The Last Traditional Moralists

Sports is a religion with some people, and even Mormons at times. When a favorite team wins it can feel like all is right in the world. A loss can bring depression and even anger. Rivalries are often pitched as a battle between good and evil. The obsession has limitless potential to unbalance and unhinge the most serious minds. That said, when third ranking Brigham Young University basketball player Brandon Davies was suspended from playing because of breaking the school’s honor code, a different kind of discussion took place. The Internet and sports enthusiasts asked how could a championship be jeopardized by something so silly as sleeping with your girlfriend? That sounded too irrational and, well, old fashioned. Actually, it was described as archaic as if a relic not of recent history, but of all history. No one came to the school’s defense of having the honor code, even among the religious. Mormons alone seemed convinced that his behavior was wrong and had consequences.

Most of the positive reaction was that BYU, despite the position it would put the sports team, upheld the honor system when it might have waited until safely after the championship. Others were impressed that that the honor code was upheld at all. None of them felt that the honor code should exist beyond the academic ethics of no cheating. Punishment for what is seen as a “youthful fact of life” was unconscionable. A few even called it un-American and worse. Such is modern Western culture that expectations of virginity before marriage and fidelity after has become disgraceful. Has it come to the point where Mormonism alone teaches a long held belief in the sanctity of marriage and procreation? It is hard to conclude otherwise.

It isn’t that an honor code is unheard of at a religious school. As a very short list of some schools show, its not even the most strict that exist. Rather, the strict nature of the code at a major university is rare. West Point seems to be the largest non-religious higher education school with similar expected standards of student conduct. Despite the historically religious foundations of many high ranked and prestiges Universities, the moral expectations outside of the classroom is at most based on criminal legalities. Reading the responses of students and those opposed to the BYU honor code enforcement, it almost comes across that academics are the least reason to go to college. Getting out of the house to experience debauchery is the number one priority of an education if the Internet at all reflects today’s generation.

Mention was made that Mormonism seems to be the only religion that teaches traditional morality and consequences of deviation. Listing a few mostly Christian schools might refute that statement, but a closer look at responses might not make that refutation clearcut. In a twitter response by Bronco football player Tim Tebow, who is know for his religiosity, he questioned if Davies should have been kicked off the team. He claimed, “”I do always think that people definitely deserve second chances, because no one is perfect, and we mess up everyday …,” while not knowing the circumstances behind the actions of the school. The implication, especially as interpreted by newspaper reports, is that there shouldn’t have been any kind of punishment. Other religious Internet blogs think that BYU was uncharitable for not allowing him to continue as a player. They tied that lack of charity to proof that Mormons don’t believe in Grace where a “Christian” would simply forgive him out of Faith in Christ. After all, he said sorry. That can be interpreted to mean that even religious people don’t see what used to be considered serious moral lapses as of any concern.

That leaves Mormons once more alone in believing that the 10 Commandments, and especially non-secular legal based traditional morality, means more than words. What might be missing is the viewpoint of Catholics who used to uphold such things and Muslims who are known by reputation to be strict. None of them seem to have said anything about the honor code or the incident, and that is a shame. Perhaps in the noise and confusion of the Internet a voice from either of them has said something in support beyond the usual praise of upholding an honor code they themselves disagree. Otherwise, from the reactions that have been noted, traditional morality and especially the idea of religious consequences really are near extinctions.

42 thoughts on “The Last Traditional Moralists

  1. I’m just impressed that so many have supported BYU for sticking to their standards despite how it might damage the team’s prospects. I think that’s good for BYU’s reputation, and it’s a good sign that others still respect those who have standards and keep them.

    I might add, that list of religious schools you bring up is…interesting. Let’s just say that BYU is the only one with a respectable science department; BYU is head and shoulders, academically, above those other religious schools with strict moral standards. So not only is it the largest major university with so strict of standards, it’s the only (in my book) legitimate university with so strict of standards. The fact that BYU can pull it off is impressive.

  2. As a BYU grad, I am glad the school stuck to it’s standards and booted Davies from the team. I am sorry he messed up and I do believe in second chances. But, if they had just ‘slapped his wrist’ so to speak, it mocks all the kids who go there and try hard and do keep the honor code. The standards of BYU are made very clear, as are the consequences.

  3. Here we go Why can’t we make arguments or discussion point saying what another faith does or not does. This really bugs me, because I’d say 3/4 of the people on this discussion board have never been Catholic or Muslim. And even less have even stepped into another persons church as a visitor Yet, Mormons tend to say how much better they are, or aren’t. This argument needs to stop.
    And by that I don’t mean an ending of the discussion, Just an ending of the discussion point that is not really valid to make. This issue has to deal with how the Mormon community as a whole deals with issue. This should not be a comparison of how Catholics or Muslims deal with this issue because it didn’t happen in a Catholic or Muslim community, either Academic or religious.

    Furthermore, if one is going to up hold one person to a certain standard than uphold everyone the same. I can tell you from personal experience in dealing with the male patriarchy of the church this is not the case. This is why I see it as being duplicitous.

    I’ve experienced first hand what is like to be singled out by leadership, yet when my male counterpart has done the same thing, leadership looks the other way as if it didn’t take place.

  4. Jettboy, I’ve actually been surprised by how many positive stories I’ve seen on BYU’s actions. I’ve linked a few on the worth reading section of M*. I also have gotten positive responses from non-Mormons on Facebook. I think people like it when people actually stick up for morality in an increasingly immoral word. In this case, people are not as concerned about Davies sleeping with his girlfriend as they are about him breaking a code he promised to keep.

  5. Wow Diane, way to miss the point of the post in your attack against the leadership of the Church. I’m sorry that it doesn’t hold up to your vision of multi-culturalist equivalence politics. The truth of the matter is that what Mormons believe and act according to their ideas of morality used to be widespread. It used to be that if a young man was caught having sexual relations with a young girl, even of age, outside of wedlock that it was disgraceful. The man would be hounded by the parents to marry the girl immediately or the girl looked at as tainted. Catholics at least had a reputation to this kind of reaction. My question is if Mormons are the last to hold the moral ideal of sex only between married couples? It seems the silence or condemnation by others is evidence of societal changes even among the religious on this subject. In case you missed my last paragraph, I was even giving a chance for those who would like to show me where I might be wrong.

  6. I think the comments have missed the main point of my post. Yes, even you Geoff B. I am not at all refuting the positives and that “people are not as concerned about Davies sleeping with his girlfriend as they are about him breaking a code he promised to keep.” That is actually my point. Why are people not concerned, especially other religious people, that Davies slept with his girlfriend? Why is there no discussion by others why sleeping around or with your girlfriend is morally wrong? Is that no longer a moral issue outside of Mormonism?

  7. [Any personal attacks will be deleted. Please discuss issues or don't comment. If you disagree with the conclusions, any conclusions, please explain how those conclusions are wrong]

  8. Oh brother. What a strange subject to use to try and prove we alone are the moral compass left in the world. All you have to do is look at the history of the Honor Code relating to BYU athletes to know this post is not accurate.

  9. If I’ve attacked leadership of the church it’s because I’ve experienced the hypocrisy by them in how they handle discipline differently between Men / Woman. That is my truth. You don’t get to change that simply because you don’t like what your reading. I’m not going to elaborate on my personal experiences but I can tell you with 100% veracity about how my home-teacher was treated much differently that I was with regard to a specific incident and I have my RSP to back me up on that one. Condemnation of others by those inside the church and outside the church are also usually seen as the person being an apostate or anti.

    And to answer your question, your right no one outside of Mormonism really does care who anyone is sleeping with as long as your being careful with your body.(i.e) using proper precautions, etc. I don’t think its’ really anyone’s business who Davies is sleeping with, Yes, his girlfriend is pregnant, It seems to me he is standing by her and providing for her the way he should be. Anything more than that is really nobody’s business. What happened should have stayed between the two of them. This incident had no business being played out on a national stage

  10. Jettboy, if he was kicked off the team for drinking beer (also part of the honor code) would you be complaining that nobody else is commenting on how horrible it is to drink alcohol and why are Mormons the only moral people left?

  11. “All you have to do is look at the history of the Honor Code relating to BYU athletes to know this post is not accurate.”

    Can you enlighten me on that history so that I can take more than your word for it? Honestly, try engaging instead of attacking please.

    “. . . if he was kicked off the team for drinking beer (also part of the honor code) would you be complaining that nobody else is commenting on how horrible it is to drink alcohol . . .”

    I might. There used to be a temperance movement and Muslims have their own ban on alcohol.

  12. By the way jjohnson, Diane seemed to have agreed with my premise that “no one outside of Mormonism really does care who anyone is sleeping with as long as your being careful with your body.(i.e) using proper precautions, etc.” If I am wrong is she also wrong?

  13. There are other religions that believe in being chaste until marriage. So yes, you are both wrong.

    As for Mormons not being morally superior when it comes to athletes, have you ever heard of a young BYU quarterback named Jim McMahon? He is one of many examples of athletes that blatantly violated the honor code while BYU ignored it. I actually have a co-worker that was one of many students that reported McMahon for sleeping with co-eds (he’s proud of that, I found it creepy). But I don’t have to go by a rumor from a co-worker, McMahon has admitted in interviews he was drinking and sleeping around during college.

    How exactly is it an attack to say that the whole premise of your post is wrong?

  14. “Oh brother,” is an eye roll and therefore a personal attack far as I am concerned.

    As for Jim McMahon, I am ashamed and dismayed by that and other violations that were kept hidden in the past because of sports even up until the 90s. I don’t deny that fact. However, things have changed or at least seem to have changed. If they haven’t then I will continue to be upset. Regardless, there hasn’t been anyone to my knowledge who has argued that kicking him off because he slept with someone (rather than just because he broke a commitment) was morally right.

    Are there really other religions that believe in being chaste until marriage? Again, there might be, but I am not familiar with any currently besides in theory. I am open to the possibility Catholics and Muslims still take those beliefs seriously. The silence of the discussion is either because those people don’t care to comment, lack the ability to comment, or other that I can’t think of. The one religious person that I could find of note, Tim Tebow, seemed surprised it was serious enough there were actions taken.

  15. Pingback: The Last True Moralists « Heart Issues in the I-15 Corridor

  16. For my part as an Evangelical, I approve of BYU’s decision to stand firm by its Honor Code, which in this case is a reasonable and morally upright standard; Davies was wrong not only to violate the Honor Code but also to transgress God’s commandments for human sexuality. (Most of the other Evangelicals I know who are even aware of the case at hand and have commented on it – which is, I grant, a fairly low number – also concur with BYU’s decision.)

  17. I had a few JW friends who said that most JW really, really don’t have sex until they are married. I also know some Muslims who believe that and actually a few evangelicals and Catholics. When I was in India on business, it was clear that most Hindus also hold chastity as a real goal.

    Jettboy, if your point is that Mormons are kind of the last holdouts on this issue, I think it is obviously true that we are known culturally for being a peculiar people. So your point is valid. But there are others in many other religions — and even some non-religious people — who have such values for a variety of different reasons.

  18. Thank you JB for responding. Why do you think so few are not talking about what Davies did (other than break a commitment) as wrong? Do you feel there are a low number who are responding because they don’t know about it, don’t want to talk about it out of fear they will receive the same “archaic” criticism, don’t want to speak out in favor of Mormons, or really are low in number who hold the same moral standards? What do you think of the response of Tim Tebow who is considered the “poster child” of religious Christian athletes? Would you agree with my premise that Mormons are among a small and shrinking group of religions that take chastity until marriage seriously in Western cultures?

    Geoff B., it sounds like you got my point. Let me ask you a similar question. Why do you think so many people are quiet in defense of BYU for having the standards (especially chastity) and not just praise for sticking with a commitment?

  19. Religions that believe sex isn’t allowed outside of marriage include Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Bahai, various Evangelicals and Jehovah’s Witness. That list hardly leaves us alone in being the only group that believes the Ten Commandments are more than words.

    I didn’t realize your post was only addressing recent history, so maybe you are correct that athletes no longer receive special treatment. We really wouldn’t know would we, unless someone came out and said they had been treated differently than a typical student. We do know it was that way at one time, so maybe we only recently became morally superior to every other religion on Earth.

    I’d ask everyone to read Jettboy’s sentence again “That leaves Mormons once more alone in believing that the 10 Commandments, and especially non-secular legal based traditional morality, means more than words. ” and ask yourself if you can honestly agree. Are Mormons really that last people on Earth that believe morality means more than words? I can’t be the only one that thinks the point of this post has no basis in reality.

  20. I see both sides of this. On one hand, I agree with jjohnsen that there are religious people of many faiths that believe in a moral code. How much that crosses over into sports may be another question (not sure how many people really care about college sports in general), but I don’t see Mormons as the last/only moral people on the planet.

    On the other hand, there is a contrast with the many who couldn’t care less about sleeping around, who see that as ‘normal’ young adult behavior. So even as I don’t agree with the idea that LDS folks are the only ones who care about morality, I feel like morality has slipped in a general sense in our culture, and that is concerning to me. I do think there is a bit of an attitude ‘out there’ that (as I have heard it said) sees a moral life as being ‘quaint’ and perhaps ‘out-of-date.’

  21. Re: 17 – Thanks, Jettboy. I think a large part of it is simply not having heard of the incident. If I weren’t a follower of LDS-related blogs and didn’t have some acquaintances in Utah, I don’t think I ever would have heard of it. It could simply be related to my utter lack of interest in American sports, but it doesn’t seem to really be big news. And even among those fellow Evangelicals who have heard of the incident, few seem to have regarded it as newsworthy enough to make a comment on in venues where I’d be likely to hear of their input. Of those I’ve heard from, though, I haven’t yet heard anything negative about BYU’s decision. I would say that most of the self-identified Evangelicals I know – or perhaps just the ones to whom I’m willing to cede the term, perhaps – do believe in the importance of God’s intentions for human sexuality. I’m disappointed in Tim Tebow’s reaction to the decision, though I can somewhat see where he’s coming from. Still, repentance doesn’t erase temporal consequences, and BYU is certainly within its rights to enforce their honor code. I would agree that, at least in twentieth- and twenty-first century American culture, Latter-day Saints are one of a shrinking number of groups who admirably adhere to the importance of chastity, and that much is a very, very commendable thing.

  22. I never said last people on Earth. I said Western civilization, meaning mostly Jews and Christians. I still say Mormons stand alone considering no one has defended the actions of Brigham Young University from a chastity moral perspective. That doesn’t mean others might not stand apart on the same issue. Besides,I left the possibility of my 10 commandments and other related morality comment open to the possibility I might be wrong when I said, “What might be missing is the viewpoint of Catholics who used to uphold such things and Muslims who are known by reputation to be strict.” Stop taking the sentence out of context and putting into my post what isn’t there. If there are voices from other religions that have defended the honor code, especially in this case, it would be nice for them to be pointed out. JB hinted that there is and perhaps that is a start.

    Believe it or not, I don’t want to be right on my main conclusion. That means a tough and lonely road ahead in a hostile environment. Its just frustrating that it seems, for whatever reason, Mormons get the most brunt from moral and religious criticism. Some others do as well, but they seem to quickly clam up or in fact join in the bashing. Even fewer are heard of excommunicating, calling out, or otherwise admitting consequences for what used to be known as serious sins.

  23. Jettboy,

    Maybe it would be good to broaden this a bit outside of the scope of the sports situation. I have, for example, run into sites of others who are promoting abstinence. I don’t have them on hand and I’m too tired to dig them up, but I find quite a bit of traditional family and moral values out there.

    To me, part of the challenge here is expecting this particular context to either prove or disprove what you have stated. It feels a bit narrow in scope to me.

    That said, I think at some point, we should expect to receive criticism in a world where morality is, more and more, seen as an outdated mode of life. As such, though, I think it will also be a good thing because we’ll find more and more those who resonate with such a stance. I think of Elder Oaks inviting people of religious faith to join together to defend religious freedom; I could see something similar in taking stands for moral behavior.

    Stop taking the sentence out of context and putting into my post what isn’t there. Sorry for what I may have added to this.

  24. Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Bahai, various Evangelicals and Jehovah’s Witness

    Virtually every Christian denomination, Protestant and Catholic, teaches that pre-marital sex is a moral sin. If many members violate that standard to a greater or lesser degree, it is not because their churches don’t teach that it is wrong.

    The general issue here is that a denomination that doesn’t establish substantially higher moral standards than prevail in the population at large rarely has a reason to exist. If it feels good, do it is the highway to irrelevance.

  25. “That can be interpreted to mean that even religious people don’t see what used to be considered serious moral lapses as of any concern.”

    Jettboy, all chatter aside, this seems to be your real point.

    I agree with jjohnsen that there are other religions that still believe in chastity before marriage. And there are a few that even have strong reputations in that area. Jettboy mentioned Catholics (hurray for Catholics!) and JWs were mentioned.

    But it seems jjohnsen is missing Jettboy’s point. There is a fairly large ‘religion’ that makes up something like 1/3 of the nation that also believes in chastity before marriage. We loosely group them as ‘Evangelicals.’ Considering there large side, we would have expected a strong defense from them online. But we don’t see that. (Or so Jettboy says anyhow. I have no personal experience seeing what the Evangelical response is.) Instead the main defense we got was ‘he shouldn’t have broken his word’ or worse ‘you should ignore the violation and not have such a code because it’s unforgiving and isn’t belief in grace.’ (Jettboy points out this is possibly implying that ‘grace’ has become an excuse to sin now. It didn’t used to be that way.)

    Jettboys lament is thus not a condemnation of th official teachings of Evangelicals or other religions like them. It’s a realization that they have strayed so far from their own teachings that they no longer defend Mormons on a teaching they actually share with Mormons.

    Of course, this is just my interpretation of Jettboy’s post and comments. In reality, I am not so sure Evagelicals have ever defended Mormons on doctrinal points we share together. I get the feeling there is just too much prejudice there. So perhaps that is the explanation. I don’t know.

  26. By the way, this is a legitimate question for Jettboy to ask. I admit I always wonder where the Evangelicals are when something like this happens.

    I recently read a SL Tribue article that (perhaps falsely?) claimed that 90% of people have sex before marriage. Considering the large size of the Evangelical movement in America, if this stat were true (and I have no idea if it is or not) then something really is wrong or missing.

    I’m hoping the stat itself is what’s wrong. But I don’t know any more.

  27. “Of course, this is just my interpretation of Jettboy’s post and comments . . . ”

    Thank you Bruce for once again realizing the main point of my posts and not sticking with isolated sentences as if the full views. Also michelle, I didn’t see you as doing that really because your disagreement did touch on the major points of what I was saying.

    “. . . In reality, I am not so sure Evangelicals have ever defended Mormons on doctrinal points we share together. I get the feeling there is just too much prejudice there. So perhaps that is the explanation. I don’t know.”

    This happens with the gay marriage debate as well. This incident only helped to secure my feeling they care more for doctrines than actual shared moral debates. I just don’t think many of them realize the damage the do by not at least sticking up for each other on shared moral stances, regardless of theological differences. On the other hand, it just might be I didn’t see anyone other than Mormons sticking up for the existance of the honor code because other religious people don’t watch sports or like to comment about it on the Internet, although I doubt that.

    “I recently read a SL Tribue article that (perhaps falsely?) claimed that 90% of people have sex before marriage.”

    That is the same poll I read and makes me wonder that same thing. How accurate is that? I don’t know, but it has been used by many people to scoff at an honor code and to the very idea of traditional morality. I was at ESPN that had a poll with the honor code and asked if anyone could live it for a year. Inaccuracies aside for online polls, the Western U.S. was mostly Green for “yes” and the East and South was red for “no” with on state difference. The comments were either Mormons who stood by it or those who said that it proved the Mormons were out of touch with everyone else.

    “The general issue here is that a denomination that doesn’t establish substantially higher moral standards than prevail in the population at large rarely has a reason to exist. If it feels good, do it is the highway to irrelevance.”

    This is a fine and good statement that I agree with. One of the questions of my post is if those who have substantially higher moral standards in theory don’t stand up for or live those standards, are they really relevant?

  28. I am not sure a “have ever had sex before marriage” is nearly as relevant as a query of what percentage of people believe that people shouldn’t have sex before marriage.

    A more accurate distinction as to actual behavior would require questions like: “How many different sexual partners did you have?”, “How old were you when you had sex with the first one?”, and “Characterize the extent of your sexual relationship with your last partner prior to marriage: Never, once or twice, several times, or on an ongoing basis?”

    If those statistics do not show a marked difference for any relatively conservative Christian denomination, one might well conclude that they are likely failing to make any difference at all.

  29. “On the other hand, it just might be I didn’t see anyone other than Mormons sticking up for the existence of the honor code because other religious people don’t watch sports or like to comment about it on the Internet, although I doubt that”

    I wouldn’t count this possibility out yet. Though the SL Tribune number did scare me a bit.

    However, I note that the SLC Tribune didn’t publish a statistic, they quoted someone that mentioned it, but gave no source. And the person was obviously biased. So I’d like to see a real statistic first before I conclude anything.

    “I am not sure a “have ever had sex before marriage” is nearly as relevant as a query of what percentage of people believe that people shouldn’t have sex before marriage.”

    Good point Mark D. However, I think you might be missing the point a bit here. I think the question is whether or not Conservative Protestant Christian denominations have largely abandoned chastity before marriage specifically.

    I’m going to go on a limb here and suggest that all of these are true:
    1. Believing Christian denominations still teach chastity before marriage pretty much across the board.
    2. Due to the wider culture, it’s not uncommon for some people to not follow that at some point in their life, though perhaps they continue to accept it as God’s will or later repent of it.
    3. But it’s not uncommon for people in those denominations to follow it as well. Probably far more common than the 90% number the SL Tribune quoted.

    So if the above are all true (and I don’t know if they are are not) the question is why don’t more people come out and defend chastity before marriage on it’s own grounds? Even if there is only 10%, 10% is still a really sizable minority. We’d still wonder why we don’t see more vocal defense of chastity before marriage.

    I think here are some possibilities all of which need to be considered. I am not claiming they are true. These are merely hypotheses:
    1. That defense is there, but we tend to notice the negative more than the positive.
    2. Religious people are less likely to be online and make comments.
    3. Religious people are more likely to be prejudice against minority religions like Mormons, and thus not defend them even when they agree with them.
    4. Religious people have learned to keep quite and not stir the pot. (You’d guess otherwise from the way the media portrays them, so that would have to be explained.)

    Any others I haven’t thought of?

    Just a reminder to everyone, this is a discussion, not a debate. You will not win a trophy at the end. So becareful in assuming you know what Jettboy’s secret motives are and then attacking those. It’s a waste of yours and everyone’s time. I, for one, think this is a fair question. I am not convinced I know what the answers are. I’m entirely open to it being a perception problem as per my #1 above.

  30. I know I am coming late to the discussion here, but I wish to voice my support for this article, or at least the principle of respect for those who follow a moral code regardless of the slipping standards in society today. I was proud of both BYU for sticking to their code, and I was proud of this basketball player who probably threw away a basketball career, and put his position with the church in serious jeopardy, but knew that being honest with his mistakes was the best path away from a wrong life choice. BYU did what they were supposed to do, and so did Brandon Davies (so far as starting the repentance process goes.)

    What I don’t understand is some of the venom that has been put on jettboy for defense of his faith and its moral standards? I agree that the world at large today is slipping a great deal in their moral position. Some faiths are allowing gay clergy, others have dropped enforcement or concern for drinking or other omissions from moral standards of the past. People are going away from traditional morals as there is also a trend away from traditional religion. There is a trend in the United States to be apart of a “non-denominational” church. People are so afraid of religion, that even when they are a religion, they don’t want to be so they call themselves non-denominational. Let’s face it, religion and morals are not popular.

    Not all faiths are this way, but more and more are as time goes on. This should not be a shock to any who read the scriptures and understand the teachings of the prophets concerning our day. Men will call good evil and evil good. It seems to me that much of the commentary regarding the actions of BYU show that many value sports over God – or that sports is god. Either way, jettboy’s post is apt and I support its core principles.

  31. James

    I disagree with your argument that people are afraid of religion. They are not, what they are getting tired of, or rather what I should say, what I am getting tired of is the hypocrisy behind religion that people stand behind. For instance, I was just reading and article from LDS New line about how the Church support people what-ever there political view points are. Clearly that is not true given the debacle of the Proclamation of the family. I should not be told how to utilize the power of my vote to take away someone’s else right to happiness and or autonomy. I should not have an underlying fear that if I vote a particular way that my temple recommend can be taken away as a result .

    In reference to your argument that people go to non-denominational because its’ less traditional. I highly doubt it. I’ve been to many non-denominational services up and down the East coast and to me they all tend to have either a Baptist, or Evangelical flair. As I am awaiting my release from this church, I can certainly tell you that I would not gravitate towards any or those either.

    (This post has been edited for content).

    I’m sorry if this seems like its off-topic, but really its not and you asked why people are afraid of morals and religion and while I can’t really explain why they are not afraid, I can certainly give examples of how duplicitous and disingenuous and then hide themselves under the guise of morality .

  32. “I should not have an underlying fear that if I vote a particular way that my temple recommend can be taken away as a result.”

    Do you know of any examples of people actually losing the temple recommend, or is that just an underlying fear? I know a few who go belligerent who left the LDS Church over the issue, but I am not aware even in newspaper accounts of anyone actually getting ex-ed over the vote.

    “I had a heating bill of $150.00 and I asked for help from the Bishop Storehouse. His response. You need to learn how to budget your money. Are you freaking kidding me?”

    Sounds to me more like you have had an unlucky relationship with a Bishop. Other than that, I don’t believe the story. I have too much knowledge of the good the local LDS Churches have done for me to see this as anything more than an anomaly if it happened.

  33. Diane, your comment has been edited. I really want to say this with as much sympathy as possible: this is an internet site for those who believe in the Church and are trying to build it up. You have decided you don’t want to be a member. I truly am sorry for your negative experiences. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of internet sites where you can share those experiences with other people. This is not one of them. We really insist that comments and posts here build up the Church, not criticize or tear it down.

    I hope you will understand this decision. Further comments criticizing the Church will be deleted.

    All the best in all your endeavors.

  34. I think another good point Jettboy brings up is whether “artificial” or “temporal” consequences are appropriate. That is, a majority of Americans (or anybody on earth) may believe that an action is morally wrong, such as sex outside of marriage. But there seems to have been a major change in the last several decades on a different matter. Many people today seem to frown on the idea of any group imposing any kind of penalty on members of the group for really serious sinful actions. They’ll say, “Yes, X and Y are grave sins, but it’s for the Lord to impose punishments, not any fellow human being. Let the natural consequences be punishment enough. It’s wrong to expel or excommunicate or anything like that. Such punishments are artificial and distract people from understanding the natural consequences of sin.”

    I totally disagree with that trend. I think social, institutional consequences have a completely appropriate, beneficial effect on society—and on the spiritual health of individual souls. Now, before anyone starts quoting The Scarlet Letter to me, let me add that social/institutional consequences can definitely be (and have been) misapplied in harmful, destructive ways (e.g., virtually any Islamist regime).

    But the modern Western world seems to have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. It seems that most people (at least from what filters into the mainstream media) reflexively reject any kind of institutionalized consequences for sinful actions. And so something like the Honor Code is immediately having to swim against the current of common assumptions in any kind of public discussion like this. I agree that that is a sad trend.

  35. Todd’s disagreement with what he calls ‘traditional moralism’ does seem to prove Jetboy’s point after all.

  36. Nathan000000,

    Good points. It would seem that there is a sort of pratical matter here above and beyond any religious ones. If you are going to have an honor code that means anything, you have to enforce it in some way. If that honor code is going be fair, it has to apply to everyone. Etc.

    If this is really all about wanting to put social pressure on a religion because you believe it’s sinful, but your belief system is that it shouldn’t have been part of the honor code, then really this is an attempt to coerce others to put aside their beliefs in favor of yours.

    To become angry at Mormons because they don’t have the same beliefs as you do seems rather hypocritical in this instance. To each their own, right?

  37. I’d weigh in more on this topic, but I’m afraid this is one point where I am definitely extremist. I don’t think that BYU should have a traditional sports program at all.

    But that’s probably only because I’ve had first-hand experience with some of the ripple effects.

    Other than that, a student knows what they were signing up for when they agreed to attend BYU. Just because the rules aren’t always applied evenhandedly (speeding laws, anyone?) doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be enforced at all.

  38. Jettboy: I think you missed a lot of the public commentary and opinion pieces both in the sports world and in general. Your assertions that Mormons are the last and _only_ ones to stand up for morality are just wrong. I think your post also comes across as holier-than-thou.

  39. Bookslinger, you might be right. I can only go by the readings I was able to find, and it was a lot of them. If you have any counter examples it would go a long way toward showing the problems with my conclusions. JB hinted that there were. As I said above, my worry isn’t that I am wrong, but that I am right.

  40. Book, I think you need to give Jettboy a break. I think his larger point that fewer and fewer people, in all religions, are defenditing traditional morality is incontrovertible. Personally, I expected this BYU thing to be a huge PR disaster because of that. However, I agree with you that there has been a lot more positive coverage than I expected. But note nobody (or very few) have said, “yes, schools should hold their students to a high standard on moral issues.” It appears we have given up on that fight.

  41. From a purely statistical point of view, recent studies show that LDS youth are more likely than the youth of all other religious denominations surveyed to say that they support waiting until marriage to have sex and that their parents would be angry if they had pre-marital sex.

    Evangelical Protestant: 73.7% / 66.7%
    Mainline Protestant: 51.9% / 56.8%
    Black Protestant: 54.8% / 46.8%
    Catholic: 51.2% / 55.4%
    Jewish: 27.0% / 48.6%
    Mormon: 77.3% / 79.7%
    Other Religion: 50.7% / 53.4%
    No Religion: 29.3% / 41.2%

    Source: “Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers” published by Oxford University Press.

    I don’t have access to the stats on how many actually engage in pre-marital sex, but from what I understand Latter-day Saints are statistically much less likely to do so than the other denominations, though not nearly as low as we might like, and the Evangelical groups exhibit the greatest disparity between saying that it is important to wait and actually waiting. Also, if I understand right, LDS youth who do have pre-martial sex are far less promiscuous in that it tends to be only a one-time mistake rather than an on-going continuous problem.

    These stats seem to support Jettboy’s point, that Latter-day Saints take Chastity more seriously, and practice it more consistently than most others.

    Abortion and Teen Pregnancy statistics may also support this view as well, with Utah having the lowest teen pregnancy rate, whereas other states with large numbers of conservative Christians tend to have the highest teen pregnancy rates.

    But the statistics also show that the level of activity and regular participation in religion also influences the statistics. So it could be that Mormons just are more regularly involved than a lot of the adherents to other denominations. Those that are regularly and actively involved with their religion tend to be more Chaste.

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