Book of Mormon Studies Center Joins Religious EducationBy Kami Dalton - 31 May 2007
BYU's Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship has received an addition to its organization.
President Cecil O. Samuelson announced the formation of the new Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies in April. The center began running immediately, according to Andrew C. Skinner, executive director of the Maxwell Institute.
Kent Brown, professor of ancient scripture, said the new center adds to similar research the Institute has been doing for years through its Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.
"The Willes Center becomes a companion to FARMS," Brown said. "The goals are largely the same, or at least very similar."
Mark Willes, the former CEO of Times-Mirror, became interested in founding a center to help support Book of Mormon research after being called as a mission president. According to a press release, when he was called, President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled him to "just read the Book of Mormon."
According to a press release, Willes named it for his wife because she had "taught our children and our grandchildren and our missionaries to love the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon."
President Samuelson's announcement came at a luncheon attended by Mark and Laura Willes, and by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to a press release, Elder Oaks said "It's a remarkable combination to have the resources, the inspiration of what to do with them and the faith to do it, and that's the story of Mark and Laura Willes in bringing this Willes Center to Brigham Young University."