BYU institute honors Elder Neal A. Maxwell
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BYU has renamed the institute created to strengthen the university's research and preservation of religious texts after the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve.
BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson said in a press release that the change honors the memory and life's work of Elder Maxwell, who died July 21, 2004. "This change firmly sets the future direction of the institute, which is to promote profound scholarship supporting the restored gospel of Jesus Christ something Elder Maxwell cared about deeply."
The Church Educational System Board of Trustees recently approved the name change, officially making BYU's Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (ISPART), the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. The change was announced March 1.
The institute was created in 2001 to bring together BYU's Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (METI), the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (CPART), and the Research Technology Group (WordCruncher).
Now the work done by all those organizations will unite under the recognizable umbrella of Elder Maxwell's name, said Andrew C. Skinner, executive director of the Maxwell Institute.
Many people had a hard time understanding what ISPART stood for and what it did, Brother Skinner explained. "With the name change, it is all the things that Elder Maxwell was interested in doing helping Latter-day Saints understand the richness of their own tradition and helping people of other faiths understand the richness of their backgrounds."
He said working under Elder Maxwell's name also puts a tremendous responsibility upon the scholars to do the best work they can. In addition, it "lays upon us the responsibility to be true and faithful to the ideals Elder Maxwell held so close to his heart . . . a responsibility to do the best work we can, but also be faithful to the Church and to the kingdom."
Elder Maxwell served the Church for 23 years as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. "He was an articulate voice of reason and revelation the consummate disciple-scholar who served the Church and the people of the world," said Brother Skinner.
Cory Maxwell, Elder Maxwell's son, said the family is "very pleased and touched" that Elder Maxwell's name is being associated with the institute. "Dad loved learning. He loved BYU. He also respected these committed Latter-day Saint scholars who were devoting their careers to researching and publishing things that will benefit and inspire faithful Latter-day Saints."
Because his father "felt strongly about the importance of the scriptures and importance of scholarship in the Church, I think he would be honored by this change in the name," he said. "I have to believe he would be pleased."
For more information about the Maxwell Institute, go to www.farms.byu.edu.