Reading The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown was like visiting with an old and admired friend. President Brown was a faculty colleague when I came to Brigham Young University in 1948. He was an adviser and strategically situated helper in the 1960s, when several campus developments engaged the attention of members of the board of trustees. And he was an amiable commentator as Eugene Campbell and I put together the biography that reached the bookstores ten days after his death in 1975.
Several factors fully justify the publication of this memoir, even though it contains little new biographical information. First, it reintroduces to the Church a man who is unknown, except for occasional quotations in authorized lesson manuals, to a majority of today’s Latter-day Saints. Second, it presents in context most of the famous Hugh B. Brown stories, some of which still circulate in audiotape format. Third, it offers some of the sage advice that made President Brown a special resource for two generations of young people who faced the challenges of understanding and applying the gospel in a changing world. Fourth, it looks at the institutional Church in terms that are a useful corrective to dogmas of prophetic infallibility and scriptural inerrancy. Fifth, it reminds those who knew him, personally or as a powerful pulpit figure, of why Hugh Brown found a unique place in the hearts of so many people.