It has been a singular honor and privilege to serve for the past nearly twelve years as director of the Wheatley Institute. Not everyone has the opportunity to expend his or her professional efforts in a cause to which they can freely and eagerly give their heart and soul. But this has been my extreme good fortune.
I must acknowledge the crucial insight, the innovative spirit, and the impressive scope of the vision of Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley as they provided the necessary support and energy for the founding of the institute that bears their name – in spite of their objections, which had to be overcome by much persuasion. This same bold leadership continues with the Wheatley family. It has been, and continues to be, the bedrock of the Wheatley Institute and the guarantor of future success and progress.
I want to publicly thank the many bright, insightful, creative and dedicated scholars who have lent their time and talents to the Wheatley Institute and its mission. It is also the case that I have been blessed to work with an incredibly talented staff throughout my time here. It should always be remembered that institutions are composed of people. And so many people have sacrificed so much to sustain and promote the mission of the institute and to bring it where it is today. I am aware of their special and specific sacrifices without which we could not have succeeded.
The Wheatley Institute is fortunate to now welcome Dr. Paul Edwards as director. He brings a wealth of experience, a keen intellect, and skills and talents that will take the institution to the next level. I fully anticipate that the positive impact of his leadership will be immediate and obvious. I have known Dr. Edwards for a number of years and he has my enthusiastic support. I expect great things and hope to be able to contribute wherever I can.
Finally, in the spirit of looking to the future while at the same time appreciating all it has taken to build the Wheatley Institute, I express my deep gratitude to the many people who have contributed to this effort. So many have understood our mission and embraced it, shared our vision for the future and what we can contribute to BYU, to our sponsoring institute, and to students and like-minded people not only inside our community, but throughout the broader culture. I thank the BYU administration for their support, and the many donors and friends who have sustained our efforts, caught the vision, and stayed with us contributing both time and treasure.
The mission of the Wheatley Institute has always been to strengthen, sustain and preserve the core institutions of our society by supporting, producing and disseminating quality scholarly work in areas related to these most important institutions and the challenges they face in the contemporary world. The challenges come from various sources in the broader culture, and sometimes closer to home. My greatest hope is that the work of the Wheatley Institute can continue to provide – through our scholarly efforts – inspiration and education that will strengthen not only institutions, but individual people near and far who, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “ . . . have no defense but us . . . ” against the arguments and analyses that threaten family, faith, freedom, and the moral foundations of our culture – upon which our core institutions are built. The work of the Wheatley Institute can help people find not only sound scholarship and analyses, but also help them find their own voice to express themselves in support of things that matter deeply to them.
It is my greatest hope that we can help people find, that power that comes from what Peter (2Peter 3:17) describes as “. . . reason of the hope [and faith] that is in [them] . . .” I have been blessed at the Wheatley Institute to be able to pursue rigorous scholarship in a context supportive of deep and abiding faith. To a great extent this is the power and promise of the institute itself. In this spirit I express my deep gratitude to many – too many to name specifically – intellectually gifted and deeply committed scholars of deep faith and of many faith traditions, whose spiritual light has illuminated my own soul so many times. These I will miss most because our hearts have been knit together in bonds of friendship that cannot be fashioned by human hands, and I am a better man because of their lives and their many gifts to me. The Wheatley Institute has made all this possible. Reason, prayer, and faith, all make me wonderfully confident, in this time of transition, that the institute will continue on the path marked by its mission and that the future is very bright indeed.