MCQ’s request today for posts on Sterling McMurrin and Hugh B. Brown lit all my Dialogue antenna. I apologize I haven’t time to attempt a bibliography, even a Dialogue only bibliography with its numerous citations, but I will point you to a start: Volume 17, No. 1, Spring 1984, for Blake Ostler’s interview with Sterling McMurrin and a reprint of one of my favorite talks of all time, Hugh B. Brown’s address to BYU on May 13, 1969. Entitled “An Eternal Quest: Freedom of the Mind,” it is a classic. A wise blend of deep testimony and humble acknowledgment that “Our revealed truth should leave us stricken with with knowledge of how little we really know. It should never lead to an emotional arrogance based upon a false assumption that we somehow have all the answers–that we in fact have a corner on truth. For we do not.”
This talk is the source of one of his most oft-quoted lines. You will recognize it in this paragraph:
Preserve, then, the freedom of your mind in education and in religion, and be unafraid to express your thoughts and to insist upon your right to examine every proposition. We are not so much concerned with whether your thoughts are orthodox or heterodox as we are that you shall have thoughts. One may memorize much without learning anything. In this age of speed there seems to be little time for meditation.
He urged the students to “exercise your God-given right to think through on every proposition that is submitted to you and be unafraid to express your opinions, with proper respect for those to whom you talk and proper acknowledgment of your own shortcomings.” He acknowledged we run the “risk of thinking wrong,” but we must take that risk.
First know Brown’s core commitments to God, to freedom, to humility, to the courage to express his opinions and to an endless intellectual and spiritual curiosity and then read of his contributions to the church and most especially to the struggle for racial equality. It all just flows.