblematic of the life and career of Richard Lyman Bushman, one of Mormonism’s most celebrated historians within and beyond the LDS church. The Maxwell Institute is pleased to announce the publication of the book To Be Learned Is Good: Essays on Faith and Scholarship In Honor of Richard Lyman Bushman, edited by J. Spencer Fluhman, Kathleen Flake, and Jed Woodworth.
• What does the future hold for Mormonism in the academy?
• How does personal faith impact one’s scholarship?
• How might scholarly women and men speak of faith in secular places and times?
This new volume contains vibrant exchanges on these and other questions from the memorable scholars’ colloquium held in honor of historian and Latter-day Saint Richard Lyman Bushman (videos of unedited presentations available here).
“I think we all feel some tension between our religious convictions and the secular times in which we live. In one way or another, modernism invades and unsettles our thinking, perhaps our thinking about our fields, perhaps our personal beliefs. What I hope we all realize is that this tension is not to be suppressed or regretted. Unanswerable as some questions are, we need not lament the discomfort they bring. The strain of believing in unbelieving times, is not a handicap or a burden. It is a stimulus and a prod. It is precisely out of such strains that creative work issues forth. And we can take satisfaction in knowing that we are in this together.”
—Richard Lyman Bushman