Hugh Nibley
Esteemed educator and scholar Hugh W. Nibley passed away Feb. 24, 2005. Photo by Mark Philbrick.

“After seeing [9-year-old] Hugh’s scores [on an intelligence test, his principal] called him in and told him, ‘Look, if you would go to sleep for nine years and wake up, you’d still know far more than any of the students in this school.'”

—Boyd J. Petersen (BA ’88), Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life.

“He will probably annoy his wife, when he marries, all his life, by coming home late at night—too late for dinner—and by sitting up all night with his books. Do you not think that BYU should gather this young scholar into its fold? He would not be an expensive man, but might become a most useful one.”

—Elder John A. Widtsoe, in a letter to then BYU president Howard S. McDonald, March 1946.

“Few students can talk coherently about their first class from Brother Nibley. For some it was simply a rite of passage, the academic equivalent of a social-unit initiation. For many it was, at best, a brisk blur edged with random flashes of insight. For a few it was an intellectual implosion, from which they will never recover.”

—Robert K. Thomas, former BYU administrator, “The Influence of Hugh Nibley,” in By Study and Also by Faith.

As his health declined “he had a buzzer by his bed to call [his wife] at any time. He called her in more than once in the middle of the night, and when she would come running in, he’d say, ‘I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you are.'”

—Alex Nibley, son, in a Deseret Morning News article, Feb. 25, 2005.

For links to Nibley-related articles, letters, and speeches please visit

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