Friday, January 14, 2011

Religious Freedom? Not at BYU

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”  -Article of Faith 11[1]

Perspective of One BYU Student:
The kind of religious freedom affirmed in Article of Faith 11 is a farce at BYU.  I acknowledge that coming here is a choice; I acknowledge that people contract away a portion of their freedoms by signing the honor code.  I also do not dispute that BYU can restrict students’ religion, conscience, and speech freedoms- but that doesn’t mean that they should
Before I get into what BYU should do respecting these freedoms, let me clarify briefly what I mean by religious freedom.  Religious freedom has three important, basic aspects:
     1.      Letting people say in public and private what religion or beliefs they espouse with little or no penalty
     2.      Letting people change their religion (apostatize) or not follow any religion, with no strings attached
     3.      Letting people practice their religion with little or no unnecessary penalties

Religious freedom is NOT the mere assertion that someone can choose how to worship.  Colonial Quakers had the agency to choose to practice their faith, but they did not experience religious freedom because they were persecuted by the Puritan magistrates on the basis of their worship.  In the time of Maimonides, Jews could choose to worship Jehovah- but that choice was accompanied by death at the hands of their Islamic masters.  These Jews did not have religious freedom either.  Now back to how these principles apply.

My Catholic BYU student friend may of course abandon his faith and embrace the Restored Gospel without being expelled; I may not abandon my faith and embrace Catholicism.  This one-way religious freedom is baffling in light of the purported adherence to religious freedom articulated in the Articles of Faith 11.  Though the Board of Trustees of BYU is constituted largely by the First Presidency and several members of the Quorum of the Twelve (one would presume these individuals would manifest a high degree of fidelity to the Articles of Faith), they nonetheless specifically endorse a structure where unencumbered religious freedom is denied to about 32,000 of BYU’s roughly 32,500 students[2].  Those students who are LDS may not choose to join another church, for to do so would result in their excommunication and subsequent effective expulsion from BYU:
“Students are required to be in good Honor Code standing to be admitted to, continue enrollment at, and graduate from BYU. In conjunction with this requirement, all enrolled continuing undergraduate, graduate, intern, and Study Abroad students are required to obtain a Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement for each new academic year. Students must have their endorsements completed, turned in, and processed by the Honor Code Office before they can register for fall semester or any semester thereafter.
LDS students may be endorsed only by the bishop of the ward (1) in which they live and (2) that holds their current Church membership record.
LDS students must fulfill their duty in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attend Church meetings, and abide by the rules and standards of the Church on and off campus.
All students must be in good Honor Code standing to graduate, to receive a diploma, and to have the degree posted.
A student's endorsement may be withdrawn at any time if the ecclesiastical leader determines that the student is no longer eligible for the endorsement… Students without a current endorsement are not in good Honor Code standing and must discontinue enrollment. Students who are not in good Honor Code standing are not eligible for graduation, even if they have otherwise completed all necessary coursework. Excommunication, disfellowshipment, or disaffiliation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints automatically results in the withdrawal of the student's ecclesiastical endorsement and the loss of good Honor Code standing.[3]

The exceptional burden (about the harshest penalty BYU could legally impose on one of its students based on religious choice) on religious freedom is apparent based on the quoted text from the Honor Code.  However, I additionally confirmed that this was indeed the situation in a recent conversation with the BYU Chaplain (who counsels non-LDS students on campus- his office is in the back part of the BYUSA area in the WILK).  I also confirmed it with one of the BYU’s four Vice Presidents.  To my recollection, our conversation went roughly like this:

Me:  Who is the decision maker I could talk to about religious freedom at BYU?
VP:  What do you mean?  In what way?
Me:  That LDS students who leave the church or join a different religion get kicked out.
VP:  Oh.  That is a Board of Trustees policy; no administrator has that power.  The Board of Trustees is constituted of the First Presidency as executive members, one general authority, one member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Relief Society President, and the Young Women’s General President. [I checked- it looks like he’s mostly right as far as I can tell[4]:
“Church Board of Education and BYU Board of Trustees:

Thomas S. Monson, Chairman
Henry B. Eyring, First Vice Chairman
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Vice Chairman
Russell M. Nelson      Julie B. Beck
M. Russell Ballard     Elaine S. Dalton
David A. Bednar        Roger G. Christensen, Secretary
Steven E. Snow (Presidency of the Seventy)”]

Me:  When is the last time this issue came up?  Article of Faith 11 says that we let all men worship how, where, or what they may.  BYU already allows non-members here, we just charge them higher tuition.  Why not just slap the apostates with a higher tuition but still let them graduate like other non-members? 
VP:  I think this was addressed in the 1990’s.  It’s a tough one because of the additional academic consequences of disfellowshipping or excommunicating a student.  If the student confesses something to a bishop, it would make sense to keep the student here to work with that bishop- but if the student is kicked out he’ll probably leave.  Plus, it adds an additional penalty consequence to the church discipline.  As to kicking out students, what makes the difference is whether the student has made covenants or not.  Those who have made serious covenants and then break them- well, in that case…
Me:  I don’t know- I mean, covenant breakers or not, they’re still people.  Article of Faith 11 says “all men-“ whether a person has made covenants or not or broken them or not doesn’t make them non-persons. 
VP:  Well another thing to think about is that church leaders go to Stake Conferences around the church and parents ask them why their faithful children can’t attend BYU.  BYU rejects a lot of its LDS applicants.  Why should it support apostates when there are faithful members who desire so intensely to come here?
Me:  But BYU doesn’t even require you to be LDS to be a student here- we have students from a number of faiths that we admit over LDS competitors.  As long as that’s the reality that argument fails.
VP:  That’s how the Board thinks covenant breakers should be dealt with.  They made serious covenants.
Me:  Well, what about those whose consciences dictate in their third or fourth year that they should leave the church or join another faith?  Must they betray their conscience in order to graduate after sinking years of their life and their money into going to BYU?  (I didn’t mention here that the serious covenants he makes such a big deal of are usually entered into by frightened, largely naïve teenagers while surrounded by the very family members who’ve been indoctrinating them on the importance of temple ordinances since the cradle.  These susceptible adolescents usually comply with the temple covenant under intense religious and cultural pressure at a time of singular bewilderment, confusion, and ignorance as to the proceedings and agreements they’re making).
VP:  Yes, some hypocrites do just keep going to church so they can graduate. Others make it a matter of conscience and leave, which sacrifices their ability to graduate.  Religious freedom is a privilege, not a civil right. You can be any religion you want, BYU just puts a consequence on what you decide.
Me:  I wouldn’t argue that it is a civil right.  I acknowledge that in the BYU context it’s not.  It’s a matter instead of burdening which religion someone chooses to be.  Kicking a student who’s about to graduate out because they choose to leave the church or join a different one is a heavy handed response that seems inconsistent with Article of Faith 11.
VP:  I’m just telling you that’s how the councils of the church would deliberate the matter. (conversation end)

Me thinking right afterward:  Can I vote Joseph Smith back into office?  You know- Joseph Smith, the author of Article of Faith 11?  Joseph Smith, whose city, Nauvoo, “promised an unusually liberal guarantee of religious freedom?[5]”  Joseph Smith, who taught:

“We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.” -D&C 134: 10

Isn’t depriving a student of his ability to graduate depriving him of this world’s goods?  Some critics would tell the student to "take your business elsewhere."  Yet, she has earned through her labor and money and time part of a degree- and there is no guarantee of that portion transferring somewhere else.  Indeed, depending on the program, you could earn nearly 50 credits and have to start over somewhere else with only 6, or earn nearly 80 and have to begin again with only 30 (those are two BYU programs I personally know of that I looked into transferring to another school).  Plus, the religion classes aren't particularly likely to be ubiquitously recognized elsewhere.  A partial degree is typically about as valuable in the job market as no degree.   Why then “try” students’ religious conduct at the penalty of their educational opportunities and attainments?  Is that practice consistent with the above verse from authorized canonical scripture?  Is it consistent with Elder Ballard's teaching in The Doctrine of Inclusion?  
"[I]f neighbors become testy or frustrated because of some disagreement with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or with some law we support for moral reasons, please don’t suggest to them—even in a humorous way—that they consider moving someplace else. I cannot comprehend how any member of our Church can even think such a thing! Our pioneer ancestors were driven from place to place by uninformed and intolerant neighbors. They experienced extraordinary hardship and persecution because they thought, acted, and believed differently from others. If our history teaches us nothing else, it should teach us to respect the rights of all people to peacefully coexist with one another." - October 2001,

To me, Joseph’s approach sounds a lot better than the current Board practice of depriving students of their educational opportunities, partial degrees, and fully earned diplomas because those students choose to openly follow the dictates of their religious consciences.
Back to the honor code, which also states:

“Homosexual behavior and/or advocacy of homosexual behavior are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings. Advocacy includes seeking to influence others to engage in homosexual behavior or promoting homosexual relations as being morally acceptable.”

In the context of Article of Faith 11’s tolerance of worshipping according to the dictates of one’s conscience, one might ask: what is a student to do in the following situation?  After signing the honor code, LDS BYU student Sarah’s conscience dictates to her that worshipping God includes promoting as morally acceptable a subset of homosexual relations (say, that subset of love-expressing homosexual relations which take place in legally recognized same-sex marriage and/or lifelong-committed same-sex partnerships).  Or, perhaps Sarah’s conscience dictates that she follow Muhammad (peace be upon him) or become an atheist?  Must Sarah then betray her conscience to be true to her commitment to comply with the honor code (which rather serious and enduring commitment many students make before even old enough to vote), on the pain of being stripped of her ability to graduate, towards which endeavor she has sacrificed literally thousands of hours of her life and all her money?  I know personally that this is precisely the situation that some students find themselves in. 
Most BYU students compromise to mitigate this tension between their conscience and their desire to graduate, checking the boxes that keep them under the radar (such as compulsory church attendance) until their diplomas post, despite their sincere wish to worship (or not worship) otherwise.  I’m not so certain how “honor”-able a code is that perpetrates the twin violations of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience (to say nothing of freedom of speech).  Nonetheless, this structure is a direct product of the conservative authoritarian regimes that are the BYU Board of Trustees and BYU Honor Code Office.  (I need to make a disclosure here.  You’ll have to forgive some of my acerbic tone- my brother is a martyr on the cross of BYU’s version of religious freedom.  Shortly before graduating he decided to leave the LDS church and as a result BYU denied and to this day denies him his degree).

Isn’t it more of a Satanic than a divine scheme to compel the actions and beliefs of men through heavy carrots and sticks?  Said one:
"This is my last semester at BYU. This is the first semester I have come to realize how much hypocrisy there is. It is the first semester I've come to realize just how much control the school exhibits and how little the school supports the free exchange of ideas. I have one class left. Had I known what I know now before coming to school, I would have never enrolled. But now I am in a sticky situation. For fear of punishment, I must ignore my conscience and things that I feel are right so that I can graduate. Sounds a lot like 'satan's plan.'"

Don’t we agree more with J. Reuben Clark, who warned Apostle Mark E. Peterson who sought permission to instruct local leaders to begin excommunication trials for persons he suspects of having disloyal attitudes toward the LDS church “to be careful about the insubordination or disloyalty question, because they ought to be permitted to think, you can’t throw a man off for thinking.[6]”  You certainly could at BYU.  On 26 February, 1969, the President of BYU instructed the bishops and stake presidents of the student stakes to report to campus authorities any students who confess unacceptable conduct.  This is a way of “eliminating students who do not fit into the culture of BYU so that those [who] would fit into it might be admitted to the institution.”  Aware of this lack of confidentiality, many BYU students (including myself) do not approach their bishops for help with faith crises or repenting of misconduct, knowing to do so jeopardizes their ability to get a college degree. Said one:
"[T]he only ones who get punished are the ones who are honest about it and tell their Bishops. So instead of encouraging people to talk to their religious leaders, BYU and it's honor code promotes deceit and lies. Plus people don't get the help they need to overcome problems because they are too scared they will be kicked out of school if anyone knows they have a problem."

Is Peterson’s requested disloyalty question extant in today’s comparable temple recommend question?  “Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?”  I think all of us have at times questioned or disagreed with a church teaching or practice here and there.  Are none of us worthy on account of entertaining such sympathies because the points of disagreement or doubt are very likely purported by someone or some group out there?  How about: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”  Would opponents of Proposition 8 then lose their temple recommends?  Wasn’t God the one who was behind greater freedoms for His children, the same God who instituted the liberty-affirming Constitution? 

“According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles… And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101).

In addition to being lighter-handed in these matters, is it not also reasonable to conclude that God would prefer that students be treated more equally?  If unwilling to average out and homogenize tuition (one of the few differences of treatment as between LDS and non-LDS students), wouldn’t there be an equality gain by allowing all students alike the privilege of apostatizing from their childhood faiths, rather than just those BYU students fortunate enough to not start BYU as a Latter-day Saint?

“Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.
For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.
Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.
But if he murdered he was punished unto death; and if he robbed he was also punished; and if he stole he was also punished; and if he committed adultery he was also punished; yea, for all this wickedness they were punished.
For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.  (Alma 30:7-11)

On the same subject from Joseph Smith, again remembering the civil government aspect of BYU which derives from its primary function of granting civil, rather than religious, academic degrees:

We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied. (D&C 134:9)

The right to apostatize, being subsumed within the right of religious freedom, is denied to one religious society (LDS), while per the on-campus missionary fervor it is fostered in another (Catholics).   Why would BYU or the church be interested in asking thousands of relatively naive teenagers to contract away their religious freedom for 3-6 years?

The International Law and Religion symposium[7] is held on BYU’s campus every year, bringing in delegates from far-off countries to promote religious freedom across the world.  Am I the only one to observe the irony that this significant religious freedom symposium takes place on soil where choice of religion and religious practice are both heavily burdened?  The church has lately placed immense emphasis on the issue of religious freedom, as evidenced, for example, by[8]: 1) “Religious Freedom,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Brigham Young University-Idaho, 13 October 2009; 2) “The Threatened Demise of Religion in the Public Square,” Elder Lance B. Wickman,
J. Reuben Clark Law Society, 11 February 2010; 3) “We Are All Enlisted,” Elder Russell M. Nelson, To the Young Adults of the Boston and Hingham Stakes, 10 June 2010; and 4) His Eminence Francis Cardinal George of the Catholic Church, during a speech at Brigham Young University: “Catholics and Latter-day Saints: Partners in the Defense of Religious Freedom,” 23 February 2010 (I was there for the devotional, which kind of blew me away- Cardinal George was far more educated, articulate, and apperceptive than I had predicted).

“Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.” (Alma 60:23)

Wouldn’t it make sense to ensure robust religious freedom first at BYU before seeking to teach the world what religious freedom means?  The honor code policy is instead reminiscent of the Puritans, who left persecution by the Church of England only to rigidly prohibit religious freedom in their own communities upon reaching the Americas:
“The Puritans were not fighting for religious freedom when they opposed the established Church of England. They were fighting for the right to replace that authority with one of their own. Democracy, religious toleration and separation of church and state were equally distasteful to the ruling elders. From the start, the Bay Colony confined voting to members of the approved Puritan churches, denied freedom of speech to its opponents and insisted that all persons subject themselves to the authority of its magistrates.
The life of the colony and of its people, the clothes they should wear, the length of their hair, their labors and pastimes, were all supervised and regulated in accordance with the clergy's interpretation of the scriptures.[9]”  The Massachusetts Bay Colony was especially noted for its persecution of Quakers, with the Plymouth Colony and some other Connecticut river colonies not far behind.
Joseph Smith’s 1842 declaration of “allowing all men the privilege” of religious freedom, as well as the Nauvoo Charter’s robust religious freedom guarantee, seems very different from the early Puritanical approach and instead very similar to the view of the Founding Fathers:
“The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed:
‘[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.[10]’”
These concepts of religious freedom should apply to BYU.  Why?  Because of BYU’s nature as a large institution of higher education.  BYU is an educational institution, NOT the LDS church.  The institution admits non-LDS students, pursues a myriad of non-religious, academic endeavors, and, perhaps most importantly, it awards accredited academic degrees recognized as valid the world over.  A business in Congo or a state government in Alabama that wants to hire an applicant likely cares nothing about whether the applicant is baptized in the LDS church; they might care quite a lot about whether that person’s BYU education resulted in a particular degree.  In many significant ways, BYU is a government.  A few examples of those ways:
·         BYU makes law (binding rules such as when you can ride your bike on campus, or the honor code)
·         BYU enforces law (actively removes the ability to enroll and graduate from honor code violators, penalizes parking violations, etc.)
·         BYU adjudicates (such as by considering whether the conduct of faculty, students, or departments should be penalized, changed, or affirmed- e.g. they review speaker invitation decisions made by departments and student clubs)
·         BYU protects some rights (such as by giving degrees equally to those students who meet the stated requirements). 
·         BYU levies taxes (e.g. tuition) unequally on members of its community
·         BYU governs a large and diverse community in ways that significantly impact the lives of its participants

God taught through Joseph Smith:
“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.” (D&C 134:4)

BYU’s law is not religious law- if not also fully so, the vast majority of binding policies at BYU are at the least closer to “human law.”  Thus, BYU should not “prescribe rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the Board of Trustees should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”  The encapsulation of my professed “should” argument from the first paragraph in this verse is satisfying.  I will let the reader decide how well this Doctrine and Covenants passage describes BYU’s version of religious freedom.

In our modern day, losing the faith of one’s upbringing is common for college students across the globe[11] (whether it be due to education and/or the age and/or other factors I’m not sure).  Thus, it is very reasonable to predict that many BYU students, though mostly or fully content to sign on to the BYU experience as teenaged freshman, would later on prefer to leave the church and/or join another faith.  Knowing this large magnitude makes the exceptional burden imposed on apostates and freedoms of speech and conscience even more egregious.

BYU’s mission statement declares[12]:

“Because the gospel encourages the pursuit of all truth, students at BYU should receive a broad university education… which will help students think clearly, communicate effectively, understand important ideas in their own cultural tradition as well as that of others, and establish clear standards of intellectual integrity.”

How can “important ideas be understood” in the “cultural tradition of others”?  How could the BYU educational experience be “broadened”? I can’t help but wonder whether the BYU environment wouldn’t be enriched, rather than depreciated, by allowing a little bit more in the way of speech, religion, and conscience freedoms.  I will conclude with two modest suggestions:

     1)     Keep the honor code’s burdens on religious practice, but remove the language prohibiting the promotion of homosexual relations as morally acceptable.
     2)     Remove the honor code’s no-graduation-for-you punishment on LDS students’ choice of religion, and replace it with the more savory tuition hike that’s already applied to non-LDS students.

Brad's comment:
I do not oppose any official church doctrines or polices (though on reflection I suppose Board of Trustee decisions wouldn’t strictly qualify as official church policies). 
I think here the student overplays the relevance of Article of Faith 11- there’s been a lot of revelatory water under the bridge since 1842. I would be interested though in what others would point out as gaps in the perspective. 

[1] Joseph Smith, Articles of Faith, 1842 letter to “Long” John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat
[6] D. Michael Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, pg. 834.
[11] Jeffrey Arnett, Emerging Adulthood.


  1. Your right, you signed up for this school. In fact it was hard for you to get in. With all the other school options there are, why would you want to attend BYU?

    As for your two modest suggestions, do you really think a Church School is going to let you promote ideas that are contrary to their beliefs? ANY Church School? And why just "homosexual relations" Abortion has been legal in this country far longer then homosexual relations. Why not that idea? I'm sure there are more ideas that can be found on campus that are also not allowed to be promoted.
    This kind of idea should be saved for the U of U. There is a reason they call it "That Godless School to the North"
    I went to BYU in the 70's, then the discussion was hair length. Missionary Hair Cuts for students was required. How is that discussion going some 40 years later?
    As for your second suggestion, the Church spends a lot more money on your education then you pay in tuition. The only reason they do that is to produce well educated men and women who are strong members of the Church. If they are not getting that, then there would be no reason to keep BYU a church school being funded by church tithing.

  2. VP: Religious freedom is a privilege, not a civil right.

    I guess that the distinguished VP has not read the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Great post, Brad. Thank you!


  3. It makes perfect sense considering that aside from tuition the church pays for BYU out of tithes and offerings. I don't see how restricting these things is a bad thing.

  4. @Anonymous at 3:04 - The First Amendment actually applies to the government, not to private actors. It seems to me that it would actually help BYU's position more that it would hurt it (although I think it's really pretty neutral either way).

  5. Are you really comparing BYU policies with the persecution of Quakers and the slaughter of Jews?

  6. @Ed

    Your argument, "do you think that a church school would..." is irrelevant to the actual morality of the situation. This is a classic example of the bandwagon fallacy.

    Your argument, "this kind of idea should be saved for the U of U," is irrelevant, in poor taste, and frankly, insulting to BYU as an institution of higher learning. If you were at all coherent, this might be considered ad hominem.

    Your argument, "I went to BYU in the 70's...," is not an argument. It is a completely unrelated assertion.

    Your argument, "the only reason they do that is to produce well educated men and women who are strong members of the Church," is made with complete disregard to the fact that the author of this blog has already addressed this matter. Non-LDS students are admitted to BYU, and their tuition, though higher, is still heavily subsidized by the church.

    Finally, your spelling and grammar leave something to be desired. Are you sure you went to college?

  7. I'm a student at BYU, I don't believe but I really want to so bad. I wish I could be honest with people around me about my lack of belief, I think it might even help me build a testimony in the long run because it would help me find more support, instead I have to keep it to myself or risk getting kicked out. I think BYU policy shows that short-sighted men are running the university, not God.

  8. I'm another BYU student who doesn't believe. The whole thing has appeared hopelessly illogical since I was about 8-12 years old. I applied to 3 universities (BYU to appease my dad) and was unlucky enough to be rejected by the other two. Going to BYU has been the worst decision of my life. I'm three years in now, and have to fake sincerity because otherwise three years of my life is lost. The sick part is my only "sin" is thoughtcrime.

    @ Anonymous 9:52 - Don't force a belief on yourself. An honest person faces the facts with judgmental indifference. Reality has no obligation to conform to our desires - wanting to believe something doesn't lend reason to think its true. Let evidence guide you.


    Maybe this response by a prophet can help answer some of your questions about the why behind the honor code. It helped answer some of mine.


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