Brigham Young University
Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis

Chapter 2
Integrating Religion; Academics

Early Religious Focus

[p. 47] Under the careful supervision of founding principal Karl G. Maeser and his small staff, the curriculum of Brigham Young Academy emphasized theological and moral education over strictly secular instruction. For the Saxon educator, as one young undergraduate later wrote, “the converging point of all church school effort was . . . a testimony of the gospel. Theology was always the big study–the study of consequence” (Nelson to McKay). The fledgling school’s 1876 Prospectus reported, for example, that all students would be “instructed in the principles of divine truth in [weekly] theology classes” conducted by Maeser himself. Three years later, the academy’s curriculum expanded to include “daily religious instruction in . . . the Bible, Book of Mormon, catechism, [and] promiscuous questions and answers,” as well as weekly “divine services.” “Though [academy students] might previously not have been religiously inclined,” observed the church’s Deseret Evening News, they “have almost invariably left the academy . . . with a strong and abiding faith in the gospel and a lively zeal for the cause of God.”1

By the late 1880s, compulsory devotional services were conducted every morning and evening, while “general theological classes” for all students were held each Wednesday. Students could also attend a “general repetition class” on Mondays to review the previous week’s lectures. “Often [these discussions] went on until dark, or were adjourned to some convenient boarding place,” remembered one of Maeser’s proteges and personal secretary, Nels L. Nelson. During Sunday’s missionary preparation classes “students engage[d] in singing, testimony, prayer, and the special study of the duties of missionaries.” While “not many [students] bore testimonies in the early years,” Nelson added, “the vital good of this [experience] . . . was that of self-expression, the overcoming of timidity, the controlling of knees” (Nelson to McKay).2

Throughout the early 1890s, older students in the academy’s Academic Department were offered only one theology class, broadly defined as “studies on the works and principles of our church.” But in 1895, Principal Benjamin Cluff, Jr., added eleven courses to the department’s curriculum, including classes in ecclesiastical history and “Principles of the Gospel Philosophically Considered.” Yet Cluff’s progressive innovations evidently proved too threatening for some church authorities. Apostle Abraham H. Cannon confided in his journal that “some of the brethren” felt that “the professors of the B. Y. Academy . . . need very much to get the spirit of the gospel, which . . . they do not now possess.” Cannon concluded, on a more personal note, “I have myself felt for some time that the B. Y. Academy was drifting away from the real spirit of the work of God, and the teachers pay too much attention to psychology, and too little to the truth of God as found in the scriptures.” Several years later, when Cluff’s fifty-year-old successor, George H. Brimhall, asked a gathering of 166 students enrolled in a missionary training class how many had studied the New Testament, only sixteen raised their hands; no more than nine had read the Book of Mormon. In response, Brimhall cut back the university’s religious offerings to four courses, covering basic gospel principles and church government. “The exercises and principles set forth,” the school’s 1905-06 course catalog noted, “are based on the doctrines and ordinances authorized and taught by the church.”3

But as Brimhall grew increasingly concerned with his school’s lackluster academic reputation and began recruiting eastern-educated faculty, he, too, eventually approved a series of progressive changes in the theological curriculum. “Principles of the Gospel” was replaced by “Philosophy and the Gospel” in 1907, while new courses included the “Psychology of Religion” and “Ecclesiastical Sociology.” The number of classes treating Mormon subjects decreased approximately 50 percent in favor of broader Christian topics, and compulsory theology attendance was evidently discontinued by 1910.4

Following the 1911 controversy over organic evolution and biblical criticism (see Chapter 4), a chastened Brimhall again replaced classes in religious philosophy, religious psychology, and ecclesiastical sociology with courses in “Natural and Revealed Religion,” the Book of Mormon, and ecclesiastical and church history. These and other offerings were specifically designed to impress upon students both the “fundamental necessity of religious experience” and the “rationality of revealed religion.” Yet students evidently failed to exhibit much enthusiasm for the university’s renovated religious curriculum. “Had [p. 49] a vote been permitted” in the late 1910s, lamented Nels Nelson, by then a professor of English and theology, “the majority of the students would have voted to discontinue theology.” One BYU graduate, who lectured in 1926 on his experiences at an eastern graduate school, confessed that he had not been prepared to discuss theology and religious thought with his peers and was “shocked” to find that “other people did not believe the same as [he] did.”5

Broadening the Scope of Religious Instruction

With the arrival of Franklin S. Harris in October 1921, BYU’s religious curriculum experienced yet another shift in religious scholarship. “We must make of this institution a great center of religious thought,” Harris announced, “and we must have in our library the leading writing on religious subjects from all parts of the world” (YN, 17 Oct. 1921). Classes in the Book of Mormon and LDS church history were consolidated that year into “Foundations of Mormonism;” neither course would again be offered separately until some fifteen years later. “Religion and Ethics,” “Evolution and Religion,” “Philosophy and Religion,” “Comparative Religions,” “Literature of the Bible,” “History of Christian Religions,” and “The Religious Life and Its Development” were all added to the heady curriculum during Harris’s early administration. For eight years, beginning in 1927, a major in religion was also offered. “Here, [students] are encouraged to think and question,” one enthusiastic undergraduate wrote in the church’s official Improvement Era. “It is inevitable that they will think on religion. Intellectually trained youth cannot be prevented from asking questions.” By the mid-1930s, of forty-one religion courses listed, only seven dealt with exclusively Mormon subjects, a decrease of nearly 50 percent from 1920.6

The progressive broadening of BYU’s religious curriculum, as well as Harris’s presidential appointment, were primarily the result of insurance entrepreneur Heber J. Grant’s rise as church president in 1918. Although he regretted his own “depth of thought” and “very limited” education, Grant insisted that he was “not afraid of scientific facts or knowledge of any kind or description affecting the faith of the Latter-day Saints” (Grant to Young; Grant to Sutherland; Grant, 16 Oct. 1926 Address). More importantly, he was convinced that a university more attuned to contemporary academic standards might help dispel much of the anti-Mormon hostility that lingered from the nineteenth century. Thus he invited nationally recognized non-Mormon educators Perry Holden, Thomas Carver, Walter Clark, and Charles Lory to address sessions of the church’s semi-annual General Conference in 1921 and 1922. As his two counselors in the First [p. 50] Presidency, Grant called seasoned journalist Charles W. Penrose and his first cousin and personal confidant Anthony W. Ivins. A religious pragmatist, Ivins believed that “demonstrated truth will always be in harmony with [God’s revealed word], for he is the author of all truth,” and stressed that church members not “ignore the truths which have come to the world as a result of scientific research” (Conference Reports, Oct. 1925).7

Most evident of this change in intellectual tenor was a 1921 First Presidency statement supporting scriptural criticism, one of the central storms in the 1911 controversy. “The Bible is (or contains) the word of God so far as it is translated correctly,” First Counselor Penrose wrote in behalf of the First Presidency. “That does not positively make the book as a whole an inspired presentation of the word of God.” While Jonah may have been a historical biblical character, it was also possible, Penrose continued, as suggested by the “higher critics,”

that the story is one of those parables common in the writing of the time in which Jonah lived. It does not matter whether that is actually the case or not, the purpose and intent of the book are excellent and have several very grand lessons. These constitute the balance of the work. It is of little significance whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book to write what is set forth therein.

Other church authorities echoed similar sentiments. Apostle Stephen L Richards, for example, queried in an Improvement Era article destined for college students:

What if Hebrew prophets, conversant with only a small fraction of the surface of the earth, thinking and writing in terms of their own limited geography and tribal relations did interpret him in terms of a tribal king and so limit his personality and the laws of the universe under his control to the dominion with which they were familiar? . . . The inspired man interpets [God] . . . in the language he knows and in the terms of expression with which his knowledge and experience have made him familiar.8

Less than six months in office, Grant created a church commission of education to assume the practical administration of all church schools. His move was prompted not only by a desire to relieve the First Presidency of an increasingly time-consuming responsibility but also by his conviction that education be accorded a more prominent role in the church. Grant’s appointee as commissioner, Apostle David O. McKay, formerly principal of the church’s Weber Academy in northern Utah, called as his counselors two former University of Utah faculty members: Apostle Stephen L Richards, formerly a professor of law, and Apostle Richard R. Lyman, formerly a professor of [p.51] civil engineering. Within months, McKay, Richards, and Lyman replaced the conservative Superintendent of Church Schools Horace H. Cummings, who had figured prominently in the 1911 evolution controversy, with Adam S. Bennion, assistant professor of English at the University of Utah. Unlike his predecessor, Bennion was “deeply concerned with provincialism, the closed mindedness, the bias and prejudice, of people,” as church educator O. C. Tanner later recalled. “He wanted to open the human vista to the expanse of vision which he understood to include the use of the scientific method as a means to discover truth, the acquisition of a liberal attitude to perceive new ideas, new concepts, and new realizations of life.” “His enthusiasm was contagious,” echoed BYU religion professor Sidney B. Sperry. “He had a great ability to stimulate men.” Under Bennion, church authorities improved teacher salaries and inaugurated a program of sabbatical leaves. “He upgraded the profession of teaching in the church schools,” William E. Berrett, church educational administrator summarized. “He gave it status and made it respectable to teach seminary.”9

During the 1926-27 school year, Superintendent Bennion conducted a survey of male high school students attending LDS seminary classes and found that one-quarter paid no tithing, 22 percent used tobacco, more than one-third consumed harmful drinks (including coffee, tea, and alcohol), two-thirds used profanity, and only 37 percent prayed regularly. Bennion also discovered that many found it difficult to accept church teachings on temple marriages for time and eternity, priesthood authority, the pre-earth existence of spirits, and the visions of the church’s founding prophet, Joseph Smith. Concluding that his findings reflected poorly upon the quality of the church’s seminary instruction, Bennion arranged, with Harris’s cooperation, for a six-week institute for high school and college religion teachers during BYU’s 1927 outdoor Alpine Summer School on nearby Mount Timpanogos. Bennion hoped “to broaden, deepen, and extend” the intellectual and theological insights of church school system teachers as well as to upgrade teaching techniques, focusing on specific problems such as those identified in his survey. “Our theology teaching should be scholarly and dynamic,” he insisted.10

The featured speaker at the first six-week workshop was Apostle John A. Widtsoe, a Norwegian emigrant who had graduated summa cum laude in physical chemistry from Harvard in 1894. Later awarded a traveling graduate fellowship from Harvard, he had attended Goettingen University in Germany, where he received a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry. In 1907 he was appointed president of the Utah State Agricultural College (USAC), and nine years later was chosen president of the University of Utah, where he remained until his calling as apostle in March 1921. He replaced McKay as church commissioner of education for two years until his release in 1924, and subsequently [p.52] edited an abbreviated, contemporary version of the Doctrine and Covenants. Convinced that “higher [biblical] criticism is not [to be] feared by Latter-day Saints,” Widtsoe stressed that religious doubt “rises to high dignity when it becomes an active search for, and practice of truth” (In Search). Science, he added, confirms and enlarges “our sound religious views; . . . being a search for truth, [it] stands as the handmaiden of religion” (How Science).11

Besides Widtsoe, other speakers at the workshop on “Current [Theological] Problems” included Adam S. Bennion, who spoke on “Social and Ethical Interpretation in Gospel Teaching.” One of the texts used at the institute was Walter Rauschenbusch’s social gospel manifesto, Christianity and the Social Crisis. Group discussions focused on such questions as: Does the evolution theory reject God? What is meant by the six days of creation? Why should God give Adam two contradictory commandments? Who are the Sons of Perdition? What is sin against the Holy Ghost? What is the aim of religion? and How do we know there is a hereafter? “It was a glorious, inspiring summer,” remembered O. C. Tanner. “We were exploring, adventuring, trying to write the gospel in our own lives in our own way.” Participant Russel B. Swensen added, “Those summer classes at Aspen Grove really changed my thinking. . . . It really set me on fire to get more knowledge. I became aware of how little I knew about the scriptures and about history and it was the beginning of a turning point in my life.” “Surely our missionaries would be more adequately fitted to meet the world in their proselyting,” BYU’s student newspaper editorialized that fall, “if they had learned the views of the world first hand from [such] men.”12

When, in late 1927, Bennion announced his resignation after only nine years in office to accept a position with Utah Power and Light, “a widespread feeling of disappointment” disheartened many church educators. “He had such a powerful leadership that when he announced his resignation I lost my appetite,” confessed O. C. Tanner. “I was discouraged, [and] felt like a rudderless ship.” (Twenty-six years later, Bennion would be asked to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles created by the death of John Widtsoe.) Appointed the following month as both superintendent of church schools and church commissioner of education was Joseph F. Merrill, a Johns Hopkins alumnus and dean of the School of Engineering and Mining at the University of Utah. Merrill continued Bennion’s aggressive tradition of offering church educators the finest in current biblical studies and teaching methods at the summer institutes. For four successive years, until 1934, he arranged for the visits of such recognized authorities from the University of Chicago Divinity School as Edgar Goodspeed, Jr., professor of biblical literature and noted [p.53] American New Testament author and translator; William C. Graham, Old Testament specialist; John T. McNeil, medieval church historian; and William Clayton Bower, professor of religious and character education. “There should be good strong courses in biblical history, providing a strong background for biblical study; in comparative religions; [and] in the development of religious concepts,” Merrill instructed President Harris in early May 1929. Impressed by the achievements of Mormon students in religious studies at non-LDS graduate schools, Merrill invited seminary teachers George S. Tanner, Daryl Chase, and Russel B. Swensen to pursue graduate studies at the church’s expense at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Under Merrill’s administration, BYU also established a master’s degree in “theology” in 1929. The following year, BYU hired its first full-time religion teacher, Guy C. Wilson, who had studied at Chicago and Columbia. Previously, the school’s religion classes had been taught by faculty from other academic areas on a part-time basis.13

During the next several years, other promising Mormon graduate students continued their studies at the Chicago Divinity School: T. Edgar Lyon, Carl J. Furr, Heber C. Snell, Vernon Larsen, Wesley P. Lloyd, Therald N. Jensen, and Anthony S. Cannon. By the mid-1930s, however, some church authorities had become increasingly suspicious of the historical, literary, psychological, and sociological approaches to religious studies advocated by some of the church’s young educators. After 1934, LDS graduate student enrollment at the divinity schools, particularly Chicago, dropped drastically. Merrill’s outreach program “stopped almost as suddenly as it had begun” (Swensen). Apostle and church educator during the 1960s and 1970s Boyd K. Packer later interpreted this period as one in which “we wanted very much to grow in the eyes of the world, for in reaching for a standard of gospel scholarship we even looked outside of the church.” While non-Mormon scholars “learned that we were decent folks, and we learned from them,” Packer asserted, “there was a limit to what they could contribute. . . . They were without the priesthood and were therefore essentially uninspired.”14

Such criticisms were evidently not without some foundation from an institutional perspective. By the mid-1930s, several surveys of church youth, BYU students, and BYU alumni disclosed that, contrary to the expectations of Bennion and Merrill, the religious devotion of many young Mormons had not improved. In one study, for example, only half of rural LDS youth regularly attended church services or paid tithing, and more than a third failed to observe the Word of Wisdom. BYU students and alumni fared only slightly better, especially in observance of the Word of Wisdom. Of BYU students, 15 percent questioned whether the Mormon church was more divine than other Christian churches, one-fourth doubted whether church authorities [p. 54] received revelation, 38 percent believed that human life had evolved from lower organisms, nearly two-thirds doubted the existence of an embodied devil, and one-fourth questioned whether prayers were ever answered by divine intervention. Alarmed, church leaders re-evaluated both teaching methods and the content of religious lesson manuals, revamping the church’s largely recreational youth program to include greater emphasis on “the message of the prophet Joseph Smith.” The policy at BYU since 1920 of granting returned LDS missionaries theology credit for their proselyting work ended, and returned missionaries were encouraged to enroll in religion classes. Several years later, religion again became compulsory for the first time since 1909. As a part of this return to fundamentals, Elder Stephen L Richards’s 1932 call for tolerance regarding violators of the Word of Wisdom was excluded from published General Conference proceedings for fear that members might erroneously conclude that the church had “lower[ed] its standards” (Talmage Journal, 9 April 1932). Richards threatened to resign his apostleship but was eventually persuaded to accept the uncompromising stance of his colleagues (Smoot Journal, 8 May 1932).15

Strict adherence to the Word of Wisdom and payment of tithing, as indices of church loyalty, soon became obligatory for all church school teachers. “Those who cannot conscientiously do these things, should not . . . be encouraged to remain in the employ of the church school system,” school administrators were instructed (Merrill to presidents). In 1931, at the request of Commissioner Merrill, President Harris convened a special meeting of all BYU faculty to discuss their loyalty as evidenced by the payment of tithing. Enclosed with Merrill’s request to Harris was a summary provided by the Presiding Bishop’s office of the tithing record of all faculty for the previous year. Of 102 faculty identified, slightly more than one-half had paid a full tithing, 37 percent had paid partial tithing, and 8 percent had paid no tithing. “You are not expected to retain permanently on your staff non-tithepayers,” Harris would later be reminded (Merrill to Harris, 1 March 1933). Despite repeated exhortations over the next several years, statistics for 1934 reveal that the number of faculty paying a full tithing actually decreased 19 percent from 1931 figures. The number paying a partial tithing increased only 2 percent, while the number paying no tithing rose 17 percent (Pease). “Dumbfounded” at the increase in non-tithepayers, President Heber J. Grant remonstrated, “As far as I am concerned, the church is paying these people. If they haven’t enough loyalty to the church to do their duty and pay their tithing, I want it recorded here and now that I want other teachers there.” However, Harris evidently never released a member of the faculty over tithing.16

[p.55] The sensitive issue of tithing had surfaced periodically on campus before the 1930s. When teachers were first informed in the early 1910s that tithing would be automatically deducted from their salaries, Harvey Fletcher, then a young physics instructor, “exploded,” and told school administrators “in no uncertain terms” that “under these conditions the tithing was not a donation, it was a tax.” The mandatory deduction was dropped, and by 1915, only 46 percent of the faculty paid a full 10 percent tithing on their school income. Thirty-five years later, acting BYU president Christen Jensen was informed that faculty who had not paid a full tithe should not be considered for salary increases. After checking records provided by the Presiding Bishop’s office, Jensen reported to church commissioner of education Franklin L. West that “in view of the new ruling, . . . practically all members whom we intended to give a small increase cannot qualify.”17

Responding to growing, albeit usually unfounded, allegations of faculty unorthodoxy, BYU trustee Susa Young Gates recommended to President Harris in early 1930, “Outside of yourself and one or two others, [my] most potent suggestion would be to get a new class of teachers; real Latter-day Saint men instead of philosophers and theorists.” Tactfully, Harris replied, “Even among the General Authorities of the church there is not complete unanimity, so I assume there is a slight academic leeway. At least I do not want anyone to tell me how I should think.” Gates countered, “You, yourself, are all right; there is no question about that; but you are so loyal and so broadminded that you let some of your teachers go too far, it seems to me.” Beleaguered, Harris confessed to John A. Widtsoe two months later, “A lot of officials, each one with a different idea as to how an institution should be run, . . . sometimes keeps a person guessing to avoid being devoured. But I suppose every phase of life has some elements of torment in it.”18

Faculty Interviews

During the next four years, concerns over faculty orthodoxy mounted. In February 1934, Elders John Widtsoe, recently reappointed commissioner of education, and Charles A. Callis were sent “to visit [BYU] and become acquainted with its needs and better acquainted with the individual members of the faculty.” Personally interviewing each man and woman on the teaching staff, the two apostles quizzed the teachers at length regarding their loyalty to the church, its teachings, and its leadership. One professor later quipped, “Faculty members jokingly referred to this visit as the ‘inquisition.'”19

An attorney prior to his calling to the Twelve in 1933, the seventy-year-old Callis was more comfortable delivering fiery sermons than resolving academic and religious controversies. Church educator [p. 56] William E. Berrett remembered that when he had once “failed to describe some enemies of the church . . . in the strong terms [Callis] knew how to use,” the Irish-born church authority became “volatile and . . . greatly upset.” Hard hitting and sometimes brusque, Callis repeatedly insisted that “question[s] not discussed in the standard works of the church, which are our authoritative guides in faith and doctrine, are not faith promoting [and] therefore not essential to salvation. . . . The discussion of [them], I respectfully submit, is a waste of time” (in Dryden). Widtsoe, on the other hand, had only several months earlier returned from six years abroad as president of the church’s European mission, where he had been deeply affected by his experiences in pre-World War II Europe. Friends reported that the former college president was “a changed man.” Having labored among the poor, “something quite different from that of presiding over a college faculty,” he had come to see the truth as very “simple.” He had “lost the earlier optimism he had for science,” and had grown troubled by “the near wreckage of the western world through war and economic collapse, and . . . fears of another war” (LeCheminant). While he had earlier struggled for “the best of two worlds, scholarship and the church,” his strong ties to the church had “take[n] precedence over his scholarly concerns, rationality, and all the vestiges of his professional life in education and science” (LeCheminant).20

H. Grant Ivins, chair of BYU’s animal husbandry department and son of First Counselor Anthony W. Ivins, left a detailed written account of his interview with Elders Widtsoe and Callis. Asked if he had “any trouble harmonizing [his] teaching work with the principles of the gospel,” Ivins, who taught a popular class in “Doctrine and Missionary Methods,” answered, “If I am allowed to teach the way I wish I have no trouble which cannot be satisfactorily taken care of.” Pressed for specifics, Ivins explained that he had recently been asked by one of his students if patriarchal blessings (i.e., inspired blessings of individual counsel and promises for the future given by an ordained patriarch) should be interpreted literally. The student had added that her grandmother, since dead, had been promised she would return to Missouri, considered by many faithful church members as the location of the Garden of Eden and the future millennial headquarters of the church. Ivins told his class, “The patriarch is just a good, kind old gentleman who wishes to hold before those whom he blesses the possibilities of high attainment. . . . [His] blessings [are] expressions of the hopes and expectations of the membership at the times the blessings [are] given.” More literalistic in orientation, Callis lectured Ivins that “no blessing goes unfulfilled,” insisting that the woman’s blessing could still be fulfilled “in the hereafter.” Ivins replied that he doubted “the woman receiving the blessing expect[ed] to have to await the hereafter to experience its fulfillment.” Callis protested, “No. You must tell your [p. 57] students that no promise goes unfulfilled.” Later, Ivins met personally with President Grant, who had become increasingly alarmed that the criticisms leveled against BYU faculty members may have had a basis in fact. “You may teach all the world religions you want to,” he told Ivins, “but you must begin every class and end every class by telling your students that not one of those religions is worth the snap of your fingers.”21

Concerned with the possible repercussions of such investigations on faculty morale, Franklin S. Harris took a major part in the proceedings. “I am right on the trail of those who are talking against our faculty,” he informed board member Sylvester Cannon. When “charges” are made, he wrote to President Grant, “usually there has been just a misunderstanding which can be ironed out while the case is fresh.” “[I] am so very anxious to make of the university the kind of institution that its founder and the authorities have always had in mind for it,” he later added, “that I am very sensitive to criticism where I think it is unwarranted.” One faculty member, J. Reuben Clark III, recalled that disgruntled parents would sometimes telephone Harris to complain that their child “was getting false doctrine in some religion class.” While often more sympathetic to their complaints than he appeared, Harris reassured each parent, “I am sure the teacher has been misquoted,” or “I am sure that the teacher is not trying to destroy the faith of your son or daughter.” “It gave you a warm feeling to hear him,” Clark admitted, “because you felt that if you were the one that was under attack, he would do the same thing for you.” English professor Parley A. Christensen corroborated: “Under circumstances not always congenial to untrammeled thought and expression, [Harris] helped us all to preserve the essential integrity of our minds and spirits.”22

Possibly as a result of the investigations of Widtsoe and Callis, church authorities continued their close surveillance of BYU faculty. Six months later, visiting church member G. Oscar Russell, chair of the phonetics department at Ohio State University, quizzed Lowry Nelson, dean of BYU’s College of Applied Sciences and director of the Extension Division, about his views on immortality. Nelson answered that he considered it “an hypothesis, which cannot be tested by any method we know, whether it is true or not.” Russell countered that he “knew immortality was a fact,” and subsequently told friends that Nelson “was a dangerous man” and that he “wouldn’t send his children [to BYU] because it would undermine their faith.” When he learned of Russell’s comments, Nelson wrote to Russell, clarifying and defending his beliefs. Russell then forwarded copies of their correspondence to ranking church authorities who discussed the letters during meetings of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Shortly afterwards, the First Presidency asked Harris to bring [p. 58] Nelson to meet them. Nelson later wrote that Harris “went to such lengths to defend me, that I was unable to say anything.” Pointing to the top drawer of his desk, President Grant insisted that he had “the evidence” and that it would be turned over to Commissioner Widtsoe for further investigation. Within the week, however, Grant’s newly appointed second counselor, David O. McKay, told Nelson that the threatened investigation had been called off. “At that,” Nelson remembered, “I confess I shed a tear.” Harris later answered Russell’s allegations personally, writing, “Anyone who has known of [Nelson’s] fine work … cannot be brought to condemn him because he says he does not know all the details regarding the condition in the hereafter. I find that many good men of high position vary greatly in their concepts of just what the hereafter is like.” Elder Stephen L Richards similarly confided to Nelson, “I am sure you know as much as I do about [the resurrection].” Still, a disillusioned Nelson resigned before the end of the year and was replaced as dean of applied sciences by Thomas L. Martin.23

In addition to Ivins and Nelson, BYU philosopher and part-time religion instructor Hugh Woodward was also asked to appear before church authorities to defend his religious beliefs. The author of The Common Message of the World’s Great Religions, Woodward taught a popular class in world religions. He reportedly suggested to the First Presidency that they should suspend his course if they thought it would be in the best interests of the school and its students. “No,” President Grant returned, repeating the advice he had earlier given, “go ahead and teach about these other religions, but when you get through with [your classes] show that they are not worth that,” and snapped his fingers. Woodward, too, eventually left the university. And by the mid-1940s, several others, feeling compromised by the demands that had been made of them, also followed. They included Murray Hayes in geology, Walter Cottam in botany, and Ott Romney in athletics. “Pressures on the faculty were increasing,” Lowry Nelson later summarized in his autobiography, and “President Harris was no longer able to maintain the spirit of free inquiry that had been so much a mark of his administration up to this time.”24

Despite his earlier reassurances that Mormons had nothing to fear from science, President Grant found himself increasingly persuaded by the complaints of concerned parents, and the potential, if not real, dangers of secular thought began to outweigh its advantages in his mind. After his meeting with Lowry Nelson in late 1934, Grant declared the next year in October General Conference that he was aware of teachers who “have been guilty of asking questions that they have no business to ask[,] . . . questions that create disbelief in the Bible. If they would just control their tongues and teach what they are paid to teach,” the president added, “I for one would be grateful [p. 59] to them.” Later, when BYU senior Harold T. Christensen asked permission to publish the results of a survey he had conducted into the “ethical/religious beliefs and practices [of] BYU students,” a cautious Harris suggested that he “lay low for a while.” Christensen subsequently “conceived the idea of making a content analysis of trends in Latter-day Saint interests and attitudes, using church [publications] . . . to determine . . . what kinds of changes had taken place.” But again, Harris counseled against this project. While recognizing the merits of Christensen’s research, Harris felt that “it would be ‘dangerous,’ since some might interpret the results as reflecting unfavorably upon the church.” And during his first meeting with the faculty in 1936, Harris advised: “We have a special obligation to the church. Let us have it known wherever we are that we are in the church, of the church, and for the church.” Less than one year later, President Grant instructed Harris:

We have reached a point where we must be perfectly clear that all those who are engaged in teaching in the university shall be sound on the fundamental questions which deal with church membership. . . . [You are again] to conduct a very strict examination of all teachers to see just where they stand . . . so that we can put a stop once and for all, both to the reports that appear and reappear, and to any improper teaching which may be taking place.25

Harris’s continued support of his faculty contributed to some mistrust among board members who wondered if he placed greater emphasis on academic training than on religious orthodoxy. Joseph F. Merrill, an apostle since 1931, counseled acting president Christen Jensen in 1940, “In recent years the university has retained . . . teachers who have seemed to be unwilling to accept wholeheartedly the essential teachings of Mormonism . . . All of us feel more or less lenient for conduct of the past, if there shall be a wholehearted desire to make amends for failures as indicated by conduct from now on.” During the last ten years of his administration, Harris reluctantly agreed to a second major shift in the school’s religious curriculum. Classes in the “Psychology of Religion,” the “Philosophy of Life,” and “Problems of Religious and Ethical Life” were replaced by the “Restored Gospel as a Way of Life,” the “Book of Mormon,” and the “History of the Church.” Entering freshmen were required to enroll in “a special course during their first year entitled ‘The Restored Gospel.'” Classes in “Courtship and Marriage and Problems of the Home,” “The Life and Teachings of Jesus as Related to Modern Religious Problems,” and “Mormonism in Theory and Practice, . . . with special reference to the prophet Joseph Smith,” were also added (YN, 14 Sept. 1939). By 1941, the number of classes in Mormon [p. 60] subjects had jumped 60 percent compared to those offered five years earlier. (Similar trends were also evident in the church’s Sunday school lesson manuals.) Faculty excursions to the Salt Lake Temple, where they were joined by church authorities, began in the late 1930s and continued to the early 1950s. Church schools, including BYU, “must be brought under the intimate control of the General Authorities of the church,” the First Presidency instructed the Board of Education’s executive committee during this period, “since from them only can come the authoritative determinations and pronouncements that must guide and control all spiritual instructions given in the system.”26

This mounting distrust of scholarly religious studies gathered considerable momentum from J. Reuben Clark, Jr., who had replaced Anthony W. Ivins as first counselor in the First Presidency in 1934, and from Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, official Church Historian since 1921. Clark, a graduate of Columbia Law School, had served as United States ambassador to Mexico prior to his appointment to the First Presidency in 1933. Although Clark’s own church activity had been sporadic, Grant had hoped that the new counselor would come to be looked upon as “a spokesman for the church on . . . matters in which [he] had already gained the respect of non-Mormons, and to represent the First Presidency in secular contacts” (Quinn). As a member of the First Presidency, Clark adopted a “double-edged” approach to higher education, commending the accomplishments of education but viewing the educated and intellectual as “potential atheists.” And he insisted that church schools, especially BYU, justify their existence by providing “their secular training within a religious atmosphere that gave priority to faith.” Despite Clark’s broad background, he did not retain an intellectual appreciation of speculative or creative thought. “I never read anything that I know is going to make me mad, unless I have to read it,” Clark once wrote. “I read only as time permits [and select] materials which merely support my own views” (Clark to Wilkinson).27

While in Mexico prior to his calling to the First Presidency, Clark had written to John A. Widtsoe, “I have come to deplore the fact that some of our ‘literatti’ as I call them, do not spend more time on the philosophy of the gospel as revealed [to the prophets], and less on the pagan philosophy of ancient times and the near-pagan philosophy of modern times.” Not surprisingly, Clark carefully scanned church school system curriculum materials following his 1933 appointment, taking issue with such expressions as “abundant life,” “abundant living,” “Christian creed,” and statements that Jesus “advertised himself and his work.” He later observed, “The theories of the `higher [biblical] criticism’ cannot be taught with sufficient thoroughness to [p. 61] youth, or even grownups, to enable those to whom they are taught either to judge of their falsity or, if convinced of their falsity, to explain the same to others.”28

In what would become his most controversial speech, President Clark warned some ninety church educators gathered at Aspen Grove summer school sessions in early August 1938:

No teacher who does not have a real testimony of the truth of the gospel as revealed to and believed by the Latter-day Saints . . . has any place in the church school system. If there be any such, and I hope and pray there are none, [they] should at once resign. . . .

Any Latter-day Saint psychologist, chemist, physicist, geologist, archaeologist, or any other scientist [who attempts] to explain away, or misinterpret, or evade, or elude, or most of all to repudiate or deny the great fundamental doctrines of the church . . . can have no place in the church schools or in the character building and spiritual growth of our youth.

Clark further stipulated that church educators were “not to teach the philosophies of the world, ancient or modern, pagan or Christian,” adding that his counsel applied “with full and equal force to seminaries, to institutes, and to any and every other educational institution belonging to the church school system.” Russel Swensen, chair of BYU’s church history department, later remembered that Clark’s “method . . . caused a lot of bitter reaction.” “Clark,” wrote George H. Brimhall’s son in 1944, was “a modern Melitus but there was no Socrates at Provo when [he] told the BYU teachers what to teach and how to teach it.” “When I taught in the school, I found that I [had to be] discreet,” Swensen remembered. “Something that I thought might be a problem to people who didn’t have the background, I discreetly omitted. I think many [adopted] that–a voluntary censorship.” In early 1940, Clark repeated his directive to Commissioner Franklin West that church employees not teach “ethics or philosophy, ancient or modern, pagan or so-called Christian,” including “terms or concepts” such as “church ideology or Christian ideology.” “Teachers,” he stressed, “should carefully refrain from saying anything that will raise doubt or question in the student’s mind about the gospel. . . . Every fact, every argument, every reason that can be found must be used to support church doctrines–the gospel–not to question them.” So pervasive was Clark’s influence that some church members even coined a term, “Reubenization,” to describe his impact. “Reubenization,” they explained, meant “the writing out of every program, every speech . . . [anything beyond] the attitude that he gave out to the seminary teachers–that ‘you are not hired to think, you are hired to teach’–and then outlining certain things which he considered basic and the interpretation which he wanted placed on them” (Brooks to Morgan).29

Joseph Fielding Smith, ordained an apostle in April 1910, had earned a reputation among church members as a conservative exponent of church theology. Indeed, his interpretations would emerge as a measure of LDS orthodoxy. President Grant wrote to him in late 1938, “I consider you the best posted man on the scriptures of the General Authorities of the church that we have.” In a patriarchal blessing received shortly after his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, Smith was promised: “You have been blessed with the ability to comprehend, to analyze, and defend the principles of truth above many of your fellows. . . . Your counsels will be considered conservative and wise, for the Lord has anointed you with that oil of gladness above many of your fellows.” For Smith, the canonized scriptures of the church were inerrant; modern biblical scholarship was suspect, especially when it conflicted with the literal word of God and the teachings of the modern prophets. Critical of the “almost unforgivable ignorance” of “far too many” church members as well as non-LDS biblical scholars, Smith reported, “No matter how hard they study, no matter how great their research, no matter how much they understand about ancient languages, customs, etc., [they] must inevitably fail in their interpretations of the sacred scriptures [which] are spiritually discerned” (Smith and Stewart; Smith to Sperry). Smith cautioned one Mormon graduate student, “I fear for some of our young men who go out into the world to receive the learning of the world, for it seemingly destroys their faith” (Smith to Sperry). When the “modernist” views of some church educators seemed to prevail in a handful of seminaries and institutes, he concluded, “We may just as well close up shop and say to the world that Mormonism is a failure . . . [for] we are forced to reject all that has come through Joseph Smith” (Smith to West and Bennion). In late December 1938, Smith recorded in his journal:

The more I see of educated men, I mean those who are trained in the doctrines and philosophies of men now taught in the world, the less regard I have for them. Modern theories which are so popular today just do not harmonize with the gospel as revealed to the prophets, and it would be amusing if it were not a tragedy to see how some of our educated brethren have attempted to harmonize the theories of men with the revealed word of the Lord. Thank the Lord there is still some faith left, and some members who still cherish the word of the Lord and accept the prophets. Surely the world is ripening for destruction and Satan has power and dominion over his own. If any are saved surely the Lord must soon come and have power over his Saints and reign in their midst, and execute judgement upon the . . . world.30


Refining the Curriculum

In early 1940, the executive committee of BYU’s Board of Trustees authorized an expansion of the school’s theology department, creating four departments within a new “Division of Religion.” (Faculty later joked that the name was an apt description of the sometimes tumultuous situation in that area of BYU’s curriculum.) The four departments and departmental chairs included Bible and modern scripture, presided over by Sidney B. Sperry; church history, chaired by Russel B. Swensen; church organization, supervised by Wesley P. Lloyd; and theology and religious philosophy, chaired by J. Wyley Sessions, who headed the division. Three of the four chairs, Sperry, Swensen, and Lloyd, had earlier graduated from the University of Chicago Divinity School–an ironic coincidence considering the growing mistrust expressed of such training.31

Evidently faced with an increasing number of applicants for church school positions, J. Reuben Clark advised the Board of Education two years later in April 1942, “The secular scholarship possessed by the person proposed is of secondary importance, and the possession or lack of it should never be a determining factor in reaching a conclusion to use or not to use any given person.” Elaborating to BYU’s Board of Trustees that same week, the First Presidency wrote: “All courses of study for students in the Brigham Young University shall be so presented as to build faith in the restored gospel and to lead the students to live in accordance with its principles. No course should be given in such a way as would tend to destroy that faith. The essential thing in the teaching of all students in the Brigham Young University is instruction in the restored gospel and, as stated, the leading of students to live in accordance with its principles.” Responding less than two months later, the church board released its interpretation of the First Presidency’s instructions in a sweeping “Statement of Principles Affecting the Church School System.” School administrators were admonished to conduct probing interviews when hiring new faculty to determine the candidate’s church activity, acceptance and testimony of the divinity of church teachings, observance of church standards, and adherence “to the concept that all of our institutions must ever hold the objective of establishing and extending the kingdom of our Father.” “College degrees should not be considered an absolute essential for employment as a teacher,” the First Presidency would again confirm to the executive committee in 1945. “For such [teaching] positions, the essential qualifications besides sufficient educational attainments” included spirituality, righteousness, religious belief, a sound understanding of the gospel, and loyalty to church authorities.32

[p.64] In late April 1944, over the protests of such faculty as Carl F. Eyring, who worried that BYU was becoming little more than a Mormon seminary, the Church Board of Education authorized the establishment of a graduate School of Religion, which eventually included a doctoral program in religious studies. An initial supporter, President Clark believed that the program could aid substantially in “developing and demonstrating the truth of the restored gospel and the falsity of the other religions of the world, and thereby upbuild the faith and knowledge of [graduate-level] scholars.” Though the school failed to develop along the lines Clark had envisioned, the number of graduate religion courses increased over the next six years from a handful to over sixty. In the late 1950s, the Division of Religion was granted college status, headed by David H. Yarn, a graduate in education from Columbia University. The five new departmental chairs included Daniel H. Ludlow (Bible and modern scripture), Sidney B. Sperry (biblical languages), Truman G. Madsen (history and philosophy of religion), G. Byron Done (LDS theology, church organization and administration), and B. West Belnap (religious education).33

Just before the opening of the 1945-46 school year, church officials appointed a Committee of Publications, composed of Apostles Joseph Fielding Smith, John Widtsoe, Harold B. Lee, and Marion G. Romney, to “pass upon and approve all materials, other than those that are purely secular, to be used by our church priesthood, education, auxiliary, and missionary organizations.” Specifically, committee members were to recommend only those materials which (1) were “wholly free from any taint of sectarianism and . . . conclusions destructive of faith,” especially “the teachings of the so-called ‘higher criticism;'” (2) were written “as affirmatively to breed faith and not to raise doubts;” and (3) were arranged “in form and substance as to lead to definite conclusions . . . and not left to possible deductions by the students.” A subordinate Church Reading Committee was appointed at the same time to help expedite its parent committee’s work. “We are sure,” the First Presidency wrote to President Harris, that “you and the teaching corps of the Brigham Young University will welcome the assistance which the committees named will be able to render in . . . instructing the youth of the church . . . and in the building up of the faith of its whole membership.”34

During their first meeting in mid-August, publications committee members decided to initially examine Sunday school lesson manuals. By late September, they had identified in excess of forty problem areas in the New Testament lesson text for adult Sunday school classes, authored by Russel Swensen. Committee members particularly objected to Swensen’s use of Edgar Goodspeed’s translation of the New Testament; the use of the term “early church;” his “disinterested attitude in the teachings of Jesus and a lack of the spirit of faith;” his [p. 65] claim that Mark was the first writer of Christ’s ministry; and the assertion that Jesus spoke in parables to conceal his identity (Committee to Bennion). The committee later considered texts for collegiate-level religion classes, and in September 1945 rejected at least one text for use at BYU unless the author agreed to modify his conclusions. No book reviewed by the committee proved as controversial as BYU alumnus Heber C. Snell’s Ancient Israel: Its Story and Meaning. Though Snell’s modernist text was banned as a text in the church’s institutes, it has remained a popular reference work among many institute faculty.35

Unwilling to contend with continued pressures, Harris resigned in 1944 to accept the presidency of Utah State Agricultural College. His successor, Howard S. McDonald, found it equally frustrating to maintain standards of scholarship while satisfying the church’s demands for orthodoxy. He prepared, in the late 1940s, a statement of purpose for BYU, which he hoped would serve as an acceptable compromise. His statement stipulated, for example, that the church school existed to “make intelligent and faithful Latter-day Saints of its students,” and would “use all possible means of coming to a fuller understanding of truth, not closing [its] mind to any source.” Dissatisfied, J. Reuben Clark concluded that the statement “could be wrenched by the `new thoughters’ to mean anything they would want [it] to mean” (BYU 2:624-25). At Clark’s recommendation, McDonald resigned after only four years in office. Asael C. Lambert, dean of the university’s summer school, also resigned about this time, writing in an unpublished memoir that he had grown weary of “defend[ing] himself against the whispered but wide-running charge of suspect weak faith” because of his academic and intellectual interests.36
Wilkinson’s Religious Emphasis

McDonald’s replacement, the politically conservative Ernest L. Wilkinson, was considerably more sympathetic to President Clark’s pleas for orthodoxy. For example, after Clark counseled faculty in 1956 that “the simpler the faith, the stronger, the better, the more enduring it is, the more it leads towards salvation,” Wilkinson concluded that promotions should be based, in part, on “faithfulness to church standards.” Two years later, Clark stressed, “Among us, there is no academic freedom where spiritual truths are concerned.” Again, Wilkinson responded forcefully, eventually dismissing at least six faculty for “lack of testimony.” Wilkinson also attempted unsuccessfully to have scholarships awarded on the basis of religious accomplishment as well as academic achievement.37

[p. 66] After less than nine months in office, Wilkinson announced that student attendance at BYU’s weekly devotionals would be mandatory. Expectedly, student reaction was not enthusiastic. “Shall we be forced to worship?” one student asked, while another wrote, “You may force physical presence, but you are powerless to control the mind.” At the same time, Wilkinson also announced that weekly quizzes on the content of devotional speeches would be administered in religion classes. He later encouraged attendance by having the lights in campus buildings turned off and by closing the book store and library during devotionals. Despite these hard-line policies, attendance during Wilkinson’s administration never reached more than an annual average of 50 percent of the student body. In 1960, mandatory attendance was de-emphasized, and students were given elective class credit for devotional attendance. Without exception, however, the number of students claiming devotional credit exceeded the number of students in attendance. By 1970, attendance had dropped to 34 percent of the student body. Two years later, Wilkinson’s successor, Dallin Oaks, announced that attendance would be voluntary. Attendance continued to plummet, until, by the mid-1980s, it had declined to less than 20 percent. Administrators since renewed their push to increase attendance, warning in September 1984 that if the decline were not remedied, “the future of [devotionals would be] in serious jeopardy.”38

Although some have questioned the need for an activity in which so few students participate, church officials have come to view BYU’s devotionals and monthly firesides with growing importance, particularly as the number of General Authorities addressing these gatherings has increased. Typically, the weekly sermons have fallen into four categories: those promoting allegiance to the church, those emphasizing church standards, motivational sermons encouraging career success and personal fulfillment, and miscellaneous teachings on a variety of topics, including politics. While studies have indicated that devotionals exert little, if any, influence on behavior, they do provide students with a comforting reminder of the cultural heritage they share with each other, the faculty, and church and school administrators.39

Less than two years following the inauguration of compulsory devotional, a 1953 survey revealed that 68 percent of BYU undergraduates attended church meetings less than once a week. Alarmed, President Wilkinson commissioned a special faculty study which found, no more encouragingly, that 40 percent of students attended church less often at BYU than at home. Wilkinson presented the findings to members of the executive committee of the Board of Trustees on 3 November 1954 and suggested that the university sponsor its own church services rather than to rely on surrounding wards and stakes to accommodate the students’ spiritual needs. Approved two years later, on-campus LDS wards and branches, usually presided over by [p. 67] school educators and local businessmen, have exerted a significant impact on student religious activity and orthodoxy.40

While national studies have reported steady decreases in religiosity among American college students over the past fifty years, the religious activity of BYU students has dramatically increased, as evidenced in the longitudinal survey of student behavior and attitudes from 1935 to 1972, conducted by sociologists Harold T. Christensen and Kenneth L. Cannon. Whereas under 80 percent of BYU students believed in 1935 that “God is a personal being with ‘body, parts, and passions,'” a central church tenet, 99 percent agreed with the statement forty years later. Thirty-five percent of the student body discounted organic evolution as a vehicle of human development in 1932, compared to 75 percent in 1972. In terms of religious practice, less than 70 percent reported in the mid-1930s that they attended church at least once a week, observed the Word of Wisdom, or paid a full tithing. Forty years later, more than 90 percent responded affirmatively to the same questions. (In a separate survey, sponsored by the university, nearly 83 percent of alumni consider themselves “active” Mormons, compared to approximately 60 percent of the church membership generally.)41

While students have sometimes enrolled at BYU “with the idea of disassociating themselves from the church,” associate academic vice-president Neal Lambert reported in the early 1980s, that can be “very difficult,” as lines separating university and ecclesiastical jurisdiction have become blurred at best. “We had a mission,” remembered Antone K. Romney, former acting dean of students and president of BYU’s first on-campus stake. “[We] would hunt [students] out and then we would fellowship them.” In the late 1960s, President Wilkinson began requiring church attendance as a condition of continued admission (discussed in Chapter 3). Although Wilkinson’s policy was discontinued following his resignation in 1971, church attendance has remained a major concern of both university and church leaders. “Our bishops look into every apartment,” Vice-President Lambert explained, “and even though students typically change wards and stakes several times from their freshman to senior year, the bishops keep in touch: they devote the time, have interviews, visit apartments . . . it’s a remarkable system.”42

Occasionally, administrators have also expressed concern over their students’ nonreligious Sunday activities. In the late 1930s, for example, a three-member faculty committee was appointed “to investigate the question of attendance at picture show previews on Saturday mid-night.” Twenty years later, the executive committee of the Board of Trustees ruled that students could “devote some time on Sundays to their studies” but then added that “any studying done on Sunday should be of a religious nature.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie subsequently [p. 68] admitted that “there is nothing wrong with studying on Sunday,” because local church leaders “probably couldn’t stop it anyway.” In the late 1950s, following advice from university leaders, the school’s baseball team refused an invitation to compete in the College World Series because of Sunday play (BYU 3:437-39). But in 1961, church authorities authorized the appearance of BYU’s College Bowl team as part of a nationally televised quiz program on five successive Sundays. “It was even more exciting than an athletic event,” President Wilkinson confessed, “but I do not think [it] desecrated the Sabbath” (Wilkinson Journal, 31 Dec. 1961). Fifteen years later, officials ruled first that “no BYU group will be permitted under any circumstances to perform on Sunday,” then allowed two student musical groups to perform in behalf of the church on Sunday. Special permission was again secured from the First Presidency in 1980 when church leaders discovered that Hungarian officials had scheduled a Sunday performance of one of BYU’s performing groups and “would block any further performances by the group if they did not go through with the assigned schedule.”43

Compulsory Tithing

Much of Wilkinson’s concern with religious obligation stemmed from a very real awareness that most parents expected BYU to exercise a quasi-parental function over their children. But an additional aspect to Wilkinson’s sensitivity to religious matters was his own political sense that he could parlay faculty orthodoxy into larger buildings and bigger budgets with the Board of Trustees. Thus, he was disturbed to learn in the spring of 1957 that a number of his faculty were not full tithepayers. Several area bishops and stake presidents had commented to him that, based on the amount of tithing they had received from campus employees, BYU “must pay awfully low salaries.” One local leader was particularly “indignant” that an assistant dean “had [only] paid fifty dollars in tithing” the previous year. “Shocked” at his faculty’s poor showing, Wilkinson requested additional information from the Presiding Bishop’s office, despite a recent statement in the church’s Messenger newsletter that tithing records were “confidential.” When they learned of the proposed exchange, members of the First Presidency intervened to prevent the release of information. Annoyed, Wilkinson went directly to church president David O. McKay, who arranged to have the Presiding Bishop’s office compare tithing records with faculty salaries and then inform Wilkinson of any delinquency. That September, Wilkinson addressed the faculty on the “principle and practice of paying tithing” and warned: “When I am called upon this year to pass on proposed promotions in academic rank for members of the faculty I hope I do not have to [p. 69] refuse any on the ground that the nominee does not adhere in practice to . . . the payment of tithing.”44

When, in early 1959, Wilkinson received the long-awaited Presiding Bishop’s list identifying faculty members as full-, part-, or non-tithepayers, he found that fewer than one-half were “full tithe payers and many [had] different ways of computing their tithing.” He again met with President McKay and was assured that he would be given full access to faculty tithing records. Several days later both the executive committee and the Board of Trustees backed Wilkinson in refusing to “increase the salaries or promote any faculty who do not pay an honest tithing.” “If by the end of this calendar year,” Wilkinson wrote, after meeting with President McKay, “we still have members on the faculty who are either non- or token tithepayers, my present feeling is that we should take some action to have them replaced.” Though not the first attempt to enforce compliance to tithing, Wilkinson’s was uncontestably the most determined. “There will be an explosion at the BYU when it is known,” he acknowledged.45

As school opened the following September, Wilkinson delivered his second “forthright statement,” as he termed it, on tithing. He informed faculty that promotions had not been “granted those who did not believe in and adhere to” the payment of tithing, and announced that strict observance of tithing would be taken into account in determining which faculty teaching contracts would be renewed. During a panel discussion the next day, BYU political scientist Robert Riggs “launched into a vigorous attack on the position [Wilkinson] had taken to the effect that members of the faculty must pay their tithing to continue on the faculty.” Riggs suggested that rather than establish obedience as a requirement for continuing status, the university should instead be “long suffering and patient in trying to persuade others to conform.” Riggs closed “by announcing that in view of the policy he would not be returning to BYU the following year.” John T. Bernhard, an assistant to Wilkinson, answered that Riggs’s “intellectual poppy-cock” had been “altogether improper and unwise; . . . [that the matter] was something that should have been taken up with the adminstration.” While “20 to 25 percent of the faculty applauded [Riggs’s speech],” Wilkinson reported in his journal that Bernhard “got pretty much of an ovation from the balance.” Riggs kept his promise and transferred to another university at the end of the school year. He later returned to BYU under Dallin Oaks, joining the faculty of the J. Reuben Clark Law School.46

Early the next year in January 1960, the Presiding Bishop issued a statement, reading, “How much tithing a man pays is his own business, his bishop’s, and the Lord’s.” Perhaps as a result, two BYU deans confronted Wilkinson in February, protesting the president’s policy on tithing. One tried to persuade Wilkinson not to examine [p. 70] the faculty’s tithing records; the second offered to resign “because he did not think he could conform to [the president’s] standards.” Wilkinson also learned during this time that reports had reached the First Presidency that he had been abusing his privileged access to tithing records. He met with President McKay and his two counselors that month, who agreed that Wilkinson should continue to receive the cooperation of the Presiding Bishop. Eventually interviewing nearly seventy faculty members “deficient in the payment of tithing,” Wilkinson concluded that the majority of his opponents were “self-styled intellectuals who thought they could pretty much solve the problems of the world by logic and the spirit of the intellect, [and] . . . were centered largely in three departments: English, political science, and history.” The following March, Wilkinson proudly reported to members of the Board of Trustees that faculty tithing for 1959 was considerably higher than for 1958. By the end of the spring semester 1960, more than thirty BYU employees had been released because of a failure to pay tithing (Board Minutes, 2 March, 4 May 1960). Wilkinson’s one-year leave of absence in 1964 and changes in the composition of the First Presidency ended his surveillance of faculty tithing contributions. Although Wilkinson remained committed to standards he established in the late 1950s, subsequent attempts to gain access to tithing records as a means of determining faculty promotion or student admission proved unsuccessful.47

Additional Curriculum Revision

Since the mid-1950s, administrators had come to fear that previous measures to streamline the curriculum had not sufficiently insured a basic introduction to fundamental church teachings for undergraduates. Beginning in 1960, the number of religion courses available to first- and second-year undergraduates was limited to five, including Book of Mormon, LDS history, New Testament, LDS theology, and missionary preparation. That spring a special General Education Committee “strongly” recommended that all freshmen be required to take “Doctrines and Principles of the Gospel and Practical LDS Living,” a survey class in fundamental church precepts. But some members of the religion faculty vigorously argued that freshmen should be required to study the Book of Mormon instead. By early 1961, debate over the issue had become so intense that Apostles Harold B. Lee and Marion G. Romney were asked to resolve the controversy. They decided in favor of the Book of Mormon, and the Board of Trustees adopted their recommendation, eliminating competing courses from the freshman curriculum.48

Still, criticism of the school’s religious instruction continued. Boyd K. Packer, an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, [p. 71] reminded church educators in mid-1962 that their assignment was “not taking apart, analyzing, and looking for the flaws, the aberrations, the difficulties, the problems [with the church], [but rather] synthesis–the putting together, the organizing, the giving of meaning, the working towards wholeness.” Three years later, N. Eldon Tanner, second counselor in the First Presidency, warned faculty that he “would much rather send [his] children to a school . . . staffed by agnostics, . . . than to a church university where the professors and the teachers . . . are supposed to be doing the things that are right but where some of them create doubts, because young people can easily be led off the track.” Elder Harold B. Lee added in 1966, “Better a millstone be tied about your neck and you be drowned in the depths of the ocean than to offend one of our Father’s little ones. . . . If you lead them astray and put poisonous thoughts in their minds, it may be the thing that will keep them from ever attaining the high place in the kingdom.” Two years later, Lee quoted approvingly from career church educator William E. Berrett’s definition of “a conservative and liberal in the church”: “In religion it is just as simple as this: A liberal is one without a testimony.” Among General Authorities, only First Counselor Hugh B. Brown voiced his enthusiastic support of intellectual inquiry as applied to religious studies. Speaking to BYU students and faculty in 1969, the veteran church leader said,

You young people live in an age when freedom of the mind is suppressed over much of the world. We must preserve it in the church and in America and resist all efforts of earnest men to suppress it, for when it is suppressed, we might lose the liberties vouchsafed in the Consititution of the United States.

Preserve, then, the freedom of your mind in education and in religion, and be unafraid to express your thoughts and to insist upon your right to examine every proposition. We are not so much concerned with whether your thoughts are orthodox or heterodox as we are that you shall have thoughts. One may memorize much without learning anything. In this age of speed there seems to be little time for meditation.49

Many of the criticisms leveled at religion faculty resulted, in large measure, from the readiness of some instructors to resolve gospel controversies authoritatively in the absence of official church declarations. Specific complaints focused on, for example, one professor’s speculative teachings on the premortal existence of spirits and the spiritual creation of the earth. During the 1964 election year, acting BYU president Earl Crockett reminded religion faculty that if they discussed political controversies in class, they should “make it clear that [they were giving their] opinion and not the position of the church or the school” (Crockett to Belnap; Belnap to Teachers). Consequently, Professor Glenn Pearson was instructed that he must first [p. 72] receive approval from church authorities before authoring a tract on “Public Schools and the Anti-Christ.” Both Pearson and colleague Reid Bankhead were later censured for requiring students to purchase their recently published Doctrinal Approaches to the Book of Mormon as a class text. College administrators also ruled that “any material . . . written by our teachers . . . [be] submitted to the reading committee of the university” for clearance. Their ruling also applied to class handouts (Berrett).50

Religion faculty have periodically been accused of advocating polygamy, championing outmoded teachings regarding Sons of Perdition, and promoting a doctrinal theory equating Adam with God. One professor was forced to take an early retirement because of his teachings in such areas. In the early 1980s, Elder Bruce McConkie publicly condemned as heretical the popularly held idea that God continues to progress in knowledge (see, for example, “Seven Deadly Heresies”). Since the mid-1970s, George Pace, associate professor of church history and doctrine, had taught that “everyone should strive to develop a personal relationship” with Jesus Christ. In 1979, as part of a final examination for one of his classes, he asked students “to check which was more important to have: a personal relationship first with the Savior or with Heavenly Father” (Council Minutes, 1 Nov. 1979). Pace later published his views in a book entitled What It Means to Know Christ. Though not the only advocate of the teaching, he soon became its most ardent exponent. During a March 1982 devotional address, Elder McConkie, in a second attack on “unsound gospel theories,” read from Pace’s “current and unwise book,” branding the teaching “plain sectarian nonsense.” Pace responded first with a class handout on “Yielding Your Will to the Lord’s Anointed,” and then with an open letter to readers of his book, apologizing for his “incorrect doctrine.”51

Research Topics

As problematic as some classroom teachings have been, an area of even greater concern among church authorities has been the research interests of faculty and graduate students in religion. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, for example, repeatedly criticized research on the sermons of leading nineteenth-century church leaders because, he wrote, “some of these expressions have been unwise and have caused us considerable trouble” (Smith to Lundwall). Following criticism of two master’s theses on controversial topics, director of graduate religious studies Sidney B. Sperry wrote wryly to William E. Berrett, “I have found that in the search for truth we often can’t receive it.” After securing official permission in 1960 to publish a compilation of First Presidency statements, religion professor James R. Clark was refused [p. 73] further access to the First Presidency’s files and advised to “be careful about publishing some of the messages that were issued during controversial periods in church history since they would probably be misunderstood today.” In 1963, the executive committee rejected one graduate student’s request to write a master’s thesis “on the subject of the founding and beginning of missionary work in Nigeria.” Two years later, school officials also advised against completion of Truman G. Madsen’s biography of church authority B. H. Roberts. Although trustees subsequently relented “with the understanding that it would be cleared with the publications committee of the church before actually being published,” Madsen’s biography remained unpublished for fifteen years.52

Evidently as a result of the issues raised by the Madsen biography, Wilkinson informed the dean of religious instruction, B. West Belnap, that “all theses dealing with doctrines or practices of the church in the field of religious instruction should be cleared with the Board [of Trustees] and with the executive committee” (Wilkinson to Belnap). School and college administrators eventually agreed that a student’s prospectus would first be approved by his advisory committee; second, by the chair of his graduate department; third, by the dean of the Graduate School; fourth, by an administrative official; and finally by the executive committee or Board of Trustees. “Because of the delicate nature of this situation as far as accreditation is concerned,” Wilkinson subsequently cautioned BYU academic vice-president Robert K. Thomas, “I have serious doubts whether [the policy] should be published, but everyone involved ought to know about it.” Over the next ten years, theses and dissertations that proved particularly troublesome to either the executive committee or the Board of Trustees included treatments of polygamy; a study of Mormon/non-Mormon conflict in Nauvoo, Illinois; a survey of the religious education programs of the Seventh-Day Adventist church in Utah; a history of the church’s Florida welfare farms; theses on the church’s correlation department, textual changes in the Book of Mormon, and “military service and use of military force;” and dissertations on the historical development of the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants and the modern role and function of the twelve apostles.53

In the late 1970s, debate over the possible negative impact of graduate research in church history and theology led some General Authorities to request that school administrators limit access to two master’s theses and one Ph.D. dissertation. They were Stanley R. Larson’s 1974 master’s thesis, “Study of Some Textual Variations in the Book of Mormon, Comparing the Original and Printer’s MSS., and Comparing the 1830, 1837, and 1840 Editions;” Rodney Turner’s 1953 thesis on “The Position of Adam in Latter-day Saint Scripture and Theology;” and Robert J. Woodford’s 1974 doctoral survey of the [p. 74] “Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants.” Although partial restrictions were lifted from Larson’s thesis in late 1976, both Larson’s and Woodford’s studies had been initially authorized by the board on the condition that their results remain unpublished except by permission from the “proper authority.” After alumnus Robert F. Smith lodged a formal complaint with BYU’s accrediting agency in mid-1980, the Board of Trustees removed all restrictions so as not to jeopardize the university’s accreditation.54

Dismantling the College tf Religious Instruction

Increasing concern over the role of religion at BYU led to a series of far-reaching developments during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In October 1969, the Board of Trustees approved a major reorganization of the College of Religious Instruction, forming three subject-area departments: ancient scriptures, church history and doctrine, and philosophy (previously grouped with theology and church history). Objectives for the new philosophy department included: “To acquaint students from various disciplines with man’s best thinking on perennial human problems and so to enable them to comprehend and appreciate the gospel alternative better and to communicate well with those who think differently.” The 1969 Reorganization Committee, which oversaw these changes, recommended that the number of course offerings be reduced by one half so as to “eliminate duplicate and overlapping courses which [have] allow[ed] a student to concentrate his religious studies in one area at the expense of the remainder of our rich scriptural, historical and doctrinal heritage” (Committee Report). Classes not specifically designed to build a student’s testimony were eliminated, and courses dealing with subjects other than church history and doctrine were modified to include either a Mormon perspective or a Mormon emphasis. “American Religions” became “Mormonism and the World’s Religions,” while “Christian History” became “Mormonism and the Christian Tradition.” Religion credit for courses in other departments–such as the English department’s “Bible as Literature” class–was also discontinued (see course catalogs from 1968 to 1972).55

Even with these developments, an underlying question remained regarding the desirability of an academic college of religion. Some General Authorities had expressed fears that the college was creating a professional paid clergy, since nearly all religion faculty had first studied at BYU before beginning their careers as LDS seminary or institute teachers. Within two months following his succession, Dallin Oaks issued a stern reminder to the more zealous members of the College of Religious Instruction that their training did not entitle them [p. 75] to “cast aspersions on the testimony and devotion of their colleagues in the ‘tainted’ disciplines,” such as zoology, geology, and psychology (Oaks, Sept. 1971). The following year, the college’s graduate program, long a “source of doctrinal-authority conflict” between church authorities and members of the college, was disbanded. Six weeks later, Oaks proposed to campus deans that students’ religion grades be “omitted from computations showing cumulative GPA for such purposes as academic probation, scholarships, graduation honors designations, etc.” One of the advantages of such a move, Oaks argued, was that “BYU transcripts furnished to other colleges and graduate schools for transfer purposes could more easily omit courses that may not be accepted by such schools.” He also foresaw the possibility that this “might . . . relegate religion courses to an inferior academic status” but felt the advantages outweighed the disadvantages (Oaks to Ballif et al.). Not unexpectedly, religion dean Roy Doxey opposed the move, suspicious of the advantages Oaks had cited. He was particularly alarmed that the president would suggest “that religion courses should not be equal with academic courses in the university. . . . If the religion credit is not a part of the transcript,” Doxey affirmed, “I believe that the student will assume that religion courses are not really important in the university and thus create an attitude that is carried into the classroom.” Others evidently agreed with Doxey, and Oaks withdrew his proposal less than one week later.56

By the end of his first year in office, Oaks had drafted a detailed list of university-wide goals for Board of Trustees approval. Under religion, he proposed to “provide religious instruction and experience that strengthens faith in God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ, increases knowledge and testimony of the restored gospel, magnifies ability and desire to use the principles of the gospel in solving personal and public problems, and develops leadership for serving family, church, and community” (“Goals”). Oaks outlined ten procedural steps to help assure the realization of his goals. Included were the upgrading of “the quality of instruction in all religion courses, especially the required Book of Mormon course;” the integration of “gospel concepts in all areas of university instruction;” and the development of “specialized religion courses, seminars, and lectures for seniors and graduate students.” Soon afterwards, many colleges began offering one-hour religion courses for seniors and graduate students, relating church teachings to secular subjects; some sixty faculty outside the College of Religious Instruction were recruited to teach freshman-level Book of Mormon classes. In addition, trustees also considered narrowing the church’s subsidy of BYU’s graduate school to favor those programs where “research has [a] direct applica[p.76]tion to church programs” and where “outstanding LDS scholars might make unique contributions to society” (Board Minutes, 7 June 1972).57

In June 1973, Oaks achieved the major accomplishment of his reorganization of the College of Religious Instruction when its official designation as an academic college was discontinued. The departments of ancient scripture and church history and doctrine were transferred to “a newly created entity known as ‘Religious Instruction'” (later Religious Education), together with the Institute of Mormon Studies, the Book of Mormon Institute, and the Richard L. Evans Chair of Christian Understanding. Oaks pointed out that the move “was in basic harmony with the insistence that all university faculty must be qualified and responsible to see that religious education permeates the curriculum in all colleges and that all university faculty who are LDS are eligible to be assigned to teach formal religion courses” (Board Minutes, 6 June 1973). The philosophy department was transferred to the College of General Studies where, administrators explained, it would “serve an even broader clientele and do so more meaningfully.” However, course offerings in philosophy would be reduced by the mid-1980s to less than twenty, taught by a full-time faculty of seven. (By comparison, the University of Utah’s philosophy department had nearly ninety classes and seventeen full-time professors.) In 1974, the Department of Philosophy began offering a bachelor’s degree on condition that undergraduate candidates carry a second major as well. Eight years later, single major degrees were authorized, but graduate degrees have never been offered by the department (SEP, 10 June 1982).58

Although most undergraduates found their religion classes helpful or at least faith affirming, many of the concerns over the role and quality of religious education at BYU reflected, in part, student criticisms of the required classes and perceived excesses of some faculty. A 1965 survey of graduating seniors, for example, pinpointed considerable dissatisfaction with the number of credits required, a lack of preparation on the part of some faculty, and the tendency of some instructors to present their personal speculations as official church teachings. One student surveyed said that he had “been [at BYU] three years and still [didn’t] know what or why the Mormons believe as they do.” “Being in the Department of Zoology,” a science major added, “we have classes on evolution. When a religion teacher condemns anything of this nature, he usually shows his ignorance on the subject. It is hard after that to establish a good rapport with [such a] man.” Subsequent observations echoed many of these same complaints. “In my [religion] class this semester,” one anonymous student wrote in late 1969, “I have not been introduced to a single new idea. The teacher seems so [intent on filling] me with spirituality that he has ignored my interest in learning.” Another sarcastically suggested that [p. 77] BYU modify the titles of its religion classes to more accurately reflect their content: “The Communist Conspiracy in the U.S. and the Book of Mormon,” “Emotional Story Reading and Grave Personal Experiences,” “Radical Conservatism and the Scriptures,” and “Fishing Trips Last Summer.” In the mid-1970s, a freshman orientation booklet, prepared by students under administrative supervision, announced lightheartedly, “BYU’s religious instruction department teaches the true gospel–several of them” (Beginning BYU). One student reported in 1980 that when he raised a question in class, his instructor told him to “go home and repent and put [his] thoughts in harmony with the teachings of the brethren” (Non-Mormon News, 13 March 1980). Finally, an undergraduate suggested four years later in a letter to the student newspaper that “the administration . . . straighten out the structure of [the department], and make sure [religion faculty] do in fact teach,” instead of leaving scholarly religious study to student initiative.59

Integrating Religion with a Secular Curriculum

Coinciding with the reorganization of the College of Religious Instruction beginning in the late 1960s, General Authorities renewed their push for the integration of the school’s religious and secular instruction. In his 1967 address to the faculty on “Education for Eternity,” Elder Spencer W. Kimball asked that “every professor and teacher in this institution keep his subject matter bathed in the light and color of the restored gospel, and have all his subject matter perfumed lightly with the spirit of the gospel.” Later, as church president, he would add, “The faculty has a double heritage which they must pass along: the secular knowledge that history has washed to the feet of mankind . . . [and] the vital and revealed truths that have been sent to us from heaven.” Responding to questions from “many of our friends,” academic vice-president Robert Thomas suggested in 1970 that all college deans and department chairs identify in writing how the spirit of God “can be made a part of the instruction you supervise.” One business professor replied that “the gospel provides teachings, examples, and reasons” for “honesty, integrity, and forthrightness,” although Weldon J. Taylor, business dean, subsequently admitted, “The more I have thought [about the integration of secular and spiritual subjects], the more difficult I perceive the task to be.” The director of the school’s MBA program opined two years later, “The ultimate solution [to the problems of pollution, poverty, adequate housing and such] can be realized only through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”60

[p. 78] Other examples of attempts to blend religion with academics included ROTC instructor Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Stay’s report that he regularly used the Book of Mormon to teach his students the church’s attitude towards military service. Later, acting dean Carl Hawkins informed members of his faculty that the newly established J. Reuben Clark Law School “should be distinguished by its efforts to discover and articulate the ultimate spiritual values underlying our constitutional system, . . . our common law legal system, . . . [and our] professional responsibility,” and, he continued, “to develop lawyering skills as tools to serve the needs of people in light of their unique worth and dignity as spirit children of God.” Similarly, one professor’s method of providing a “full education,” discussed during pre-school faculty workshops in 1979, was described by many BYU educators as a “gospel-oriented” approach to learning. Indeed, the College of Education’s own mission statement included the development of educational leaders “whose professional values are congruent with the gospel of Jesus Christ; [and] who . . . discern truth from error through study, reason, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.” By the mid-1980s, administrators in the College of Humanities were sponsoring a campus-wide writing contest “to focus attention on learning in the context of the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”61

These and related attempts to integrate religious teachings with secular instruction are part of the ongoing intellectual struggles of virtually all believing Christians. Many BYU students and faculty have unquestionably benefitted from their exposure to such experiments. Yet institutional expressions of these values find ranges of agreement and disagreement, success and failure. For example, Elder Harold B. Lee cautioned church youth in the late 1960s, “If you find in your school texts claims that contradict the word of the Lord, . . . you may be certain such teachings are but the theories of men.” “In all fields of secular learning,” Apostle Delbert L. Stapley later told the faculty, “if the text does not conform or agree with the teaching of the gospel then the scriptures and the teachings of God’s oracles must supersede the speculations and opinions of men.” Founding law school dean Rex E. Lee added in 1973, “In those few instances in which the rational and the extrarational [i.e., spiritual] processes yield inconsistent results, it is the latter which must prevail.” When the archaeology department first began offering a course in “Early Prehistoric Archaeology” in 1950, the school catalog cautiously explained that the class treated only the “so-called Old and Middle Stone ages.” BYU trustees agreed to authorize a major in anthropology ten years later on condition “that a member of the executive committee [counsel] with the teachers . . . before the program be put into effect.”62

[p. 79] The board’s concern over the compatibility of religion and academics was evident two years earlier when they requested that a philosophy class in existentialism be discontined. Former BYU philosophy professor Max Rogers remembered in 1983, “There rarely was a semester that I did not have to defend myself and what I was teaching. [University administrators] questioned the texts I used, the content, and my approach.” When, in the mid-1960s, members of the philosophy faculty attempted to inaugurate an open lecture series, religion dean B. West Belnap admitted to Acting President Earl Crockett, “Some of the [church] authorities have had some concern about [even] offering philosophy [at BYU].” Crockett agreed to the lectures on an “experimental basis, provided,” he wrote to Belnap, “[the faculty] can assure you that their sincere desire is to build testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel rather than to raise questions and doubts in the minds of students or others who may attend.” Trustee Boyd K. Packer stressed four years later that BYU’s philosophy curriculum should be presented “in such a manner as to avoid the tendency of many academicians to measure their areas of discipline against the philosophy of the church.” President Ernest Wilkinson added in 1971 that some faculty were “too liberal for the Department of Philosophy at BYU.” Although philosophy did not lack its defenders, the continuous and suspicious scrutiny of the department did not encourage an emphasis on academic rigor. From the 1960s to the present, the majority of BYU philosophers, with rare exceptions, have chosen to publish articles and books defending church doctrine rather than critical philosophical studies.63

A similar concern for promoting faith has been evident in the editorial management of the school’s “voice for the community of LDS scholars,” Brigham Young University Studies. The political consequences of displeasing some trustees surfaced in the evaluation of an article on the “LDS Scholar’s Responsibility” submitted in the late 1960s. One reviewer admitted that while he personally sided with the author, he wondered what would happen if “one of the brethren disagreed with his position or with his procedure,” thus “open[ing] up a series of controversies.” Reviewing a second submission entitled, “The Growth and Development of the LDS Concept of God,” a religion instructor responded that “there would be some ‘official’ objection to the article as it now stands, even in the title, and both Studies and [the author] should be spared that experience.” The two reviewers of an essay on Brigham Young’s approach to the Word of Wisdom concluded that the article would not “solve anything but just raise more issues and rationalizations, . . . stir[ring] up too much controversy in the minds of Latter-day Saint readers.” A fourth article detailing church ordinances and rituals would “draw heavy criticism from the brethren,” its reviewer wrote, “and speaks of things that would be [p. 80] better left unpublished. I don’t see what contribution it would make other than be interesting and may be a source of other takeoffs which would be unhealthy.” Finally, the reviewer of a historical essay treating the life of an early church apostate confessed that he found the essay “interesting, but,” he wrote, “somehow the tone of the article is wrong.” He explained:

It seems to take an “objective” approach (i.e., I don’t get the feeling the author is attacking Joseph Smith but at the same time he doesn’t give us the impression that he does believe Joseph Smith was a prophet). It is not the purpose of BYU Studies to adopt such an attitude. We should take it as a given that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Therefore the paper cannot be published in BYU Studies.64

In a related incident, Wendell J. Ashton, managing director of the church’s public communications department, complained to President Oaks in late 1973 that the published findings of two BYU researchers reflected negatively on the church. The researchers, sociologists Phillip R. Kunz and Franklyn W. Dunford, had found that among active Mormons nearly 80 percent shopped on Sunday, while only 8 percent would refuse a friend’s invitation to attend a movie on Sunday. Troubled by the possible effects of Ashton’s complaint, Oaks replied that “the distribution of scientific findings about how much active members of a church [deviate in behavior from church expectations] and yet maintain their self-concepts as active church members seems eminently proper.” “Wherever possible,” he explained, “our scholarly work should be made available for the benefit of the public, including our own members.” Still, Ashton persisted: “We should use news surveys of this kind internally in the church, but not generally feed our internal problems to the public media, particularly those with national distribution. It would therefore be my suggestion that before surveys of this kind are released to the news media, they be cleared with [the Office of University Relations].” Three years later, Oaks himself, fearing repercussions from ranking General Authorities, quashed the release of a survey noting potential stresses facing contemporary Mormon families. Reportedly, Oaks was not convinced of the validity of several of the report’s major conclusions, notably that more LDS than non-LDS women in Utah worked outside the home; that a mother’s working outside the home did not have a demonstrably negative effect on her family; and that the church may have contributed to an increasing divorce rate among members by not providing adequate sex education and counsel to its youth.65

Sex Education and Psychology

[p. 81]Sex education, in fact, has been one of the areas of greatest potential controversy on campus. Since the early 1900s, BYU had offered an introductory course in sex education, though students frequently complained of its prescriptive intent. In October 1953, President Wilkinson, alarmed at the implications of Alfred Kinsey’s reports on male and female sexual behavior, appointed a faculty committee to determine if the school’s sex education program was providing a strong defense of chastity and discouraging premarital sexual intimacy. (Non-Mormon treatments of masturbation proved especially troublesome to church leaders; at least two faculty committees were appointed to address the “Masturbation Problem” [Wilkinson to Romney et al.].) When members of the sociology department learned in 1955 that the committee had decided “who shall teach [sex education] and where,” they registered “strenuous objection to administrative prurience in this regard” (Sociology Minutes, 11 March 1955). Wilkinson, however, overrode these complaints and, knowing of “no more important need on our campus,” pushed for a BYU faculty-authored health textbook in the early 1960s. Zoologist Henry J. Nicholes, one of several faculty assigned to the project, soon became skeptical that his treatment of sex could pass the scrutiny of both trustees and colleagues (Nicholes to Taylor). Some university administrators agreed, and the project was eventually abandoned (see Taylor to Wilkinson). Instead, BYU officials arranged to have a publisher remove objectionable material from the text used by the university in a special BYU edition. When the publisher overlooked one offending page in 1967, school administrators instructed bookstore employees to excise the page before placing the text on store shelves. Student reaction ranged from amusement to outrage. One asked pointedly, “Any student who mutilates texts from the library runs the risk of serious punishment . . . If we allow our textbooks to be censored how can the library enforce its policy?” Several studies undertaken in the mid-1970s since found that many freshmen entered BYU seriously misinformed about human sexual functioning, and that student attitudes towards sex education tended to become more disapproving following enrollment in the university’s required health classes (see Stinebaugh and Ausbrooks).66

In psychology, administrators and faculty also found themselves struggling to incorporate gospel teachings with secular theories, particularly in the areas of human sexuality, personality development, and psychotherapy. In 1971, Ernest Wilkinson recalled as a new president having told one of his faculty that “any teacher who has to go to a psychiatrist . . . is not worthy of being on the BYU faculty.” [p. 82] Twenty years later, a 1972 Priesthood Bulletin carried official First Presidency caution against “studies or systems dealing with the complexities of the human personality which are not based on any controlling or demonstrable principle. . . . Our knowledge that man had a premortal existence which influences personality and which is beyond the reach of scientific research demonstrates the need for great caution in these matters.” Elder Mark E. Petersen, in what he would later term the “general attitude” of the church’s ranking authorities, observed in 1974 that “our identity was fixed in the pre-existence even as it is preserved in the hereafter. It never has changed and never will change in the future.” “The basic cause of mental and emotional illness,” Stephen R. Covey, assistant professor of organizational behavior, added two years later, “is disobedience to gospel law. . . . The Lord’s approach to the world’s sicknesses is to teach . . . faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, [and] service” (BYU Today, March 1976). BYU psychologist Allen E. Bergin promised that same year, “There will be a Mormon applied behavioral science” that will “infuse scholarly work with values, revelations, and inspired methods of inquiry that derive from the gospel” (Century II, Dec. 1976; Bergin). Other faculty, however, were less enthusiastic at the prospect of combining church teachings with clinical psychology.67

Referring to the “blanket condemnation of certain kinds of therapy and group techniques [that had] come from church leaders,” Mark K. Allen, BYU professor emeritus and former chair of the psychology department, found that “these statements have been disturbing because they have not discriminated as to the legitimate and illegitimate uses” of such techniques. In late 1969, university administrators curtailed the on-campus use of “electrical aversive therapy” in treating “sneezing, twitching, hiccups, thumb sucking, nail biting, bed wetting, and sexual deviancy” because of religious considerations (Vice-Presidents’ Minutes, 22 Sept. 1969). That spring, trustees ruled that “faculty members who express disagreement with statements by General Authorities . . . . on ‘sensitivity training’ [therapies] should be counseled with.” Academic vice-president Robert Thomas advised college deans to “alert those who have been using [‘sensitivity training’] techniques to be particularly cautious in ultilizing them” (Thomas to Whetten). President Wilkinson subsequently ordered all group therapy suspended, but guidelines “regarding group therapy at Brigham Young University” emerged in early 1971. Also in 1971, BYU officials disapproved a request from student body leaders to invite a stage hypnotist to campus. The following year, church leaders similarly advised members against sponsoring or encouraging “group hypnosis demonstrations” (Priesthood Bulletin, Aug. 1972). And in 1975, psychology department administrators organized a Board of Review for Psychotherapeutic Techniques “to recommend policies governing [p.83] the use of sensitive treatment techniques at Brigham Young University.” Eventually, group members assembled a list of eight therapies they concluded might conflict with church teachings. Besides hypnosis and sensitivity training, their list included the therapeutic use of confession, sex, and self-disclosure.68

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,” President Dallin Oaks proposed to the Board of Trustees on 1 September 1976 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.” Trustees not only approved Oaks’s proposal, but also backed the appointment of BYU psychologist Allen Bergin, formerly on the faculty of the Columbia University Teachers’ College, 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 added, “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.” “Our basic theme,” institute member Victor Brown, Jr., wrote to Robert K. Thomas, “is that truth lies with the scriptures and prophets, not with secular data or debate.”69

The institute’s primary assignment was to prepare a manuscript to support the church’s position against homosexuality. “The church would fund the project,” Oaks reported, “and the resulting book [would] be published by a press having nothing to do with the church in order to magnify its acceptability in the scholarly community and among non-church members.” Related goals included the “creation of a clinically oriented document in which sacred and secular data are gathered for guidance of parents, individuals, and curriculum writers;” an “LDS book on human behavior after the manner of Articles of Faith;” and the “creation of a political action kit for use of member-citizens in local legislative efforts” (Oaks to Monson). Researchers were particularly proud of Elizabeth James’s 1978 doctoral dissertation, commissioned by the church’s social services division, on the “Treatment of Homosexuality: A Reanalysis and Synthesis of Outcome Studies.” James reported that out of 101 published studies, approximately 27 percent of the subjects treated had “improved,” and 37 percent had “recovered” with regards to their homosexuality. Her conclusion, that two-thirds of homosexuals seeking therapy reported some improvement in heterosexual behavior, was greeted by institute [p. 84] members as a secular vindication of the church’s position. Yet three years after the establishment of the institute, Victor Brown, Jr., admitted, “Sexuality is a risky business. Articles on the more general subject of mental health and values are much better investments” (Brown to Thomas). By 1980, costs for the proposed defense of church teachings on homosexuality had reached close to $150,000, and some General Authorities, Oaks noted, had become “squeamish” over the issue, while Bergin had simultaneously concluded “that for him to complete [the] book under the conditions outlined (including direct church funding and the necessary review by persons representing the church) would seriously erode his professional standing . . . and significantly reduce the desired impact of the book.” Bergin eventually bowed out of the project, and the completed work, a more general treatment of Human Intimacy: Illusion and Reality, published in 1981, listed Brown as its only author. By the mid-1980s, the institute had been dismantled and its remaining members assigned to other campus departments.70
Archaeology and History

An earlier attempt to “serve Brigham Young University and the church as a center for research and publication” in the integration of spiritual and secular insights was the establishment in December 1946 of the Department of Archaeology. Previously, the school’s archaeology curriculum had come under the jurisdiction of the Division of Religion. Even after the creation of a separate department, archaeology faculty continued to teach in both areas. “From the beginning,” archaeology chair Ross Christensen wrote in 1960, “the scope of the new department’s interest . . . was particularly directed towards research bearing on the scriptures,” notably the Book of Mormon and its history of ancient Mesoamerican peoples, particularly the Nephites and the Lamanites, forerunners of the American Indians in LDS theology. “Consequently,” Christensen added, “the greatest contribution [BYU] can possibly make to the cause of enlightenment may be in the field of the archaeology of the scriptures, . . . [where] definite archaeological tests can be applied.” “If our search nowhere turns up materials that can be fitted into the Book of Mormon picture of extensive civilizations of Near Eastern origin,” Christensen concluded, “then that record stands disproved.” Although non-Mormon archaeologists remained skeptical, early BYU expeditions into Central America from 1947 to 1956 were reported to have “discovered important evidence bearing on the location of the Book of Mormon city of Bountiful in the Xicalango jungle of western Campeche [as well as] the location of the major Book of Mormon city of Zarahemla in the middle Usumacinta valley” (Coe; DU, 3 March 1961). Other expeditions followed, and [p. 85] with the inauguration in 1951 of an Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures sponsored by Christensen’s University Archaeological Society (later Society for Early Historic Archaeology), Book of Mormon geography emerged as a recognized topic of university research. At one point, President Wilkinson even claimed, “Our archaeology is taught clearly from a Book of Mormon standpoint.”71

Because of the ignorance of many Mormons regarding archaeology and the resulting overzealousness on the part of some, a 1959 proposal for “a large excavation program in Central America to verify the Book of Mormon” failed to receive administrative approval when church and school officials became convinced that materials written by some Book of Mormon enthusiasts were “so biased that they will not stand the test of objective archaeological conclusions.” Thus, “if we are to do further excavating,” administrators decided, “it should be done largely by non-Mormons who will merely give a description of what they find, leaving the world to make conclusions.” As a result, the New World Archaeological Foundation (NWAF), the creation of California attorney Thomas Stuart Ferguson in 1952 and church-funded since 1955, was instructed to “concern itself only with the cultur[al] history interpretations [that are] normally within the scope of archaeology, and any attempt at correlation or interpretation involving the Book of Mormon should be eschewed” (Wilkinson Journal, 22 Aug. 1959). “I welcomed the instruction as refreshing after my earlier days at BYU,” wrote former NWAF archaeologist Dee F. Green in 1969, “when everything the archaeology department did had to be ‘scripturally’ related.” Ray Matheny, director of the NWAF since 1971, explained, “Our work has been precise [and] objective. . . . We’re not looking for a Nephite under every rock.” NWAF-sponsored expeditions have since excavated at the Cinco Pisos pyramid in the Edzna valley, Campeche, Mexico, and the ruins of El Mirador, Guatemala. In addition, New World explorations in Chiapas, Mexico, “have put that state on the archaeological map and have established one of the longest and best archaeological sequences for any part of the” Americas (Coe). Following persistent insinuations that NWAF’s ties to the church prevented its employees from reaching “scientific” conclusions, it was reorganized in mid-1976 as a “separately indentified but subsidiary entity” of BYU.72

Some faculty members have continued the task of linking Mesoamerica with Book of Mormon claims. John L. Sorenson, BYU archaeology department chair and “dean of New World Book of Mormon archaeology,” recently argued, for example, that “either the Book of Mormon promised land was in some portion of Mesoamerica or it was nowhere” (Insights, Oct. 1984; “Digging”). Sorenson’s thesis specifically situates the Nephites “most plausibly in the Mexican states of Chiapas and (southern) Veracruz, and highland Guatemala; the [p. 86] Jaredite scene … in the state of Oaxaca and nearby central and southern Veracruz; [while] the land of Zarahemla most reasonably fits” Chiapas, Mexico (“Digging”). The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), an offshoot of both the Society for Early Historic Archaeology and the New World Archaeological Foundation, has since 1981 assembled a collection of inter-disciplinary defenses of Book of Mormon historicity, including archaeological and geographical evidences. It endorses Sorenson’s speculations and has suggested that the capital city of Nephi was located in Guatemala City and that Lake Atitlan was the Waters of Mormon; that San Cristobal de Las Casas represented the land of Zarahemla; and that the Hill Cumorah was located in the region of the Tuxtla Mountains. Guided tours of these and other areas, conducted by Sorenson, began in early 1984, and were followed by classes in Book of Mormon archaeology in the anthropology department. Still, archaeological inconsistencies in the Book of Mormon have remained formidable obstacles for enthusiasts. Sorenson’s own reconciliation of Book of Mormon archaeology and Mesoamerican cultural geography, “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” was rejected for publication by BYU’s Religious Studies Center because Elder Mark E. Petersen found the topic to be “too touchy” (Administrative Council Minutes, 31 May 1978). Only after Petersen’s death in 1984 did FARMS and the church’s Deseret Book Company announce plans to jointly publish Sorenson’s and other related works.73

Perhaps the most significant recent development in the drive to produce a curriculum that accommodates both religion and academics has been the controversy over the role of history within the church. “Until the past twenty-five years,” observed non-LDS historian Lawrence Foster in 1982, “the very idea of Mormon history [was] viewed as a joke by most professional historians.” Prior to the 1940s, LDS historians, with only rare exceptions, did not have the training necessary to distinguish their efforts from the apologetics of their predecessors. Nor was professionalization necessarily encouraged. In the 1930s, for example, BYU psychology professor M. Wilford Poulson pursued his studies of early church history in secret, fearing repercussions if school or church leaders learned of his activities. Sequestered in a locked basement den, closed even to members of his own family, Poulson amassed a monumental collection of virtually every book known to be in the public library nearest the home where Joseph Smith was raised in western New York. Poulson’s collection was given to BYU at his death (Taylor). By the 1950s, an increasing number of professionally trained Mormon historians had begun meeting informally to share research findings and “strategems by which [they] could overcome the reluctance of [church historical administrators] to allow [them] access to the rich materials housed [in church archives]” (Arrington). [p. 87] Budding historians were subsequently “taken aback,” however, when an article on the economic aspects of the Word of Wisdom by Utah State University professor and future Church Historian Leonard J. Arrington, published in the inaugural issue of BYU Studies, aroused “such an opposition on the part of one zealous [church] authority that the journal was suspended for a year” (Arrington). BYU director of libraries S. Lyman Tyler later admitted to President Ernest Wilkinson, “The idea that anything controversial involving the church will not be given fair treatment or will not be made available for publication at Brigham Young University . . . is a problem we are continually faced with in attempting to acquire manuscript materials that involve the church or prominent church members” (Tyler to Wilkinson).74

Despite these and other obstacles, interest in professional church history mounted. In 1965 the Mormon History Association was organized, and the following year Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought was established as an independent outlet for scholarly studies of Mormon history and contemporary Mormon life. In an unprecedented break with tradition, Arrington was officially appointed Church Historian in 1972, a position formerly held by General Authorities. “Now [the Church Historian’s office] is going to be a dispenser of information, and I thoroughly approve of the new policy,” commented retired President Wilkinson. “It was,” Assistant Church Historian Davis Bitton later wrote, “a golden decade–that someone has likened to Camelot.” Arrington and his staff oversaw the gradual lifting of restrictions on many of the materials housed in church archives, inaugurated a sixteen-volume sesquicentennial history of the church and a Mormon Heritage series of edited documents, discovered and cataloged more than fifty boxes of previously unknown historical materials, assisted church archivists in the preparation of registers and guides to archival collections, initiated an oral history program, established a summer fellowship for graduate students, and produced an impressive array of task papers, articles, monographs, and books.75

Underpinning Arrington’s own philosophy of historiography was his support of what has come to be termed the New Mormon History. As broadly defined by Thomas J. Alexander, Arrington’s associate at the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at BYU, the New Mormon History “derived from a belief that secular and spiritual motivation coexist in human affairs and that a sympathetic but critical evaluation of the Mormon past, using techniques derived from historical, humanistic, social-scientific, and religious perspectives, could help in understanding what was at base a religious movement.” “The true essence of God’s will,” Arrington had explained in his classic 1958 study of Mormon economics, Great Basin Kingdom,

[p. 88] cannot be apprehended without an understanding of the conditions surrounding the prophetic vision, and the symbolism and verbiage in which it is couched. . . . A naturalistic discussion of “the people and the times” and of the mind and experience of Latter-day prophets . . . makes more plausible the truths they attempted to convey. . . . [For] it is difficult, if not impossible to distinguish what is objectively “revealed” from what is subjectively “contributed” by those receiving the revelation.

Under Arrington’s direction, Lawrence Foster observed, “a sense of excitement and exhilaration was generated as increasing numbers of Latter-day Saints began to develop a direct, personal sense of their own history, [and] a deeper appreciation of the richness and complexity of the Mormon past.”76

Institutional support for the aims of the New Mormon History proved relatively shortlived, however. For example, some church authorities expressed considerable concern in 1974 when Reed C. Durham, Mormon History Association president and director of the LDS institute at the University of Utah, detailed the connections between Mormonism and Freemasonry in his MHA presidential address. Less than two years later in March 1976 during a BYU Sunday fireside, Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve since 1973, denounced “revisionist” historians whose “purpose has been and is to create a ‘new history.'” “The emphasis,” he declared, “is to underplay revelation and God’s intervention in significant events, and to inordinately humanize the prophets of God so that their human frailities become more apparent than their spiritual qualities. . . . No writer can accurately portray a prophet of God if he or she does not believe in prophecy.”77

Six months later, in addressing Church Educational System teachers, Benson singled out the newly published Story of the Latter-day Saints, particularly pages 69 and 95, by Assistant Church Historian James B. Allen and colleague Glen M. Leonard, contending that in “their attempt to satisfy and ingratiate themselves with historians, [the authors] have neglected the future destiny of young people in the church” (Wilkinson Journal, 22 Sept. 1976). “No teacher has the right to interpret doctrine” for church members, Benson insisted. For example, he explained, to teach

that the Word of Wisdom was an outgrowth of the temperance movement in America and that Joseph Smith selected certain prohibitions and dietary features from that movement and presented them to the Lord for confirmation is also to pronounce an explanation contradictory to the one given by Brigham Young. To suggest that Joseph Smith received the vision on the three degrees of glory . . . as he [p. 89] grappled for answers that contemporary philosophers were grappling for, is to infer an interpretation contrary to the prophet’s own.

“Avoid expressions and terminology which offend the brethren and church members,” Benson continued, offering as examples such phrases as “experimental systems,” “communal life,” “primitivists,” and the “prophet alleged.” “A revelation of God is not an experiment,” he insisted. “The Lord has already done his research. Revelations from God are not based on the theories or philosophies of men, regardless of their worldly learning.” Despite a sell-out first edition of 35,000 copies, The Story of the Latter-day Saints was not republished. One year later, BYU religion administrators decided that David Whittaker, an instructor in both religion and history, “should choose another topic instead of talking on polygamy [for a spring faculty lecture] for the problems it could cause.” In 1978, at the request of Elder Mark E. Petersen, an ecclesiastical and administrative investigation was conducted of a BYU undergraduate and his teacher when the student wrote a term paper analyzing the 1890 Wilford Woodruff Manifesto which ostensibly ended polygamy among Mormons. That same year, Leonard Arrington’s title was changed from Church Historian to Director of the History Division, an administrative demotion that took him out of direct contact with church officials.78

By 1980, ranking General Authorities had decided to “scuttle the sixteen-volume [sesquicentennial] history,” to “sharply circumscribe [other] projects that [had been] approved,” to “reject any suggestions, however meritorious, for worthy long-range projects,” to “allow the [Church Historical Department] to shrink by attrition,” and to again limit access to many important collections in church archives. Subsequent plans for a BYU-sponsored sesquicentennial church history symposium were severely curtailed. The executive committee of the Board of Trustees ruled that “no extensive advertising should be made . . . and any publication should not be announced in advance but should be determined following the outcome of a careful review after the symposium.” Arrington and his entire History Division were transferred from the Church Historical Department to BYU as the newly formed Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History in July 1980. There they continued the tradition of academic excellence they had established at church headquarters, although divorced of their official ties to church archives. Still, the concern over history did not abate. The following year, several trustees expressed reservations over the appointment of former Assistant Church Historian James Allen as chair of BYU’s history department, as well as over some of the “personnel in the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute” (Holland to Ballif and Butler). “The Lord made it very clear that some things are to be taught selectively, and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy,” [p. 90] Elder Boyd K. Packer warned church educators in August 1981. “One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the church or destroy the faith of those not ready for ‘advanced history’ is himself in spiritual jeopardy.” Finally, six months later in late January 1982, Arrington received formal notification that he had been succeeded as Church Historian–a position that had technically gone unfilled for four years–by G. Homer Durham, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.79

The first to hazard a public response to the criticisms of their profession by church leaders was D. Michael Quinn, BYU associate professor of history and former Arrington protege. Speaking to history majors in November 1981, Quinn commented that the kind of church history evidently required by Elders Benson and Packer, a “portrayal of LDS leaders as infallible both as leaders and as men,” would border on “idolatry.” He explained:

If a Latter-day Saint historian discussed the revelation to Joseph Smith about abstinence from tobacco, strong drinks, and hot drinks, and then failed to note that during the 1830s religious reformers and social reformers were involved nationally in urging abstinence from the identical things, any reader would have cause to criticize the historian and doubt his motives as well as his affirmation of the revelation’s truth. . . . Mormon historians would be false to their understanding of LDS doctrine, Sacred History of the scriptures, the realities of human conduct, and documentary evidence if they sought to defend the proposition that LDS prophets were infallible in their decisions and statments.80

News of Quinn’s rebuttal quickly reached a national audience, and other historians soon came out in support of his position, including the Mormon dean of the University of Utah Graduate School, James L. Clayton. Both Quinn and Clayton were later asked to meet individually with Elders Benson, Packer, and Petersen to discuss the controversy in a more congenial setting. Clayton reported to the church leaders that several members of the University of Utah history faculty were beginning to doubt whether they could in good conscience rely on church members who might feel constrained by church statements in their research and writing (“Interviews”). While the meeting ended amicably, when BYU opened in the fall of 1982, Mormon Americana, a semi-monthly LDS bibliography published by the Special Collections Division of the Harold B. Lee Library, was discontinued by school administrators because some trustees believed it promoted anti-Mormon works (Albrecht to Tate; SEP, 17 Nov. 1982). Early the next year, at the instruction of Elder Petersen, at least sixteen church members, including three BYU professors, were interviewed by their [p.91] bishops or stake presidents about the historical and doctrinal articles they had written for independent Mormon periodicals.81

While many faculty found these and similar attempts to circumscribe orthodoxy distasteful, others, particularly in religion, political science, and philosophy, sided with the critics of the Mormon historians. Louis C. Midgley, a professor of political science, wrote,

It is depressing to see some historians now struggling to get on the stage to act out the role of the mature, honest historian committed to something called “objective history,” and, at the same time, the role of the faithful Saint. The discordance between those roles has produced more than a little bad faith (that is, self-deception) and even, perhaps, some blatant hypocrisy; it has also produced some pretentious, bad history.

Though not directly tied to the debate over LDS historiography, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, speaking to church educators in mid-1984, voiced equal disdain for “wise and learned” sectarian scholars, whose writings “twist and pervert the scriptures to conform to their traditions, and if they get anything right it is an accident.” Reminiscent of J. Reuben Clark’s admonition forty years earlier, McConkie counseled church educators to “forget” all biblical translations but the King James Version. “No Latter-day Saint who is true and faithful in all things,” he added two months later in General Conference, “will ever pursue a course, or espouse a cause, or publish an article or book that weakens or destroys faith.”82

The persistent attempt to integrate secular and religious teachings at BYU has produced a Gordian knot of conflicting messages and confused priorities. Almost to a man, church officials have questioned the aims and intent of many of the school’s most academically competent faculty, while many academicians, especially those who have tried to relate their disciplines to their religion, have found their scholarly expertise at odds with the practical demands of their religious file leaders. When career church educator and former religion dean Jeffrey R. Holland assumed the BYU presidency in 1981, he promised that religious instruction would become “one of the most fundamental areas of emphasis in the Holland administration;” that religion would become the “hub” of the school’s “academic wheel” (BYU Today, June 1981). Yet no substantive changes followed Holland’s well intentioned pronouncements except his call, two years later, for additional loyalty to the church so that “in the time of battle and bullets, [church authorities] would . . . be reassured that our guns are not trained on them.”83

The recurring conflicts between BYU’s struggle to balance successfully its secular aims with its religious goals underscore the dynamics of secular scholarship and spiritual sensitivity–a problem that may [p. 92] have no ready solution. Research outside BYU has consistently indicated that “religion and scholarship tend to be incompatible,” that the “greater [the] involvement in college life,” especially at “high-quality institutions,” the more likely is the university experience to be “conducive to [religious] apostacy” (Steinberg; Caplovitz and Sherrow). While church and university officials would no doubt like to believe that their school is largely immune from the secularizing effects of higher education, historically they have not been able to stress either religion or academics without weakening their commitment to the other. Admittedly, the balance between the two has never been easy, particularly when institutional directives have emphasized BYU’s role both as an apologist for the church and as a leader in secular education. The inevitable, ensuing tension has been and remains one of the hallmarks of the Mormon quest for higher education.84


1. Nels L. Nelson to David O. McKay, 17 Aug. 1919, McKay Papers, Church Archives; Prospectus, 1876, p. 2 (cf. “Principal’s Report,” 27 Oct. 1876, p. 19, BYUA). George Sutherland, a non-LDS student, asked to be exempted from the academy’s religion requirement but was persuaded by Maeser to enroll voluntarily (BYU 1:178). Circular, 1879-80, p. 3; Deseret Evening News, 7 Aug. 1885 (cf. John Taylor to Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards, in Daily Enquirer, 10 June 1887). See also John C. Swensen, “Founder’s Day Speech,” 16 Oct. 1951, BYUA.

2. Circular, 1889-90, p. 13; Nelson to McKay; see General Theology Class Minutes, passim, BYUA.

3. Circular, 1889-90, p. 10; Circular, 1895-96, p. 25; Abraham H. Cannon Journal, 14 Nov. 1894, Archives and Manuscripts, BYU; Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association General Board Minutes, 5 Feb. 1902, Church Archives; Catalog, 1904-05, p. 40; Catalog, 1905-06, p. 27.

4. Catalog, 1907-08, p. 34; Catalog, 1908-09, p. 32; Catalog, 1909-10, p. 29; Quarterly, 1 May 1910, p. 21.

5. Quarterly, 1 Aug. 1911, p. 30; Quarterly, 1 May 1912, p. 30, (cf. Circular, 1900-01, p. 23, and Catalog, 1901-02, p. 35); Quarterly, 1915-16, p. 29; Quarterly, 1916-17, p. 32; Quarterly, 1917-18, p. 26 (cf. Quarterly, 1913-14, p. 35); Quarterly, 1919-20, p. 37; Nels L. Nelson to David O. McKay, 31 Aug. 1919, McKay Papers; “Lecturer Explains Interesting Data,” YN, 7 April 1926. See also the experience of Eugene L. Roberts, who arranged for theology credit for his courses in physical education, in Marva Hodson Gregory, “The Life and Educational Contributions of Eugene Lusk Roberts,” M.S. thesis, University of Utah, 1952, pp. 128-31.

6. “President Delivers Inaugural Address,” YN, 17 Oct. 1921; Provo Post, 20 Dec. 1921. A special Book of Mormon class was offered once in 1923 (Quarterly, 1923-24, p. 207) and was reincluded in 1936 (Catalog, 1 May 1936, pp. 226-27). Quarterly, 1921-22, pp. 137-39; Quarterly, 1922-23, pp. 185-93; Quarterly, 1927-28, p. 187; E. Edgar Fuller, “Faith of Modern Youth,” Improvement Era, May 1927, p. 620. The Department of Religion and Theology changed its name in 1929 to Religious Education with no associated change in course offerings.

7. Grant to Richard W. Young, Nov. 1882, in Truman G. Madsen, The Heritage of Heber J. Grant (Published by the family of Emily Grant, Edna S., and Axel A. Madsen, 22 Nov. 1961), p. 18; Grant to George Sutherland, 5 June 1941, attached to Grant to Franklin S. Harris, 7 June 1941, Grant file, BYUA. In his letter to Sutherland, Grant confessed, “When I write a letter of any importance I have to have somebody read it over and correct it.” Grant, from an address delivered at the semi-centennial celebration of Brigham Young University, 16 Oct. 1926, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, 1926, p. 97 (cf. p. 75); BYU 2:48-50; Conference Reports, April 1921 and April 1922; Ivins, in Conference Reports, Oct. 1925, pp. 28, 22, 23 (cf. Ivins, “Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy,” Church News, 10 Nov. 1934).

8. Penrose to Joseph W. McMurrin, 31 Oct. 1921, in First Presidency Letterpress Copybooks, Church Archives, also in American History: A Syllabus for Social Science 100 (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1977), pp. 428-29; Richards, “An Open Letter to College Students,” Improvement Era, June 1933, pp. 451f.

9. Tanner, in John A. Braithwaite, “Adam Samuel Bennion: Educator, Businessman, and Apostle,” M.A. thesis, BYU, 1965, p. 17 (cf. p. 18); Sperry, in Kenneth G. Bell, “Adam Samuel Bennion: Superintendent of L.D.S. Education–1919 to 1928,” M.R.E. thesis, BYU, 1969, p. 136; see Bennion correspondence with G. N. Child and Elbert Thomas, in Bennion Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, BYU; Berrett, in Bell, “Bennion,” pp. 137, 138; General Church Board of Education Minutes, 12 April 1921, 2 June 1920.

10. “Statistical Report of the L.D.S. Department of Education for the Year Ending June 30, 1927,” Bennion Papers; Bennion, a survey of the responses of seminary students to selected church teachings, Bennion Papers; Bennion to Franklin S. Harris, 1 Sept. 1927, Bennion Papers.

Since the early 1890s during Benjamin Cluff’s administration, BYA had sponsored a summer school with educators from the University of Texas and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor addressing academy faculty and students. After several interruptions, the school was moved in 1922 to Aspen Grove on the slopes of Mount Timpanogos, where the Model Ts of faculty and students had to be driven in reverse to ascend the steep incline. Both Harris and Bennion believed that the outdoor classes offered students an ideal laboratory for the natural sciences and the arts, especially. “There were lively arguments among the student groups,” remembered participant Andrew Karl Larson. “One of the most frequently tossed about subjects was Darwin’s theory of organic evolution.” Bennion’s six-week outdoor workshop was held in conjunction with the unversity’s regular Aspen Grove summer school. The BYU Alumni Association purchased Aspen Grove in 1962 and converted it into a family camp. BYU 1:268-69; Andrew M. Anderson, “Brigham Young University Alpine School,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1922, pp. 1067-70; Samuel W. Taylor, Rocky Mountain Empire (New York: Macmillan, 1978), p. 182; Keifer B. Sauls, interview, 29 Aug. 1973, attached to “Alpine Summer School,” UA 49; Larson, The Education of a Second Generation Swede (St. George, Utah: Author, 1976), p. 332, and especially pp. 325-73; Ephraim Hatch, “A History of the Brigham Young University Campus and the Department of the Physical Plant,” 8 vols, 4:50-51, BYUA.

11. Bennion to Harris, 1 Sept. 1927, Bennion Papers; Deseret News, 16 July 1927; Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), pp. 310-12. Cf. Dale C. LeCheminant, “John A. Widtsoe: Rational Apologist,” Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1977, pp. 143, 135, 182-83, and Latter-Day Revelation (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930). Widtsoe, In Search of Truth (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1930), p. 90. Although he later tempered his views somewhat, Widtsoe continued to publicly endorse critical scriptural studies, as in his “Is the Bible Translated Correctly?” Improvement Era, March 1940, p. 161, and Evidences and Reconciliations (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1943), p. 99. Widtsoe, How Science Contributes to Religion (Salt Lake City, 1927), p. 7, in LeCheminant, “John A. Widtsoe,” p. 152.

12. Thomas G. Alexander, “Between Revivalism and the Social Gospel: The Latter-day Saint Social Advisory Committee,” BYU Studies, Winter 1983, p. 36; Tanner, in Bell, “Bennion,” p. 80; Russel B. Swensen, Oral History, 13 Sept. 1978, p. 9, BYUA; “A Real Broadening Influence,” YN, 14 Oct. 1927. See Chapter 4 for additional details.

13. Braithwaite, “Bennion,” pp. 34-38 (cf. Bell, “Bennion,” pp. 96-98); J. Karl Wood to John A. Braithwaite, 20 July 1965, in Braithwaite, “Bennion,” p. 37; Sidney B. Sperry, in Bell, “Bennion,” p. 98; Tanner, in Bell, “Bennion,” p. 98; General Church Board of Education Minutes, 28 Dec. 1927, 1 Feb. 1928. Bennion was asked in 1924 to assume many of the duties of the Commissioner of Education, though he retained the title of superintendent. Despite the success of his summer institute, Bennion found many of his educational innovations increasingly questioned by leading church authorities. When the opportunity arose in late 1927 to join the Utah Power and Light Company as Director of Personnel, he accepted. J. Karl Wood, a seminary instructor during Bennion’s nine-year tenure, explained, “He could be more free and useful in his religious interpretations if he were not tied up to a church position” (Braithwaite, “Bennion,” pp. 97-103). For a biographical sketch of Merrill, see Gordon B. Hinckley, “Passing of Elder Joseph F. Merrill,” Improvement Era, March 1952, pp. 144-47, 203-07. Merrill to Harris, 7 May 1929, 28 March 1930, Harris Papers; Russel B. Swensen, “Mormons at the University of Chicago Divinity School: A Personal Reminiscence,” Dialogue, Summer 1972, pp. 37-47. The first Mormon to graduate from the University of Chicago Divinity School was Sidney B. Sperry, in 1931, who joined the BYU faculty the following year. Sidney B. Sperry, “A History of Graduate Religion at BYU,” p. 3, BYUA.

For his dissertation at Chicago, Russel Swensen had considered an analysis of Mormon origins but was dissuaded following a lengthy interview with B. H. Roberts, a member of the First Council of the Seventy and leading church intellectual. “Half the people in the church would apostatize if they knew the true history of the church,” Swensen remembered Roberts saying. “My best work will never be published. I do not have complete freedom to do the writing I would like to do” (Swensen, Oral History, p. 12, cf. Swensen, “Personal Reminiscence,” p. 44). Roberts’s comments regarding his “best works” probably referred to “The Truth, The Way, The Life,” and his two critical Book of Mormon studies. See Truman G. Madsen, “The Meaning of Christ–The Truth, The Way, The Life: An Analysis of B. H. Roberts’ Unpublished Masterwork,” BYU Studies, Spring 1975, pp. 259-92; Wesley P. Walters, “The Origin of the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Pastoral Practice, 1979, pp. 123-52; Madsen, “B. H. Roberts and the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies, Summer 1979, pp. 427-45; George D. Smith, Jr., “Defending the Keystone: Book of Mormon Difficulties,” Sunstone, May-June 1981, pp. 45-50.

14. Swensen, “Personal Reminiscence,” p. 45; Packer, Seek Learning Even By Study and Also By Faith (Religious Instruction, 1974), p. 3. In contrast to Packer’s criticism of the Chicago movement, see T. Edgar Lyon, in Swensen, “Personal Reminiscence,” p. 47: “It was a time of intellectual and spiritual awakening which was the entering wedge that put the church educational system in contact with the ongoing mainstream of Christian scriptural and historical research, [and] aided in the metamorphosis of the L.D.S. church from a sectionally oriented to a world-wide church in less than forty years.”

15. Survey findings have been combined from the following studies: Le Roi B. Groberg, “A Preliminary Study of Certain Activities, the Religious Attitudes and Financial Status of Returned Missionaries Residing Within Wayne Stake, Wayne County, Utah,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1936; Reed G. Probst, “A Study of Fifty-Seven Returned Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Idaho Stake of Bannock County, Idaho, 1935-36,” M.A. thesis, BYU, 1936; Alma W. King, “A Survey of the Religious, Social, and Economic Activities or Practices of the Returned Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Who Now Live in the Garland Ward of the Bear River Stake, Utah,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1936; E. Ray Gardner, “A Preliminary Study of Social Backgrounds and Subsequent Activities of Three Hundred Forty-Two Brigham Young University Graduates, 1922-32,” M.A. thesis, BYU, 1934; Harold T. Christensen and Kenneth L. Cannon, “The Fundamentalist Emphasis at Brigham Young University: 1935-73,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1978, pp. 53-57; and Christensen’s and Cannon’s unpublished findings in authors’ possession. For the additional concerns of church youth leaders, see Scott G. Kenney, “The Religious Life and Thought of E. E. Ericksen: Crusading Heretic,” pp. 32-47, copy in authors’ possession, Kenney, “E. E. Ericksen: Loyal Heretic,” Sunstone, July-Aug. 1978, pp. 22-25, and Kenney, “The Mutual Improvement Associations: A Preliminary History, 1900-50,” pp. 28-31, copy in authors’ possession. BYU Administrative Council Minutes, 18 Oct. 1920 (cf. Faculty Minutes, 8 May 1922); BYU 2:289; Salt Lake Tribune, 10 April 1932; Conference Reports, April 1932, p. 66; James E. Talmage Journal, 9 April 1932, Talmage Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, BYU; Reed Smoot Journal, 8 May 1932, Smoot Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, BYU; Heber J. Grant to Reed Smoot, 30 May 1932, Smoot Papers. Drafts of Richards’s sermon are located in Richards Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, BYU. One version has been published as “Bringing Humanity to the Gospel,” Sunstone, May-June 1979, pp. 43-46.

16. Joseph F. Merrill to President of LDS Church Schools, 2 May 1929, Harris Papers; Merrill to Harris, 4 Dec. 1931, 1 March 1933, Harris Papers; Howard W. Pease, “A Chronological and Comparative Listing of Events of BYU, Church and State, and National History from 1847 to 1973,” 7 Oct. 1974, UA 586; General Church Board of Education Minutes, 15 May 1934.

17. Faculty Minutes, 29 Sept. 1908; Harvey Fletcher, “Autobiography,” p. 41, in Fletcher file, BYUA; faculty tithing statistics in Printed Material 34, e-2, BYUA; “Tithing Record of the Faculty of the Brigham Young University for 1915, Exclusive of Those Who Discontinued Service June 30,” UA 148. Of a total faculty of sixty-seven, three paid no tithing, twenty-eight paid less than a full 10 percent tithing, ten paid more than one and one half the required amount, and four paid more than three times the required amount. Faculty tithing statistics in Franklin L. West Papers, UA 536; Jensen to Franklin L. West, 18 March 1940, Harris Papers (see also First Presidency to West, 7 May 1940, in West to Jensen, 9 May 1940, West Papers).

18. See, for example, Lowry Nelson to Asael Hansen, 6 May 1930, Harris Papers (cf. Faculty Minutes, 28 April 1930; Merrill to Harris, 28 March 1930, Harris Papers); Faculty Minutes, 28 March 1932; Lowry Nelson to Harris, 8 March 1929, Harris Papers; Gates to Harris, 27 Feb. 1930, Harris Papers; Harris to Gates, 1 March 1930, Harris Papers; Gates to Harris, 8 March 1930, Harris Papers; Harris to Widtsoe, 21 May 1930, Harris Papers.

19. Faculty Minutes, 19 Feb. 1934 (cf. Adam S. Bennion’s earlier, more gently worded questionnaire to seminary teachers, 3 Jan. 1927, in Circular Letters, Church Educational System, Church Archives). Some church authorities suggested that an approach similar to Widtsoe’s and Callis’s be adopted for all prospective faculty (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., to Heber J. Grant and Anthony W. Ivins, 13 March 1934, Clark Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, BYU). Faculty Minutes, 23 April 1934; H. Grant Ivins to Lowry Nelson, 24 April 1967, Nelson Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, University of Utah.

20. William E. Berrett, “My Story,” p. 47, BYUA; Callis, in David Dryden, “Biographical Essays on Four General Authorities of the Twentieth Century: Charles A. Callis, Albert E. Bowen, Adam S. Bennion, and Matthew Cowley,” Task Papers in LDS History, No. 12 (Salt Lake City: Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976), p. 12; Kenney, “E. E. Ericksen,” p. 34; LeCheminant, “John A. Widtsoe,” pp. 151, 178, 179 (cf. T. Edgar Lyon, Oral History, pp. 101, 162-63, Church Archives).

21. Ivins to Nelson, op. cit. At the close of his account, Ivins summarized, “The feeling of slavery was constantly present, and I am one to rebel against any attempt to tell me what I can think or even what I can say.” Feeling unable to remain at BYU, he left for public and later private business in 1946.

22. Harris to Cannon, 11 Aug. 1934, Harris Papers; Harris to Grant, 28 Nov. 1934, 6 Aug. 1937, Harris Papers; Clark III, Oral History, 19 Jan. 1982, pp. 5-6, BYUA; Christensen, in Friends and Associates (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1945), p. 53, cf. pp. 40, 98. “President Harris came closer to establishing a climate of academic freedom and operating a real university in the traditional sense than had been true at any time prior to him, or since,” wrote Purdue sociologist Harold T. Christensen in “Picking Up Where I Left Off,” p. 15, “Mormon or Sociologist? Memoirs of a Marginal Man,” 1983, copy in authors’ possession.

23. See Nelson to Russell, 2 Nov. 1934, Nelson Papers; Russell to Nelson, 6 Nov. 1934, Nelson Papers; Harris to Russell, 22 Nov. 1934, Nelson Papers; Nelson, “Last Judgment,” 1978, pp. 28-32, and “Eighty: One Man’s Way There–A Memoir,” 1973, pp. 93-104, Nelson Papers. For a brief biography of Nelson, see Arrington and Bitton, The Mormon Experience, pp. 316-17.

24. Reported in Ivins to Nelson, 24 April 1967; Nelson, “Eighty,” p. 102.

25. Conference Reports, Oct. 1935, pp. 102-03; Christensen, “Faith Versus Scholarship: One Man’s Struggle to Blend the Two,” 30 Aug. 1983, pp. 5-7, copy in authors’ possession. Christensen later asked BYU administrators twice if he could repeat his original survey but was rebuffed both times. His research was eventually published in 1978, in Christensen and Cannon, “The Fundamentalist Emphasis at Brigham Young University.” Harris, statement read during first faculty meeting, 1936, Harris Papers; Grant to Harris, 11 June 1937, Harris Papers. For specific complaints, see Grant to Harris, 7 May 1936; Harris to Sylvester Q. Cannon, 11 Aug. 1934, and Tom Broadbent to Harris, 10 Aug. 1936, all in Harris Papers.

26. Merrill to Jensen, 28 May 1940, Harris Papers. Harris had been granted a leave of absence to travel to Iran. Quarterly, 1937-38, pp. 178-81 (cf. Quarterly, 1936-37, pp. 225-32); Catalog, 1939-40, p. 196. The “Restored Gospel” was listed as a “Freshman Course” and “Foundations of Religious Living” as a “Sophomore Course” (p. 195), though no indication was given of a theology requirement until 1940. “Frosh and Soph Religious Courses Revised,” YN, 14 Sept. 1939. For similar trends in the church generally, see Paul C. Richards, “A Survey of the Lesson Content of Sunday School Manuals in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1900 to 1968,” tables 2, 3, 7, and 8, Special Collections, BYU. References to faculty temple excursions appear in Faculty Minutes, 31 Jan., 9 May 1938, 22 Aug. 1949; Deans’ Council Minutes, 8 Aug. 1949; Board of Trustees Minutes, 9 Sept. 1949; and A. C. Lambert, “Academic Freedom at Brigham Young University and the Temple Oaths,” Lambert Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, University of Utah. First Presidency to Executive Committee of the General Church Board of Education, 21 Feb. 1942, First Presidency Papers, Church Archives.

27. Clark’s attitude towards the church before his appointment to the First Presidency was not conventionally orthodox. He attended meetings irregularly, was sometimes delinquent in tithing payments, sent his children to a protestant Sunday school, espoused a relatively liberal attitude toward the Word of Wisdom, and complained about wearing temple garments during the the summer (Frank W. Fox, J. Reuben Clark: The Public Years [Provo/Salt Lake City: BYU Press/Deseret Book Co., 1980]), and especially D. Michael Quinn, J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years [Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1983], pp. 46, 53, 54, 78, 164). Clark to Ernest L. Wilkinson, 8 Feb. 1950, Clark Papers. Clark’s intellectual position stemmed from his own early experiences in attempting to approach the church intellectually. As a young law student, he had felt able to stave off impending apostasy only by deciding not to examine fundamental gospel principles. See Clark to Cloyd H. Marion, 1 Dec. 1956 and 9 Dec. 1959, Clark Papers.

28. Clark to John A. Widtsoe, 29 June 1930, Clark Papers (cf. Clark to Harris, 5 Nov. 1931, Harris Papers); Clark, church school papers, Clark Papers; Clark to Milton L. Bennion, 19 April 1943, Clark Papers.

29. Clark, “The Chartered Course of the Church in Education,” 8 Aug. 1938, BYUA; reprinted in Church News, 13 Aug. 1938; Improvement Era, Sept. 1938, pp. 520ff, and MFP 6:44-58. This widely distributed document subsequently became the “underpinning” of future church declarations on education (see MFP 6:44, and Packer, By Study, p. 4). See the report of the summer school workshop in Improvement Era, Nov. 1938, p. 671; Swensen, Oral History, p. 27; Dean R. Brimhall to Wallace Stegner, 29 Jan. 1942, Brimhall Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, University of Utah. For an example of the LDS intellectualism that Clark and other church authorities found dangerous, see Lucile C. Tate, LeGrand Richards–Beloved Apostle (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), pp. 191-93. Clark had also been partially responsible for the decline in “the social outreach beyond the church organization which had characterized the late teens and early 1920s” (Alexander, “Between Revivalism,” pp. 37, 39). Clark to Franklin L. West, 17 Feb. 1940, First Presidency Papers, Church Archives (see also MFP 6:208-09). Similar views were later expressed by Elder Ezra Taft Benson in “The Gospel Teacher and His Message,” an address to church educators, 17 Sept. 1976, copy in authors’ possession, yet cf. Commissioner of Education Neal A. Maxwell, The Deposition of a Disciple (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976). Clark later added, “Profane history may be used when necessary and contributive, but when used it should be obtained from reputable and recognized authorities, not from propaganda sources” (First Presidency to Harris, 29 Feb. 1940, Harris Papers, and MFP 6:209). Juanita Brooks to Dale Morgan, 4 June 1945, in Brooks, Quicksand and Cactus: A Memoir of the Southern Mormon Frontier (Salt Lake City: Howe Brothers, 1982), p. xxxiii.

30. For Smith’s impact on Mormon theological interpretations, see William G. Bangerter, “The People Who Influence Us,” Ensign, May 1975, p. 29; Grant to Smith, 31 Dec. 1938, Smith Papers, Church Archives, also in Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., and John J Stewart, The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, Tenth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972), p. 213 (cf. Richard O. Cowan, “Advice From a Prophet: Take Time Out,” BYU Studies, Spring 1976, p. 416). “A Patriarchal blessing given by Patriarch Joseph D. Smith of Fillmore, at Scipio, Millard County, Utah, May 11, 1913, upon the head of Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr.,” in Smith and Stewart, Joseph Fielding Smith, p. 195. (Smith attached a copy of his blessing to his journal during a time when “he felt somewhat embattled in trying to keep the church from drifting away from fundamental doctrine.”) Richard Sherlock, “A Turbulent Spectrum: Mormon Reactions to the Darwinist Legacy,” Journal of Mormon History, 1978, p. 35, and “Faith and History: The Snell Controversy,” Dialogue, Spring 1979, p. 33; Smith and Stewart, Joseph Fielding Smith, pp. 320-21; Smith to Sidney B. Sperry, 5 Sept. 1941, Sperry Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, BYU (cf. Smith to Heber C. Snell, 27 May 1949, Snell Papers, Archives and Manuscripts, Utah State University). Smith later admitted, “We should have some sympathy for people traditioned in the vagaries and foolish traditions of the world, when we discover how tenaciously members of the church cling to foolish notions in spite of all that is written” (Smith to Ernest Cook, 24 Aug. 1949, copy in authors’ possesion). Smith to Sperry, 24 May 1926, Sperry Papers; Smith to Franklin L. West and Milton L. Bennion, 11 March 1937, Smith Papers; Joseph Fielding Smith Journal, 28 Dec. 1938, Smith Papers, also in Smith and Stewart, Joseph Fielding Smith, pp. 211-12. See also Chapter 4.

31. Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 5 Jan. 1940. For events immediately preceding the establishment of the Division of Religion, see Sidney B. Sperry to Daryl Chase, 9 Nov. 1939; Chase to Sperry, 27 Nov. 1939; Sperry to Chase, 6 Dec. 1939–all in Sperry Papers.

32. First Presidency to Board of Education,”Principles Controlling Church-Paid Service,” 21 April 1942, First Presidency Papers, Church Archives; First Presidency to Board of Trustees, 23 April 1942, Bennion Papers; “A Statement of Principles Affecting the Church School System Based on Communications From the First Presidency of the Church to the General Church Board of Education and the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University,” in Board of Education Minutes, 5 June 1942; Stephen L Richards to Franklin L. West, 15 Feb. 1944, West Papers; First Presidency to the Executive Committee of the Board of Education, 21 Feb. 1945, First Presidency Papers (also in MFP 6:220-23).

33. Board of Education Minutes, 28 April 1944; BYU 2:450-55; Clark, in First Presidency to Church Committee on Publications, 9 Aug. 1944, Harris Papers, also in MFP 6:209-13; Catalog, 1958-59, p. 365; Graduate Faculty Meeting, College of Religious Instruction, 3 Jan. 1963, BYUA. The first Ph.D. in religion was awarded to Melvin S. Tagg in 1963 (88th Annual Commencement Convocation of Brigham Young University, p. 24, BYUA). “Proposed Changes in the Academic and Organizational Structure of the Division of Religion,” 6 Oct. 1958, BYUA; Board of Trustees Minutes, 14 Jan. 1959 (cf. Ernest L. Wilkinson, memo of conference with the First Presidency, 15 Jan. 1959, Wilkinson Papers).

34. First Presidency to Church Committee on Publications, 9 Aug. 1944. See also First Presidency to Harris, 9 Aug. 1944, Harris Papers, also in MFP 6:215; Faculty Minutes, 21 Aug. 1944.

35. Church Committee on Publications and the Reading Committee, Joint Minutes, 21 Aug. 1944, UA 96; Committee on Publications to Milton Bennion et al., 29 Sept. 1944, Sperry Papers; Committee on Publications to Milton Bennion et al., 7 Sept. 1945, Sperry Papers; Joseph Fielding Smith to Sidney B. Sperry, 22 Aug. 1947, Sperry Papers. For Snell’s proposed appointment to the BYU faculty, see Levi Edgar Young to Howard S. McDonald, 21 May 1945, and John A. Widtsoe to McDonald, 31 May 1945, both in Snell Papers. Snell, Ancient Israel: Its Story and Meaning (Salt Lake City: Stevens and Wallace, 1948); Sherlock, “Faith and History,” pp. 27-41. Snell’s major critic was Joseph Fielding Smith. Snell felt that the church had “failed to make an application of the truths of religion to the needs of our own day, to people both within the church and on the outside” (“Discussion Meeting on Selected Problems of L.D.S. Education,” 1 Sept. 1950, copy in authors’ possession). For a contrasting view of Joseph Fielding Smith’s role as doctrinal purist, see Berrett, “My Story,” pp. 46-48.

36. Keifer B. Sauls, interview, 8 Aug. 1972, BYUA; Sauls, Oral History, 6 June 1979, pp. 20, 26, BYUA; Swensen, Oral History, pp. 21-22. See BYU 2:624-25. Lambert, “Liberalism-Orthodoxy,” Lambert Papers. Though Lambert periodically returned to BYU as a consultant to the president, he never resumed a major administrative or teaching position (Wilkinson Journal, 26, 27 May 1955, Wilkinson Papers; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 26 May 1955).

37. Clark, “Preparation of Teachers–Build a Simple Faith,” 19 Sept. 1956, BYUA; Wilkinson Journal, 22 April 1957; Clark, “The Genius of Our Church Organization,” 17 June 1958, BYUA (cf. William E. Berrett, “Academic Freedom in Church Schools,” 1 July 1958, BYUA, who reported, “Academic freedom embraces the freedom to accept or reject Christ,” and Mark E. Petersen, “Avoiding Sectarianism,” 22 June 1962, BYUA, who also echoed, “In teaching the gospel there is no academic freedom. There is only fundamental orthodox doctrine and truth”). For other expressions of Wilkinson’s conservative orthodoxy, see Wilkinson to Selby G. Clark, 8 Oct. 1954, UA 63, and Clark to Wilkinson, Oct. 1954, UA 63, where Wilkinson proposed that criteria for academic scholarships include seminary attendance and grades, tithing, priesthood offices held, and “positions of leadership.”

By the late 1940s, some church leaders had become uneasy over Franklin L. West’s administration as Commissioner of Education, a position he held since 1936, particularly his “liberal approach” to the miracles of the Old Testament (Wilkinson Journal, 10 June 1955). Under West’s sponsorship, several church educators authored texts reflecting contemporary scriptural scholarship. These included Russel B. Swensen, New Testament Literature (1940), Sidney B. Sperry, The Spirit of the Old Testament (1940), and Daryl Chase, Christianity Through the Ages (1944). West also evidently contemplated a graduate religion program at BYU where Heber C. Snell and Mormon philosopher Sterling McMurrin would teach comparative religious philosophy (see Snell to McMurrin, 27 June 1943, McMurrin Papers). Despite the First Presidency’s earlier reservations about having one man administer all church schools, Wilkinson was named chancellor over the church school system, including BYU, upon West’s retirement in 1953 (First Presidency to Executive Committee of the Board of Education, 21 Feb. 1945; Board of Education Minutes, 26 June 1953).

38. Wilkinson to Student Body, DU, 4 Nov. 1951; James W. Brimhall to Editor, DU, 15 Nov. 1951; Robert Chambers to Editor, DU, 15 Nov. 1951; Dick Firth to Editor, DU, 15 Nov. 1951; Dell Foutz to Editor, DU, 29 Oct. 1953; “Offices to be Closed During Assemblies,” DU, 26 Oct. 1966; “Universe Tabulation of Faculty-Student Opinion,” DU, 20 Nov. 1951; attendance information in Printed Material, e-3, BYUA; “Report of University General Education Committee,” May 1960, p. 5, BYUA; “Honor System Faces Stiff Test,” DU, 9 Jan. 1967; “Why Not Go To Assemblies,” DU, 15 April 1970; BYU 3:337-40; “Revised Religion Requirements,” 3 May 1972, BYUA (cf. “No Religion Credit for Devotional,” DU, 16 May 1972); “Plea Given for Greater Devotional Attendance,” DU, 12 Sept. 1984; “Devotionals, Forums Could Be History,” DU, 12 Sept. 1984. In an attempt to increase attendance, school officials decided in 1984 to reschedule devotionals from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (“Devotional Time Rescheduled in Attempt to Up Attendance,” DU, 14 June 1984). Church-wide devotional programs broadcast by radio were promoted in the early 1960s as were televised programs in the early 1980s (Emerson R. West, “A Study of the Reactions of the Latter-day Saint Young to the Thirteen Fireside Programs Given in the Winter of 1960,” M.A. thesis, BYU, 1961; “Purpose of Life to Gain Experiences,” DU, 6 March 1984).

Students exhibited the same kind of resistance to compulsory religion classes when these were instituted a generation earlier. In 1920, BYU’s student yearbook editors observed, “Regular theology; could anything be more unkind?” and student columnist Sam Taylor quipped, “A fortune could be made selling strong black coffee at the door of theology classes.” Many students acquired the habit of doing homework during devotionals, while some coeds knitted. Addressing at least one area of student dissatisfaction, Y News reporter Theron Luke editorialized in 1934, “High officials of the church . . . would find themselves much more favorably received if they did not remind the students at the outset that the world is full of sin, that man’s life must be spent worrying about the next and preparing for it, and that he must fear God in these latter days and prepare for the end.” Banyan 1920, p. 156; “Taylored Topics,” YN, 17 Oct. 1930; “A Warning,” WB, 25 April 1911; “Stop! Luke! Listen!” YN, 2 March 1934.

39. Suggested in Manning M. Pattillo, Jr., and Donald M. MacKenzie, Church-Sponsored Higher Education in the United States: Report of the Danforth Commission (Washington, D.C.: American Council on Education, 1966), p. 149; see West, “A Study,” p. 67. Among the last major private universities to abolish compulsory chapel, roughly comparable to BYU’s weekly devotionals, was Yale in 1926 (“Chapel,” Time, 24 May 1926, p. 20).

40. Evan T. Petersen, “Expressed Religiosity of 570 BYU Students,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1953, p. 64 (cf. Braithwaite, “Bennion,” pp. 104-06); “Report of Committee on Religious Activity at BYU,” Bennion Papers; Board of Education, Executive Committee Minutes, 4 Nov. 1954; Wilkinson Journal, 17, 20 Oct., 3 Nov., 1955 (cf. Board of Education, Executive Committee Minutes, 20 Oct. 1955); Antone K. Romney, Oral History, 21 Feb. 1974, p. 19, BYUA; Wilkinson Journal, 9 Nov. 1955 (cf. Board of Trustees Minutes, 9 Nov. 1955; Wilkinson Journal, 15 Nov. 1955); Wilkinson Journal, 22, 26 Dec. 1955, 7 Jan. 1956, 17 April 1960; BYU 4:176, 188. See also “Branches Meet in Unorthodox Places,” DU, 22 May 1973; and “Brigham’s Sunday Punch (and Cookies),” BYU Today, December 1981, p. 7. As president, Howard McDonald had asked to serve as a high counselor in the Provo Stake in order to supervise and coordinate the activities of the married students’ branch with the rest of the stake (BYU 2:472).

41. For religious attitudes among American college students generally, see Alexander W. Astin, Four Critical Years: Effects of College on Beliefs, Attitudes, and Knowledge (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1977), pp. 55-87; David Caplovitz and Fred Sherrow, The Religious Drop-Outs: Apostasy Among College Graduates (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1977), pps. 107-27; and Philip K. Hastings and Dean R. Hoge, “Religious Trends Among College Students, 1948-79,” Social Forces, Dec. 1981, pp. 517-31; Christensen and Cannon, “Fundamentalist Emphasis,” and their unpublished results (in authors’ possession); M. Dallas Burnett et al., “A Survey of Attitudes of Brigham Young University Alumni,” June 1974, BYUA; LDS Correlation Evaluation, “Religious Activity Among Latter-day Saints,” Feb. 1982, pp. 156-57, copy in authors’ possession. For other studies confirming the trend among BYU students toward greater religiosity and orthodoxy, see Printed Material 34, e-3; West, “A Study,” p. 57; John Hawkins et al., “A Study of Current Student Attitudes About Brigham Young University and Their Implications for University Fund Raising Programs,” 1969, p. 47, BYUA; and Erlend D. Peterson, “Attitudes Concerning Birth Control and Abortion as Related to LDS Religiosity of Brigham Young University Students,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1971, p. 64. But Gary Marsden, “Campus Religious Group Participation and Dogmatism as Factors Related to Changes in Religious Commitment of Mormon College Students,” Measuring Mormonism, April 1974, pp. 27-39, reported a statistically significant decrease in religious commitment among Mormon students at state universities; Gerald Norman Stott, “The Impact of Education on Religiosity: A Study of Mormons and Southern Baptists,” Ph.D. diss, Southern Illinois University, 1981, found that with educational advancement, “unequivocal belief” among Mormons tends to decrease; and Sheldon Dahl, “A Study of Student Disturbance Regarding Selected Religious Beliefs and Opinions,” Ed.D. diss., BYU, 1971, observed that BYU students tend to experience more religious conflict as they progress through school, although the net impact does not appear to be nearly as significant as at other major American universities.

42. Lambert, in “Brigham’s Sunday Punch,” p. 9; Antone K. Romney, Oral History, 21 Feb. 1974, p. 22.

43. Faculty Minutes, 29 Nov. 1937; Board of Education, Executive Committee Minutes, 26 May, 27 Oct. 1955 (cf. Ben E. Lewis, “Is It All Right to Study Religion Homework on Sunday?” New Era, November 1972, p. 19); “Elder McConkie Addresses BYU Stakes,” SEP, 18 Nov. 1981; BYU 3:437-39; Wilkinson Journal, 9 Nov. 1961; Wilkinson, memo of a conference with Presidents McKay and Brown, 16 Nov. 1961, Wilkinson Papers; “Y Will Compete in Sunday TV Show Says Pres; Sports Not Comparable,” DU, 28 Nov. 1961; Wilkinson Journal, 31 Dec. 1961; Wilkinson, memo of a conference with President David O. McKay, 19 Jan. 1962, Wilkinson Papers; DU, 2, 8, 15, 22, 29 Jan. 1962. BYU won its four matches before losing to DePauw University; the team’s winnings totaled $6,000. President’s Weekly Minutes, 13 Oct. 1976, 16 Feb. 1977; Board of Trustees Minutes, 7 May 1980.

44. Sauls, Oral History, p. 39; Wilkinson Journal, 22 April 1957, cf. Wilkinson, memo of a conference with David O. McKay, 16 April 1959, Wilkinson Papers; Wilkinson, “Notes for Presentation to First Presidency on `Tithing’ Problem,” 16 April 1959, copy in authors’ possession; The Messenger (Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), April 1957; Wilkinson, memo of a conference with David O. McKay, 8 April 1957, Wilkinson Papers; Wilkinson, “The Principle and Practice of Paying Tithing,” 25 Sept. 1957, p. 24, BYUA.

45. Wilkinson Journal, 13 March, 23, 26, 28, 30 April 1959; Wilkinson, memo of a conference with David O. McKay, 16 April 1959, Wilkinson Papers. Final statistics revealed that 73 percent of the faculty paid a full tithing for the previous year, 18 percent paid partial tithing, and 9 percent paid no tithing. Board of Education, Executive Committee Minutes, 23 April 1959; Board of Education Minutes, 29 April 1959; Wilkinson, memo of a conference with David O. McKay, 29 April 1959, Wilkinson Papers.

46. Wilkinson Journal, 21-22 Sept. 1959; Wilkinson, “The Return of Full Value,” 21 Sept. 1959, p. 11, BYUA.

47. Wilkinson Journal, 23 Jan., 12, 16 Feb. 1960; The Messenger, Jan. 1960; Wilkinson, memo of a conference with David O. McKay, 3 Feb. 1960, Wilkinson Papers; Wilkinson, memo of a conference with the First Presidency, 9 Feb. 1960, Wilkinson Papers (cf. Board of Education Minutes, 2 March 1960); Wilkinson Journal, 23, 26-27 Feb. 1960; Board of Education Minutes, 4 May 1960; Presiding Bishopric to Wilkinson, 24 May 1963, Wilkinson Papers. For later attempts to force tithing payment, see Thomas S. Monson to Wilkinson, 5 May 1977, copy in authors’ possession; Wilkinson, memo, 7 July 1967, Wilkinson Papers; and Ben E. Lewis, minutes of a meeting, 8 June 1970, BYUA.

48. Earl C. Crockett to Wilkinson, 25 Jan. 1960, Wilkinson Papers; General Education Committee Report, May 1960, p. 2, BYUA; College of Religious Instruction Faculty Minutes, 5 May 1960, BYUA (cf. College of Religious Instruction Chairmen Minutes, 23 June 1960, BYUA, and College of Religious Instruction Faculty Minutes, 24 June 1960); Wilkinson Journal, 22 Dec. 1960; Lee and Romney to Board of Education, 15 March 1961, BYUA; Board of Education Minutes, 7 June 1961; Catalog, 1962-64, p. 19. From the mid- to late 1960s, the College of Religious Instruction experimented with teaching Book of Mormon to students using pre-recorded television videotapes. Despite several modifications in the approach, the experiment proved unsatisfactory, and the project was discontinued.

49. Packer, “The Ideal Teacher,” 28 June 1962, p. 3, BYUA; Tanner, “Address to Faculty and Staff,” 14 Sept. 1965, pp. 9-10, BYUA; Lee, “Loyalty,” 8 July 1966, p. 11, BYUA; Lee, “Viewpoint of a Giant,” 18 July 1968, p. 3. Lee later reiterated his definition during a General Conference address; see “The Iron Rod,” Ensign, June 1971, p. 7. Brown, “An Eternal Quest-Freedom of the Mind,” 13 May 1969, Speeches, 1969, pp. 9-10. “I too have had my struggle with some [intellectual] problems,” Brown privately admitted (Eugene E. Campbell and Richard D. Poll, Hugh B. Brown: His Life and Thought [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1975], p. 283; see also p. 281).

50. Some of these complaints can be found in Kenneth Nessen to Joseph Fielding Smith, 5 March 1967, UA 584 (cf. Roy W. Doxey to Wilkinson, 23 March 1967, and Wilkinson to Smith, 23 March 1967, UA 584); College of Religious Instruction Departmental Chairmen’s Minutes, 30 Sept. 1963, 29 July, 30 Sept., 9, 21 Oct. 1964, 22 Sept. 1965, UA 584; B. West Belnap to All Full and Part-Time Teachers in the College of Religious Instruction, 22 Oct. 1964, UA 584; Crockett to Belnap, 25 Sept. 1964, UA 584; LaMar Berrett, authors’ interview, 25 Sept. 1978.

51. Several of these charges can be found in Mark E. Petersen to Harold Goodman, 2 April 1970, copy in authors’ possession; Petersen to Dallin H. Oaks, 16 Oct. 1978, copy in authors’ possession; Hyrum Andrus to Harold B. Lee, 24 Nov. 1969, copy in authors’ possession; First Presidency to William E. Berrett, 9 Dec. 1969, copy in authors’ possession; Martin Miscellaneous, March 1976, p. 9; Oaks to Jeffrey R. Holland, 4 Jan. 1979, copy in authors’ possession; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 16 Nov. 1978; Board of Trustees Minutes, 3 Jan. 1979; McConkie, “The Seven Deadly Heresies,” 1 June 1980, transcribed from an audio recording; Pace, “Developing a Personal Relationship with the Savior,” 15 July 1975, in Speeches, 1975, pp. 169-85; test question quoted in Religious Instruction Administrative Council Minutes, 1 Nov. 1979, UA 553. See also T. Allen Lambert to Editor, SEP, 17 May 1982. Pace, What It Means to Know Christ (Provo, Utah: Council Press, 1981). Six months earlier, McConkie had publicly hinted that church authorities were not pleased with some of the ideas advanced by Pace (“Elder McConkie Addresses BYU Stakes,” SEP, 18 Nov. 1981). McConkie, “Our Relationship With the Lord,” 2 March 1982, in Speeches, 1982 (reprinted as “What Is Our Relationship to Members of the Godhead?” Church News, 20 March 1982).

The most articulate proponent of the theory of a progressing God was BYU English professor Eugene England, a founding editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. In the late 1970s, he first publicly presented his ideas in a lecture co-sponsored by the Honors Program and ASBYU Academic Office (“The Lord’s University,” copy in authors’ possession). McConkie then condemned England’s speculations in a BYU Sunday fireside address entitled, “The Seven Deadly Heresies.” McConkie explained, “Why anyone would suppose that an infinite and eternal being . . . has more to learn and new truths to discover in the laboratories of eternity is totally beyond comprehension. . . . If God is just dabbling with a few truths he has already chanced to learn, or experimenting with a few facts he has already discovered, we have no idea as to the real end and purpose of creation” (“Seven Deadly Heresies”). An edited version of McConkie’s talk was published in Speeches, 1980, pp. 74-80. For additional details, see Chapter 4.

52. Smith to Nels B. Lundwall, 3 March 1959, in Gerber, Mormon Manuscripts 14:33, microfilm, BYU; Sperry to William E. Berrett, 15 Aug. 1958, Sperry Papers; Board of Trustees Minutes, 16 Dec. 1960, cf. 2 Sept. 1964; correspondence in James R. Clark file, BYUA. After the appearance of the second volume in 1965, Milton R. Hunter, a member of the First Council of the Seventy, wrote to Clark that he had proposed a similar project several years earlier but had been told that “so many things had changed in conditions throughout the history of the church that many of the messages of the First Presidency did not apply now that had been given earlier and . . . that it would be best for it not to be published” (29 March 1965, Clark file). Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 6 March 1963, 3 Nov. 1965; Stephen R. Covey to B. West Belnap, 20 Dec. 1965, UA 584; Wilkinson to Belnap, 26 Feb. 1966, UA 584 (cf. College of Religious Instruction Departmental Chairmen’s Minutes, 2 March 1966).

53. Wilkinson to Belnap, 8 Feb. 1966, and Belnap to Wilkinson, 14 Feb. 1966, UA 584 (cf. Dallin H. Oaks to Chauncey C. Riddle, 6 June 1973, UA 584); LaMar Berrett, authors’ interview; Wilkinson to Robert K. Thomas, 25 Feb. 1971, Wilkinson Papers; Board of Trustees Minutes, 2 Nov. 1966; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 26 June, 25 Sept., 18 Nov. 1969, 18 June 1970, 18 April 1974; Board of Trustees Minutes, 5 April 1972; Oaks to Chauncey C. Riddle, 7 Feb. 1973, UA 584; “Request for Approval,” 20 Aug. 1970, BYUA; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 20 Sept. 1973. For one graduate student’s experience, see Kenneth W. Godfrey, “The Nauvoo Neighborhood: A Little Philadelphia or a Unique City Set Upon a Hill?” Journal of Mormon History, 1984, pp. 79-80.

54. Ellis T. Rasmussen to Oaks, 13 Oct. 1976, copy in authors’ possession; Oaks to Jeffrey R. Holland, 14 Oct. 1976, copy in authors’ possession; Chad Flake to David John Buerger, 14 Jan. 1981, and Rodney Turner to David John Buerger, 21 Jan. 1981, copies in authors’ possession; Robert F. Smith to James R. Bemis, 29 April 1980, and Bemis to Smith, 15 May 1980, copies in authors’ possession; Harold B. Lee to Sidney B. Sperry, 4 Feb. 1956, Sperry Papers; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 27 May 1980; Board of Trustees Minutes, 4 June 1980; Robert K. Thomas to Robert F. Smith, 5 June 1980, copy in authors’ possession. Other graduate studies, such as Dean C. Jessee’s “A Comparative Study and Evaluation of the Latter-day Saint and ‘Fundamentalist’ Views Pertaining to the Practice of Plural Marriage,” M.A. thesis, 1959, had come under criticism, and access, though not totally restricted, was limited (see Sidney B. Sperry to William E. Berrett, 15 Aug. 1958, Sperry Papers).

55. “Reorganization of College of Religion Approved,” DU, 5 Nov. 1969; Noel Reynolds, “Philosophy Department Objectives,” Fall 1972, BYUA; “Report of the Committee on Departmental Reorganization and Curriculum Revision,” 24 April 1969, p. 2, BYUA; “Proposals Concerning the Undergraduate Curriculum,” College of Religious Instruction Faculty Minutes, 14 Oct. 1969; Catalog, 1968-70, p. 435; Catalog, 1970-72, p. 465 (see also BYU 3:113-15).

56. Oaks, handwritten outline of his first speech to the faculty, Sept. 1971, copy in authors’ possession (see Chapter 4 for additional details); Board of Trustees Minutes, 3 May 1972 (cf. College of Religious Instruction Graduate Faculty Minutes, 8 Aug. 1967, BYUA); BYU 4:184, 189; “Revised Religion Requirement,” 3 May 1972, BYUA; Oaks to Jae R. Ballif et al., 21 June 1972, UA 584; Roy W. Doxey to Oaks, 17 July 1972, UA 584; Oaks to Ballif et al., 21 July 1972, UA 584.

57. “Brigham Young University Goals,” 25 Aug. 1972, 1.1, Brigham Young University Handbook (cf. Board of Trustees Minutes, 2 Aug. 1972); “Curriculum Proposal Rationale,” submitted by the Department of Philosophy, 26 Sept. 1972, BYUA; Board of Trustees Minutes, 7 June 1972.

58. Board of Trustees Minutes, 6 June 1973; BYU 4:193; “College of Religion Revamped,” DU, 12 June 1973 (cf. Wilkinson’s prediction during a 10 August 1973 interview, BYUA: “The administration is going to see that only competent teachers teach religion”); “Philosophy Department Comes of Age,” SEP, 10 June 1982.

59. Survey results in UA 584; Anonymous to Editor, DU, 10 Dec. 1969; Keith Dahl to Editor, DU, 12 Dec. 1969; Beginning BYU, 1976-77 (prepared under the supervision of Erlend D. Peterson, Assistant Dean of Admissions), p. 62; The Non-Mormon News–A Forum for Non-LDS Opinion, 13 March 1980; Ron Taylor to Editor, DU, 16 Jan. 1984; BYU 4:194-95.

60. See, for example, Kimball, “Education for Eternity,” 12 Sept. 1967, in Edward L. Kimball, ed., The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball–Twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), pp. 401-02; Kimball, “BYU’s Second Century,” 10 Oct. 1975, in Kimball, Teachings, p. 401; Thomas to Weldon J. Taylor, 2 June 1970, UA 170. For examples of later criticisms, see Dennis Bernards to Editor, DU, 12 Jan. 1984, and Dan W. Higginbotham to Editor, DU, 15 March 1984, yet cf. Dominique Jefferson to Editor, DU, 5 Jan. 1979. G. E. Nelson to Thomas, 5 June 1970, UA 170; Taylor to Thomas, 10 June 1970, UA 170; “MBA Program Still Growing in Size, Quality,” DU, 31 Aug. 1972.

61. “Brigham Young’s Unique ROTC,” Alumnus, March 1952, p. 2; Hawkins to Law School faculty, 23 July 1975, in BYU 4:272-73; “‘Gospel-Oriented Learning’ Set for Summer Workshops,” DU, 17 May 1979 (cf. “Professor Advocates Educational Changes,” DU, 28 March 1979); “Campus Chatter,” SEP, 11 Jan. 1983; “Mission Statement,” College of Education, p. 3; “Writing Contest Focuses on Faith,” DU, 24 Feb. 1984.

62. Lee, Youth and the Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1970), p. 192 (cf. “‘Develop Testimony,’ Pres. Lee Tells Youth,” Church News, 6 May 1972); Stapley, “Pre-School Faculty Address, Sept. 1970, p. 3, BYUA; Lee, “By Study and Also By Faith,” in ASBYU Academics, Best Lectures, 1973-74, pp. 71-72, BYUA (cf. “Learning Calls for Spirituality,” DU, 15 May 1973); Catalog, 1950-51, p. 106 (cf. Michael Smith to Editor, DU, 2 March 1977); Board of Trustees Minutes, 4 Oct. 1961.

63. Board of Trustees Meeting, 14 Jan. 1959; Rogers, in “BYU Students: Don’t Read It If Not Righteous,” Daily Utah Chronicle, 27 July 1983; Belnap to Earl C. Crockett, 3 Nov. 1964, UA 584; Crockett to Belnap, 4 Nov. 1964, UA 584; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 21 Nov. 1968; Wilkinson to Ezra Taft Benson, 13 May 1971, copy in authors’ possession; “Philosophy Department Comes of Age,” SEP, 10 July 1982 (see also the summary of philosophy professor David Yarn’s speech to students in “Dr. Yarn Lists Why’s of Moral Decay,” DU, 7 March 1967). More recently, complaints have been leveled at the educational theories promoted by some members of the College of Education (Rosemary Gunter to Jeffrey R. Holland, 19 June 1981, copy in authors’ possession).

64. “Rejected Manuscripts,” 1969, 1970, 1974, 1980, 1983, BYU Studies, Office Files.

65. Ashton to Oaks, 9 Nov. 1973, UA 568; Oaks to Ashton, 20 Nov. 1973, UA 568; Ashton to Oaks, 28 Nov. 1973, UA 568. The Franklyn W. Dunford and Phillip R. Kunz research had appeared in “The Neutralization of Religious Dissonance,” Review of Religious Research, Fall 1973, pp. 2-9, cf. “Members Who Shop Sunday Have Guilt Feelings,” DU, 4 April 1973. (Ashton apparently concluded that Dunford and Kunz had released the results of their survey to the Religious News Service, whereas the Religious News Service actually picked up its story from the Review of Religious Research where the article first appeared.) “Notes of an interview with Boyd C. Rollins,” 30 Jan. 1976, copy in authors’ possession. Though the final report is unavailable, its major conclusions can be inferred from Rollins’s “Annotated Bibliography on the Contemporary Mormon Family,” 10 April 1975.

66. BYU 1:484; “Overemphasized Morality,” YN, 14 Nov. 1930; Alfred Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Philadelphia: Saunders, 1948), and Alfred Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (Philadelphia: Saunders, 1953); Wilkinson to Antone K. Romney et al., 1 Oct. 1953, UA 585 (cf. Committee on Sex Education Minutes, 13 Oct. 1953, UA 585); Sociology Faculty Minutes, 11 March 1955, UA 554. On the BYU-authored health text, see Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 1 Feb., 1 March 1962; documents in UA 585; Earl C. Crockett to Reed H. Bradford et al., 5 April 1962; Wilkinson to Milton F. Hartvigsen, 17 Dec. 1962, Wilkinson Papers; Nicholes to Harvey L. Taylor, 20 Dec. 1962, 19 Feb. 1963, Wilkinson Papers; Taylor to Wilkinson, 16 April 1963, Wilkinson Papers; “Page Slashed from Text,” DU, 25 Sept. 1967; “To the Health of BYU,” DU, 25 Sept. 1967; Thomas L. Stinebaugh, “An Investigation of Health Misconceptions Among Students Enrolled in Personal Health Classes at Brigham Young University,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1974, pp. 35-37 (cf. “Lack of Sex Education Lecturer’s Topic,” DU, 4 Feb. 1976); Erskine P. Ausbrooks III, “An Evaluation of Change in the Health Related Attitudes of Students Completing Personal Health 130 Instruction at Brigham Young University,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1975.

67. “Response of Ernest L. Wilkinson at Dinner Given for Himself and His Wife,” 3 Aug. 1971; Priesthood Bulletin, Aug. 1972; inferred from Petersen to Gary J. Bergera, 13 May 1981 (see also Jack Jarrard, interview with Paul T. Roberts, 8 June 1983, in Roberts, “A History of the Development and Objectives of the LDS Church News Section of the Deseret News,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1983, p. 61); “Our Eternal Identity,” Church News, 23 March 1974; Covey, in “Behavioral Science: Old Nemesis Looks for a New Roost,” BYU Today, March 1976, p. 1 (see also the response of Merritt H. Egan, a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s National Task Force on Religion and Psychiatry); “Dr. Allen E. Bergin,” Century II, Dec. 1976, p. 3; Allen E. Bergin, “Bringing the Restoration to the Academic World: Clinical Psychology as a Test Case,” BYU Studies, Summer 1979, pp. 449-73; Board of Review for Psychotherapeutic Techniques Minutes, 30 Sept. 1975, UA 553.

68. Mark K. Allen, “The History of Psychology at Brigham Young University,” p. 156, BYUA; Vice-Presidents’ Minutes, 22 Sept. 1969, BYUA (cf. “Professor ‘Unconditions’ Sneezing,” Alumnus, Feb. 1969, p. 1); Board of Trustees Minutes, 7 May 1969; Thomas to Lester B. Whetten, 17 July 1969, UA 581; Board of Trustees Minutes, 7 Jan. 1970; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 18 June 1970; Vice-Presidents’ Minutes, 19 March 1971, BYUA; Priesthood Bulletin, Aug. 1972. The executive committee later considered counseling members against “voluntarily participating in public hypnosis demonstrations” (Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 14 Dec. 1979). Members of the Board of Review for Psychotherapeutic Techniques to Leo Vernon, 22 March 1976 (see also 8 April, 25 March, and 18 Nov. 1975), UA 553; David M. Sorenson to Members of the Board of Review for Psychotherapeutic Techniques, 5 April 1976, UA 553.

69. Board of Trustees Minutes, 1 Sept. 1976; Bergin, in “Behavior Institute Established at Y,” DU, 29 Sept. 1976; “Bergin,” Century II, p. 4 (cf. Allen E. Bergin, “Toward a Theory of Human Agency,” New Era, August 1973, pp. 32-41); Brown to Robert K. Thomas, 14 Nov. 1978, copy in authors’ possession.

70. Oaks to Thomas S. Monson, 13 Sept. 1979, copy in authors’ possession; Elizabeth C. James, “Treatment of Homosexuality: A Reanalysis and Synthesis of Outcome Studies,” Ph.D. diss., BYU, 1978 (Bergin served as chair of James’s doctoral committee); Brown to Robert K. Thomas, 14 Nov. 1978, 11 Sept. 1979, copies in authors’ possession; Oaks to J. Richard Clarke, 7 March 1979, copy in authors’ possession; Brown, Human Intimacy: Illusion and Reality (Salt Lake City: Parliment Publishers, 1981), and Marvin Rytting’s review, in Sunstone Review, July 1982, pp. 24ff.

71. Ross T. Christensen, “Why a Department of ‘Archaeology’?” The University Archaeological Society, Miscellaneous Papers, No. 19 (Provo, Utah: n.p., Dec. 1960); Catalog, 1 May 1946, pp. 302-03; Catalog, 1 May 1947, pp. 107-10, and subsequent years. Christensen’s recollections are found in the following essays from Miscellaneous Papers, No. 19: “On the Study of Archaeology by Latter-day Saints,” pp. 5, 9, 10; “Let George Do It,” p. 17; “New Chairman Airs Views,” p. 19; and “A Historical Sketch of the Department of Archaeology of Brigham Young University,” 4 March 1957, p. 36, BYUA. Michael Coe, “Mormons and Archaeology: An Outside View,” Dialogue, Autumn 1973, p. 44; “Archaeologists Explore Probable City Bountiful,” DU, 3 March 1961; see Joseph E. Vincent, “Some Views on Book of Mormon Geography,” and C. Stuart Bagley, “A New Approach to the Geography of the Book of Mormon,” in Forrest R. Hauck, ed., Papers of the Fourteenth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures (Department of Extension Publications, 1963), pp. 61-86; Wilkinson to J. Elliot Cameron, 20 Nov. 1968, copy in authors’ possession.

72. For examples of these excesses, see Dee F. Green, “Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths and the Alternatives,” Dialogue, Summer 1969, pp. 76-77. Wilkinson Journal, 22 Aug. 1959; Fred W. Nelson, “Thomas Stuart Ferguson, 1915-83,” 22 Oct. 1983, pp. 11, 14; Coe, “Mormons and Archaeology,” pp. 45-46; Matheny, quoted in “Archaeologists Seek Clues to Ancients,” BYU Today, Dec. 1975, p. 1; “BYU Group Explores in Yucatan,” DU, 2 March 1973; “Archaeology Team Begins Excavation of Mayan City,” BYU Today, March 1979, p. 1; “Y Archaeologists Working in Guatamala,” DU, 20 Oct. 1980; “Dig Uncovers Mayan Origins,” BYU Today, March 1983, p. 35; A Quarter of a Century in Mexico (New World Archaeological Foundation, 1978); Leo P. Vernon to Dallin H. Oaks, 22 April 1976, with attachment, copy in authors’ possession; Board of Trustees Minutes, 2 June 1976; Oaks to Howard W. Hunter, 27 July 1976, and First Presidency to Oaks, 30 July 1976, copies in authors’ possession. See also BYU 3:120-25.

73. “FARMS Tours: Here We Go Again,” Insights: An Ancient Window, Oct. 1984; John L. Sorenson, “Digging into the Book of Mormon,” pp. 6, 7, 13, copy in authors’ possession, published, with some changes, as “Digging Into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of Ancient America and Its Scripture,” Ensign, Sept. 1984, pp. 26-37, and Oct. 1984, pp. 12-23. Sorenson’s theories are most fully stated in An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985). Not to be outdone by BYU’s Department of Anthropology, the Society for Early Historic Archaeology subsequently announced that it would be offering its own courses in scriptural archaeology. For cautionary statements, see Martin Raish, “All That Glitters: Uncovering Fool’s Gold in Book of Mormon Archaeology,” Sunstone, Jan./Feb. 1980, pp. 10-15, and Ray T. Matheny, remarks delivered during the Sixth Annual Sunstone Theological Symposium, 25 Aug. 1984, transcribed copy in authors’ possession. Insights: An Ancient Window, March 1984; Religious Instruction Administrative Council Minutes, 31 May 1978, UA 553 (cf. 27 July 1978: “Elder [Mark E.] Petersen said it should not be published by our center”); “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” Insights: An Ancient Window, Oct. 1984; “Volunteers Team Up to Study Book of Mormon,” BYU Today, Feb. 1985, pp. 15-16.

74. Lawrence Foster, “New Perspectives on the Mormon Past,” Sunstone, Jan./Feb. 1982, p. 41. For useful surveys of Mormon historiography, see Howard C. Searle, “Early Mormon Historiography: Writing the History of the Mormons, 1830-1858,” Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 1979; Clara Viator Dobay, “Essays in Mormon Historiography,” Ph.D. diss., University of Houston, 1980; LeAnn Cragun, “Mormons and History: In Control of the Past,” Ph.D. diss., University of Hawaii, 1981; and Thomas G. Alexander, “Toward the New Mormon History: An Examination of the Literature on the Latter-day Saints in the Far West,” in Michael P. Malone, ed., Historians and the American West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983), pp. 344-68. Poulson’s experiences can be found in Samuel W. Taylor, Rocky Mountain Empire (New York: Macmillan, 1978), pp. 225, 231-35. Leonard J. Arrington, “Reflections on the Founding and Purpose of the Mormon History Association, 1965-1983,” Journal of Mormon History, 1983, pp. 91, 92, and, “An Economic Interpretation of the Word of Wisdom,” BYU Studies, Winter 1959, pp. 37-49; S. Lyman Tyler to Wilkinson, 19 April 1962, UA 549a (the particular problem in this instance lay in acquiring the personal papers of former apostle and U.S. senator Reed Smoot).

75. For examples of some of the criticisms leveled at Mormon historians during the mid- to late-1960s, see Wilkinson to Daniel H. Ludlow, 19 Feb. 1968, UA 584; LaMar Berrett, “A Statement Concerning Leonard J. Arrington,” 1968, UA 584; Dean R. Zimmerman to Whom It May Concern, 1968, UA 584 (cf. Daniel H. Ludlow to Wilkinson, 27 Dec. 1968, UA 584); Wilkinson Journal, 19 Sept. 1972; Davis Bitton, “Ten Years in Camelot: A Personal Memoir,” Dialogue, Autumn 1983, p. 9.

76. Alexander, “Toward the New Mormon History,” p. 344. See also David Whittaker’s thorough review essay, “Historians and the Mormon Experience: A Sesquicentennial Perspective,” A Sesquicentennial Look at Church History–The Eighth Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (BYU: Religious Instruction, 1980), pp. 293-327. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958), p. ix. For a biographical sketch of Arrington, see David J. Whittaker, “Leonard James Arrington: His Life and Work” and “Bibliography of Leonard James Arrington,” Dialogue, Winter 1978, pp. 23-47; Foster, “New Perspectives,” p. 42.

77. The Durham incident is covered in Richard Stephen Marshall, “The New Mormon History,” Senior Honors Project, University of Utah, 1 May 1977, pp. 51-56; Benson, “God’s Hand in Our Nation’s History,” 28 March 1976, pp. 4, 9, BYUA (cf. “Fireside Theme: God Shaped Past,” DU, 30 March 1976).

78. Wilkinson Journal, 22 Sept. 1976, cf. Benson to David John Buerger, 23 June 1978, copy in authors’ possession; Jan Shipps, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985), p. 90; Benson, “The Gospel Teacher and His Message,” 17 Sept. 1976, pp. 15-16, BYUA; Religious Instruction Administrative Council Minutes, 8 Dec. 1977, UA 553. For the term paper incident, see the following, all in authors’ possession: David John Buerger, “Politics and Inspiration: An Historical Analysis of the Woodruff Manifesto,” 10 Aug. 1978; Mark E. Petersen to Gregory E. Austin, 8 Sept. 1978 (cf. Petersen to Gordon B. Hinckley, 8 Sept. 1978); Buerger to Austin, 17 Sept. 1978; and Oaks to Hinckley, 29 Sept. 1978.

79. Bitton, “Ten Years,” pp. 18-19 (cf. “Campus Chatter,” SEP, 28 Sept. 1982, and “Church Takes Active Interest in Books,” SEP, 8 March 1983); “Church Archives Restrict Access to General Authority Documents,” SEP, 14 March 1982; “Access to Church Archives: Penetrating the Silence,” Sunstone Review, Sept./Oct. 1983, pp. 4-7; “Church Historian: Evolution of a Calling,” Sunstone, April 1985, pp. 46-48; Board of Trustees, Executive Committee Minutes, 24 June 1980 (cf. Ellis T. Rasmussen to Dallin H. Oaks, 13 June 1980, in authors’ possession); “Church Department Joins Y,” DU, 3 July 1980 (cf. Cragun, “Mormons and History,” pp. 303-06). Smith Institute employees later posted the following sign on their bulletin board: “History is on our side . . . as long as we can control the historians” (“Campus Chatter,” SEP, 7 Nov. 1982). Holland to Jae R. Ballif and Elliot Butler, 23 June 1981, copy in authors’ possession; Packer, “The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect,” 22 Aug. 1981, typescript, pp. 9, 11, 15 (also in BYU Studies, Summer 1981, pp. 259-79). See also Packer, “Keeping Confidences,” Church Employees Lecture Series, 18 Jan. 1980. “Orwell’s Truthspeak did not have to wait for 1984,” observed Davis Bitton (“Ten Years,” p. 19).

80. The majority of public responses to Benson, Packer, and others can be found in issues of Dialogue, Sunstone, and Journal of Mormon History, 1979 to the present, and Sunstone Review, 1981 to 1985. Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian,” Nov. 1981, pp. 16, 17, 9, 14, typescript in authors’ possession (cf. “Historian Responds to Apostle,” SEP, 18 Nov. 1981). Quinn revised his speech for Sunstone magazine but was dissuaded from publication by a number of supporters (“Notes of an interview with D. Michael Quinn, 26 Feb. 1982,” copy in authors’ possession).

81. “Apostles ss. Historians,” Newsweek, 15 Feb. 1982, p. 77; “Newsweek At It Again,” Sunstone Review, March 1982, p. 10; “LDS History Flap Headlined Again,” Sunstone Review, June 1982, p. 13; “LDS History: In Crisis?” Sunstone Review, March 1982, pp. 1 15, 18, 35; James L. Clayton, “Does History Undermine Faith?” Sunstone, March/April 1982, p. 35; “Notes of interviews with D. Michael Quinn and James L. Clayton,” 13 June 1982, copy in authors’ possession; Sterling J. Albrecht to Charles D. Tate, 28 Oct. 1982, copy in authors’ possession; “Champus Chatter,” SEP, 17 Nov. 1982; “LDS Bishops Want ‘Faith-Promoting’ Articles,” Provo Daily Herald, 22 May 1983; “Church Threatens Writers,” Salt Lake Tribune, 23 May 1983; “Several LDS Writers Say Officials Caution Them to Promote the Faith,” Deseret News, 23 May 1983; “Mormon Editors Told to Promote Faith,” Ogden Standard Examiner, 23 May 1983; “LDS Leaders Challenge Y Professors’ Faith,” Daily Herald, 25 May 1983; “Mormon Brethren Silencing Scholars?” Salt Lake Tribune, 26 May 1983; “Mormon Interference Alleged,” Dallas Times Herald, 13 Aug. 1983. One young Mormon researcher was fired from his job with church security as a result of his interest in Mormon history (“Man Fired from LDS Post Says He’s Still Faithful,” Salt Lake Tribune, morning edition, 25 Aug. 1983).

82. Midgley, “A Critique of Mormon Historians: The Question of Faith and History,” 30 Sept. 1981, pp. 53-55, copy in authors’ possession. See also Midgley’s “call to arms” in “Some Challenges to the Foundations,” an address delivered to members of the faculty of Religious Instruction, 14 Sept. 1984, copy in authors’ possession. McConkie, “The Bible–A Sealed Book,” 17 Aug. 1984, pp. 8-9, 11, copy in authors’ possession, cf. McConkie, “The Doctrinal Restoration,” 3 Nov. 1984, copy in authors’ possession; McConkie, “The Caravan Moves On,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, p. 84.

83. For three of the most recent responses of a ranking church authority to religious scholarship, see Gordon B. Hinckley, in “The First One Thousand Days,” in Knowledge Upon Knowledge: Brigham Young University Annual University Conference (1983), p. 7, BYUA; his comments during the annual Church Education System Conference, 14 Sept. 1984, copy in authors’ possession; and his “Young Adult Satellite Broadcast,” 23 June 1985, copy in authors’ possession. (In this last speech, Hinckley explained, “As a church we encourage gospel scholarship and the search to understand all truth. . . . But it is also the obligation of every Latter-day Saint to move forward the work of the Lord, to strengthen his kingdom in the earth, to teach faith and build testimony in that which God has brought to pass in this the dispensation of the fulness of times.”) “Holland Emphasizes Religious Instruction,” BYU Today, June 1981, p.1; Holland, “The First One Thousand Days,” pp. 6-7, BYUA.

84. Stephen Steinberg, “Religious Involvement and Scholarly Productivity among American Academics,” in Martin Trow, ed., Teachers and Students: Aspects of American Higher Education (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975), pp. 85-112; and David Caplovitz Fred Sherrow, The Religious Drop-Outs: Apostasy among College Graduates (Beverly Hills: Sage Productions, 1977).

Several studies have recently reported a positive correlation between education and religiosity among Mormons, challenging the generally accepted finding that religion and higher education tend to be incompatible. See Correlation Evaluation, “Religious Activity among Latter-day Saints,” Feb. 1982, copy in authors’ possession; Stott, “Effects of College Education;” and especially Stan L. Albrecht and Tim Heaton, “Secularization, Higher Education, and Religiosity,” Review of Religious Research, Sept. 1984, pp. 43-58. As Albrecht and Heaton have admitted, however, these studies may be flawed to some extent by respondant bias in favor of “active” Mormons and do not test for the following: the secularizing effects of specific college majors, the direction of religiosity while in college, variables after college that may mitigate the secularizing effects of education, and the effects of highly secularized universities on Mormon students. In fact, other studies have concluded that the secularizing effects of a student’s college major and his or her experiences while enrolled can contribute to a decrease in religious commitment while at school, if not after. See Marsden, “Campus Religious Group Participation;” Clifton Amundsen and Gary E. Madsen, “A Comparison of Mormons and Non-Mormon Faculty Religiosity,” Measuring Mormonism, Fall 1977, pp. 54-64; and Ray E. Paskett, “The Differential Effects of Bases for Moral Behavior and Major Field of Study upon Moral Judgment,” M.S. thesis, BYU, 1960.