Today the Church issued a letter with some clarification on the changes made to the BYU Honor Code. As you know the changes that were made in conjunction with the release of the new Handbook have caused some confusion and some people to grossly misinterpret things. Sadly, there have even been death threats and completely nasty behavior from the “ally” camp heaped on students who feel compelled to defend the gospel. Not good people, not good at all.
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).
These are just some thoughts that I’ve had swirling in my head for a while now, but with the release of the new Church Handbook today, I’ve seen a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth on the socials from people who style themselves as LGBT “allies” in anticipation of what they think the new Handbook will say.
One tweet said, “We need to mourn with our LGBT friends that mourn today and not remind them of the commandments” (???????)
There was another tweet about the supposed harm the Church does when it makes clear policy and doctrinal statements regarding the Law of Chastity, moral behavior, marriage and family relationships. I’ve seen it called “spiritual violence”.
Needless to say, it’s a full sack cloth and ashes day for some.
Jacob Z. Hess
This last weekend, I caught a glimpse of Tyler Glenn and Dan Reynolds on the Love Loud Livestream singing a mock primary song, with words implying hypocrisy among those hold a different perspective on sexuality than they do, for not being loving like they are (like even a child should find obvious!) I couldn’t help but think about what it could have meant if – instead of using their enormous reach and popularity to foment discontent, resentment and suspicion, these famous rock stars would have found a way to uphold, sustain, and even defend their beleaguered former family of faith…in the very moment when Heaven Knows we need it the most.
“It’s not more critique and attack we need right now,” I told a good friend recently who has stepped away from the faith. “What we need is an Alma the Younger.”
It would oversimplify the Book of Mormon account to describe Alma the Younger as growing up with a huge spiritual advantage due to his prophet father, since that same father once sat on a golden high priestly throne thanks to his willingness at the time to speak “flattering…lying and vain” words to justify the “riotous living” of a sexual free-for-all in his patron King’s court.Continue reading
Jacob Z. Hess
When it comes to “the loving thing to do,” we continue to reach very different conclusions in the American conversation on sexuality. Why? Our convictions about love, I argue below, arise directly from other convictions about happiness and identity itself...all of which explains contrasting evaluations of whose teachings are “loving” and whose are “destructive.”
With another Pride month upon us, rainbow flags everywhere remind us about who has decided to love gay people in their neighborhoods. But what does that really mean? And is it a question about which thoughtful, good-hearted people could legitimately, honestly disagree?
Maybe not. It’s become so common to equate support for the formalized gay rights movement with loving people more, that when a question or concern is raised about this same movement, it’s become almost automatic for (many) people to label the person raising the question as obviously “unloving.”
And when someone suggests (as I have) that it’s possible to love gay people in a different (perhaps even better) way than is being called for in the gay rights movement, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised with the responses.Continue reading