188–189: Hugh Nibley—Part 3: Prophet of Zion

Nibley at CommencementIn this third and final installment of our Hugh Nibley series, we look at Nibley’s powerful, far-ranging, and definitely direct/hard-hitting/deliciously skewering social critiques. Ranging from warnings and insights about the accumulation and concentration of wealth to the forces driving war, environmental destruction, and keeping us from truly enjoying the abundance the Lord desires for us, Nibley is at his best as keen observer, critic, and encourager toward a larger vision. His is a prophetic voice–a clear-sighted voice operating from outside the hierarchy and those charged with running things (and generally preferring the status quo) yet squarely within the Mormon tradition–that is able in a unique way to say hard things to and about his beloved community and not be thought of as enemy. His love and vision was for and of Zion, and Zion has never had a better prophet. Nor a funnier or delightfully snarky revealer of things that miss the Zion mark.

Nibley clowning aroundIn these episodes, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon is again joined by Nibley biographer Boyd Petersen, and they welcome keen Nibley observers Charles Randall Paul and Russell Arben Fox. Join them for these conversations and have your conscience pricked as well as your funny bone tickled. (For instance, hear a story that goes with the commencement picture above!)



Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life, by Boyd Jay Peterson

Hugh Nibley: Faith of an Observer (video). This is link to purchase through Amazon. The YouTube version mentioned in the podcast seems to have been taken down. (Please write us if you know of where else it might be viewed for free.)

“Work We Must, But the Lunch is Free,” Hugh W. Nibley (also found in Approaching Zion, volume 9 of the Collected Works series)

“Man’s Dominion, or Subduing the Earth,” Hugh W. Nibley (also found in Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, volume 13 of the Collected Works series)

“Leaders to Managers: The Fatal Shift,” Hugh W. Nibley (also found in Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, volume 13 of the Collected Works series)

“Zeal without Knowledge,” Hugh W. Nibley (also found in Approaching Zion, volume 9 of the Collected Works series)

“Warfare and the Book of Mormon,” Hugh W. Nibley

Victoriosa Loquacitas: The Rise of Rhetoric and the Decline of Everything Else,” Hugh W. Nibley (also found in The Ancient State, volume 10 of the Collected Works series)



6 comments for “188–189: Hugh Nibley—Part 3: Prophet of Zion

  1. Carla Thomas McClure
    September 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Loved the series on Nibley. His social and cultural commentary had a big impact on me when I was at BYU in the 80s. And I remember the Wendell Berry visit. I can see how those two would hit it off.

  2. Randy_Astle
    September 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Great series–thanks to Dan & Boyd & all involved. On ‘Faith of an Observer,’ Dan knows I’m working on a book on Mormon film for which I’ve seen an insane number of movies related to Mormonism–I estimate it’s almost to 1,200 now. And of those I rank ‘Faith of an Observer’ in the top three, with Gregg Whiteley’s ‘New York Doll’ and T.C. Christensen’s short ‘Joseph Smith, the Man.’ I decided that before realizing they’re all the same film, especially the two documentaries, about some person’s journey through mortality to a higher unseen celestial sphere (hence the title–Hugh’s an observer or pilgrim passing through the spiritualized realms of mortality, just like Arthur Kane in NY Doll). Near the end there’s a moment when the veil is pierced and they’re admitted into the presence of the Lord. In ‘Faith’ it’s the exploration of the Egyptian temple and telling of that story about Abraham receiving the promise of the covenant; in ‘Doll’ it’s the final concert and Arthur’s literal ascension to heaven. Both films give viewers a glimpse into that reality only their protagonists–both Holy Fools–can see.

  3. A Former Believer
    September 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    For Faith of an Observer, you may look here: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/multimedia.php?id=5

    • Leslie A North
      September 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      this link worked for me. Thank you. I’m watching the video now.

  4. Leslie A North
    September 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    In #188 at about 47 minutes in I found the best nuggets from the podcasts: a few minutes of the most inspiring and uplifting reminders from Hugh’s commentary about our purpose on earth. It is to be an artist and creator in cooperation with all the goodness and abundance surrounding us and in cooperation with each other. Its the type of reminder I would love to hear from General Conference: the world is FABOULOUS. Let’s enjoy every minute of it. I will look up and find more of these reminders from Bro Nibley.

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