By Gary James Bergera
Art by Jeanette Atwood
Or, right-click here to download the audio file: The Monitoring of BYU Faculty Tithing Payments: 1957–1963
Gary James Bergera is the managing director of the Smith-Pettit Foundation. From 1985 to 2000, he was Director of Publishing at Signature Books; from 1992 to 1998, he was Managing Editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.
Shortly after his appointment in 1951 as president of the LDS Church’s educational flagship, Brigham Young University, Ernest L. Wilkinson (1899–1978) began scrutinizing his faculty’s compliance to LDS teachings.[i] For a time, his attention focused especially on tithing contributions. All practicing Church members are expected to pay to their local congregations at least one-tenth of their annual income, though how this is defined and how faithfully members adhere to this expectation are considered personal matters between members and their local religious leader(s).[ii] Members’ church status is determined, in part, by their meeting their tithing obligations. Wilkinson himself paid his own tithing, and he expected nothing less from his faculty.
Wilkinson also understood that if he hoped to secure Church funding for BYU, the school’s board of trustees, all members of the Church’s governing hierarchy, might respond less positively if faculty were found to be less than full tithepayers. In fact, following the precedent of past practices at the LDS school, Wilkinson decided to use an individual’s tithing history to help determine raises, promotions, and even continuing employment. However, some Church leaders and faculty members believed that Wilkinson’s actions intruded into a very private matter, effectively undermining a member’s relationship with his or her local Church leaders. Securing compliance proved to be challenging, as both Wilkinson and LDS authorities struggled to strike a balance between privacy and Wilkinson’s desire to know.
“You Are Not Expected to Retain Permanently on Your Staff Non-Tithepayers”
Wilkinson was not the first BYU administrator to address the issue of faculty tithing. Early 1910s attempts to automatically deduct tithing from BYU salaries were scuttled in the face of a chorus of faculty complaints. Young physics instructor Harvey Fletcher (1884–1981) “exploded” at the news, telling administrators “in no uncertain terms” that “under these conditions the tithing was not a donation, it was a tax.”[iii] While the automatic salary deduction was abandoned, LDS officials remained concerned and by mid-1915 had compiled a list of sixty-seven faculty members and the tithing each had paid.[iv] Of the sixty-seven, thirty-one (46 percent) had not paid a full tithe.[v]
By 1929, the payment of a full tithe had become virtually de rigueur for all Church-employed school teachers. “Those who cannot conscientiously do these things,” wrote LDS Commissioner of Education (and later apostle) Joseph F. Merrill (1868–1952), “should not, we believe, be encouraged to remain in the employ of the Church school system.”[vi] Two years later, at Merrill’s urging, BYU President Franklin S. Harris (1884–1960) convened a special faculty meeting to discuss loyalty to the Church, including the payment of tithing. Enclosed with Merrill’s request was a summary the Church’s Presiding Bishop’s office had provided of the tithing records of all faculty for the previous year. Of the 102 faculty identified, slightly more than half had paid a full tithing, 37 percent had paid a partial tithing, and 8 percent had paid no tithing. “You are not expected to retain permanently on your staff non-tithepayers,” Merrill subsequently reminded Harris.[vii]
Despite repeated exhortations, 1934 figures reveal that, compared to 1931, the number of faculty paying a full tithing had actually decreased 19 percent, the number paying a partial tithing had increased 2 percent, and the number paying no tithing had risen 17 percent.[viii] While this decline may have been due largely to the effects of the Great Depression, LDS leaders were still “dumbfounded” at what they saw as blatant disobedience. “As far as I am concerned,” Church President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945) insisted, “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.”[ix]
Six years later, the situation had not improved. When, in 1940, LDS officials decided that salary increases were to be grantedonly to full tithe-payers, BYU’s acting president reported that “practically all members whom we intended to give a small increase cannot qualify under this new requirement.”[x] Dismayed, the First Presidency responded bluntly: “No person who has not paid a full tenth of his Church compensation for the year 1939 will receive any advance in salary for the next school year; that is to say, the school year 1940–41. At the end of the next school year the question of advances in salaries can be given consideration to those who have fully tithed their Church compensation, and who are otherwise entitled, under the principles hereinafter set forth, to such consideration. The First Presidency feel that this rule must be mandatory.”[xi] Franklin Harris remained reluctant, however, to second-guess a faculty member’s ability to pay tithing, and at the time of his resignation in 1945 (to preside over Utah State University), he had never disciplined a teacher for tithing-related concerns.[xii]
“Matters of Private Conscience”
With Harris’s departure, the emphasis on faculty tithe-paying decreased somewhat as attention shifted to other areas of campus administration, notably how best to manage the sudden growth of the student body following World War II. Thus Ernest Wilkinson was both surprised and chagrined to learn in 1957 that more than a few faculty members were not full tithepayers. BYU “must pay awfully low salaries,” he recalled several local Church officials telling him, sarcastically.[xiii] Alarmed, Wilkinson met immediately with LDS President David O. McKay (1873–1970) “on whether we should insist on payment of tithing by teachers at the BYU. President McKay shared my opinion,” Wilkinson reported, “namely, that . . . it was unthinkable that we retain on our faculty people who do not pay tithing. He authorized me not only to ask teachers what they do in this respect, but actually to find out what they do by checking with the Presiding Bishop’s office and let the teachers know that I know what their record is.”[xiv]
Wilkinson’s attempt to gain access to faculty tithing records proved premature, however, as Church policy stipulated that the “amount of tithing paid by an individual or by the total ward membership is confidential and should not be disclosed by the bishopric to anyone except to the stake president as requested and in confidential reports to the General Authorities.”[xv] And when McKay’s counselors in his First Presidency learned the extent of the information that Wilkinson sought, they decided to withhold from Wilkinson the exact amounts of tithing paid by faculty members. Undeterred, Wil-kinson arranged to have the Presiding Bishop’s office identify for him any faculty who were partial- or non-tithepayers, though without disclosing the exact amounts of tithing paid.[xvi] This, Wilkinson believed, would allow him to double-check the data, if needed, with a faculty member’s local Church leaders. But the arrangement was not without its shortcomings. As Wilkinson discovered by the end of April 1957:
[I] had a conference with a faculty member, advising him that I could not promote him because the standards were that he should be faithful to the standards of the Church, and my understanding was that he was a non-tithe payer. Apparently, in this case the report I received from the stake presidency was wrong. It disturbed the member no little, as it should. In the evening he brought to my home some cancelled checks for his tithing for last year. True, they were for only about 1/3 of what he should have paid, but at least he was a partial tithepayer and over the years was very faithful, apparently, and paid less last year than ever before.[xvii]
Wilkinson also decided to announce publicly that promotions and salary increases would henceforth be based, in part, on the payment of a full tithing. “When I am called upon this year,” he promised his faculty five months later, “to pass on proposed promotions in academic rank for members of the faculty I hope I do not have to refuse any on the ground that the nominee does not adhere in practice to . . . the payment of tithing.”[xviii]
Wilkinson’s push for compliance did not sit well with some faculty, who had initially been employed at the university undera different set of assumptions. “These demands were seen by some,” recalled R. Kent Fielding (b. 1920), who taught history,
as nothing more than Wilkinson’s personal opinions and served only to alienate the President from the independent minded members of the faculty. Many of us believed that our faculty status was protected by the practice of tenure so long as we met the standards of our academic professions. Most of us accepted our prior experience as reason to believe that our religious beliefs and practices were matters of private conscience, providing we made no attempt to convert others or to subvert established orthodoxies. To others it seemed that further conditions of employment at BYU were being added without consultation. The opinion was frequently expressed that other standards of religious orthodoxy might be promulgated in the same manner and also required for faculty status unless some stand were taken against arbitrary decisions. The suggestion that any who disagreed should resign “as a matter of conscience,” was taken as a warning of the consequences of disagreement with other teachings of the Church as interpreted by “authority.”[xix]
“This invasion of the sacred tithing records, using them to put pressure on the faculty,” addedJ. Kenneth Davies (b. 1925), a member of the economics department, “was resented by a substantial portion of the faculty, including some of the most orthodox members of the church who were never interviewed for non-compliance. A number of prominent members of the faculty resigned in protest. I personally had no difficulty on the issue because my tithing records showed me in conformity with the law of tithing, a principle I firmly believed in and practiced. However, I was disturbed by what I perceived as a violation of Church procedures.”[xx]
“The Poor Record of Certain Faculty”
In March 1958, when Wilkinson again requested a report from the Presiding Bishop’s office on faculty members’ tithing payments, McKay again ruled that Wilkinson “could be furnished information about whether or not they pay part or full tithing.”[xxi] Wilkinson, however, hoping for more, also asked for the names of any errant faculty and the exact amounts of tithing paid so that he did not have to rely solely on the statements of local LDS officials. “If you should decide that for proper administration I should have this information,” the lawyer-turned-president pressed McKay,
you may be sure that I will keep it confidential. . . . I do not intend to disclose its existence to the teachers involved, but it will give me sufficient basic information that with respect to teachers who are derelict in their duty, I may call them in and by careful questioning obtain from them direct the facts. You will appreciate, of course, that I do not have time to interrogate all 500 members of the faculty on a matter of this kind, nor would there be any purpose in interrogating more than probably ten per cent of the faculty who, by their dereliction, are giving the University in the eyes of their own stake presidents and bishops, a bad name.
The Presiding Bishop already has the list of our faculty, and if you will just authorize him to fill it in with the amounts paid by each, I will then be in a better position to judge the faithfulness of the members of our staff.[xxii]
McKay was not persuaded, reiterating that Wilkinson would get the names of teachers judged not to be full tithe-payers but not the specific amounts of tithing paid.[xxiii] Two weeks later, Wilkinson met with faculty members “who are not tithepayers (in all cases they claimed to be part-tithe-payers, but I insisted there was not such a thing as a part-tithepayer; but that a tithepayer means one who pays one-tenth of his income). On the whole, the individuals to whom I spoke had a very fine attitude and I think will make a greater effort to pay a full tithing another year.”[xxiv]
Wilkinson disliked having to work with incomplete information. “This was a day of almost complete frustration,” he recorded early the next year.
I stayed at my home all day in an attempt to determine salaries for next year and evaluate the worth of some 600 faculty members. One of the difficulties arises from one of the criteria adopted by the teachers themselves for their appointment and promotion–namely, that they shall be faithful members of the Church, adhering to all its standards. The Presiding Bishop’s office has this year given me a list of teachers indicating within certain limits their performance as far as tithing is concerned, and I was very much distressed to find the poor record of certain faculty members. . . . it looks to me that no more than one-half of the faculty are full tithe payers and many of them have different ways of computing their tithing. . . .
“I have three alternatives,” Wilkinson argued.
One is to pay little attention to it, as has been too much of our practice in the past. If I do this, we become just another educational institution and this alternative must be rejected. The second is to let the teachers know that their jobs depend on performance in this respect. I have to reject this, because to make the payment a condition of being employed is to force the payment of tithing, in which event it ceases to be a voluntary offering. The only logical third alternative is to call the teachers in and say in effect, “One of the prerequisites for appointment to our faculty is the voluntary payment of tithing. I am not going to require you to pay it, because it ceases to be voluntary, but since you have not voluntarily paid, it would seem you ought to look elsewhere for a position.” . . . I know that a chat with many faculty members will bring them to their senses and have them pay a full tithing. My difficulty will be that I will never know whether they are paying it to keep their jobs or based on their own belief.[xxv]
Wilkinson arranged to meet with McKay in his office a few weeks later. During the hour-long early morning conference, Wilkinson
told President McKay of the faculty having adopted as a criteria for promotion the fact that members of the faculty must live in accordance with the standards of the Church, and I could not administer this rule without knowing the tithing paid by the faculty members. He told me that he agreed with me. He thought I ought to know the details and he would take it up in a meeting of the First Presidency that morning. . . .
He told me that when I got permission he would permit me to share information with the deans as to whether or not teachers were non-tithe payers or part-tithe payers, but I should not inform the deans as to amounts. That I should hold confidential.[xxvi]
Wilkinson also reported that of the $3.6 million paid in faculty salaries, approximately $273,925 was returned to the Church as tithing (or about 75 percent of a full tithe); and that 73 percent of faculty paid a full tithing, 18 percent a partial tithing, and 9 percent no tithing.[xxvii]
During an afternoon meeting with the executive committee of BYU’s board of trustees the following week, Wilkinson found himself facing one of his more outspoken trustees regarding the religious orthodoxy of some of the school’s faculty:
A few weeks previous Kent Fielding of our campus had admitted . . . that he did not have a testimony of the Gospel. In answer to the question of why he had become a member of our faculty when he had no testimony of the Gospel, he replied that while he was interrogated by [LDS Apostle] Harold B. Lee at the time of his appointment [to the history faculty in 1952], he was never asked whether he had a testimony of the Gospel. I had told Brother Lee about this at the time, and Brother Lee, whose main weakness as far as I can see is that he cannot accept criticism, had interpreted it as serious criticism on my part of him. So in this meeting, alluding to this situation, he said he had been disappointed that I had not gotten rid of about a third of the faculty who did not have a testimony of the Gospel. I told him that I thought his estimate was altogether too high. His response was that he thought I must be awfully naive if I did not know the large number of our faculty who did not have a testimony. He was smarting very much under what I thought was my criticism of him for not having properly interrogated Brother Fielding.
Out of this whole discussion, however, came the suggestion that I should not increase the salaries or promote any of our faculty who do not pay an honest tithing. Just how I am going to do this is still a mystery unless the Brethren give me a list of the amount paid by each faculty member.[xxviii]
Years later,Fielding recalled being asked during a brief interview with one of Wilkinson’s aides about some controversies in Mormon history, including Fielding’s study of the LDS Church in Ohio during the 1830s. Fielding replied that his “‘testimony’ of the ‘truthfulness’ of the gospel demanded a basic honesty about its origins and its early leaders and could not survive on the kinds of contrivances which appeared in the distorted histories and altered documentation.” Nothing more was said, Fielding wrote, and “I began to believe that my arguments were acceptable and that the matter might end without further consequences.”[xxix] Of his earlier 1952 meeting with Apostle Lee (1899–1973), Fielding added: “Apostle Lee was concerned with only two issues: ‘Brother Fielding, are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?’ . . . ‘Have you ever been unfaithful to your wife?’ . . . Lee was adamant and stern as he required a direct answer. Once that was given, there were no more questions and the interview concluded as pleasantly as it had begun.”^[xxx]
Three days after his encounter with Lee, Wilkinson spent an entire Sunday “wrestling with the question of what to do with faculty members who were not faithful in the payment of their tithing. The best solution I came up with during the day,” he wrote,
was that they probably should be treated the same way as they treat the Lord—a new application of the Golden Rule. Under this application, if they paid no tithing they would get no salary increase. If they paid half tithing they would get half the salary increase contemplated. As I worked on this during the entire day I finally realized that if, for instance, a faculty member should have paid $600 tithing but paid none and was denied a proposed $600 increase, the law of retribution worked even mathematically correct.
This still, however, did not seem to be the correct answer, but I went through and made out salaries for the entire faculty pretty largely on this basis.[xxxi]
Wilkinson continued to grapple with the issue, and the following Tuesday, 28 April 1959, sought additional advice:
At 7 a.m. I called Brother Marion Romney followed by a call to Brother Hugh Brown on the question of what I should do with respect to faculty members who had failed to pay a full tithe. Brother Romney was the one who, in my Executive committee meeting last week, had proposed that there be no promotion or salary increase of any kind for those who did not pay a full tithe. I felt when I talked to him, however, that he had pretty much changed his mind on this, his feeling being that since tithing was supposed to be voluntary people would not get the benefits from it if they paid it under coercion. He proposed, therefore, that I go ahead and set salaries without much respect to tithing this year but that members of the Executive Committee come down and meet individually with members of the faculty who were deficient in this respect. Brother Brown echoed pretty much the same thoughts.[xxxii]
Early the next morning, Wilkinson met with McKay again to discuss the situation. “I told President McKay also,” he recorded,
that since he had authorized me to have information concerning faculty salaries, I had obtained the same and was shocked at the fact that apparently 100 members either were non or token tithe payers. He said he was shocked also. I told him that it had been suggested to me by Executive Committee that no salary increases should be given to those who were in that situation, but that I had my doubts that that was the proper way to handle it because that had the effect of requiring the payment of tithing when as a matter of fact it ought to be a voluntary matter. He said he agreed with me and that salary should be predicated largely on professional ability.
I then told him that obviously we must do something about it, and I proposed that he appoint members of the Quorum of the Twelve to come to the campus and have individual conferences with all members of the faculty, those who were faithful as well as those who were not. I suggested they should, of course, commend those who were faithful and take up a labor with those who were not equally faithful, trying to persuade them to pay tithing as a voluntary matter. He wondered if the Executive Committee could not do this and suggested that I take it up with that committee. I agreed to do so.[xxxiii]
When Wilkinson met with his board of trustees later that same day, they agreed that all teachers were to pay their tithing and to adhere to the Church’s other standards. But the question of how exactly Wilkinson was to determine the faculty’s obedience was, much to Wilkinson’s frustration, deliberately left unaddressed.[xxxiv]
Reviewing the question of salary increases with one of his aides the next afternoon, Wilkinson decided to give
primary consideration (almost exclusive consideration) to the professional competence and performance of the teachers rather than their adherence to the principle of tithing. We have firmly resolved, however, that beginning immediately every member of the faculty is to have a personal conference with a member of the Executive Committee for the purpose of commending those who are faithful and trying to persuade those who are not faithful in the performance of this duty, to become faithful. If by the end of this calendar year, 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 on the faculty.[xxxv]
[i] For Wilkinson as president, see Gary James Bergera, “Ernest L. Wilkinson’s Appointment as Seventh President of Brigham Young University,” Journal of Mormon History 23 (Fall 1997): 128–54. For Wilkinson’s personality and managerial style, see Gary James Bergera, “Wilkinson the Man,” Sunstone 20 (July 1997): 29–41.
[ii] “The amount of tithing and other offerings paid by a member is confidential. Only the bishop and those who are authorized to handle such contributions should know the amount” (Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops, 2010 [Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2010], 128).
[iii] Harvey Fletcher, “Autobiography,” 41, in Harvey Fletcher file, University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
[iv] See “Tithing Record of the Faculty of the Brigham Young University for 1915, Exclusive of Those Who Discontinued Service June 30,” courtesy of the Smith-Pettit Foundation.
[v] On the other hand, ten (15 percent) had paid more than 150 percent, and four (6 percent) had paid more than 300 percent. Ibid.
[vi] Merrill, Letter to Presidents of LDS Church Schools, 2 May 1929, in Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years, 4 vols., edited by Ernest L. Wilkinson (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1975), 2:216.
[vii] Merrill, Letter to Harris, 1 March 1933, in Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years, 2:217.
[viii] See Howard W. Pease, “A Chronological and Comparative Listing of Events of BYU, Church and State, and National History from 1847 to 1973,” 7 October 1974, in BYU Archives.
[ix] In Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years, 2:218.
[x] Ibid., 385.
[xi] In Franklin L. West, Letter to Christen Jensen, 9 May 1940, in Franklin L. West Papers, Perry Special Collections.
[xii] According to BYU’s official history, “Written records do not indicate precisely what President Harris did to handle the tithing problem, but some living faculty members remember that Harris interviewed faculty members who did not pay a full tithe, reporting special problems and extenuating circumstances to the First Presidency. Where there was any doubt, President Harris usually supported the cause of the faculty member” (Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years, 2:218, 414). See also Janet Jenson, The Many Lives of Franklin S. Harris (Provo, Utah: BYU Printing Services, 2002), 60–63. While BYU’s official history addresses Harris’s response regarding faculty tithing, it is silent on Wilkinson’s efforts to enforce compliance, even though Wilkinson was one of the authors of the official history. For a very brief treatment of Wilkinson’s monitoring of faculty tithing, see Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, Brigham Young University: A House of Faith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 68–70.
[xiii] Wilkinson, “Notes for Presentation to First Presidency on ‘Tithing’ Problem,” 16 April 1959, Wilkinson Papers, Perry Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, all such Wilkinson-related materials are in his papers at BYU.
[xiv] Ernest L. Wilkinson, “Memorandum of conference with President McKay Today Re: Payment of tithing by teachers,” 8 April 1957.
[xv] The Messenger (distributed by the Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 16 (April 1957): 2. Using more or less the same wording, this was reiterated in subsequent editions of the Church’s General Handbook of Instructions.
[xvi] Wilkinson, “Notes for Presentation to First Presidency.”
[xvii] Wilkinson, Diary, 22 April 1957.
[xviii] Wilkinson, “The Principle and Practice of Paying Tithing,” 25 September 1957, 24, Perry Special Collections.
[xix] Robert Kent Fielding, “Growing Up Mormon: Autobiographical Narratives and Related Papers,” August 1997, 20, in Robert Kent Fielding Papers, Special Collections, Marriott Library. Fielding graduated from BYU twice, in 1950 (B.A.) and again in 1952 (M.A.). Although Fielding may appear to figure more prominently than other faculty members in the following narrative, it would be a mistake to view him, or any other single faculty member, as a primary instigator of tithing-related controversies. Fielding was one of a number of faculty who disagreed with Wilkinson’s policies. If Fielding’s name appears more frequently than others, it is simply because he left an account of his involvement.
[xx] J. Kenneth Davies, “My Personal Odyssey,” 1998, 30, courtesy of the Smith-Pettit Foundation.
[xxi] McKay, Diary, 3 March 1958, David O. McKay Papers, Special Collections, Marriott Library.
[xxii] Wilkinson, Letter to McKay, 7 April 1958.
[xxiii] Wilkinson’s handwritten notation on ibid.
[xxiv] Wilkinson, Diary, 21 April 1958.
[xxv] Ibid., 13 March 1959.
[xxvi] Wilkinson, Memorandum of a Conference with David O. McKay, 16 April 1959 (17 April 1959).
[xxvii] Ibid. McKay’s diary reported only: “The question of whether President Wilkinson should have access to the tithing records of the faculty of the Brigham Young University. The faculty itself has already voted that compliance with Church standards is one of the criterions for promotion. This question was discussed at our meeting of the First Presidency today” (McKay, Diary, April 16, 1959; emphasis in original).
[xxviii] Wilkinson, Diary, 23 April 1959. Beginning in 1957, Fielding chaired an “Intellectual Climate Committee” to “foster the rational and intellectual side of Mormonism” (Fielding, “Growing Up Mormon,” 21). Two years later, he participated in an on-campus debate with LDS educator E. E. Erickson regarding the place of liberal Mormonism in the Church. When he learned of the meeting, Wilkinson recorded that it “apparently turned out to be the most vigorous criticism of Church tendencies and Church leaders that has been held on the campus since I have been here” (Wilkinson, Diary, 17–19 January 1959). Evidently, word of Fielding’s comments also reached Harold B. Lee, which prompted Lee’s exchange with Wilkinson.
[xxix] In Fielding, “Growing Up Mormon,” 30.
[xxx] Ibid., 17. During the 1950s, Fielding pursued, and was awarded, a Ph.D. in history at Indiana University. His dissertation was on the LDS Church in Ohio during the 1830s.
[xxxi] Wilkinson, Diary, 26 April 1959.
[xxxii] Ibid., 28 April 1959. Romney (1897–1988) had been ordained an apostle in 1951; Brown (1883–1975) had been ordained an apostle in 1958 and would serve as a member of McKay’s First Presidency beginning in 1961.
[xxxiii] Wilkinson, Memorandum of a Conference with David O. McKay, April 29, 1959 (30 April 1959).
[xxxiv] BYU Board of Trustees Meeting, Minutes, 29 April 1959, courtesy of the Smith-Pettit Foundation.
[xxxv] Wilkinson, Diary, 30 April 1959. Ray R. Canning (1920–94), who taught sociology at BYU, fumed over what he believed was Wilkinson’s intrusion into his private life. “That is the way Wilkinson operated,” Canning later wrote of Wilkinson’s inquiries into Canning’s tithing contributions; “he simply sent out his agents, and they got the information. . . . The more he knew, the more leverage and power he had over me, if he wanted to use it” (Canning, My Continuing Quest: Sociological Perspectives on Mormonism, edited by Stan Larson [Salt Lake City: Freethinker Press, 1996], 73). Canning left BYU in 1959 for a career at the University of Utah.