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On the very first day the law was taught at Brigham Young University in 1973, a professor stood up and said the law is not like a great pitcher of water you drink in law school.

No, the law is like the Atlantic Ocean, and law school teaches you how to navigate that ocean, the professor said, according to Elder Wilford W. Andersen, a member of BYU Law’s charter class and an emeritus General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For Elder Andersen and many others, BYU Law’s uniqueness is how its professors teach law students to navigate the legal ocean with a rudder constructed from religious faith.

My favorite part of publishing a piece this week about how President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, and Rex Lee launched BYU Law School 50 years ago was sitting down with President Oaks in his office and listening to him tell the story of how he told a church leader that starting a law school was a bad idea.

Related
BYU Law School is ranked in the top 25. 50 years ago, it struggled to recruit a faculty

President Oaks also talked about how he came to see divine guidance in the decision. That is, of course, reflected in the story. But I want to share one piece that got left on the cutting room floor, from the man who is leading the BYU Law School into the second half of its first century.

To set it up quickly, Elder Andersen said in the story that BYU’s first law professors — President Oaks, Lee, Carl Hawkins, Ed Kimball — came from top law schools like Chicago, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and exemplified a commitment to the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.

From them, Elder Andersen said, “we knew that we could practice law and we could be successful without forfeiting any of our personal convictions and commitments to the gospel.”

That ethic, embedded in the law school from the first day 50 years ago, remains part of the formula in Year 51.

In fact, it is a quality that BYU Law’s new dean, David Moore, told the Deseret News’ Hal Boyd he wants to share with students.

“I think some of what I bring, too, is the experience of having worked in lots of professional settings and being true to who I am,” Moore said. “So, some may be afraid to show their faith, or maybe some might be unsure or uncertain about how to navigate professional circles as a person of faith. I think maybe one of the things that I offer is experience doing that and understanding that you can be yourself. You can be who you are. You can be true to your faith, and people generally appreciate that.

“You can be a talented professional who connects with others and understands dynamics in a professional environment while being absolutely who you are in terms of your commitments to the gospel and the covenants you’ve made. Again, I feel like people generally welcome that. I’ve had colleagues who are friends from over the years who respect that. We’re different, but we we love each other.”

My recent stories

Details released for Sister Kathleen Eyring’s funeral (Oct. 18)

BYU Jerusalem Center students arrive safely in Greece, begin field study program next week (Oct. 17)

BYU Law School is ranked in the top 25. 50 years ago, it struggled to recruit a faculty (Oct. 15)

President Bonnie H. Cordon introduced as 10th president of Southern Virginia University (Oct. 13)

‘Our hearts ache’: Latter-day Saint leaders issue statement calling violence in Middle East ‘abhorrent’ (Oct. 13)

As war continues, BYU Jerusalem Center students and faculty leaving for Greece (Oct. 13)

About the church

Sister Kathleen J. Eyring, wife of President Henry B. Eyring, died Sunday at age 82 following a life of deep conviction to the gospel. Church News editor Sarah Jane Weaver wrote about how Sister Eyring blessed her life with a smile.

In April, Morehouse College awarded President Russell M. Nelson with Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize. Now, the glee clubs from Morehouse College and Spellman College will perform Sunday with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square during “Music and the Spoken Word.”

The First Presidency scheduled the groundbreaking for the Kaohsiung Taiwan Temple.

The First Presidency also announced the dedication and open house dates for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.

Church leaders expressed condolences after the deadly Afghanistan earthquakes.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Kevin W. Pearson and Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman told Utah youth to “dream big” when it comes to education. “There’s a way to handle cost without incurring terrible debt,” Elder Christofferson said.

Some Latter-day Saints have gone social (media) with “Think Celestial” memes.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, taught BYU–Pathway Worldwide students some lessons, principles and truths from Moses’ face-to-face experience with God.

Meet the two new members of the Relief Society general advisory council.

What I’m reading

Latter-day Saint women aren’t oppressed, a woman wrote in a Deseret News opinion piece.

This is a very smart piece with very cool graphics that show how many minutes of an NFL game it takes your favorite quarterback to earn the full salary of San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy. It’s “worth” a look.

Rescheduled concerts, nonrefundable trips and a missed wedding: The scramble behind an unexpected MLB playoff run.

Basketball star Caitlin Clark and her Iowa team set a record when they played DePaul in an outdoor stadium in front of 55,646 fans. That’s nearly double the old record.

Two Latter-day Saint women will play for the U.S. Women’s National Team when it plays an international friendly soccer match with Colombia in Utah on Oct. 26.

Latter-day Saint artist Greg Olsen has a unique new deal with Deseret Book that frees him up to be fully creative.

Why U.S. Olympic marathon hopefuls have two former BYU stars to thank.

Here’s a chronology of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Behind the scenes

President Dallin H. Oaks speaks with Deseret News Editor Hal Boyd, left, and reporter Tad Walch, right, on Sept. 8, 2023.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks with Deseret News Editor Hal Boyd, left, and reporter Tad Walch, right, in his office in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
New BYU Law dean David H. Moore opens a Hershey’s Symphony bar during an object lesson for first-year law students.
David H. Moore, the new dean of BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, opens a Hershey’s Symphony bar as part of an object lesson as he welcomes first-year law students to campus in Provo, Utah, on Aug. 23, 2023. | Michael Cazanave, BYU Law
First-year law students listen as the new dean of BYU Law, David H. Moore, welcomes them to campus on Aug. 23, 2023.
First-year law students listen as the new dean of BYU’s law school, David H. Moore, welcomes them to campus in Provo, Utah, on Aug. 23, 2023. | Michael Cazanave, BYU Law