BYU Honor Code Controversy: An Alumna’s Take

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Last week the Church updated the General Handbook and released it to the membership at large. In conjunction with this BYU released some chances to its Honor Code which have caused a lot of confusion and have given BYU more press than it probably should have (seriously, we should all be talking about the Basketball game against Gonzaga instead of this).

The part of the Honor Code that was changed said:

“Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings of attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the University community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code. One’s stated gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a straight commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Cord. Homosexual behaviors includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expressions to homosexual feelings.”

That is now gone and the Honor Code states:

Church Educational System Honor Code

Brigham Young University and other Church Educational System institutions exist to provide an education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That atmosphere is created and preserved by a community of faculty, administration, staff, and students who voluntarily commit to conduct their lives in accordance with the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and who strive to maintain the highest standards in their personal conduct regarding honor, integrity, morality, and consideration of others. By accepting appointment, continuing in employment, being admitted, or continuing class enrollment, each member of the BYU community personally commits to observe these Honor Code standards approved by the Board of Trustees “at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9):

  • Be honest.
  • Live a chaste and virtuous life, including abstaining from any sexual relations outside a marriage between a man and a woman.
  • Respect others, including the avoidance of profane and vulgar language.
  • Obey the law and follow campus policies.
  • Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, vaping, and substance abuse.
  • Participate regularly in Church services (required only of Church members).
  • Observe Brigham Young University’s dress and grooming standards.
  • Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code.

Many people have interpreted this to mean that same-sex dating, if kept within the guidelines outlined in For the Strength of Youth book, is now acceptable at BYU. Some of these people include professors, LGBT activists, and members of the campus community. There has been no end of confusion to say the least.

I have always understood this issue thus, that having same-sex attraction is not the problem, but acting on the feelings are. So is same-sex dating allowed? Are “chaste” (eg: simple hand holding, hugging, kissing) same-sex public displays of affection inline with church teachings? The Honor Code office has not come out and said directly “Yes”, or directly “No.” I have seen many second and third hand accounts of conversations people have had with different Honor Code office staff. Some of those staff have been adults, other have been student workers. Every account has been wildly different. I’m not going to link to those, or post screen shots, because thou shalt not gossip and rumormonger.

I do think, however, the Honor Code Office bungled this royally, and should issue some clarification. Alumni want to know, students want to know, and parents want to know what is going on with the university and if its safe to send their kids to BYU. Or is BYU going to be just like any other secular university? You expect worldly ideas to be front and center at secular universities, but BYU is not a secular university. It is a Church run school — everything and everyone at BYU should support the doctrines, teachings, policies, and leadership of the church. That’s not to say BYU should be a bubble, or the students should not be challenged, but students should not have to put up with faculty and staff who are pushing an agenda that contend with the church and its teachings. Sadly there are professors, groups, and students with agendas that run contrary to the Church at BYU. They are a small but vocal minority, but they have the ear of the national media, so they appear to have a lot of influence.

Back to the question, is same-sex dating allowed at BYU? Perhaps the university is giving people more of a chance to figure out things for themselves — after all, we are not to be commanded in all things (see Doctrine & Covenants 58: 26). The opinions on this whole issue have been very revealing. I think it’s a wheat and tares situation, and that might be a good thing. That said, it will be hard for everyone to witness and be part of. I loved my time at BYU, and I was and am a big fan of the Honor Code. The Honor Code is simply another chance we have to commit to living the gospel and honoring those standards.

In the end though, we must ask, What is the point of dating as Latter-day Saint young adults? It is to find a spouse and to get married and sealed in the temple. Same-sex marriage violates the commandments of God and the doctrines of the gospel. It puts the individuals involved in a very precarious situation Same-sex dating, even if done by the standards of the church is a dead end if the people involved want to keep their membership in the church. Even hand holding and kissing is a dead end, as those things eventually lead to more physicality in a relationship. Why would we encourage people to go down that road? As I wrote last week, we need to do all we can to help each other keep the commandments and our covenants.

For those that think some day the leadership of the church will change the doctrine on chastity or marriage, this will not happen. The new and everlasting covenant of marriage has been the same through out all generations of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve. If the Lord were to change that now, how would He reconcile destroying the earth with the flood or burning Sodom & Gomorrah? Why was it right for those people to be destroyed for all types of sexual immorality and for those things to be permitted in this generation? I’ve heard several people also state that “We’re just waiting for the older apostles to die off, so that the younger ones can make the right changes”. That’s not going to happen either. As Latter-day Saints we need to have a testimony in Doctrine & Covenants 1:38, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Either Pres. Nelson and the Twelve are the mouthpieces of the Lord or they are not. If they are then we are in the Church of Jesus Christ and they are doing what God wants them to do. If not, we are no different than any other church out there.

In the end, we have to have faith thru these types of crises. It also might be a good idea to have a lot more patience as we watching things develop, and actually click on links to news stories instead of just reading headlines, and putting stock in 3rd hand accounts on twitter, and calling it good. I do hope, however that BYU will stop being so ambiguous. The world is watching us! A final reminder, we follow the prophet not the kid who answers the phone at the BYU Honor Code office. Look to what the brethren have said in regard to the commandments and how we as Latter-day Saints should be conducting ourselves.

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About Joyce Anderson

Joyce is a mother, wife, sister, school teacher, Bulgarian speaker, conservative, lover of good music, social media junky and a two time culinary arts Grand Champion bread baker. She and the family reside in a remote mountain community where great discoveries have been made. When not changing the world, she enjoys the occasional bowl of chips and salsa. She can be found at: http://pinterest.com/TheAtomicMom

58 thoughts on “BYU Honor Code Controversy: An Alumna’s Take

  1. As a father of three active LDS young men who may go to BYU, I would really like some answers to the issues that Joyce raises. Are we going to see gay couples at BYU? Are we going to see increasing displays of gay pride and professors who don’t care about the Church’s standards? I understand the answer is complex, given issues of accreditation and other worldly concerns. Here is my position: I would rather pay for sending my kids to a small religious school that upholds the Church’s standards, than a school that is celebrated by the world. If this means BYU ends up being half its current size and does not have a law school or NCAA sports, I am OK for that. It is worth pointing out that of course my young men will make their own decisions about where they go to university — I am just expressing what I am willing to pay for.

  2. You’re right, BYU will have to decide what it wants to be. I hope that it chooses to continue to be a place where Latter-day Saints can send their kids for a good education and an environment that is a haven for gospel standards. To answer your question: Bro Brigham would not be amused and would surely have some words for a lot of people.

  3. Beautifully stated, Joyce. Didn’t attend BYU but am raising some kids who are thinking about going there. I believe that if it’s a Church school (meaning my tithing dollars are subsidizing it) it should be different than the world. I hope for some clarification soon.

  4. Thank you Joyce. This is exactly what so many have been thinking as well. You hit the nail on the head: chastity isn’t changing. We’re all awaiting a clear statement from the Church on this. What is interesting is BYU Idaho isn’t having this same problem. As Tad Walch explained in the DNews article, there is now complete standardization of these things across Church schools. Standards and chastity have not changed. It appears as though chastity issues are now turned over to the ecclesiastical where Bishop’s can work with students through the repentance process. The gleeful rebellion occurring on campus shows how many are missing the mark and the entire point of it all—especially when referring back to the updated Church handbook.

    Incidentally, it would be interesting look at the research showing how quickly same sex behavior of making out and heavy petting etc leads to sex. On a doctrinal level, if you pay attention to the temple and covenants made there, it becomes crystal clear that same sex activity of varying degrees is not a-okay and most certainly not the Lord’s pattern for any of His children.

  5. I am in substantial agreement with your position. I find it hard to reconcile even casual homosexual relations with the gospel at BYU. As others have pointed out, there are complex nuances to the question but I simply can’t find a way to believe that active homosexual activity, even of the normal dating type, is congruent with the teachings of the prophets throughout the years.

  6. I reached out to the student group “Save BYU” and expressed my support. A student wrote back, “We are currently waiting for President Ballard’s address on the 3rd. Hopefully that sheds further light on the issue.”
    Interestingly, the BYU-Idaho devotional speaker for that day is “TBA”. Wondering if they are considering broadcasting the BYU Provo devotional to the students and staff in Rexburg.
    Hymn 250: We Are All Enlisted.
    (“With energy” says the hymn book)
    We are all enlisted till the conflict is o’er;
    Happy are we! Happy are we!
    Soldiers in the army, there’s a bright crown in store;
    We shall win and wear it by and by.
    Haste to the battle, quick to the field;
    Truth is our helmet, buckler, and shield.
    Stand by our colors; proudly they wave!
    We’re joyfully, joyfully marching to our home.

    Stand by OUR colors, not theirs. Hard to think which colors to use now that all these colors have been hijacked by activists. The very colors the YW used (still use?) to accompany virtues. We should know by now, Lucifer is the great counterfeiter. We’ll just have to use words, principles, and symbols they haven’t yet appropriated.

  7. BYU professor here.

    Do you really think that BYU did this without multiple layers of vetting over an extended period? Nobody touches the honor code without untold sets of eyes on draft after draft of proposed changes. That BYU just decided to remove a chunk of the honor code on an unconsidered whim is institutionally impossible.

    No, this came from above the university, though actors at the university may have started the conversation at some point in the past. The Newsroom has been silent. President Oaks was silent on Sunday during the face to face event. BYU’s president addressed an African American and African student celebration on Friday night and spoke movingly about recent events (didn’t specify) and the need to make BYU a more inclusive and loving place for all people. My bishop, employed by BYU, gave a talk on Sunday praising the changes. It is looking like this is a thing that is here to stay even if members stumble over it initially.

    From my vantage point on the ground, interacting with students and other faculty, people are overwhelmingly positive about the changes (though my circle is of course limited to my circle). I have heard nothing like the sentiments expressed in the OP and comments. You might choose to soften your rhetoric for now and maybe your heart longer term.

    Even if this was a calculated move to maintain accreditation, sports contracts, and viability of professors participating in their various fields and societies, you want this change. BYU is a wonderful school and will adapt to remain so.

    Things are going to be just fine!

  8. Well stated. I spent a minute or two looking at the HCO website, and it doesn’t seem to me that any change is acknowledged, aside from having the new language of the HC on the page. BYU has been conspicuously silent on the issue through official channels which has created a vacuum for so many voices. I am on the record on this blog regarding how homosexual dating fits into the law of chastity at https://www.millennialstar.org/taking-seriously-the-law-of-chastity/ which I continue to stand by.

    Not every flirtatious act or sinful thought should justify expulsion from BYU, either through the loss of an ecclesiastical endorsement or an action by the Honor Code Office, but it is nevertheless true that homosexual dating, homosexual hand holding and homosexual kissing is not the moral equivalent of similar heterosexual actions in the eyes of the Church or the principles taught in the law of chastity. This has not changed.

    I am tempted to speculate on the reasons for the changes we have seen, but the thing that sticks out to me is that the closest thing we have to an official announcement about what these changes mean is a series of tweets by BYU’s official account, in which it is affirmed that “the principles of the Honor Code remain the same.” https://twitter.com/BYU/status/1230258699693723648

    Inevitably this public discussion is not over. There will be some who lose their ecclesiastical endorsement or who and expelled by the Honor Code Office over homosexual activity in the coming days, and some portion of them will cry foul loudly and publicly. I don’t expect BYU to comment one way or the other on it, other than to affirm principles but without clarifying what those principles are or how they are applied. It is either cowardly or prudent. I am not sure which at this point.

  9. President Nelson in a YSA devotional talk given in September 2019 said, “Finally, we also clarified that homosexual immorality would be treated in the eyes of the Church in the same manner as heterosexual immorality.”
    And from the 2020 handbook on Policies and Guidelines: “God’s commandments forbid all unchaste behavior, either same-sex or heterosexual. Church leaders counsel members who have violated the law of chastity.”
    Joyce, I agree, but how do we reconcile the above two statements?

  10. Joyce,
    I think the key point is in your statement “…having same-sex attraction is not the problem, but acting on the feelings are.” What constitute acceptable and unacceptable actions on those feelings?

    I find it useful to place the diluted English word “love” into distinctive categories known to the Greeks and employed in the New Testament:
    Agape – Unconditional love, charity
    Philia – Brotherly love, companionship, friendship
    Storge – Affection, such as what a parent feels for their child. Empathy.
    Eros – Romantic love, eroticism, lust

    Obviously, interpretation of the manifestations for the above forms of love depends on the time and culture.

    When I lived in France as an adult worker, cheek kissing (bisous) man-to-man was fairly common (although woman-to-woman and woman-to-man were more common) between close friends and family, occurring regularly within the ward (it in fact was nothing more than tapping another man’s cheek with yours and making a light “smacking” sound). I participated but was never entirely comfortable with it, but I will admit it was touching when a father and his grown sons greeted one another in this fashion.

    You may be old enough to recall one of the televised Olympics (I believe it was in 1988 or 1992) wherein the Soviet/Unified Team male gymnasts would kiss one another smack on the lips as a form of congratulations after completing a routine. I admit I was shocked at the time. In later published statements it was explained that this interaction was a show of support and had no romantic (eros) intent.

    I am told that in the USA up through the 1950s it was not unusual for “buddies” to walk along with one friend having an arm slung around the shoulders of the other without any romantic meaning. I don’t know if this link will come through, but if it does you’ll see an 1896 picture of the BYA football team with at least two examples of teammates with an arm around another (including one fellow sitting on another’s leg/lap), as well as some other brotherly poses.
    https://sites.lib.byu.edu/special-collections/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2008/11/football-18961.png

    Male friends or family greeting or parting one another in public with a hug is common today, but 30 years ago it was quite rare (in the USA). It was much more common among females, including a small kiss on the cheek, while the men would exchange handshakes.

    It all depends on intent. As Christians, we are in full support of manifestations of love outside of marriage for reasons other than Eros . The trouble is trying to interpret someone else’s heart and intent – which is always a risky business. Unfortunately our society has sexualized so much of the benign demonstrations of non-romantic love that it is hard to know anyone’s intent.

    I admit that this way of thinking is foreign to us in our time and culture, but just as our leaders have been peeling away unnecessary cultural baggage from the core doctrines and principles of the gospel, we too need to be ready to adopt different understandings outside the fences and funnels we have constructed that help us define our morality. It will be uncomfortable – I know it is for me – but in the long run I think it will help us understand the various forms of love for what they are rather then what society and evolved cultural norms would dictate.

    Cheers.

  11. The liberal agenda is alive and well at BYU. We need to fire educators who push against Church doctrine of chastity and morality. Send kids home, who lied about honoring the code.

    Or, close the school and stop using my tithes to subsidize those pushing worldly agendas.

  12. It is this kind of response that pushes gay members away. My gay daughter loved the art camp she attended at BYU but wouldn’t attend full time. She is happy at a state school and out of the church. Being a little bit tolerant of gay students is a change I support. I think we could go further in our support.

  13. I think BYU made an adjustment so the certain people would not feel like they were in a hostile environment. There are probably compelling reasons for such an adjustment now, perhaps reasons that were not so compelling in the past. I’m okay with that.

    I suppose other adjustments will be made from time to time.

  14. Interesting quandary.

    Tithing isn’t a thing where you get to tell Church leadership what to do with the funds. Redux on the $100B brouhaha.

    Education is a valuable means of improving the human condition. Therefore I am not surprised if the Church invests in education.

    An interesting finding of Jana Reiss’s recent research (as I recall her presentation from the 2019 MHA conference) is that as people become more educated in the humanities, they are less likely to remain faithful adherents to the Church. Conversely, people who become more educated in fields outside of the humanities become more likely to remain faithful adherents to the Church.

    Alas, being a highly educated “humanities” individual is a fact for many professors at BYU. For whichever of the possible factors educated humanities types tend to falter, one can imagine these factors are likely in play for BYU professors focused on the humanities.

    Pity them. Love them. And perhaps at times remind them that their opinion and “reality” isn’t universal to all smart people.

  15. Meg,
    Are you reacting to a specific humanities professor or are you suggesting that we pity all professors educated in the humanities?

  16. Thank you! This was very well said! I hope a definitive response to this issue will be provided by BYU. I miss the good old days of things being succinctly outlined so there was no question as to what was expected of us! The vague, politically correct answers out there only cause confusion. I have many friends who deal with the same sex attraction issue and my heart goes out to them. It is a very difficult thing. I treat them with respect and love and pray every one does. I do know that the Lord is not going to change the commandment to be morally clean-ever. I so appreciate your well thought out, mature response…thank you, again!

  17. Thank you so much for this discussion. I have searched for reliable information and respectful discussion, and this is the best thing I have found. I am among the shocked alumna who are wishing the church leaders would be upfront about why they changed this wording and what it means in detail. The silence is deafening!

    Are students and parents who are uncomfortable seeing homosexual behaviors on campus just supposed to get used to it or leave? How will this affect housing? Will there be straight, LGBT, and co-ed housing now?

    Incidentally, I called the honor code office today and was told these changes came straight from the Church Educational System. Among those on the board of the CES sdministration is the first presidency and the 12 apostles. I wish they would have announced the change and shared their reasons and hopes, etc. It would have been a lot nicer than finding out because I saw a lesbian couple kissing on campus, read an article about how a lesbian is going to be kissing every girl she can, and saw a photo of two gay men kissing on campus, etc. The way this has been shared (or, rather, not shared) by the leadership has been mighty inconsiderate of those who are “stumbling” as one commentor so euphemistically described it.

  18. “the principles of the Honor Code remain the same.” https://twitter.com/BYU/status/1230258699693723648

    It is difficult to watch people gloat and celebrate about the perceived change in the HC, but I believe that they will soon come to realize that the change of wording is actually just a transfer of responsibility of the university to monitor the moral actions of students. They will probably now refer students wholely to their ecclesiastical leaders to receive instruction and correction. I am also looking forward to further instruction. The greatest help we can be to our fellow saints is to share the gospel truth in a spirit of meekness and love, so that the truth can be understood and embraced.

  19. Hi Segullah,

    I was reacting to Gerald’s comment that “The liberal agenda is alive and well at BYU. We need to fire educators who push against Church doctrine of chastity and morality… close the school and stop using my tithes to subsidize those pushing worldly agendas.”

    I was pointing out that a well-rounded school will involve those learned in the humanities, and that in this time and place, there appear to be factors that make those learned in the humanities disproportionately likely to struggle.

    So I advocate we love and pity such, rather than cast them out or close any organization that might employ such.

  20. The policy change at BYU was an unsurprising follow up to the Church’s April 2019 announcement condoning gay marriage and the baptism of children of gay parents but I remain confused. All these years I thought “not acting on it” meant keeping unnatural desires to yourself and possibly your ecclesiatical authorities. (I am blessed not to carry the cross of same sex attraction but I can certainly sympathize with the pain of those who do). Regardless of the Conference talks indicating there is no change in policy, the Church is now saying that it’s ok to do whatever you want unless you tell your Bishop you are having carnal relations with someone of the same sex. This includes exposing our innocent kids to homosexual PDA even in a sacrament meeting.
    Let’s not let the aforementioned sympathy confuse us; the LGBT noise machine punches well above its weight and is proselytizing a culture and lifestyle that is not congruent with the Savior’s teacings. They are preaching on social media, in magazines, on the nightly news and in schools all over the country including Utah. Anyone who doesn’t agree with their gospel is a hater or has a phobia. We must face the truth that the LGBT mafia are “all enlisted till the conflict is over” on a mission of conversion – not just “acceptance” and our children are their investigators. The pressure from this propaganda machine on those with immature values is overwhelming without proper guidance and to condone any of the LGBT agenda is to wade into a swamp full of alligators. They will never be appeased. I fear that continuing on this path or even ham-handedly trying to undo it will have a much more negative impact on membership than maintaining the Savior’s standards would have had.

  21. This post is coming from one who has to live with SSA. I don’t find the new handbook condoning these relationships at all. In fact, gay sex is deadly to the body and to the soul. Shame on members who encourage people to go down this road and act like all is well.

  22. I am confused why the university wouldn’t be safe? Are they allowing more known felons on the campus?

    If you mean by not safe, two men holding hands. I think the kids will be safe.

    I wonder if this leads to gay 16 year olds not having to be abstinent of all intimate contact. It is a lonely life without human contact and connection on more than “dad/friend gives you a hug level.”

  23. There are those who are waiting for the leadership to change the rules on the Law of Chastity to allow acceptance and full inclusion in the sacred ordinances . If we follow this thinking to it’s logical conclusion, we see that they think that God will change the laws of physics to make it possible for two exalted men or two exalted women to beget spirit children. Or perhaps they think that they can adopt. Where would orphaned spirit children come from? Would Gods choose to give away some of their children to functionally infertile eternal couples, thereby reducing their own glory? The very idea is ludicrous.

  24. “If we follow this thinking to it’s logical conclusion, we see that they think that God will change the laws of physics to make it possible for two exalted men or two exalted women to beget spirit children.”

    I’m not sure I would call this a “logical conclusion”. Quite the contrary, how is it that two beings made of flesh and bone, have sex, then beget offspring that is only spirit? Doesn’t sound too logical to me. As far as I know, it has never been revealed how spirit children are begotten. One may assume that two exalted beings having sex create a spirit child, but that doesn’t make it right.

    Joseph Smith taught that our spirits are as eternal as God and were not created.

  25. Gordon J Hensley: Why do you think it would require a change to the laws of physics for two exalted men or women to beget spirit children? From what I can tell, we know next to nothing about the mechanics of begetting spirit children in the next life (other than a frequent assumption that it is somehow similar to the way it works here in mortality). Contemplating the natural, physical processes of meiosis, gamete formation, and fusion, and I encountered the idea of “artificial gametes” (https://jme.bmj.com/content/31/3/184 ). It occurs to me that we are only knowledge and technology away from being able to artificially create children from two men’s and two women’s genomes. Expanding to exalted [presumably omnipotent and omniscient?] beings, I don’t know why they would not be able to beget spirit children — unless there is some as yet unrevealed eternal law against it.

  26. GJH, To paraphrase one of the apostles, (this was an in interview, not at general conference) “Everything gets healed/cured in the resurrection, including same-sex attraction.”

  27. Note to commenters: Please read M*’s comment policy, with special emphasis on this:

    “We welcome both members of the LDS Church and believers of other faiths. We ask that all respect the beliefs of others. Though we welcome readers and posters of all faiths, our posts take the foundational teachings of the LDS Church as common ground and the point of departure. Posters who wish to debate or argue those foundational teachings should seek one of the other forums available for such discussions. Comments that denigrate the Church or insult its leaders are not welcome.”

    This comment is not aimed at any comment in particular — just a reminder. Thanks.

  28. It’s easy — and sometimes fun — to speculate about things that may happen after we die, either in the spirit world or after the Resurrection. But I think it is important to emphasize there is very little we actually know about that, except for what has been revealed by the prophets and in scripture. Regarding the family and gender and the role of parents in the eternities, much of what we know is encapsulated in the Proclamation on the Family:

    https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/the-family-a-proclamation-to-the-world/the-family-a-proclamation-to-the-world?lang=eng

  29. Have any of you commenting here followed the story of Ty Mansfield? He is same sex attracted man who is happily married to a woman. His journey included dating a few men before he decided the spirit was not with him. Sometimes people need the freedom to end up choosing to be in the right places and a straight marriage. Starving gay students from affection is sure to send them straight into the arms of a same sex partner but relaxing and trusting students to use the spirit to come to their own righteous decisions seems logical and healthy to me. So many in the church when everyone to make all the perfect decisions right now, today but life doesn’t work that way. Some need to know the bad to see the good etc.

  30. Everyone relax! Your kids aren’t going to burn in hell if they see a gay couple holding hands. This is reality and how the real world is. Trust your kids to make the right choices for themselves instead of forcing everything. That is what sends people into shame filled secrecy and sin behind closed doors.

  31. “Joseph Smith taught that our spirits are as eternal as God and were not created.”

    there are a few ways to parse that. And I don’t think he specified in that instance whether he meant “spirit body/person” or “unorganized spirit matter” or “intelligence.”

    As Meg Stout often points out, the vocubularyin those early days of the Restoration was not nailed down precisely

    Subsequent prophets have mentioned the tri-partate nature: intelligence, spirit person, physical body. Even going so far as to say that “God clothed an intelligence in a spirit body.” That makes sense if one takes into account that intelligences are referenced in scripture as existing before they had a spirit body.

    JS also taught that spirit _matter_ is eternal, organized or unorganized.

    And, separately, he mentioned “intelligences” as being co-eternal with God.

    As I interpret all that — a spirit body is composed/constructed out of previously unorganized spirit matter.

    So, when he said “our spirits” are eternal or co-eternal, he may have been speaking to an audience that was not clear on the difference between a spirit-person and an intelligence that had yet to receive a spirit-body. Let alone “spirit matter” that is used to construct/organize a spirit-body much like physical elements are used to construct a mortal body.

    This tri-partite model, in which Heavenly parents somehow provide a spirit-body for an existing intelligence, makes sense to me in two other ways: 1) it corresponds better to the “Father of our spirits” scriptures, and references to being spiritually begotten — otherwise, we would have been “adopted”, and how the “oddly specific” phrase “only begotten _in the flesh_” applies specifically to Jesus/Jehovah. and 2) parallels, one level removed, how human parents provide a physical body for an existing spirit-person.

    (note to GJH: I forgot to specify that my previous comment to you was intended as a follow-on, as being in agreement, and not meant as a retort.)

  32. milojane: “… the change of wording is actually just a transfer of responsibility of the university to monitor the moral actions of students. They will probably now refer students wholely to their ecclesiastical leaders to receive instruction and correction. ”

    I’ve been thinking along a similar line. I think the HC wording change is more of a strategic manuever that will work in conjunction with other things that are done more privately.

    The makeup of the student body changes constanly with every graduation and every new admission. Possible corresponding changes might include: fewer non-members being admitted, “raising the bar” of admission requirements for members, and perhaps even a greater percentage of non-US members admitted. More BYU-admissions among the children of humble converts from South America, India, and Africa, might benefit us here in the U.S.

    Things are a changing fast. I’m glad we have prophets, seers and revelators at the helm.

  33. I have a question for those who know (hopefully not a derail). When was the last time the BYU honor code was changed or updated to cause this type of controversy? Just curious…

  34. “For those that think some day the leadership of the church will change the doctrine on chastity or marriage, this will not happen. The new and everlasting covenant of marriage has been the same through out all generations of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve.”

    This statement just isn’t correct.

    For decades the church officially taught that polygamy was the new and everlasting covenant and required to get to the celestial kingdom.

    In 1891 the First Presidency and Apostles of the Church made the following statement in a petition to the President of the United States: “We formerly taught to our people that polygamy or celestial marriage as commanded by God through Joseph Smith was right; that it was a necessity to man’s highest exaltation in the life to come.” (Reed Smoot Case, vol. 1, page 18)

    And the Lord Himself calls polygamy a “doctrine” in D&C 132:1.

    1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—“

    The church currently does not teach polygamy as doctrinal or as the new and everlasting covenant despite the Lord calling it a doctrine in scripture.

    To act like the law of chastity has never changed is factually wrong. At one time polygamy is required for exaltation and at a different time it is a violation of the law of chastity.

    According to D&C 132:1 – the Lord allowed concubines. At other times concubines have been a violation of the LOC.

    At one point the church was strongly against interracial marriage and in favor of laws forbidding it. Now they no longer have that stance.

    Now I can’t predict whether the Lord will change the commandment regarding homosexuality. But hopefully we will be using accurate historical precedents when it comes to forming our opinions on future developments.

    Thank you for putting your thoughts out there with a thought provoking post.

  35. Books, good call on parsing the uncreated bit related to spirit creation.

    Let’s add a little more. How is the sperm and ovum made. Did you create them? They exist within you and were created within you in some sense at the time of your own “creation”.

    Except we understand that all this creation talk is organization.

    I have no doubt, and I say this based on personal revelation, that exalted, sealed husband and wife become heavenly parents to their own progeny. This knowledge comes to me as though it were revealed in the first instance, but it was revealed to many others and we have various elements of teachings of it across many of our standard works and prophetic teachings.

    It’s not for me to beat anyone over the head and tell them they must accept my truth — but I will always reserve the right to speak out against false teaching contrary to it. And we are all free to do the necessary study, pondering, acts of consecration and discipleship to receive our own revelation on the matter. But you have to do more than taking no thought other than to ask!

    Back to this idea of uncreated elements within each of us that are responsible for bringing life to the next generation — I think it’s likely (though I claim no revelation on this matter) that Joseph Smith’s idea on intelligence being uncreated connecting back to this idea of all of us, being organized as spirit children out of the very essence of God’s intelligence — part of our heavenly mother and father themselves. And in turn, in good King Follet Discourse fashion, they were both organized in similar fashion prior to their own mortal probation. And thus it continues across all generations of time and eternity.

    Our spirits literally were made of the essence of divine intelligence. It was never created and it could not be. Neither could it be destroyed.

    Our bodies were much the same way, created from element out of our parents that they could neither create nor destroy (though either they, someone else or the nature of the fallen world might disorganize it into chaotic elements). And in turn they were created the same from parents who were part of the same chain back to the mother and father of all living on this earth.

  36. Those who are interested in what Joseph Smith said regarding the eternal nature of spirits (not the eternal nature of matter that spirits are made of) should read HC 3:387.

  37. “To act like the law of chastity has never changed is factually wrong. At one time polygamy is required for exaltation and at a different time it is a violation of the law of chastity.”

    There’s “spin” in those two sentences. Such that it is illogical to use it as a wedge in the issue of homosexuality/SSA.

    Saying “polygamy is now against the Law of Chastity, therefore LoC has changed”, is a case where the premise is true, but the conclusion, does not follow.

    The LoC says “no sex outside of (church-)lawful marriage. Polygamy is no longer a church-lawful marriage (even in countries that legally allow polygamy.)

    So, it is not the rules of LoC that have changed, it is the rules of polygamy.

    The Lord decrees, and He revokes. Saturday Sabbath, Sunday Sabbath. Circumsize, don’t circumsize. Law of Moses, Higher Law. Law of Consecration, Tithing. Go to the promised land, now stay in the desert for 40 years. Everyone come to Zion, now stay in your country. Big temples, then small temples. 3 year missions, 2 year missions, 1.5 year missions, 2 year missions.

    When told they no longer had authorization to enter into the promised land, I’m sure there were some Israelites who told Moses: “You lied! You said we were going to the promised land.”

    Principles remain the same, policies change. Sometimes we have trouble distinguishing the over-arching principle from the policy.

    By the way, same-sex attraction will be cured/healed by the time of one’s resurrection, as every other affliction that besets us in mortality.

  38. @Gswarriorcoug, M* perma-blogger Meg Stout has written extensively about the conflation/misunderstanding of polygamy (plural marriage) with “New and Everlasting Covenant” and “Celestial Marriage” in the early church.

    The “untangling” of the concepts did not start until Wilford Woodruff’s leadership of the church and the Manifesto. Meg gave examples of where even Pres John Taylor made statements that conflated the terms. The misunderstanding/conflation continued in pockets in the church for a generation or more , and led to the split-off of the fundamentalist/polygamist factions, and even to the excommunication of one of John Taylor’s sons, among others. It was mostly, but not entirely, “put to bed” with the Second Manifesto.

  39. The BYU HC Office telling students that kissing, dating, etc is now okay for same-sex students is in conflict with Elder Holland’s remarks when he said:

    “While same-gender attraction is real, there must be no physical expression of this attraction.”

    I really don’t think Elder Holland will try to undo what he has said about this. According to him there clearly can be no hand-holding, kissing, and especially dating going on between same-sex students on campus at BYU. Has his position been over-turned by other members of the Twelve, or by the Prophet himself? Or, have HC staff been giving out premature instruction to same-sex students who claim they have been told kissing and dating is now okay?

  40. Meg and others,

    I recognize the need for us to love and have empathy for those who struggle.

    That said, if the Church is going to have a religious university, it must reflect the standards of that university. Members who are gay, as long as they are not promoting a gay lifestyle or behavior, are welcome. But any professor who pushes against the Church’s teachings, whether in humanities or other, can easily be replaced with someone who does support Church teachings.

    Many of these seek the approval of the world and other secular institutions. For example, the Maxwell Institute used to be a bastion for defending the gospel, as well as do great research in Islamic and other studies. Now, it is a bastion for secular studies, and does nothing towards apologetics, relegating this important work to non-BYU organizations (Book of Mormon Central, Interpreter, FAIR).

    In the early 1990s, it was necessary for the Church to excommunicate certain BYU professors for pushing against the standards and doctrines. As unpopular as that move was, it was necessary to maintain the standards that cannot and must not change.

    Remember, this is not a public school. This is a private religious school. Each and every student has promised to follow the Honor Code. Each professor has done the same. How can they break their promise and be considered in good standing? Would we be having this discussion if it were about the Word of Wisdom? If we find a bunch of students and professors smoking pot, would they not be subject to expulsion from the school? So why is immoral behavior any different? Why are there any professors defending such behavior and seeking to have it allowed at this private religious school?

    There should be no controversy. Except that there is, because there are those who are betraying the trust of the school, the Church, the parents, and those of us who subsidize through our tithes!

  41. Rameumptom said “For example, the Maxwell Institute used to be a bastion for defending the gospel, as well as do great research in Islamic and other studies. Now, it is a bastion for secular studies, and does nothing towards apologetics, relegating this important work to non-BYU organizations (Book of Mormon Central, Interpreter, FAIR).”

    One of the core principles of the BYU honor code is honesty. But I don’t know if you’re lying, because you may truly be ignorant of what the Maxwell Institute actually does. It’s not a “bastian for secular studies.” We haven’t published a single book for the secular academy, ever. The Maxwell Institute Podcast features guests from many different faith traditions, many of whom speak directly of the relationship between reason and faith. Only people who don’t pay any attention would believe this mischaracterization.

    Ram, I would be more than happy to send you a copy of the first two volumes in the Institute’s new book series on the Book of Mormon, called “brief theological introduction.” Please email me at blairhodges at byu dot edu and I’ll provide copies for you to review on this blog. It’s time to catch up.

  42. Blair said, “Only people who don’t pay any attention would believe this mischaracterization.”

    Speaking as someone paying close attention, I share Ram’s concerns about the Maxwell Institute, and believe that it would be well served with some thorough housecleaning. And yes, I know you work there, too. I can’t remember a single thing come out of the MI in the last several years that I haven’t been disappointed by, and many that have raised serious concerns about the authors and “scholars” involved.

    Since you mention the “brief theological introductions” to the Book of Mormon, please be assured that I have spent the time to watch the videos available on youtube regarding the same, and don’t see these as being something that will assuage my concerns either. I’d happily read them and give an honest review, but I can say that I am familiar with Givens work in particular and can say that I would only be able to give a positive review if it marked a radical departure from the heresies he has been spreading on campus over the last year. I’m not holding my breath.

  43. Blaire Hodges, serious question here: has the Maxwell Institute published anything that you might consider appropriate for TBM people like myself? I know you don’t have much respect for my opinions (based on many years of interaction), but I would love to read something faith-promoting from the Maxwell Institute if such a thing were published. I honestly don’t know if such a thing has been published by the MI. I am not being coy — I honestly don’t know. I don’t dislike the Givens’ work as much as Michael Davidson (comment above), but I am also not incredibly inspired by it either. You may have read my OP on Adam S. Miller, whose writing style I find very distasteful.

    https://www.millennialstar.org/honest-questions-for-adam-s-miller/

    So, I return to my point: what faith-promoting stuff can the MI offer a conservative TBM like myself?

  44. Blair Hodges, trying to answer my own question, I went to the Maxwell Institute web site. I would say about half the things I saw did not interest me. But the lecture by Ben Park was very interesting indeed. “Kingdom of Nauvoo” seems like an interesting book. I encourage people to listen to this lecture:

    https://mi.byu.edu/watch-park-lecture/

    For the record, I believe Rame goes too far in his comment. I think many of the people at M*, and many of our readers, were very upset about the way that FARMS was disbanded, and most of us do not think Dan Peterson was treated fairly. Rame’s comment reflects that concern.

  45. ///MICHAEL: Blair said, “Only people who don’t pay any attention would believe this mischaracterization.” Speaking as someone paying close attention, I share Ram’s concerns about the Maxwell Institute, and believe that it would be well served with some thorough housecleaning. And yes, I know you work there, too. I can’t remember a single thing come out of the MI in the last several years that I haven’t been disappointed by, and many that have raised serious concerns about the authors and “scholars” involved.///

    ME: Thank you, Michael, this is a fair point. I personally don’t believe everything the Institute does can please everyone, nor do I believe it is (or can possibly be) perfect. So I shouldn’t speak in absolutes like I did in that statement you quoted. I would revise my comment into this:

    In some cases, mischaracerizations of the Institute’s work seem to result from inattentiveness. There have been many cases when I’ve personally reached out to someone who has criticized something about the Institute only to have them admit they haven’t actually read, listened to, or otherwise carefully attended to the thing they were criticizing. (As Geoff B. points out, there is still bad blood out there based on the administrative decisions BYU and the Institute made nearly 7 years ago.) But in other cases, some people seem to disagree with everything the Institute has done over the past 6 years even after becoming somewhat familiar with its output.

    Based on my anecdotal experience, comparatively few people fit into the latter camp of actively engaging in the Institute’s work. I admit I’m personally skeptical of people who are categorically dismissive of something like the Institute, which has a variety of publications on offer. People who have absolutely nothing good to say about it don’t strike me as interesting conversation partners. Of course, I’m a partisan who works here! But I’m reminded of Elder Holland’s Nov. 2019 address about the Institute in which hew gave suggestions about how the Institute can improve, while also praising many of the Institute’s past and recent efforts. Elder Holland’s assessment—acknowledging both strengths and weaknesses—both encourages and challenges me as an employee of the Institute.

    ///MICHAEL CONTINUES: Since you mention the “brief theological introductions” to the Book of Mormon, please be assured that I have spent the time to watch the videos available on youtube regarding the same, and don’t see these as being something that will assuage my concerns either. I’d happily read them and give an honest review, but I can say that I am familiar with Givens work in particular and can say that I would only be able to give a positive review if it marked a radical departure from the heresies he has been spreading on campus over the last year. I’m not holding my breath.///

    ME: I think Dr. Givens’s book is informed by his longstanding project of articulating what he sees as covenant theology found in the Book of Mormon. Some readers find Terryl to be far too “liberal” in his interpretations, others are concerned that he is far too “conservative.” What I hope everyone would recognize is that his work isn’t supposed to be definitive. Like other similar gospel scholarship, his work is offered in a spirit of engagement and conversation rather than pronouncement and dogmatism.

    It reminds me of what it’s like at church on any given Sunday. My elder’s quorum and Sunday school classes frequently have discussions where ward members might see this or that thing a little differently. A variety of views are often expressed there. People are encouraged to study things out, seek revelation, and to strive to build Zion together regardless of different views. Contention is to be eschewed. I’ve witnessed disagreement happen without contention in ways that bring the Spirit into the discussion.

    The thing about the Book of Mormon series is that it features a number of different voices. None of the authors intend to offer a definitive interpretation and the series as a whole isn’t a coordinated interpretation of the entire Book of Mormon. Instead, each author tries to exemplify the interactions we might expect in any given ward or branch, where people bring individual experiences, hopes, and fears to bear on their scriptural interpretation, and where people learn from others who do the same thing with not-always-identical results. In this way, teachers and learners seek to be edified together, as the Doctrine and Covenants describes, and their roles are interchangeable.

  46. ///GEOFF B.: Blaire Hodges, serious question here: has the Maxwell Institute published anything that you might consider appropriate for TBM people like myself? . . . I would love to read something faith-promoting from the Maxwell Institute if such a thing were published. I honestly don’t know if such a thing has been published by the MI.///

    ME: Two asides before I cite particular publications you might consider:

    First, I’m not a big fan of the “TBM” classification, especially since it originated as a label used to speak disparagingly of people who believe in basic truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Second, I don’t think I’ve read your critique of Adam Miller, but I would likely respond to it in the same spirit evident in my response to Michael above. In short: Adam Miller isn’t for everyone. I think he can inspire a lot of people toward greater and deeper faith, but if God is going to reach as many of his children as possible he’s going to need a variety of voices in the mix to meet the varying needs of his children.

    As for specific recommendations:

    James Faulconer’s Scriptures Made Harder series is rich with study possibilities. Faulconer doesn’t offer doctrinal interpretations. His books pose nothing but questions—the sort of in-depth, thoughtful, faithful questions you might hope to hear in an excellent Sunday school class discussion. They are a springboard to meal preparation so that your feasts upon the word become more fortifying and satisfying, though you are required as a chef to do much of the work.

    Samuel Brown’s “First Principles and Ordinances” is a fascinating discussion of temple worship seen through the lenses of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the holy ghost. How do the first principles and ordinances work with the highest ordinances offered in the church? Like many “Living Faith” books, Brown’s discussion doesn’t fit neatly into the American political categories of “liberal” and “conservative.” That may be one of the things that seems strange to readers who eat a steady diet of conservative news outlets. These authors aren’t usually working within those categories or expectations.

    Thomas Rogers’s “Let Your Hearts and Minds Expand” was endorsed by John Sorenson (of “Mormon’s Codex”) among others, as an excellent compendium of apologetics and stimulating gospel discussion. Full-throated engagements with criticisms of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith sit alongside touching reminiscences from Rogers’s journals during his service as a Patriarch in Russia.

    Steven Peck’s “Evolving Faith” offers suggestions about how evolutionary biology and the gospel are not intrinsic enemies, but even those who doubt the reality of organic evolution will be interested to read Peck’s warnings against blind faith in science and the sort of scientistc dogmas that confront people of faith today.

    George Handley opens his book “If Truth Were a Child” with not one, but two full essays based on his testimony—first of Christ and Christianity, and second, of the Restored gospel in particular. The rest of the volume is informed directly by that testimony.

    My favorite might be the Maxwell Institute Study Edition of the Book of Mormon, edited by Grant Hardy. I think it is a remarkably excellent way to re-discover the Book of Mormon. We’ve seen tremendously positive and inspirational feedback about this book from all levels of the church.

    The Institute has published more than those books, but that list offers a good sample for you to consider.

    I could also recommend many episodes from the Maxwell Institute Podcast. You might try #96, with a scholar who wrote about a Chinese Christian who became a martyr to her faith in Mao’s China. It’s a remarkable piece of history for Latter-day Saints to ponder: what are we willing to do to defend our faith? What happens when governments seek to regulate belief? Where does agency fit in?

    #95: Spencer Fluhman’s address on “answering sincere gospel questions” is an extended discourse on apologetics as it works between regular members of the church.

    #94: An episode commissioned by the Church itself on people with disabilities and our faith.

    #86: On the growth of the Church among Danes. A fascinating history and a discussion about spreading the gospel in new parts of the world with much to consider today as missionaries try to reach more and more people.

    Again, these are just a few examples you might consider in answer to your question. Hope that helps.

  47. Blair, I have happily embraced the “TBM” moniker, kind of like men with same-sex attraction embraced the “gay” moniker when I was younger. They successfully turned an insult into a positive. I don’t consider it an insult — I am a True Blue Mormon, yes I am! 🙂

    Anyway, I am sincerely grateful for you taking the time to direct us to some of the scholarship at the Maxwell Institute. It is kind of silly to try to disparage everything put out by an institute the size of the MI. Obviously there is going to be scholarship for a wide variety of people. I remember when I was speaking with a left-wing person, and this person said she never read anything by the Cato Institute because it was a fascist think tank, and I directed her to dozens of anti-war, pro civil liberties articles, and she had to sheepishly admit that they were pretty good. So, broad brush statements like that are likely to be problematic.

  48. Now having made the comment above, I have some advice, if I might be so bold. The Maxwell Institute desperately needs to do some community outreach to the people like me, and Rame and Michael Davidson. I guarantee you there are hundreds of others on the more conservative, pro-apologetics wing of the intellectual Mormon sphere who are like us. I am not exactly sure what should be done, but I can tell you it would be a great thing if it happened. If you would like M* to participate in any way in that outreach, I would be more than happy to help.

  49. Thanks, Geoff. The Institute continues to make outreach efforts to many different segments of Latter-day Saints in a variety of ways. That’s one of the reasons I took the time to comment here, although Internet discussion boards, etc. are not high on the priority list. It takes time, and we try to divvy attention up where the greatest impact can be made. And I’ve been surprised at how low-impact some of the Internet discussions are on the broader church membership. (Including blogs like M* and By Common Consent, but also various Facebook groups where a lot of discussion has gravitated as the bloggernacle continues to shrink. They don’t seem to make large inroads into your average English-speaking member.)

    As far as M* is concerned, I reached out a few years ago I recall. Oddly enough it was rameumptom who published a friendly review of the Maxwell Institute Podcast back then, saying things like this:

    “Blair’s Maxwell Institute Podcast is a treasure for the Church’s benefit. Sadly, it often seems like it is a treasure that is hidden in plain sight. Because many Mormons are comfortable with what they already know, or are dogmatic about being angry at the Maxwell Institute, they lose out on a pearl of great price.”

    https://www.millennialstar.org/blair-hodges-mi-podcast-review/

    Since he wrote that review the Institute has done even more to reach out to the Saints, so ram’s comments about it in this discussion left me perplexed. Also in that discussion I see myself making a direct apology to you, Geoff, about snarky and divisive behavior of mine 4 years previous to that (which would be like 2010). I don’t know what changed since then, other than I haven’t been closely following many discussions on the blogs. I think some of the remarks about the Institute here might reflect older animosities that were already addressed.

    I’m happy to add M* to our review copy distribution list. Please have a representative of the blog email me directly (blairhodges at byu dot edu). Through them, I can alert the blog to forthcoming works and arrange the shipment of review copies to whatever reviewers you decide work best.

  50. Parsing is a lawyers word, always trying to find a loophole to absolve their client of the accusation. “But he was wearing green,” or “Well she is a Sagittarian,” or the Word of Wisdom isn’t an actual prohibition.” Those aren’t the words or the actions of those claiming a good relationship with the Lord.
    Those activities that keep us from approaching the Lord in the temple are those activities that require a greater effort of change to avoid estrangement from the Lord. Finding some loophole in the HC to allay those things that keep us in estrangement seems only a way to follow the commandments of men. Feeling uncomfortable in the presence of those who keep the commandments is the Lord’s way of reminding us to mend our efforts to access the atonement.

  51. “Of all the universities in the world, BYU should be where Jesus’s teachings and commandments are proclaimed, discussed and lived,” said M. Russell Ballard, the church’s acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, during a devotional Tuesday morning in the Marriott Center.” (03/03/20)
    Quote from an article in the Daily Herald. Any ambiguity about obeying the Law of Chastity in deeds, words, and thoughts? I haven’t read or listened to the talk yet. Even if we are to love God and all His children, it doesn’t mean condoning sin. “But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.”
    Mosiah 4:30.

  52. GSwarriorcoug,
    I have a different take on some of your comments from February 27th.

    In D&C 132:1, I take the references to the “new and everlasting covenant” to apply to verses 15 through 20 which are not specific to polygamy, and then to violations that would void the blessings, and does not apply specifically to taking additional wives. The entire section is in response to Joseph’s questions (see verse 2 as well) “as touching the principle and doctrine of their (the ancients) having many wives and concubines.” This is the only mention of the word “doctrine” in the entire section and I believe is a blanket statement to reveal the Lord’s teaching (one of the definitions of “doctrine”) on the subject of marriage generally.

    The term “new and everlasting covenant” is also used in D&C 22:1 (applying to baptism by the proper authority), and in D&C 131:2 where it applies to marriage generally. My view is that the term is meant to reinforce the importance of ordinances performed by proper authority.

    In regards to the taking of concubines, in the ancient Middle East a concubine was considered a secondary wife and was entitled to rights and protection from her husband/master who was legally bound to support her. Concubinage is certainly an odd arrangement by today’s standards, but was necessary to accommodate differences in classes among those cultures. The potential for abuse being high, this is probably why the Lord allowed these secondary wives uniquely when they were given by Him or His prophet, the only cases mentioned in D&C 132 being Old Testament prophets or kings.

    When looking at the 1891 statement from the First Presidency and Apostles in the records of the Reed Smoot case, there at least two earlier statements from Brigham Young and one of the contemporary apostles explaining that it was the acceptance of the principle that was necessary and not actual participation and practice. This was born out by the ordination of lifelong monogamist apostle (Anton Lund), as well as by the many faithful non-polygamist men and women in positions of authority throughout pioneer Utah.

    The government’s actions pre-Manifesto supported this interpretation because they would revoke voting rights, deny citizenship, or seize personal property of Church members, polygamist are not.

    The historians who are compiling the Saints volumes of Church history have access to the totality of the relevant records and support this view as well. They state “While plural marriage was not necessary for exaltation or the greater endowment of power, obedience to the Lord and a willingness to dedicate one’s life to Him were.” (See volume 1, Chapter 37, paragraph 5).

    I find it significant that Jacob 2:27-30 was used by President Joseph F. Smith during the Reed Smoot Senate confirmation hearings circa 1905 near the time of the Second Manifesto. Monogamy was the norm, and polygamy was to only be practiced when commanded.

    Thus, in my opinion, the doctrine on chastity has never changed. Sexual relations have only ever been approved between a man and a woman who are married (legally conjugally committed) to one another, with a plurality of wives allowed only in specific times or instances.

    Cheers.

  53. Hoss:
    “really don’t think Elder Holland will try to undo what he has said about this. According to him there clearly can be no hand-holding, kissing, and especially dating going on between same-sex students on campus at BYU. Has his position been over-turned by other members of the Twelve, or by the Prophet himself? Or, have HC staff been giving out premature instruction to same-sex students who claim they have been told kissing and dating is now okay?”

    I believe the synthesis/resolution of those opposing ideas was put forth by commenter milojane (above):

    “… the change of wording is actually just a transfer of responsibility of the university to monitor the moral actions of students. They will probably now refer students wholely to their ecclesiastical leaders to receive instruction and correction. ”

    In other words, the academic institution is easing its way out of enforcing ecclesiastical matters, or at least this ecclesiastical matter.

    Up to now, the academic (and its administrative arm) and the ecclesiastical has been melded in one at BYU.

    Hence, a new paradigm of academic vis-a-vis ecclesiastical is emeging. The ecclesiastical has not changed — the academic (or perhaps better said the academic administration) has changed.

    In order for BYU to maintain external connections/relations of various sorts to the world at large, the new compartmentalization makes a degree of sense.

    Church leaders have long used compartmentalizarion.., Corporation of the President, Corporation of the Presiding Bishop, Intellectual Reserve Inc., etc.

  54. Two thoughts:

    1) DrS’s post really hasn’t aged well.

    2) I look forward to the day when the Maxwell Institute defends against criticisms of the Church leadership and the the Church members who take the Church’s truth claims at face value, as boldly and bluntly and unambiguously and passionately as the Maxwell Institute currently defends against criticisms . . . of itself.

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