If you want to compare Bradford’s “new” vision for the Maxwell Institute with the “old” FARMS vision, compare the current Maxwell Institute mission statement with the traditional FARMS mission statement.
Original Maxwell Institute mission statement:
The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship encourages and supports research on the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, the Bible, other ancient scripture, and related subjects. The Maxwell Institute publishes and distributes titles in these areas for the benefit of scholars and interested Latter-day Saint readers. Primary research interests at the Maxwell Institute include the history, language, literature, culture, geography, politics, and law relevant to ancient scripture. Although such subjects are of secondary importance when compared with the spiritual and eternal messages of scripture, solid research and academic perspectives can supply certain kinds of useful information, even if only tentatively, concerning many significant and interesting questions about scripture. The Maxwell Institute makes reports about this research available widely, promptly, and economically. These publications are peer reviewed to ensure that scholarly standards are met. The proceeds from the sale of these materials are used to support further research and publications.
Current Maxwell Institute mission statement:
By furthering religious scholarship through the study of scripture and other texts, Brigham Young University’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship seeks to deepen understanding and nurture discipleship among Latter-day Saints while promoting mutual respect and goodwill among people of all faiths.
The difference in vision is about as clear as possible. The first statement shows what FARMS was, the second statement shows what Bradford and his allies want the Maxwell Institute to become, and, indeed, to a large extent what it already has become. And the fact of the matter is that I don’t object to the current Maxwell Institute’s mission statement. It is a worthwhile mission and I support it.
What I find objectionable is that the resources, personnel, time, and money that were originally dedicated to the FARMS mission have been diverted to other projects related to the new vision of its mission, while systematically dismantling the elements of the original mission, as most can be most starkly seen by Dan’s recent dismissal as editor of the Mormon Studies Review.