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I just learned about the Free BYU movement and its attempt to change current BYU policy regarding ecclesiastic endorsements. In short, if a BYU student loses their faith in the Church, he/she will lose their ecclesiastic endorsement and therefore, be expelled from the university, evicted from university housing, fired from a university job, and basically, not included in any reindeer games.
Am I the only one who finds this requirement strange for an "institution of higher learning"? The policy of BYU seems to be: "Come to our university and learn many new ideas and concepts, but don't you dare allow any of them to make any fundamental change to your identity." I've always that this was the precise purpose of being "educated" -- that you leave college as a different person than the one who entered. And that does not mean that you must (or would even likely) change religious affiliations, but that a true education would not foreclose that possibility.
Also, am I the only one who finds BYU's policy in this regard to be just a teensy bit inconsistent? After all, it isn't a requirement that one be a Mormon to attend BYU. A student can worship Buddha, Krishna or even a head of lettuce and be admitted into the university.
Nor does BYU have a problem with anyone changing their religious affiliation. BYU certainly welcomes those who wish to convert to our brand of Mormonism. And BYU is "agnostic" in regards to a student converting from, saying, Catholicism to Wiccan.
All of that being said, I'm sure that I'm missing something here. There must be some sound and just reason as to why BYU would enact such a policy (one that I'm not sure has a parallel in any reputable university in America).\
And while I'm willing to entertain all possible explanations/theories/apologetics, I'm not particularly interested in hearing that "BYU is a private institution and its students know what they are getting into when they enroll." I am not challenging the legality or contractual enforcement of the policy. I'm asking a "normative" question -- SHOULD BYU have such a policy and whether such a policy flies in the face of the entire concept of "education"? And just so you know, I'm not asking for the point of "intellectual sport." I'm asking because I have a son who will begin choosing colleges soon and I need to know if I should allow BYU to even be amongst his possible choices.
How Did Jesus Read The Bible?
By Robert F. Smith
One of the most capable and provocative scholars within evangelicalism, Pete Enns (author of The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It), recently wrote a blog on how to read the Bible:
Pete Enns, “3 Ways Jesus Read the Bible That Evangelicals Are Told Not to Do,” Huffington Post, Sept 30, 2014, online at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pete-enns/3-ways-jesus-read-the-bib_b_5902534.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592 ,
Can we Mormons learn something from the ways in which Jesus Himself read and interpreted His Bible (OT)? Or is Professor Pete Enns off base?
Keeping The Sabbath: The Jewish Theocracy At The Time Of Christ
By Stone holm
Given that one of the most frequent charges against Christ leveled by the Jewish establishment at the time was Sabbath breaking, we frequently think scornfully of the detailed rules established by the Jewish hierarchy at the time. We often ascribe that to corruption, hypocrisy, and distracting the common people from more serious greed of the elite. Let me suggest another explanation. While at the time Judah was a conquered and occupied nation, part of the Statecraft of the Romans was to leave various parts of the legal structure under the local control of puppet elites. For Jerusalem, that meant a puppet king and a type of theocracy. Since sabbath breaking had more than just a spiritual impact and involved civil consequences for Jews, it is not surprising that very detailed rules would develop. These may not have been intended to overly restrict, but rather to make it easier FO all concerned to know when they had violated the Sabbath. The downside of such theocracies is that they can find themselves in the losing game of trying to convict their own God. Perhaps we moderns might benefit from remembering that.