Many Church members have been worried for years about the priorities of many of the professors and teachers at BYU and other Church institutions. The purpose of Church education is to promote Church doctrine and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet many professors concentrate on the latest woke causes and sometimes even contradict Church teachings.
Are things about to change?
And the first wave of centralized firings has begun—at the level of the Ecclesiastical Clearance Office (ECO) in Salt Lake. Dozens of adjunct faculty, many who have worked for CES for years, given overtime and heart and health to students, received compensation for barely minimum wage, have received calls that they have been fired—even as the fall semester begins—with zero information as to the reason for their dismissal.
According to this post from March 2022 Church educators are being asked to make sure they hold temple recommends. According to the author, this is somehow “authoritarian,” which is hilarious, but I will note that teaching standards also now include at least some CES employees being asked the following questions:
- “Does this member have a testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of its doctrine, including its teachings on marriage, family, and gender?
- “Does this member support current church policies and practices and sustain the leaders of the Church?
- “Has this member demonstrated an exemplary and extended pattern of avoiding pornography for at least one year?
- “Please share any concerns you may have about recommending this member:
- “This member will be an influence on youth and young adults. Your additional comments are needed for this endorsement. Please describe this member with regard to each of the following: Temple Worthiness, Church Attendance, Support of Church Leadership and Doctrine, Family Relationships, Testimony, Other Areas of Strength:”
I think I speak for many, and indeed probably the vast majority, of Church members when I say: “Can I get an Amen?!”
I know some readers will find this a cruel sentiment. The academic world is a tough place to make a living, and now some educators are facing life-changing moments. It is no fun to get fired.
But here’s the thing: working for other people is, by its very nature, tough. Most people don’t like their jobs. Most bosses are idiots, and most people are underpaid and under appreciated. This has been the case since the first “job” was invented. The author of the above-referenced posts seems blithely unaware of this and seems to think people should be able to work at whatever job they want and keep it forever, regardless of whether they fulfill the job description.
That’s not how the world works. Most people have been fired at one time or another, and it will be painful, but you go find another job and get along with life.
You know what also happens in the real world? Your bosses will change your job description, your job qualifications and even your pay without consulting you. This has happened to me in literally every job I have had, and I have had many jobs over the years. Just to name the most recent example, a person I work with quit this year, so I was told I had to take on that person’s job in addition to my own — with no raise! Yes, I am doing the jobs of two people and making the same amount of money. My choices were: accept the new situation or quit, and I decided to accept the new situation.
So, according to the posts on BCC, the Church is changing the requirements for CES employees. Many Church educators will be affected, and the BCC writer is outraged!
Let me provide another perspective. I live in a conservative part of Colorado. Our bishops have stopped recommending to their young men and young women that they go to BYU Provo. They are strongly recommending other schools. Why? Because there have been many young men and young women who come back from a year at BYU Provo and abandon the Church completely because of the things they are taught. This happens over and over again, and it only happens when people go to BYU Provo.
There is something rotten with Church education, or at least this is what conservative parents in my part of Colorado believe. There seems to be a consistent theme that young people are being influenced AGAINST CHURCH TEACHINGS when they go to BYU Provo. And there have been occasional reports that Institute teachers and even Seminary teachers are preaching against the Church as well.
It seems that the Church questions mentioned above are the VERY MINIMUM we should expect from CES employees. They should have extremely firm testimonies of the Church and be of the utmost moral character, and they should never, EVER contradict Church teachings, especially important doctrines on gender and sexuality. I can tell you based on what parents and student have told me that many educators at BYU Provo openly oppose Church teachings, especially on gender and sexuality. This is not acceptable.
The writer at BYU finds the whole thing “authoritarian” and “autocratic,” which as I say is hilarious because this person is showing no knowledge of how the real world works for the rest of us. Yup, most of our bosses are autocrats and idiots — welcome to reality! And the horror, the absolute HORROR of an employer insisting on basic standards of behavior from employees — it’s just appalling!
But don’t worry, the BCC writer has her priorities straight:
Change nothing. Whatever that is. As you were. Let’s stay true to what feels right at our core, esp in regard to those we teach, esp those who are vulnerable, esp those who are on the margins of the church and CES schools. Keep loving our LGBTQ+ students, keep supporting People of Color, supporting women who are grasping for a sense of self while navigating socio-institutional expectations. Continue acknowledging the complexity of the world, don’t dilute your intelligence, don’t reduce your teaching to platitudes, don’t stop associating with people Jesus himself would have been fired for associating with.
Notice the priorities? They are all WOKE. My takeaway is that this person cares much more about her personal ideology than she does about the Gospel and the true teachings of the Church. That is fine — there are tens of thousands of academics these days out there preaching the Gospel of Woke. But that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so if you want to teach members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are going to expect different standards. And many of us are happy to see the Church enforcing these standards on its teachers. My friends say: “it’s about time!”