There are 3 thoughts on “Nibley’s Early Education”.

  1. I’ve read most of your father’s books. I learned, and enjoyed the experience. He truly had a gift that allowed me to delve into subjects difficult for most of us to attempt. I miss him, although I never met him.
    Thank you.

  2. I loved this article. I found it to be very informative.

    I remember as an undergrad in the late 70’s or so, that I would occasionally see Hugh Nibley as he walked across campus. I wasn’t ever blessed to have a class from him, although I certainly would have liked to have had one. Nevertheless, I had a keen respect for him, having read a book or two of his.

    Not long prior to this time, I had spent some hard-strapped cash for one of his newest books. I forget the exact title, about the Egyptian Endowment… ah, I looked it up: “Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment.” It was a rather large format book, but I had a locker in the Talmage Math and Sciences building, and so I managed to stick this book in there waiting for the right opportunity. One day, sure enough, there in front of me went Hugh Nibley, not far from where my locker was located. I ran into the building, opened my locker, pulled out the book, ran back and cornered him just as he was passing through the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center.

    I asked him for his autograph, and he asked me what I wanted it to say. I hadn’t come unprepared and quoted from memory a quote by Joseph Smith about how the heavens were opening and knowledge was trickling down to the Latter-day Saints.

    He looked at me for a moment and then said, “Well that’s a strange thing to say…”

    I explained that it was a quote from Joseph Smith, whereupon he took my book and wrote one sentence, “Without revelation, where are we?” followed by his signature.

    I’ve cherished that experience and wisdom ever since.

    After several more years had passed along, I one day came to the conclusion that single-handedly, Hugh Nibley had probably given me more hours of entertainment and education than nearly anyone else. I felt that I needed to do something about that, so, finally, I gathered my courage, looked up the Nibley number in the phone book and made the call. Mrs. Nibley answered the phone. When I asked to speak to Mr. Nibley, I was chagrined to learn that Hugh had just endured heart surgery and couldn’t come to the phone. I expressed my sincere hope that he would recuperate well. I remember mentioning that my own father had just had open heart surgery and had recuperated very nicely. I remember telling Mrs. Nibley that I was certain that Hugh would also. I concluded by expressing my appreciation for him, and she promised to pass it along.

    Not too many years afterward, I again felt impressed that I needed to express my appreciation, so I penned a letter thanking Hugh for what he had managed to accomplish with me via his many publications. Almost parenthetically, I was shocked and saddened to learn of his death, and I couldn’t tell if my letter had reached him in time or not. Of course I never really found out if he had managed to read my letter, but I felt grateful that perhaps it had reached him in time, and perhaps he knew that one young man whom he’d only met briefly in passing, still considered him to be a wise and true friend.

  3. Professor Nibley watered his front lawn with a hose, and I lived next door in a student basement. I saw him and went over to talk to him, asking him a question that troubled me. He excitedly pulled 3×5 cards from his shirt pocket and read some quotes in shorthand ideally suited. I was astounded. A cat came around the corner, and I asked if it was his cat. He said, yes, its name was “Castor.” I said, “Do you have two cats?” He smiled and affirmed, so I said I knew the other cat’s name, Pollux. He was pleased and told me I should study languages. I thanked him but didn’t follow that advice. I ought to have, but Spanish was difficult and German was worse, so I took a different road. He was kind to spend some time with an anonymous undergrad, and very patient and helpful with my questions. All thanks for such a wonderful account.

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