| It has been asked, and answered, in another thread whether Ezra Taft Benson wrote his own sermons as president of the Mormon Church. No, he didn't. They were plagiarized fo him from non-Mormon sources, in the name of God.
Mormonism's prophetic plagiarism problem has not been the sole authorship (so to speak) of the President of the Mormon Church.
It has also been a problem for the president of Brigham Young University.
On 25 April 1996, the then-incoming president of BYU (and General Authority), Merrill J. Bateman, delivered his inaugural address to the student body assembled in the Marriott Center, entitled "Response to Change."
Bateman was subsequently accused of stealing--without attribution--portions of his remarks from an article published earlier the same year, authored by conservative philosopher Gertrude Himmelfarb, entitled, "The Christian University: A Call to Counterrevolution." (First Things, no. 59, January 1996, pp. 16-19)
The plagiarism accusation caused an uproar in academic circles, leading Bateman to deny the charge. The accusation was recently mentioned in an article appearing in the Desert News, in conjunction with the end of Bateman's tenure as BYU president:
Bateman, who served as the LDS Church's presiding bishop until his appointment as university president, was accused of plagiarizing the ideas of neo-conservative scholar Gertrude Himmelfarb during his 1996 inaugural address. Bateman denied the plagiarism charge.
Comparing Bateman's Inaugural Address with Himmelfarb's Article
Although the manuscript copy of Bateman's 1996 inaugural address offered a single footnote reference to Himmelfarb's ideas (located on p. 18 of her article), Bateman failed in the spoken version of those remarks to acknowledge his reliance on Himmelfarb's ideas--thus, leaving the false impression that her words were his own.
A point-by-point, topical comparison of the Himmelfarb and Bateman texts raises serious questions about Bateman's intellectual honesty:
On Disparaging Truth, Knowledge and Objectivity
"Today many eminent professors in some of our most esteemed universities disparage the ideas of truth, knowledge, and objectivity as naive or disingenuous at best, as fraudulent and despotic at worst."
"Above all, it is the truth that is denigrated."
"Finally, and most disastrously, the university, liberated from religious dogma, has also become liberated from the traditional academic dogma, the belief in truth, knowledge, and objectivity."
"During the past two decades, however, a number of well-known educators have begun to denigrate truth, knowledge, and objectivity."
On Politicization of the University By Interest Groups
"It [the university] is also a highly politicized institution; no longer subject to any religious authority, the university is at the mercy of the whims and wills of interest groups and ideologies."
"The university becomes a politicized institution that is at the mercy and whims of various interest groups."
On the Secularization of the University and Its Hostility to Religion
"For we are now confronted with a university . . . that has almost totally abandoned its original mission. It is now not merely a secular institution but a secularist one, propagating secularism as a creed, a creed that is not neutral as among religions but is hostile to all religions, indeed to religion itself."
"If university scholars reject the notion of ‘truth,’ there is no basis for intellectual and moral integrity. Secularism becomes a creed that is no longer neutral but hostile to religion."
On the Rise of Radical Relativism
"The animating spirit of postmodernism is a radical relativism and skepticism that rejects any idea of truth, knowledge, or objectivity."
"The driving theory is a radical relativism and skepticism that rejects any idea of truth or knowledge."
Before Giving Another Speech, Bateman Should Perhaps Review BYU's Honor Code
BYU's Honor Code says the following about academic honesty and plagiarism:
The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to "be honest." Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character. "President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education" (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim.
BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.
Conclusion: Fellow General Authority Boyd K. Packer Rides to Bateman's Rescue
A few months after exposure of BYU President Bateman as a plagiarizer, Boyd K. Packer issued what some saw as a thinly-veiled attack against Bateman's Mormon critics.
At October 1996 General Conference, in a sermon entitled, "The Twelve Apostles," Packer warned:
Some few within the Church, openly or perhaps far worse, in the darkness of anonymity, reproach their leaders in the wards and stakes and the Church, seeking to make them "an offender for a word," as Isaiah said. To them the Lord said, "Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.
"But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves . . .
"Because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house.
"Their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall perish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them.
"They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them from generation to generation."
That terrible penalty will not apply to those who try as best they can to live the gospel and sustain their leaders. Nor need it apply to those who in the past have been guilty of indifference or even opposition, if they will repent and confess their transgressions, and forsake them.
Take heart, however. If Packer comes to a Mormon leader's defense, you know that leader did something wrong.