Jump to content
Seriously No Politics ×

BYU requires new hires to waive their right to clergy confidentiality


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

I didn’t have to waive it when I worked for the church. 

When I was a bishop I annually received a letter asking whether or not the members of my ward that worked for the church were worthy to hold a temple recommend.  Did your bishop receive a similar letter.  Given where I live we did have a handful of members who worked for the church.  If the church employee did not hold a recommend, or could not, I was not asked to details.  But even responding to such a question seemed like a betrayal of confidence.  I often wanted to say none of your damn business and if you want to know ask your employee.

Link to comment
Just now, Teancum said:

When I was a bishop I annually received a letter asking whether or not the members of my ward that worked for the church were worthy to hold a temple recommend.  Did your bishop receive a similar letter.  Given where I live we did have a handful of members who worked for the church.  If the church employee did not hold a recommend, or could not, I was not asked to details.  But even responding to such a question seemed like a betrayal of confidence.  I often wanted to say none of your damn business and if you want to know ask your employee.

Not that I’m aware of. But it’s possible. 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Hmm.  So if the Church doesn't require its own employees to waive confidentiality, is it fair to require church members with more attenuated employer-employee relationships with the Church (Church --> BYU --> employee) to waive?

Thanks,

-Smac

Quite frankly it is stupid to require anyone to waive their right to confidentiality.  And I bet there are a bunch of good bishops that would feel the same. 

Regarding a comment where you seemed to diminish the confidentiality an LDS bishop is required to keep vs a Catholic Priest, I am was a bit surprised at you cavelier comment.  Maybe they are different but I sure did take confidentiality serious when I was a bishop, very much so.

Link to comment
30 minutes ago, Teancum said:
Quote

Hmm.  So if the Church doesn't require its own employees to waive confidentiality, is it fair to require church members with more attenuated employer-employee relationships with the Church (Church --> BYU --> employee) to waive?

Quite frankly it is stupid to require anyone to waive their right to confidentiality.  And I bet there are a bunch of good bishops that would feel the same. 

This sort of conclusory stuff doesn't do much for me.  I'd like to understand the reasoning that gets you there.

30 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Regarding a comment where you seemed to diminish the confidentiality an LDS bishop is required to keep vs a Catholic Priest, I am was a bit surprised at you cavelier comment. 

I don't understand.  What did I say that was cavalier?

30 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Maybe they are different but I sure did take confidentiality serious when I was a bishop, very much so.

So did I.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to comment

I think it might have something to do with that prime mover that powers all institutional decisions today…the fear of lawsuits. 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, MiserereNobis said:

Just so everyone knows the Catholic position: it wouldn’t matter if a Catholic waived the privilege. A priest cannot break the confessional seal under any circumstance. There are no exceptions. To do so would incur excommunication for the priest. 

Yep.  That is what I meant in terms of stringency.  (BTW, I quite respect and admire the Catholic position.)

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to comment
5 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

And it's more than just lip service too. When mandatory reporting for clergy was being brought in here (Australia), we had Catholic priests quite openly saying they'd rather go to jail than break the seal.

Did any?  Not saying they were lying or deluding themselves, but I don’t believe anyone truly knows what they will do until they must act.  I am curious if any had to show they were actually that committed.

Link to comment
23 minutes ago, Calm said:

I am curious if any had to show they were actually that committed.

I haven't heard of any going to jail for not reporting. Of course, if they didn't break the seal, chances are it hasn't made it to police yet. Don't forget, with the current case in the other thread, the police only found out when someone else in another part of the world was arrested 6 years after the confession (and 4 years after he was excommunicated). It's only been a few years since clergy were added to the mandatory reporters list in most states here, so we will see over time.

Link to comment
2 hours ago, katherine the great said:

I have no love left for BYU (for many unrelated reasons) but at the end if the day,  no one has to work there if they don’t like the rules. I can live a full and happy life without ever working for BYU. At some point we all need to take responsibility for our own employment choices. Unless I missed something, it sounds like this is only for new hires so they are duly warned. 

I see this argument a LOT.

While its true that people make the decision about where to work and if they don't like it they can leave. But the reality of making a move can be very complicated and costly for an employee. By this logic an employer can pretty much do anything they want or require whatever they want from their employees because...after all the employee can leave if they want. Employee protections have become a thing for a reason. Unions have become a thing for a reason. And just because an employer CAN do something doesn't mean it should be accepted without pushback from the employees. 

As has been mentioned earlier in the thread this kind of demand that an employee waive their clergy's privilege while at the same time maintaining the absolute sanctity of clergy privilege for child abusers comes off as at least hypocritical and tone deaf if not an absolute power play.

I remember receiving requests from the church about ecclesiastical endorsements for both employees and students. Even in my faithful days I viewed this as an overreach into the privacy of individuals who shouldn't have to fear confessing comparatively minor issues (like drinking coffee etc). IMO the entire worthiness culture the church has created and continues to cultivate is a pharisaical misstep, but one that could be easily remedied.

Link to comment
13 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I see this argument a LOT.

While its true that people make the decision about where to work and if they don't like it they can leave. But the reality of making a move can be very complicated and costly for an employee. By this logic an employer can pretty much do anything they want or require whatever they want from their employees because...after all the employee can leave if they want. Employee protections have become a thing for a reason. Unions have become a thing for a reason. And just because an employer CAN do something doesn't mean it should be accepted without pushback from the employees. 

As has been mentioned earlier in the thread this kind of demand that an employee waive their clergy's privilege while at the same time maintaining the absolute sanctity of clergy privilege for child abusers comes off as at least hypocritical and tone deaf if not an absolute power play.

I remember receiving requests from the church about ecclesiastical endorsements for both employees and students. Even in my faithful days I viewed this as an overreach into the privacy of individuals who shouldn't have to fear confessing comparatively minor issues (like drinking coffee etc). IMO the entire worthiness culture the church has created and continues to cultivate is a pharisaical misstep, but one that could be easily remedied.

I keep thinking that it's going to cause really good people to decide not to apply at BYU. Who wants to get a job where your employment may depend on what kind of bishop you have and how well you get along? 

Link to comment
36 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

While its true that people make the decision about where to work and if they don't like it they can leave. But the reality of making a move can be very complicated and costly for an employee.

I agree. But as I stated, I’m reading this to apply to new hires only. If this retroactively applies to people who are already working there I will re-evaluate my opinion. 

Link to comment
Just now, katherine the great said:

I agree. But as I stated, I’m reading this to apply to new hires only. If this retroactively applies to people who are already working there I will re-evaluate my opinion. 

I've heard from a few friends who teach at BYU that morale is pretty low. I can't imagine this helps.

Link to comment
24 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I keep thinking that it's going to cause really good people to decide not to apply at BYU. Who wants to get a job where your employment may depend on what kind of bishop you have and how well you get along? 

Personally I would not work for BYU period. I’m sure I can’t be the only LDS educator who feels that way. People may feel that as long as they are choosing the right they shouldn’t worry but life has taught me that it’s always more complicated than that. 

Link to comment
Just now, katherine the great said:

Personally I would not work for BYU period. I’m sure I can’t be the only LDS educator who feels that way. People may feel that as long as they are choosing the right they shouldn’t worry but life has taught me that it’s always more complicated than that. 

I don't teach anymore, but if I did, I would feel exactly the way you do. I love BYU, despite all of its issues, and I very much dislike watching it becoming ever more focused on faith promotion and conformity at the expense of education. 

Link to comment
16 hours ago, smac97 said:

This sort of conclusory stuff doesn't do much for me. 

Ah well.

16 hours ago, smac97 said:

 

I'd like to understand the reasoning that gets you there.

We talk about a high demand religion. Some people use the word cult. I do not like that word really.  But when I see things like this requirement I understand very well why some use the cult word.  So a BYU employee gives up the right to confidentiality with their bishop.  What do you think that will do for a BYU employee that needs their bishop's help? For someone who believes in the LDS gospel this should cause a whole bunch of concerns.  BYU employees are not perfect.  Some, maybe a lot will make mistakes.  Yet this rule will make them reluctant to seek the support of their spiritual advisor.  It is a shameful and manipulative process.  It also reeks of fear on the part of whoever is imposing this, and I assume it is the top leadership.  And oh by the way, those who attend BYU are quite able to think for themselves ad they really do not need some special protection.

16 hours ago, smac97 said:

I don't understand.  What did I say that was cavalier?

 

Goo bak to your post and see what you said about Catholic confession as compared to LDS confession.

Link to comment
52 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I see this argument a LOT.

Well, it isn't exactly without merit. I mean, I think it's a pretty good argument even when we are talking about the choices made by students who decide to attend BYU.

I think it's an excellent argument when we are talking about full blown professors though.

I mean, honestly, if you hold an advanced degree, are applying to teach at BYU, and don't know what you are getting into then you maybe ought not to be in the business of teaching for a living.

If you value privacy, stronger speech protections, etc. then go teach at a state school where the government, acting as employer, will keep it's nose out of your business (for the most part).

 

Link to comment
6 minutes ago, Teancum said:
Quote

Yep.  That is what I meant in terms of stringency.  (BTW, I quite respect and admire the Catholic position.)

Do you?

Yes.

6 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Then how can you seemingly be ok with this new policy?

First, I don't think I have said I am "ok with this new policy."  I have some concerns about it.

Second, I can respect and admire something without wholeheartedly accepting and ratifying it.  

Third, I think confidentiality has an important function in the Church, but I'm not sure its significance rises to the level that is seen in Catholicism.  I just don't see a basis for such stringency in the doctrines of the Church.

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to comment
42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Ah well.

Well, you could advance the discussion by explaining how you got to your conclusion.

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

We talk about a high demand religion.

Yes.

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Some people use the word cult. I do not like that word really. 

Nor do I.  It is usually intended to be pejorative.

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

But when I see things like this requirement I understand very well why some use the cult word. 

I can see that.  I feel the same way about some other ideological (though not strictly "religious" groups).  I still don't use the word "cult" though.  Too much baggage.  Not clinically descriptive.

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

So a BYU employee gives up the right to confidentiality with their bishop. 

I think the parameters of what sorts of inquiries BYU can make are largely unknown to us.  

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

What do you think that will do for a BYU employee that needs their bishop's help?

If he or she is doing something serious (adultery, apostasy, etc.), then I think they will be less inclined to go to their bishop.  That is a concern I share, but it goes both ways.  

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

For someone who believes in the LDS gospel this should cause a whole bunch of concerns. 

It causes some, yes.

But then, I also have concerns about the mission of BYU (and the Church) being subverted from within by faculty who are working against that mission in one way or another.

I also have concerns about the integrity of someone who A) knows well in advance that BYU is a religious school, B) agrees to the Honor Code prior to employment, C) materially violates the Honor Code (and/or important behavioral codes binding on members of the Church), but D) nevertheless wants to continue to draw a paycheck with no regard for their substantial breach of the terms of employment.

Is there enough "have your cake and eat it too" sorts of things going on at BYU (faculty)?  I don't know.

How does this work with "ecclesiastical endorsements?"  As I understand it, this is required for continued employment at BYU.  If and when that endorsement is lost, then employment is imperiled anyway, right?  So might this change actually give BYU faculty some leeway?  As it stands, the endorsement fails if there is no TR. 

However, the lack of a TR may be due to something other than extremely serious stuff like adultery or apostasy.  A BYU faculty member who is struggling with pornography, or is experiencing marital discord, or is going through some sort of faith crisis, may not - for a time - qualify for a TR, but should that non-qualification result in loss of employment?  What if the bishop feels that he can't issue a TR to the individual, but then wants to work with the individual to sort out the issues?  If BYU comes along during that process and asks "Hey Bishop ____, please confirm that Bro. Jones in your ward, who teaches at BYU, has a current TR," and if the bishop says "He does not have a TR, but I am bound by confidentiality against saying anything else," then . . .?

I'm just spitballing here.

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

BYU employees are not perfect.  Some, maybe a lot will make mistakes.  Yet this rule will make them reluctant to seek the support of their spiritual advisor. 

Yes, that is a concern.  But sometimes the mistake is of such import that it necessarily has severe consequences.

I have a good friend who was, and is, close friends with Elder James Hamula.  That excommunication was very difficult for Elder Hamula, his family, and his friends.  Difficult, but also necessary.  We have seen what happens when too many "mistakes" get swept under the rug, both in our Church and in other organizations as well.

I think it would be interesting to see how many people on this thread A) oppose the policy change at BYU relative to clergy confidentiality (that is, they want it to remain in place), but also B) support the idea of making clergy "mandatory reporters" for abuse.  That would seem to be . . . inconsistent.

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

It is a shameful and manipulative process.  It also reeks of fear on the part of whoever is imposing this, and I assume it is the top leadership. 

Meh.  Conclusory and emotional rhetoric doesn't do much for me.

I have been involved in litigation where someone has been forced to "own up" to their misconduct.  It is not a pleasant thing to see, nor is it a pleasant thing to do.  Not pleasant, but still necessary.

I don't know if the policy change at BYU is a good idea.  There are reasonable arguments on both sides.

Your surmisings are based on sheer guesswork.  The Brethren, meanwhile, are far more informed about what is going on at BYU.  

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

And oh by the way, those who attend BYU are quite able to think for themselves ad they really do not need some special protection.

I attended BYU.  Twice.  I live a mile away from it.  I'm familiar with how it works.

42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Goo bak to your post and see what you said about Catholic confession as compared to LDS confession.

Done.  And?

Here is the "Catholic position" on the confessional (from our own MisereNobis): "Just so everyone knows the Catholic position: it wouldn’t matter if a Catholic waived the privilege. A priest cannot break the confessional seal under any circumstance. There are no exceptions. To do so would incur excommunication for the priest."

Our approach to confidentiality is strong, but not Hulk-strong and absolute like the above.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...