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Letter Clarifies Intent of Byu Honor Code Change


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So this just came across the transom. I haven’t even read it yet. I wanted to post it before Smac did. 
 

Argh. Now I can’t get the link to paste I’ll keep trying it’s in the Deseret News

Here are the lead paragraphs:

PROVO, Utah — After two weeks of widespread confusion about an update to its honor code, BYU tweeted a letter clarifying the update and what it means for student behavior.

“Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles in the honor code,” said the letter, which was written by Elder Paul V. Johnson, commissioner of the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The update to the honor code for BYU and other church schools became public two weeks ago on the same day the church published its updated and revised General Handbook, a guide of instructions and policies for leaders and members. The Church Educational System honor code applies to students and staff at BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, LDS Business College (soon to be renamed Ensign College) and BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

 

The honor code update removed a section on “homosexual behavior” that had prohibited all forms of same-sex physical intimacy, in or out of marriage.

The letter notes that, “Lasting joy comes when we live the spirit as well as the letter of God’s laws,” and comes one day after President M. Russell Ballard of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed students and reiterated from the Bible the two great commandments from the Lord — to love God by keeping his commandments, and to love your neighbor.

“Marginalizing and persecuting people based on age, gender, nationality, religious preference, sexual orientation, or anything else is evil and horrifying,” he said.

During the past two weeks, some LGBT students celebrated the removal of the same-gender language from BYU’s honor code, believing that it meant they now could hold hands, kiss and date. It remained clear that while the church accepts same-sex marriage as the law of the land, it considers as sin any sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

Elder Johnson, a General Authority Seventy of the church for nearly 15 years, acknowledged the confusion, writing that the update “led to much discussion and some misinterpretation. Out of respect for all concerned, we are providing the following clarifying statement.”

“The moral standards of the church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated honor code,” he wrote. “There is and always has been more to living the Lord’s standard of a chaste and virtuous life than refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage. Lasting joy comes when we live the spirit as well as the letter of God’s laws.”

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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There are lots of people pointing fingers at students as if it was their fault for misunderstanding, or that they were wrong for wishful thinking, etc. - it would be helpful if the school acknowledged

Working to understand where these people are coming from rather than assigning them motives from my perspective (something that I felt led to do by the spirit) has been a really interesting and changi

Just caught up on this thread. Virtually everyone involved was foolish. The school for changing the code and not expecting anyone into read into it (anyone naive enough to think there would be no reac

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4 minutes ago, Nacho2dope said:

That should end the debate. Thanks for posting!

Glad to help. 
 

I have trouble for some reason linking to content on the Deseret News app on my iPhone. 

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6 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

So this just came across the transom. I haven’t even read it yet. I wanted to post it before Smac did. 

I deeply resent this, Scott.  😁

From KSL

Quote

BYU clarifies 'misinterpretation' of Honor Code with letter
By Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com | Posted - Mar. 4, 2020 at 11:29 a.m.

PROVO — Brigham Young University clarified changes to the Honor Code that lead to "much discussion and some misinterpretation" in a letter the university tweeted Wednesday.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the church did not change with the recent release of the ... updated Honor Code. There is and always has been more to living the Lord's standard of a chaste and virtuous life than refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage," the letter reads.

"Same-sex romantic behavior" is not compatible with the principles of the Honor Code, the letter continues.

That seems . . . pretty clear.

Quote

The school, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, updated its Honor Code in late February in conjunction with a new handbook released by the church the same day.

The church's new handbook, which offers guidelines for church leaders, takes a more adaptable and "ministerial" approach to administrative procedures. The update to the Honor Code was made in an effort to "be in alignment with the doctrine and policies of the church," a news release from the school reads.

However, the school later sent a tweet to clarify the changes after students on social media posted their conclusions of what the change meant.

As part of the code's update, the school removed the section on "homosexual behavior," which previously stated that "homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code." While "same-gender attraction" is not an Honor Code violation, all forms of physical intimacy "that give expression to homosexual feelings" are, the old code read.

The Honor Code now simply requires students to abstain "from any sexual relations outside a marriage between a man and a woman," among other requirements that existed before the change.

Not long after the February update was pushed online, BYU students took to social media wondering if dating members of the same sex is now no longer a violation of the Honor Code since the code only details "sexual relations" outside a marriage between a man and woman.

The school tweeted later in the day, however, saying there may have been some miscommunication as to what the Honor Code changes mean.

"Even though we have removed the more prescriptive language, the principles of the Honor Code remain the same," the tweet reads. "The Honor Code Office will handle questions that arise on a case by case basis. For example, since dating means different things to different people, the Honor Code Office will work with students individually."

This story will be updated.

Here's the letter:

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Thanks,

-Smac

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5 minutes ago, Nacho2dope said:

That should end the debate. Thanks for posting!

Maybe. It either re-establishes the status quo, or there remains an issue regarding "Same-sex romantic behavior" to be examined on a case-by-case basis. 

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1 minute ago, provoman said:

Maybe. It either re-establishes the status quo, or there remains an issue regarding "Same-sex romantic behavior" to be examined on a case-by-case basis. 

I could be wrong but I think the "examine on a case-by-case basis" came from the confusion over the removal of the language. The letter explains what is and is not appropriate in my opinion. Thanks

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Sadly, I think we can now anticipate some blowback from folks who jumped to unwarranted and/or unreasonable conclusions prior to this letter coming out.

-Smac

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1 minute ago, smac97 said:

Sadly, I think we can now anticipate some blowback from folks who jumped to unwarranted and/or unreasonable conclusions prior to this letter coming out.

-Smac

I imagine you are correct. Should be an interesting afternoon

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Information that would have been good to know 15 years ago, unless you don't think their were gay members of the Church in Canada. As soon as BYU changes the Church changes, other countries change, like Canada did well, figure it out on your own

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4 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Sadly, I think we can now anticipate some blowback from folks who jumped to unwarranted and/or unreasonable conclusions prior to this letter coming out.

-Smac

Considering what was attributed to the HCO, the non-denials of the HCO, the statement from a BYU Professor attributing statements to the HCO ,  General Handbook currently does not contain something like unto "Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God,"  as did CHI 2  21.4.6,  AND statements from BYU that the change was  "To align the Honor Code with the doctrine and policies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." 

I do not think it was unreasonable for what people thought. 

 

 

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Wait - does this mean married men can't date women they're not married to at BYU now? 

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I’m still not altogether clear on the reason for the removal of the wording in the first place, especially considering the confusion and misinterpretation that resulted as a consequence. It seems to me the university and the Church could have adopted “a more ministerial approach” while leaving the wording in place. It wasn’t hurting anything that I can see. 
 

But I do greatly appreciate having this clarification. Coupled with the talk that President Ballard gave yesterday at BYU, it should give us valuable guidance. 

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So are we clear?  

Quote

Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles in the honor code

So does that mean someone holding hands with another of the same sex will likely find him/herself subject to discipline via the HCO?  I mean saying a swear word is also likely not compatible with the principles in the honor code, but will it too require discipline via the HCO?  

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4 minutes ago, provoman said:

Considering what was attributed to the HCO, the non-denials of the HCO, the statement from a BYU Professor attributing statements to the HCO ,  General Handbook currently does not contain something like unto "Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God,"  as did CHI 2  21.4.6,  AND statements from BYU that the change was  "To align the Honor Code with the doctrine and policies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." 

I do not think it was unreasonable for what people thought. 

Considering the tweet from the HCO, and the comments from the BYU spokesperson, and the Church's longstanding teachings on this subject, I think construing the removal of language specifically about proscribed behavior as authorization to engage in that proscribed behavior was pretty unreasonable.

YMMV.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, provoman said:

Considering what was attributed to the HCO, the non-denials of the HCO, the statement from a BYU Professor attributing statements to the HCO ,  General Handbook currently does not contain something like unto "Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God,"  as did CHI 2  21.4.6,  AND statements from BYU that the change was  "To align the Honor Code with the doctrine and policies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." 

I do not think it was unreasonable for what people thought. 

 

 

It’s unfortunate that the contacts in the office and the professor gave out such ill-informed messages. But now, more than ever, the misunderstandings do seem like wishful thinking more than well-considered conclusions. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Considering the tweet from the HCO, and the comments from the BYU spokesperson, and the Church's longstanding teachings on this subject, I think construing the removal of language specifically about proscribed behavior as authorization to engage in that proscribed behavior was pretty unreasonable.

YMMV.

Thanks,

-Smac

The problem may remain unless the wording gets changed for the HCO.  HCO has but agents making determinations based on the written rules.  If there's nothing specific about say someone holding hands with another of the same sex while on campus, how is such an agent supposed to take action?  By personal preference?  I wouldn't have guessed that violating the principles of the HCO would get someone in trouble.  That could really get murky, nearly as murky is trying to determine if two people holding hands are friends or more than friends.  

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Frm the Tribune:

Quote

Despite removing the section on “homosexual behavior” from its Honor Code, the LDS Church has clarified for the first time that same-sex romantic behavior is still “not compatible” with the rules at Brigham Young University.

The surprising letter, released Wednesday morning on Twitter, comes after weeks of questions about the change — and after many LGBTQ students had celebrated what they hoped, and said they were told, it meant.
...
Students have said that staff in the Honor Code Office told them it meant they would no longer be disciplined for dating, holding hands with or kissing people of the same sex.
...
BYU also released a statement from Kevin Utt, the director of its Honor Code Office, who many students said they had talked to directly after the change last month and who they said assured them that gay relationships would be allowed on campus.

I can't help but wonder what went on at the Honor Code Office.  If students really were told that same-sex romantic behavior was no longer an Honor Code violation, then what went wrong?  Who at the HCO said this?

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In the response from Utt on Wednesday, he adds that “any same-sex romantic behavior is a violation of the principles of the Honor Code.”

“We realize that emotions over the last two weeks cover the spectrum and that some have and will continue to feel isolation and pain,” Utt says. “We encourage all members of our campus community to reach out to those who are personally affected with sensitivity, love and respect.”

Wise words.

Quote

Hundreds of students had celebrated the change — with many coming out openly as gay or lesbian in response and many more attending a Rainbow Day event on campus.

Now, some students say they feel gaslighted and like they’ll be punished.

After the change was announced last month, Franchesca Lopez had grabbed a female friend on campus and kissed her in front of the school’s statue of Brigham Young. She posted pictures online. Now the student, who identifies as lesbian, said she’s heartbroken and devastated.

“I feel so incredibly stupid to have believed BYU cared about me or anyone else,” she said.

I get that she's in an emotional state, but what a cheap shot.

Quote

Some students are talking about protesting what seems like a reversal from the school. 

Ciera Galbraith, a BYU senior who identifies as bisexual, said “everyone is in so much fear now.” She added: “There are now photos of same-sex people kissing on campus that can now be penalized for those actions.”

I suspect not.

Quote

In his statement, Utt said that the Honor Code does not encourage students to turn one another in for violations.

Hmm.  Is that a change from the status quo?

Thanks,

-Smac

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10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

So are we clear?  

So does that mean someone holding hands with another of the same sex will likely find him/herself subject to discipline via the HCO?  I mean saying a swear word is also likely not compatible with the principles in the honor code, but will it too require discipline via the HCO?  

I don’t think cussing on campus should be acceptable either. Why should it?

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9 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

It’s unfortunate that the contacts in the office and the professor gave out such ill-informed messages. But now, more than ever, the misunderstandings do seem like wishful thinking more than well-considered conclusions. 

I very much agree it was all wishful thinking.  But I don't know much has been clarified.  I didn't see people arguing that the change meant that the Church nor BYU changed their beliefs.  It was only argued that the HCO has no specific rule to enforce.  It appears, unless the rules get changed again, that it's still pretty unclear.  

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1 minute ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

Considering the tweet from the HCO, and the comments from the BYU spokesperson, and the Church's longstanding teachings on this subject, I think construing the removal of language specifically about proscribed behavior as authorization to engage in that proscribed behavior was pretty unreasonable.

The problem may remain unless the wording gets changed for the HCO. 

I doubt it.  The "change" was in place for what, two weeks?  And it got a lot of press in the first instance, and now the clarification is getting press in the second.

1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

HCO has but agents making determinations based on the written rules.  If there's nothing specific about say someone holding hands with another of the same sex while on campus, how is such an agent supposed to take action?  By personal preference? 

I suspect HCO has guidelines.

I also suspect that such issues are being shifted away from the HCO and more to the individual and his/her bishop.

1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

I wouldn't have guessed that violating the principles of the HCO would get someone in trouble.  That could really get murky, nearly as murky is trying to determine if two people holding hands are friends or more than friends.  

I don't think this will be a problem.

-Smac

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12 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I’m still not altogether clear on the reason for the removal of the wording in the first place, especially considering the confusion and misinterpretation that resulted as a consequence. It seems to me the university and the Church could have adopted “a more ministerial approach” while leaving the wording in place. It wasn’t hurting anything that I can see. 
 

But I do greatly appreciate having this clarification. Coupled with the talk that President Ballard gave yesterday at BYU, it should give us valuable guidance. 

https://honorcode.byu.edu/q-a-with-the-director-of-byus-honor-code-office

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2 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I don’t think cussing on campus should be acceptable either. Why should it?

I didn't say it should be.  I asked a very clear question though.

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I posted this on the other thread, but wanted to do so here too....thanks for posting the letter Scott!!

(This was in response to Peppermint Patty's post:

http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/72653-byu-honor-code-matches-new-handbook/?do=findComment&comment=1209959208 )

Quote

 

I just now came on to post that I spoke to my Bishop a few minutes ago regarding that he'd called the Honor Code Office this morning with similar questions.

He received the same answers you did.  That same-sex students can now show open displays of affection including holding hands, hugging and kissing.  They will also be allowed to date and not be in violation of the Honor Code.

So, unless that changes (and in keeping with the letter posted now), it appears these behaviors are not prohibited as long as they do not lead to SSM or with that intent.  I still find that a bit confusing or conflicting, but I'm grateful to hear from the leaders on this!  It will be interesting to watch how this works for the Honor Code Office.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I doubt it.  The "change" was in place for what, two weeks?  And it got a lot of press in the first instance, and now the clarification is getting press in the second.

I suspect HCO has guidelines.

I also suspect that such issues are being shifted away from the HCO and more to the individual and his/her bishop.

I don't think this will be a problem.

-Smac

Ok.  I mean if it's all clear, then great.  

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