Sterling M. McMurrin

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Sterling Moss McMurrin (b. January 12, 1914 Woods Cross, Utah - d. April 6, 1996) was an unconventional[clarify] Mormon theologian and Philosophy professor at the University of Utah. He served as United States Commissioner of Education in the administration of President John F. Kennedy.

According to the College of Humanities at the University of Utah,

“Sterling M. McMurrin’s long career -- as teacher, scholar, administrator, and advisor to major national corporations, foundations, and federal agencies and as a perceptive observer of the human condition -- is virtually unparalleled among the native sons and daughters of Utah.”[1]

In a 1983 interview by Blake Ostler, Sterling McMurrin says:

"I was born at Woods Cross, just north of Salt Lake City. In the twenties my family moved to Los Angeles, and I went to high school there. I started at UCLA and later came to the University of Utah, where I received an A.B. in history and an M.A. in philosophy. I received a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Southern California and did postdoctoral work at Columbia, Princeton, and Union Theological Seminary...I began to teach seminary in 1937. I was also an instructor in the Religious Conference at Arizona State University and later was director of the Institute at the University of Arizona...Nothing can produce a more rapid deterioration of religious faith than the honest study of the history of religion...To a remarkable degree the Church has concealed much of its history from its people...We are going through a stage of intense indoctrination in the Church that robs the individual of intellectual freedom...I never did consider the Book of Mormon to be don't get books from angels and translate them by miracles; it is just that simple...I know of no real evidence in its support, and there is a great deal of evidence against it...I realize it is often difficult for the orthodox to grasp the fact that some of us in the Church who are unorthodox in our views love the Church as much and are as sincerely devoted to it as they are...Technically, yes, I am an agnostic. But I have strong religious sensitivities."[2]


  • McMurrin, Sterling M., Brigham H. Roberts: a biographical essay, pp. xiii–xxxi , in Roberts, B. H. (1985), Madsen, Brigham D, ed., Studies of the Book of Mormon, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, ISBN 0252010434, OCLC 10532676 


  1. ^ Who Was Sterling M. McMurrin?, College of Humanities, University of Utah, archived from the original on 2012-02-25 
  2. ^ Origional pubication: Ostler, Blake (11 January 1983). Seventh East Press (Provo, Utah). pp. 5–11. 
    Reprint, with additions: Ostler, Blake (Spring 1984). "An Interview with Sterling McMurrin". Dialogue 17 (1): 18–43. 

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