Top 10 LDS ‘Intellectuals’

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  • huggyface Murray, UT
    Dec. 12, 2011 2:43 p.m.

    John Widstoe wrote a book in 1939 called "The Word of Wisdom - A modern interpretation." It captures all of the scientific evidence proving the WOW was inspired and includes many principles of health most of us still don't understand today. It's a great read, if you can find a copy.

  • yourstruly PAUL, ID
    Oct. 25, 2011 10:11 p.m.

    My favorite LDS author without a close second is M.Catherine Thomas author of Spiritual Lightening. Her insights and ability to teach remind one of C.S. Lewis. While I am sure she would be embarrassed to be called an intellectual to me she is brilliant and inspiring.

  • AKFan JUNEAU, AK
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    To Doctor:

    Your comment about Joseph Smith smacks of your ignorance, not his. This article isn't about any person's beginnings, but their achievements over their lifetime. Certainly you are "smart" enough to grasp this.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Oct. 3, 2011 10:36 p.m.

    The general definition of intelectual is someoen who makes their living from pursuits related to the mind. I would say in some ways, if we mean intelectuals who happen to be Mormons, Stephen R. Covey should be on the list.

    In theory all general authorities can be counted as intelectuals. Also all educators, editors, writers, advertising executives and arguably poets as well.

    Some others expand the definition to those who gain their fame from intelectual pursuits even if they are not gaining their income from such.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Oct. 3, 2011 10:32 p.m.

    Oner question is what are we measuring. How influential the intelectuals were, or how much they effected Mormon thought. If we are measuring the later Joseph Smith has to lead the list, and Joseph Fielding Smith and Ezra Taft Benson can not be excluded for the top 20. Richard Lloyd Anderson might well make the top 20. Robert J. Matthews is also a major figure who can not be forgotten, and the same could be said for Noel Reynolds. Among other things the fact that an apostle mentioned a teaching of Reynolds in General Conference probably adds some weight.

    John Taylor might also be a top 20 contender. Some of his works were quite seminal.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Oct. 3, 2011 10:25 p.m.

    The claim that Roberts had doubts about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is false. He wrote material on problems with it because he fully believed it was true and that the best way to spread this knowledge was to deal with the problems raised by its opponants. He clearly continued to testify of the Book of Mormon until the end of his life.

    Daniel Peterson and William Hamblin would be in the running in my book, but since this is a 42 year old list, I am not surprised they are not on it. Emiline B. Wells is also an intelectual who is worth considering.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Oct. 3, 2011 10:15 p.m.

    The fact the list was created in 1969 probably explains several omissions, such as that of Madsen, Maxwell, Oaks and Bushman.

    Joseph Smith began as an ignorant farm boy but he clearly developed into an intelectual.

    I would also think David O. McKay would have a place in this list.

  • Rock Calgary, Alberta
    Sept. 12, 2011 2:55 a.m.

    How tiring.
    I read an enjoyable article on some very intelligent men and reflected on some of their books which I have read and then was foolish enough to think that some of the comments on it would also be intelligent. These are some of the most petty, critical and self serving that I have read in a long time. Some of the commenters actually seem to think that they are as intellectual as the list. They are certainly not the only intelligent people in the church, Give them all the honor they deserve.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    Aug. 2, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    James Taft Fredette

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    July 14, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    Eliza R. Snow for the women

  • gradmum FOREST PARK, IL
    July 14, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    Any women intellectuals?

  • midwestlds INDEPENDENCE, MO
    July 8, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    Hugh Nibley, Truman G Madsen, Henry Eyring, Neal A Maxwell, in no paticular order.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2011 2:06 p.m.

    I think G. Homer Durham belongs on every list of Mormon intellectuals.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    June 24, 2011 5:36 a.m.

    I would define intelligence as not only the sure handed grasping of the stick, but in the weilding of it to great works and effectively influencing others to do the same. Not just to know, or be able to discuss, but to do. That's why I like Parly P Pratt on the list, and I would add Brigham Young, David O. McKay.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    June 17, 2011 10:08 a.m.

    Two problems with this discussion:

    1. Being an honorable person, a good leader and/or holding a high priesthood office does not equate to intellectual attainments or contributions. The case for being an intellectual can readily be made for Joseph Smith, Joseph F. Smith and the Pratt's. But Ezra Taft Benson and Gordon B. Hinckley?

    2. Cleon Skousen, while celebrated by some on the extreme political right, did nothing as far as serious scholarship. Even conservative intellectuals do not take his work seriously, to say the least.

  • In My Humble Opinion South Jordan, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:23 p.m.

    Joseph Smith an intellectual?

    Self taught in Hebrew, Greek and perhaps other languages.

    Set the pattern (following the design of Cincinnati), of cities being laid out in square blocks.

    Inspired architecture magnificent in its day.

    Moved tens of thousands in his day, millions since, to action.

    Whether taught by God or self-taught, Joseph comprehended issues and proposed philosophies and solutions superior to theologians, politicians, sociologists, city planners, health and medical experts from his generation up to and beyond ours.

  • Long Lost America Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 7:39 p.m.

    Although B.H. Roberts was a very intelligent writer in his official capacity for the Church, I am extremely ashamed and disappointed that the Deseret News puts him on this list, let alone giving him the top spot ahead of Orson Pratt and Joseph Smith. His later works are cited by anti-Mormons for apostacizing later in his life. The very idea of a top 10 "intellectual" list implies that the author feels he is qualified to judge what is most intellectual. The process in and of itself is offensive. The forgotten teachings of Joseph Smith dwarf the combined works fo all of these men put together, including the brilliant writings of the Pratt brothers.

  • Brettski2024 Concord, CA
    June 15, 2011 9:03 p.m.

    How did the Dnews not include me on the list? Fail article

  • reagan21 NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV
    June 15, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    Alex G. Oblad held patents on processes to create high octane fuel and foams that are still used in beds, couches etc as well as the absobant material in baby diapers. He taught at the U for almost 30 years and he was a dean of the school of fossil fuels.

    Look him up....and I may be biased because he was my grandpa.

  • Badman Houston, TX
    June 15, 2011 10:59 a.m.

    @doctor

    My understanding of why people took Joseph to be intelligent has more to do with his wisdom (something that even the very young and ignorant are capable of yielding) than pure intellectual capacity.

    As a counter example, Nibley was super intelligent in a scholary sense. His knowledge of the gospel was unmatched, but for all of his gifts he lacked a mature level of wisdom, which explains his absurd social commentary.

  • davewhittle Springville, UT
    June 14, 2011 11:27 p.m.

    I'm confident that the ONLY possible reason Joseph Smith, Jr. is not #1 on this list is that church members (who were the ones being polled) are more likely to think of Joseph as an inspired prophet rather than consider him an intellectual, which many in the church would see as an unimportant attribute - almost an insult, along the lines of "when they are learned they think they are wise."

    But if you don't believe he was a prophet, you have to recognize him as an intellectual if you have a shred of intellectual honesty yourself. If you could poll the several true intellectuals who are independent of the church and unbiased about it, I'm sure that they would agree with Shipps and say that Joseph Smith was an intellectual of the highest order - one who changed the world with his religious and philosophical genius. Only a dozen or less Americans who were not President have had such a significant influence on the world. I heard as much from an historian at the Smithsonian who had been part of the group (committee, I presume) who had outbid the church to acquire the best surviving sunstone from the Nauvoo temple.

  • tonyloaf New York, NY
    June 14, 2011 7:52 p.m.

    Joseph Smith was more than a intellectual, he was a genius.

  • Iron Queen CEDAR CITY, UT
    June 14, 2011 2:11 p.m.

    Does it seem weird to anyone else that there are no women on this list? Do female intellectuals even exist in the church today? If so, who are they? Seriously, I cannot think of one, let alone ten. Anyone?

  • ed in az cave creek, AZ
    June 14, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    1969 is a long time ago.. How about the top 20 of the last 75 years?

  • ed in az cave creek, AZ
    June 14, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    Philo Farnsworth should get a look..

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    June 14, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    With all respect to Arrington, Parley Pratt was likely more "intellectual" than his brother Orson, if you take into account Parley's groundbreaking and original thinking. Orson was more of a magpie, collecting insights from his reading but not as good a writer or thinker as his older brother. BTW, Nibley is by far the number-one genius of Mormonism, other than the Prophet Joseph himself.

  • Magna Ute Fan Magna, UT
    June 14, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    Its interesting to me that some take issue with Joseph Smith being on this list. I once saw a documentary about him. There was a non-LDS professor (Jan Shipps, I think), who had spent her life studying Mormonism. When she was asked how she would explain Josephs long list of accomplishments, she replied that he was clearly a genius.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    June 14, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    The list should include Arthur Davis Hassler, Lehi native, who became the most respected fresh water biologist or Limnologist in the world. Professor at the University of Wisconsin, the successor to Berge and Juday he trained more leaders in Limnology who have lead the way in fresh water research for over 65 years.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    June 14, 2011 7:09 a.m.

    I'd put Hugh Nibley way ahead of Sterling McMurrin. Kingon Skousen wouldn't make my top 20. Joseph F. Smith would be in my top 10.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 13, 2011 10:56 p.m.

    Brigham Young is highly underrated. Given the great things he revealed he deserves to be high on this list. Given that he credited Joseph Smith for the great knowledge he had Joseph Smith deserves to be at the top of the list. There are many little known doc trines revealed to Joseph Smith that are lost for the most part to the church and the world
    All matter has consciousness and therefore life. Life as we understand it is a pattern that has existed eternally it was not created. In accordance with this the earth was seeded by the gods life was not created what the bible
    Says about mankind being children of the gods is to be taken literally. God or Elohim is plural and we are partpart of that plurrality. Joseph SmithSmith intended this church to be a church of people of great understand but the LES people were not ready for much of the higher knowledge he tried to teach. However knock and it can be opened. If people will ask and knock all knowledge can be accessed.

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    June 13, 2011 10:48 p.m.

    Holy cow, Talmage is #1. No brainer.

  • thelogicalone salt lake city, UT
    June 13, 2011 9:18 p.m.

    Interesting list for 40 years ago. Let's update it, and I know we can find some women to add.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 13, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    Also, McMurrin was an agnostic even though he never left the LDS church. David O. MacKay put an end to a potential court.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 13, 2011 4:19 p.m.

    Stirling McMurrin and BH Roberts are tied at #1. Nobody else should be on the list.

  • The Judge Kaysville, UT
    June 13, 2011 3:23 p.m.

    I guess the writer of this column is not an intellectual. It's not "John Hopkins" university. It's Johns Hopkins, named after a Quaker railroad baron named, not John Hopkins, but Johns Hopkins. Come on, D'News. Hire an editor.

  • grumpygramps YUCCA, AZ
    June 13, 2011 2:11 p.m.

    My list:
    10 - Sterling McMurrin
    09 - George Boyd
    08 - Henry Eyring
    07 - Harvey Fletcher
    06 - Louis Midgley
    05 - Mike Ash
    04 - Chase Peterson
    03 - Lowell Bennion
    02 - Daniel Peterson
    01 - Joseph Smith

    I think this is a fair assessment, and think a new poll should be taken, accounting for the great work done at NAMIRS.

  • JohnnyC Cedar Hills, UT
    June 13, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    My man Neal Maxwell. Not sure about his academic pursuits, but he could turn an insightful phrase with Shakespearean aplomb.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    June 13, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith is #3?? HA! What?? The man who communed with Jehovah- who had more pure revelation than any man in earth's history with the exception of Jesus Christ himself? Read the Doctrine and Covenants and then ask yourself if anyone even comes close to the Prophet Joseph. These other men are mere children compared to Joseph Smith and his Mt Everest sized mountain of knowledge.

  • John Harrison Sandy, UT
    June 13, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    Inexcusable exclusions:
    Harvey Fletcher (Millikan stole his Nobel Prize)
    Eugene England
    Henry Erying
    Juanita Brooks
    Eliza R. Snow
    Richard Bushman
    and I would guess that Bushman himself would argue for the inclusion of Fawn Brodie.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 13, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    Being an Intellectual can mean excommunication. Don't ever forget the "September Six".

  • Aussie Teacher WESTON, VT
    June 13, 2011 7:10 a.m.

    How is Joseph Smith an intellectual? What did he write on his own? What intellectual treatise did he write.
    Surely if he wrote the BofM wfrom plates and the Doctrine and Covenants from revelations from God and Christ,then They are the intellectuals, not him!

    As far as I am aware everything he produced is supposed to have been from revelations-so he can't be an intellectual. A plagarist perhaps!

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    June 13, 2011 5:39 a.m.

    First, let's define "intellectual". Is Academic experience the main criterion? There are a lot of academics (most?) who can't run an organization. I'd like to see a list which has half the people listed who are still alive.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    June 13, 2011 1:46 a.m.

    Many good suggestions for additions or alternatives. I'd like to add Gene England, Jr. Taught at Stanford, St. Olafs, the U, the Y, and UVSC. Thoughtful and failthful.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    June 13, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    Ken Jennings!

  • JoeBA Pleasant Grove, ut
    June 13, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    Love the list Onandagus. Would like to see more people create an entire 10 like this--the readership's collective opinions would maybe show some interesting modern tendencies. More lists, please...

  • Onandagus1834 MIDVALE, UT
    June 12, 2011 11:43 p.m.

    I'm not so sure I would place Orson Pratt so high on the list, however I do believe he deserves a place. My top ten of Mormon Intellectuals, considering that each held a significant place in their own time, would be (but I must admit a bias toward historians as I am one):

    10. Leonard Arrington
    9. Orson Pratt
    8. Truman G. Madsen
    7. Hugh Nibley
    6. B.H. Roberts
    5. James E. Talmage
    4. John A. Widstoe
    3. Henry Eyring
    2. Richard Bushman
    1. Joseph Smith, Jr.

  • JoeBA Pleasant Grove, ut
    June 12, 2011 9:54 p.m.

    Just for fun--(and come on people, just because someone (Nibley) says something you don't agree with doesn't mean they are not scholars...and if they saomething you do, that doesn't mean that they are.)
    10 Leonard Arrington
    9 Truman Madsen
    8 BH Roberts
    7 Eliza Snow
    6 Richard L Bushman
    5 J Ruben Clark Jr
    4 Hugh Nibley
    3 Henry Eyring
    2 Orson Pratt
    1 Joseph Smith, Jr.--my sense of "intellectual" is using your intellect. I think he more than passes. None of the above are using anything other than God-given gifts, so why does revelation not count? The D&C make it clear that Joseph had to struggle through philosophical and psychological issues like we could never imagine to get the training he did. Amazing.

  • zeba Brigham City, UT
    June 12, 2011 6:42 p.m.

    Interesting to see Roberts listed at #1 since he had doubts about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

    I would include Dr. Michael Quinn in the top 10.

  • James B. Young SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 12, 2011 5:40 p.m.

    Roberts, Ericksen, McMurrin, Eyring: absolutely yes.

    McConkie, Benson, Smith, Nibley, Skousen, Joseph F. Smith: absolutely not.

  • CricketMan west bountiful, utah
    June 12, 2011 5:21 p.m.

    Joseph Smith was a true prophet of god!

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    June 12, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    J. Reuben Clark.

  • RivertonCoug Herriman, UT
    June 12, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    Henry Eyring not on the list? He would have won the Nobel Prize if it had not been for religious bigotry. Also, where is Skousen?

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    June 12, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    When I was younger, I thought these "lists" were authoritative, somehow conveying some sort of scientific rigor. Then I realized that someone (probably a journalist) just "made it up". It really isn't "news" although it is an easy way to provoke thought.

    That having been said, any list of "Mormon 'Intellectuals'" that does not contain Neal A. Maxwell is severely lacking to the point of being invalid.

    Richard Bushman was another very poor oversight. Also, what about Eliza R. Snow?

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 12, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    Being "smart" or "educated" does not make one an Intellectual. Look up the definition.

  • Quayle Dallas, TX
    June 12, 2011 7:43 a.m.

    Sadly no women - probably a matter of history and culture.

    But what is more troubling is that among the current generation of young Mormon women (20-35) there are some very educated and talented thinkers.

    But we haven't in the church figured out what to do with them so they are wondering in the wilderness when they could be contributing mightily, if we just created space for them to flourish in our culture.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    June 11, 2011 10:35 p.m.

    So, to make this list apparently all you have to do is teach at the University of Utah? Not much of a standard is it? Makes me think of youth soccer or little league where everyone gets a trophy, even the last place team. Makes the point of having a trophy kind of meaningless.

  • Hulen Clark Robeline, LA
    June 11, 2011 8:53 p.m.

    Like every body else,I have my own opinion on who should be on the list. I would like to have seen Brigham Young mention. After all look what he accomplish as Prophet of the church. Thank You.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    June 11, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    A couple of other typos in the names of elite universities. It should be: Berkeley and Johns Hopkins.

  • owlmaster2 Kaysville, UT
    June 11, 2011 6:15 p.m.

    I'd add Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith, Cal Rampton and Oscar McConkie.

    The only way Cleon Skousen or Ezra Taft Benson would ever get on my list is if you make it the top 5,000 intellectuals. Even then Skousen would be a hard fit.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 11, 2011 2:05 p.m.

    What about Truman Madsen? I took a BYU philosophy class from him in the 1960s and thoroughly enjoyed his insights and love of Stan Kenton. From then until he died, he continued to pursue knowledge avidly and has made some significant contributions.

  • fbear0143 St Louis, Missouri
    June 11, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    I would add Sidney Sperry to the list. His work, though not prolific, is well within the accepted guidelines for defining an intellectual.
    A couyple of other honorable mention candidates could be:
    Milton Backman and Hyrum Andrus.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    June 11, 2011 1:19 p.m.

    One might consider that the number is simply that, and not a reflection as to the degree of "intellectualism" that person achieved. My reasoning is that of all mentioned, Joseph Smith, Jr., was by far the most intellectual of all, having been given his knowledge and wisdom regarding Mormonism directly from a heavenly source, and his place in the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth. All other achievements of mortal men pale in comparison.

  • Regina PALMDALE, CA
    June 11, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    What about Philo T. Farnsworth?

  • Californian Santa Ana, CA
    June 11, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    Where's Eliza R. Snow!!!

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2011 11:29 a.m.

    Placing Hugh Nibley at #8 is questionable. He deserves to be much higher on the list.

  • Heidi T. Farmington, Utah
    June 11, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    Truman Madsen would be one of my strong choices. I enjoyed the list and think narrowing it down to ten would be very difficult.

  • UtahMaus Orem, UT
    June 11, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    Several commenters asked how the list was created. The opening statement answers that. It was created in 1969 by asking "50 prominent Mormons" to name the five most eminent intellectuals in Mormon history.

    I'm guessing the order of the list was created by the number of times that individual was mentioned, rather than by their accomplishments. It's interesting to note that only three of the 10 were still alive in 1969, so even then dead individuals were given more weight than living ones.

    I would love to know who the "50 prominent Mormons" were. I bet quite a few of our modern nominations were in that group of nominators.

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    June 11, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    I would heartily agree that Henry Eyring needs to be on the list. Certainly NOT Cleon Skousen, as someone suggested above - his "grasp" of actual history is tenuous, at best, and ridiculed by authentic historians, at worst.

  • UtahMaus Orem, UT
    June 11, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    I suspect "intellectual" is in quotes for two reasons:
    1) It is rather loaded in LDS culture, frequently having the implication that the individual is in danger of excommunication.
    2) The various definitions of "intellectual" have somewhat different nuances, ranging from "possessing mental capacity, especially to a high degree" (under which Joseph Smith qualifies) to "conveys the general notion of a literate thinker" (under which Joseph Smith, at least as a youth*, does not qualify).

    *Though later in life, as Truman G. Madsen illustrated, Joseph Smith became much more literate, ranking as one of the best students at the School of the Prophets.

  • hollyman Cedar, UT
    June 11, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    Isn't this an exercise in vanity? Depending on the definition of "intellectual" the list would expand or contract. If we believe what is stated in the scriptures we are told that those who qualify for celestial glory will know all things. Therefore, everyone who qualifies for that reward will be far more intellectual than anyone listed on the lists, at least in this life. If only viewed from the mortal perspective, then the only measure of intellectualism would be one's renown, which is a pretty poor determinant.

  • Slippery Treasure Murray, UT
    June 11, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Interesting article. This is the first time that I've ever heard anyone, even the Mormon Church, refer to Joseph Smith as an 'intellectual.' I guess just as long as one puts that phrase in quotation marks, we're OK.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 11, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    Agreeing with Skousen and Nibley can get you onto shaky ground with the Church these days.

  • kenny Sterling Heights, MI
    June 11, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    Why not come up with many more lists. The intellectuals of Business, The intellectuals of Medical Science, the intellectuals of Religious and Scriptural Studies,and on and on and on.I know those who were listed may have touched on some of these areas but we would call attention to many many more great minds in the church.Especially the "greats" in our current society. There are many. One should not have to be dead in order to achieve "Intellectualhood".

  • kaparowitz A.F., UT
    June 11, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    Lists are never perfect, but this one and the order of ranking seems a bit ridiculous. IMO, it seems to be thrown together without really properly weighing the body of work compiled by each man. That would take some time and perhaps a little "intellect." As it stands, this list is only slightly above pulling names out of a hat.

  • nayajja` Ephraim, UT
    June 11, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    Cleon Skousen.
    Although I grew up with the idea that he should be viewed with some suspicion, after having read some of his stuff, I am impressed.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    June 11, 2011 6:58 a.m.

    @ Doctor | 6:32 p.m. June 10, 2011

    Joseph Smith started out intellectually as a humble farm boy but died possessing great intellectual knowledge and wisdom. That's what happens when the Spirit of God lives within you for decades.

    I once had the false assumption that Joseph Smith was a poor businessman based on a quote I had read only to find that the one who said that statement only meant that Joseph was too soft-hearted and kind to make money as his primary goal of being in business, not that he didn't have the academic intelligence to succeed. I've since read MANY sources that claim that every single thing Joseph told others to do in business related matters led to their financial succes IF, repeat IF, they followed what he counseled them to do.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    June 11, 2011 6:48 a.m.

    LOVE Parley P. Pratt!

    That guy is truly an unsung hero of the Restoration of the Lord's Gospel!

    Solid as a rock, he was.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 11, 2011 6:44 a.m.

    Taylor: Ezra Taft?

    Lowell Bennion is the only one that belongs on the list.

  • milhouse Atlanta, GA
    June 11, 2011 6:20 a.m.

    I'm not sure how this list was compiled, other than "Let's find Mormons who once taught at a school."

    Joseph Smith was an incredible figure in modern American theology; calling him an "intellectual" is a stretch. An intellectual is one who obtains a living from his intellect, and not simply an educator. Talmage, Widtsoe, and Nibley are all fantastic examples. Parley P. Pratt? How did he beat out Oliver Cowdery?

    Richard L. Bushman is an inexcusable omission- he has done more for the positive portrayal of Mormon academics than perhaps any person living. Truman Madsen seems like a more reasonable candidate than Orson Pratt, as well. Among current GA's, I could go for Elders Holland or Oaks.

    Plus, I find it ironic that an article on Latter-day Saint intellectuals has so many typographical errors. The "Univeristy of California"? " "Reading, writing and the restored gospel *become* Roberts passions."

    Who writes these things, anyways?

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2011 6:09 a.m.

    Why the use of quotation marks around the word "intellectual?"

    Isn't that the equivalent of calling these men "allegedly smart?"

    Glad to see McMurrin and Bennion on the list.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    June 11, 2011 5:31 a.m.

    Neal A Maxwell, Hugh B. Brown and Bruce R. McConckie. All had great intellect.

  • Jimmy James Salt Lake City, Ut
    June 11, 2011 12:55 a.m.

    ed in az:

    I completely second the thought that Henry Eyring should be on that list. The guy came super close to winning a Nobel Prize for his work in Chemistry and is just absolutely brilliant. I believe Elder Oaks referred to him as the greatest Mormon scientist. And the thing I like about Henry Eyring the most is that whereas other "intellectuals" seem to complicate the gospel, he simplified it.

    I've said it on the message boards before, but I'm willing to bet that most people who leave the LDS church for "intellectual" reasons, haven't read and or understood the basic principles contained within Henry Eyring's books "The Faith of a Scientist" or "Reflections of a Scientist".

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    Joseph Smith may have started an ignorant farm boy. We all come into this worldly experience ignorant. As a result of gazing into heaven for quite a bit longer that five minutes, his grasp of everything from theology to physics became profound. Joseph Smith was truly a "Renaissance man, also called Universal Man, Italian Uomo Universale, an ideal that developed in Renaissance Italy from the notion expressed by one of its most accomplished representatives, Leon Battista Alberti (140472), that 'a man can do all things if he will.'" (quote from Encyclopedia Britannica)

    Joseph Smith was a Universal Man in his person, but a Prophet by his calling. We can only imagine what he might have been if he had been schooled by academia instead of by angels. Thankfully, that was not his calling, but rather he gave his life serving his Lord and his fellow man.

  • Taylor Orem, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:01 p.m.

    I would add, in addition to those already mentioned:

    Bruce McConkie

    Joseph Fielding Smith

    Dallin Oaks

    Boyd Packer

    Gordon Hinckley

    Ezra Taft Benson

  • Ronald Fox North Salt Lake, UT
    June 10, 2011 9:41 p.m.

    How about Karl Mazer

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    June 10, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    Other then Nibley, Michael Ash quotes little to none of these men's work. Interesting view the J. Smith was an intellectual giant, I thought he was an ignorant farm boy.

  • ed in az cave creek, AZ
    June 10, 2011 4:37 p.m.

    Jack H Adamson
    Henry Eyring