The talks collected in this volume are drawn from John S. Tanner's later years at Brigham Young University, prior to his appointment as president of BYU–Hawaii. They contain a record of how, as an administrator, he tried to keep the dream of BYU alive. More broadly, they speak to a vision of learning that has been central to Latter-day Saint doctrine and practice from the earliest days of the Church. He calls it learning in the light (see Psalm 36:9).
Bruce C. Hafen observes, "Since I began teaching at BYU forty-five years ago, I have heard many talks and read many essays about BYU's spiritual and intellectual mission. I’ve not heard that mission described more eloquently or with more insight than in John's work. At his best, he is reminiscent of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, with whom he has much in common—intuitive confidence in gospel premises as the best foundation for sound reasoning; a high degree of awareness about cultural context; equally fluent, even native-tongued, in both the language of the scriptures and the language of liberal education; meek, bright, and empathic."
About the author
John S. Tanner is currently the president of BYU–Hawaii. Prior to this assignment, he served for many years as a professor of English and as an administrator at Brigham Young University. He has also served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, a mission president in São Paulo, Brazil, a stake president, and a bishop. He is married to Susan Winder Tanner, former Young Women General President. They have five children and twenty grandchildren.
John received a BA from BYU and a PhD from UC Berkeley. His scholarly writings focus on English Renaissance literature, especially John Milton, and on the intersection of religion and literature. He is also the author of LDS hymn texts, including "I Love the Lord" and "Bless Our Fast, We Pray." He has also published many articles and essays with LDS themes, including a collection of short essays written to the BYU faculty entitled Notes from an Amateur, which forms a companion volume to this collection of talks.