45 years ago today - Sep 1, 1976
In response to the increasing "personal problems of church members . . . in number and seriousness," together with the absence of "revealed truth about human behavior" among professionals "to combat these problems," BYU President Dallin Oaks proposes to the Board of Trustees that "an Institute for Studies in Values and Human Behavior be established at BYU to sponsor and conduct research that would assist in preventing and changing [deviant] behaviors which lead people away from eternal life." The trustees approve Oaks's proposal and back the appointment of BYU psychologist Allen Bergin as its director. Noting that "too many LDS behavioral scientists do not harmonize their professional concepts with their religious stands," Bergin explained that his "first project [would] be to state as clearly as possible to the behavioral scientists . . . that Jesus Christ teaches in principles of behavior. He later adds, "What we can do is receive inspiration in our research and then seek reviews by the authorities [of the church] for their interpretations, disapproval, or whatever, if doctrinal questions are raised by it." Institute member Victor Brown, Jr. writes to BYU officials, "Our basic theme is that truth lies with the scriptures and prophets, not with secular data or debate."