Memories and Reflections
The Autobiography of E. E. Ericksen
Scott G. Kenney, editor
Ephraim E. Ericksen (1882-1967), professor of philosophy at the University of Utah, was one of the first Mormon intellectuals to take seriously the history and theology of his church. A believing yet thoughtful Mormon, he had little sympathy with what he saw as a testimony cult—a belief in insupportable doctrine for the sake of tradition—and feared that moral stagnation resulted from authoritarianism. He was committed to the dictum “The unexamined life is not worth living” and believed that the critical examination of religious thought is as important to intelligent men and women as scepticism is to scientific discovery. Despite his thirteen-year tenure on the general board of the LDS Church’s Mutual Improvement Association (MIA), Ericksen was censured by Mormon leaders following publication of his Psychological and Ethical Aspects of Mormon Group Life and his MIA manual Challenging Problems of the Twentieth Century. And because he continued to encourage thoughtful scrutiny of religion, he was later released as a priesthood instructor in his home congregation.
Scott G. Kenney, a grandson of E. E. Ericksen, holds advanced degrees in American historical theology and in musicology. He helped found Sunstone magazine, served as publisher of Signature Books, Inc., from 1981 to 1984, and is currently the business manager and agent for Dennis Smith, a Salt Lake City-based sculptor and artist. He and his wife, Susan, have two children and reside in Highland, Utah.