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!”
While I’m glad to see this finally being done, I’m also upset that it had to be done. There is a lot of trust, perhaps too much, that is placed in people who hold leadership or positions of influence in CES. This misplaced trust also extends down into ward & stake leadership callings. I’m thankful that we’ve had the shift in the Church to “home centered, church supported” over the last few years. Parents TEACH YOUR CHILDREN in your homes, about everything. Have the hard conversations, be intentional. I pray that my kids have the gift of discernment every day. It’s not just enough to “choose the right” we have to see things as they really are, and get over our hesitancy to offend people with the truth. Stop being so nice my fellow Latter-day Saints!
Last year in our ward we had a person who was teaching the 15-16 year old Sunday school class that God was non-binary. Parents spoke up, meetings with the bishop were conducted with all the involved parties. This teacher would not commit to just teaching from the Come Follow Me lessons and was released. Shortly after this, this person & their family decided to walk away from the church. Some might point fingers of blame, but teaching false doctrine could not be tolerated. Sometimes there will be fallout, but as our hymn teaches us, “Do what is right let the consequence follow”.
Cwic Media did a podcast on this subject recently, it’s worth a listen. https://youtu.be/9wddmmI1BNc
Joyce, if we need firm evidence that the prophet is inspired, all we need to consider is the implementation of Come Follow Me at home right before the pandemic and as the teachings of the world become increasingly evil. The prophet’s timing could not have been better. I can tell you it has boosted my kids’ testimonies. Big time.
When Pres. Nelson first became the President of the Church and he made so many changes that first year of his service, I felt very overwhelmed. Then 2020 and Covid hit and, yes, those changes helped to strengthen families, wards, stakes and the saints generally. While I disagreed with shutting down Sunday meetings I was thankful for the Come Follow Me program. It also has helped our family’s testimony grow, both as a family and as individuals. We are much more fortified as a family because of Come Follow Me. I’ve been a Primary teacher in my ward for almost 4 years now. I can see the difference in the kids whose families do CFM and those who do not. And sadly, at this point we’ve had a substantial number of families walk away from the Church, because of doctrinal issues, that could have been resolved by following the CFM outlines and reading the Book of Mormon. There is a gospel answer to any problem or concern we might have…we just have to be willing to search the scriptures and words of the prophets, instead of words of the Bloggernacle, or the words of the false prophets of podcasts.
What are the wokists bellyaching about? They had a full year of warning:
How ironic this word “woke” is. White is black and black is white. Right is wrong and wrong is right. (Oops, unintentional rhyme). “Woke” is anything but that. It’s amazing to me and scary how Satan manipulates words to mean the exact opposite to influence susceptible and lazy minds. My heart goes out to those who leave the Church simply because of what they are throwing away. In the Lord’s Church there is no compromise. We simply exercise our faith and follow the Prophet and doing so will “wake” us up to receive the Spirit that testifies of the truth. The Lord bless you, Geoff, and others who are not deceived by the adversary and the world, to not let go of ‘the iron rod’. It was placed there for a reason.
Book, good point.
Hans S, yes, isn’t it interesting how words are manipulated so that they mean the opposite of their original intention? “Woke” is one of those.
Here is a better use of the word “woke”:
But the Non-Woke CES employees, at least when it comes to Book of Mormon Studies, still teach fake Book of Mormon Geography created by a RLDS member in Missouri, in the 1900s.
Non-Woke doesn’t mean being honest.
His old books are scanned online. This fake Two Cumorah theory is on display in the Church Book of Mormon Moroni video, with the actor depicting the ancient Nephite Prophet walking carrying the plates for decades, years, aging as he goes, until he finally buries the plates. That’s the idiot theory, found here:
BYU has plenty of idiot academics.
TwoCumorahFraud guy, if you want to have a conversation about idiotic academics, we are going to need a much bigger blog. My alma mater is absolutely filled to the brim with idiotic Marxist academics who believe the world would be a better place “without capitalism,” (whatever that means). They ignore the real world evidence showing the results of Marxism when it gets in power, ie, more than 100 million corpses strewn across the world by Marxist tyrants. I consider that substantially more idiotic than a Book of Mormon theory I may or may not agree with. I don’t know the exact geography of the Book of Mormon, and neither do you. Someplace in the Americas, that is what we know. Is the Two Cumorah’s theory correct? I have no idea, and neither do you. But I do believe that students should be aware of it and be able to discuss it. That is why we have academic discussions, so people can learn different things and different ideas and learn to either accept or reject them. Heck, I even believe Marxism should be taught in the schools so that people know about it and hopefully learn how evil it is. So, no, I don’t buy the idea that BYU academics should not discuss the Two Cumorah theory.
This is a fantastic article. I congratulate you on speaking the truth even though it may hurt some. In this church which I love, we must all step up and stop taking the gospel for granted. We need to adhere to our Prophet’s council here, “It is now time that we each implement extraordinary measures — perhaps measures we have never taken before — to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.” Oct 3, 2021 President Nelson.
I am manger for the FIRM Foundation for Rod Meldrum. We have a huge Book of Mormon Evidence Conference coming up Oct 20-22, in SLC, at the Salt Palace. We have over 75 speakers and I would love to have someone like Geoff B. as a part of our list of speakers such as Joel Skousen, Greg Matsen, Kate Dalley, Tim Ballard, the Two Red Pills, and many more. Thanks again for your comments Geoff. 801-931-9031
It’s about time!
Rian Nelson, thank you very much for commenting and reading M*, and I hope you come back. Good luck with your conference, it seems like an interesting event. I have read a lot of the information on Book of Mormon evidences, and I think the Heartland people and the Mesoamerica people both make interesting points. If I had to choose, I would probably choose a Mesoamerican setting, but I want to be clear that I could easily be wrong, and I don’t base my faith on my personal understanding of Book of Mormon geography. (As an aside, I have traveled in Central America and southern Mexico regularly since 1986, so I know the region well). I have never really written extensively on this issue on this blog in nearly 20 years of contributing here precisely because I don’t have strong feelings on the issue either way. I look forward to the day (during the Millennium, maybe?) when we will know more about Book of Mormon geography.
My testimony of the prophets and the Book of Mormon is stronger than ever, and I love this Church and I love the Savior. I love going to church every Sunday, regularly going to the temple and studying Come Follow Me with my family. That is where my energy is spent when it comes to Church issues. I am not willing to “take sides” on the Book of Mormon geography issue simply because for me it has nothing to do with the important work the Church does.
Take care and I sincerely wish you all the best.
You left a lengthy (and if I may say, a somewhat aggressive) comment continuing to discuss the Two Cumorah issue, and that is not really the point of this post. I would really rather discuss what is happening specifically in the Church education system, so if you have an insights there, your thoughts would be welcome.
This blog is not for everybody. I can completely understand if you don’t like our moderation policy or how and what we discuss things. I can understand if you don’t appreciate what I choose to discuss. But that is not going to change, and if that is frustrating for you, please feel free to go read another blog. This may not be the place for you.
I would prefer that comments be friendly, not aggressive and focused on the issue being discussed in the OP. Thanks for understanding.
Geoff B., I think the problem “Heartlands” have is that the Two C. theory has an unofficial standing in the BYU CES department. You say, “students should be aware of it and be able to discuss it,” but the second part about discussion isn’t happening. Any other theory is getting suppressed as an absurdity by the teachers. Because of this aggressive stance by the BYU academia, students come away thinking the Mesoamerica theory is LDS Church doctrine. Sorry for the tangent.
If the report of layoffs is true, and I hope this is the case, then maybe things will change. My biggest problem with the idea that things will change is that the positions get filled by those who bring in the same ideologies. Those who get hired will come from the same scholarly background as those who were let go. This becomes a revolving door that doesn’t resolve the issues.
I’ve long felt (and in fact have had Bishops and other people operating at that echelon effectively confirm) that there are three distinct but unofficial “churches” operating within the church. The first is the church of the brethren, and is the front-facing church we all think of when we think of the church. The second is the church of the CES, which can take on a near-Jesuit tinge, as deep-doctrine “scholars” dig into “truths” that make them somehow better or more informed than the brethren, and which can lead to weird cul-de-sacs like Two Cumorah stuff. The third if the church of the physical facilities department, which often has a disturbingly stubborn reluctance to actually support the work of the church.
It’s easy to get into a groove that turns into a self-constructed prison. Kudos to the brethren for tugging the reins.
My wife is a school nurse. Now, actually a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at a school based health center.
I worked through corporate America working for five different companies in 13 years. Three of my moves were not voluntary.
I have had ample opportunity to observe the different treatment and attitudes of employees of private versus government (yes, most school systems are government) entities.
The OP suggests this person over at BCC wake up to the real world. Well, I have learned through my wife’s experiences that government employees are very hard to fire. In fact, it is extremely rare. Folks who work in any government based job have learned that this is true. I won’t speak to how much this is abused but I can say that it most certainly is, and higher education, with it’s pattern of tenure, is full of people who have no fear of dismissal.