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Petition started to remove Elder Holland as the commencement speaker


JAHS

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36 minutes ago, CV75 said:

RE: commencement speeches, EXACTLY! I'm talking about outside that venue (that is what I meant by "afterwards") and not so much a structured debate but the ongoing exchange of ideas (which is what I mean by "public square" and "public dialog") involving equally articulate opponents to the Church's or Holland's views.

Ok then, why doesn't Elder Holland withdraw from the request that he speak at the commencement and offer to hold a debate with those that oppose what he has said and what the Church has done to the LGBT community.  Do you actually think that Elder Holland would be willing to have that kind of dialogue with the LGBT community???  I seriously have my doubts.  As I said earlier, if Elder Holland would actually engage in public dialogue, he can do that without giving the commencement address.  I have never seen or heard any kind of debate like you are talking about by Church leaders.  Maybe that is exactly what the Church needs to do to further clarify its position and better understand how others feel about the position the Church has concerning LGBT issues.

36 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Especially since no one knows what is planning to say at the commencement, and especially since this is about what he represents irrespective of commencement.

The petition is not about what Elder Holland is GOING to say.  The petition is about what he has said in the past and what some feel are the oppressive policies the church he represents places on the LGBT community at BYU and other areas it maintains its control.

36 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I'd like to see those pushing the petition actually say something thoughtful and compelling. Commencement speeches aren't for petitions, either.

"The petition was made by man and not man for the petition. Except where the man won't think for himself."

Would you be willing then, to granting those who oppose Elder Holland and what he represents equal time at the podium of that commencement so they have the opportunity to say something thoughtful and compelling on an equal footing?  I think that your idea to allow them to say something thoughtful and compelling at the commencement may very well solve the issue of more dialogue.

I just also want to say, I appreciate your responses and really want to know how you feel about alternative ways to deal with this issue. 

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41 minutes ago, JAHS said:

I agree that others might not be OK with it, which is obvious. I was mostly focusing on why the choice was made to have him speak at the commencement.  There are a lot of people who will be there who would very much like to hear him speak, so they went with that, and I very much doubt that they will cancel the invitation.

I get it.  Let's get a general authority to speak at commencement.  Who doesn't like a talk by Elder Holland?  He is from Southern Utah.  Perfect.  Oh wait, some don't want to hear from him??????  They are just trouble makers with an agenda.  Let's go with it.

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5 hours ago, california boy said:

I am really unclear what you are saying here.  The petition IS saying something after he actually said something.  It is partially in response to a speech by Elder Holland that many feel was insensitive and inflammatory.  

I feel like I am missing your point.  This is a commencement talk, often given by someone who should be admired for the work he has done that is positive and helpful to the students of that university.  Evidently there are a lot of students that don't share that admiration nor what Elder Holland stands for.  

4 hours ago, california boy said:

Ok then, why doesn't Elder Holland withdraw from the request that he speak at the commencement and offer to hold a debate with those that oppose what he has said and what the Church has done to the LGBT community.  Do you actually think that Elder Holland would be willing to have that kind of dialogue with the LGBT community???  I seriously have my doubts.  As I said earlier, if Elder Holland would actually engage in public dialogue, he can do that without giving the commencement address.  I have never seen or heard any kind of debate like you are talking about by Church leaders.  Maybe that is exactly what the Church needs to do to further clarify its position and better understand how others feel about the position the Church has concerning LGBT issues.

The petition is not about what Elder Holland is GOING to say.  The petition is about what he has said in the past and what some feel are the oppressive policies the church he represents places on the LGBT community at BYU and other areas it maintains its control.

Would you be willing then, to granting those who oppose Elder Holland and what he represents equal time at the podium of that commencement so they have the opportunity to say something thoughtful and compelling on an equal footing?  I think that your idea to allow them to say something thoughtful and compelling at the commencement may very well solve the issue of more dialogue.

I just also want to say, I appreciate your responses and really want to know how you feel about alternative ways to deal with this issue. 

I’m not talking about a one-one-one debate, either at the commencement or afterward. I am talking about continued dialog in the public square, which doesn’t necessitate one-on-one staged, transactional confrontation but the ongoing exchange of ideas. Elder Holland engages in public dialogue – all forms of it -- in this manner. You said so yourself (bolded above).

I’d like to know who is Elder Holland’s opposing counterpart, someone who is just as accomplished, committed and articulate, “representing” their opposing organization or ideology? Let them get their message out there as effectively as Elder Holland and the Church apparently have. The dumbest and most ignorant thing I could do is petition them from speaking at a public university commencement just because of what they “represent” to me, indicating they have been engaged in public discourse all along while I have not.

I’ve confirmed 3+ times now that a commencement is not the venue for a debate and that my suggestion was more general. Hopefully this is clear this time around.

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21 hours ago, california boy said:

I get it.  Let's get a general authority to speak at commencement.  Who doesn't like a talk by Elder Holland?  He is from Southern Utah.  Perfect.  Oh wait, some don't want to hear from him??????  They are just trouble makers with an agenda.  Let's go with it.

I am not so sure they knew there would be such disagreement until after they already asked him to speak and he accepted.  They went with what they believe would be the majority of people who they knew would want to hear him. Do you have any suggestions on who would be a better speaker who would not generate any opposition from someone?

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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

I am not so sure they knew there would be such disagreement until after they already asked him to speak and he accepted.  They went with what they believe would be the majority of people who they knew would want to hear him. Do you have any suggestions on who would be a better speaker who would not generate any opposition from someone?

I think the choice of a commencement speaker should take into account what that person represents. There are literally thousands of people who a college could turn to from famous poets, to historians, to authors, to great humanitarians to well, the list is endless.   Assuming just because a person is in the hierarchy of a religion I don't think is a great qualifier unless you are a member of that religion.  And even then, aren't there plenty of opportunities Elder Holland already has to talk to those members already?

The question I would ask you is "Why would Elder Holland even be considered?"  Is it because he is an apostle of a predominate religion in Utah?  Or are his academic achievements so significant that no one else even comes close to his academic achievements.

Maybe this is difficult for you to see because as a member of the same church, you are blind to anyone who is not and how they might feel about their commencement speaker and who he represents to them.  The fact that you are not sure they knew there would be such disagreement tells me you have no idea how polarizing the Church is to a lot of people.  Just look at the recent PEW data.  Not a well liked church.  Do you even have any idea why the Church is not well liked???

 

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

I think the choice of a commencement speaker should take into account what that person represents. There are literally thousands of people who a college could turn to from famous poets, to historians, to authors, to great humanitarians to well, the list is endless.   Assuming just because a person is in the hierarchy of a religion I don't think is a great qualifier unless you are a member of that religion.  And even then, aren't there plenty of opportunities Elder Holland already has to talk to those members already?

Yes but poets, historians, authors ect all have positions that somebody will disagree with.  I think they should just get rid of commencement speakers as a whole and then nobody will be offended.   Even having ChatGPT has the speaker will probably make comments that offend someone.   Silence might be the best speaker to give a safe space for everyone.

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1 hour ago, carbon dioxide said:

Yes but poets, historians, authors ect all have positions that somebody will disagree with.  I think they should just get rid of commencement speakers as a whole and then nobody will be offended.   Even having ChatGPT has the speaker will probably make comments that offend someone.   Silence might be the best speaker to give a safe space for everyone.

Do the majority of universities have petitions against the commencement speaker?  I only hear about a few each year.  How many petitions against a commencement speaker last year, or this year amongst the over 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States?  

Maybe I am missing something??

Edited by california boy
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5 hours ago, california boy said:

I think the choice of a commencement speaker should take into account what that person represents. There are literally thousands of people who a college could turn to from famous poets, to historians, to authors, to great humanitarians to well, the list is endless.   Assuming just because a person is in the hierarchy of a religion I don't think is a great qualifier unless you are a member of that religion.  And even then, aren't there plenty of opportunities Elder Holland already has to talk to those members already?

The question I would ask you is "Why would Elder Holland even be considered?"  Is it because he is an apostle of a predominate religion in Utah?  Or are his academic achievements so significant that no one else even comes close to his academic achievements.

Maybe this is difficult for you to see because as a member of the same church, you are blind to anyone who is not and how they might feel about their commencement speaker and who he represents to them.  The fact that you are not sure they knew there would be such disagreement tells me you have no idea how polarizing the Church is to a lot of people.  Just look at the recent PEW data.  Not a well liked church.  Do you even have any idea why the Church is not well liked???

 

Because it is too religious for many people who would rather live a secular life. Rather then dwell on the negatives of a person or group I tend to consider more of the positives things they represent. The LGBT issue is only one thing among a multitude of good things Elder Holland and the Church does or represents. I will give anyone a chance to speak their mind at a specific time and then pass judgment on whether or not I agree with what they say. I don't pass judgment on them before they speak just because I don't like them. Listen to what he says during the commencement speech first and then criticize that if you disagree what he says there. 
Edited to add: I certainly would not want to miss my own graduation commencement simply because I don't like the speaker. 

Edited by JAHS
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5 hours ago, california boy said:

The question I would ask you is "Why would Elder Holland even be considered?"

As has already been posted in this thread:

On 3/25/2023 at 9:10 AM, JAHS said:

He is a native of the St George area, he has been a university president; has been very dedicated to the education system; understands and how important it is to obtain a good education; and understands what students have to go through while they obtain that education.   He also served as president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities and was a board member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Sounds like he is well qualified for what he has been asked to do.

 

Let's just go with the St. George aspect.

Wikipedia lists 60 notable people from St George https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:People_from_St._George,_Utah

From what I can tell from Wikipedia

Of those 28 are still alive

Of those 12 are St. George natives

Of those 4 are GA or Emeritus GA.  

If you don't want a church leader as the commencement speaker. Which of the following would you support?

Person Age (Former) Profession
Amanda Righetti 39 actress
Jada Facer 22 actress/singer
Bruce Hurst
 
65 baseball player
Dave Arslanian 73 Football player/coach
Jay Don Blake 64 Golfer
Dixie L. Leavitt 93 insurance/politician
Monte N. Stewart
 
73/74 legal person (political)
Glen Leavitt 49/50 politician
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3 hours ago, JAHS said:

Because it is too religious for many people who would rather live a secular life. Rather then dwell on the negatives of a person or group I tend to consider more of the positives things they represent. The LGBT issue is only one thing among a multitude of good things Elder Holland and the Church does or represents. I will give anyone a chance to speak their mind at a specific time and then pass judgment on whether or not I agree with what they say. I don't pass judgment on them before they speak just because I don't like them. Listen to what he says during the commencement speech first and then criticize that if you disagree what he says there. 
Edited to add: I certainly would not want to miss my own graduation commencement simply because I don't like the speaker. 

You really don't get it do you.  It is not what Elder Holland might or might not say, it is what he has said in the past and the institution that he represents.  

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1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

As has already been posted in this thread:

 

Let's just go with the St. George aspect.

Wikipedia lists 60 notable people from St George https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:People_from_St._George,_Utah

From what I can tell from Wikipedia

Of those 28 are still alive

Of those 12 are St. George natives

Of those 4 are GA or Emeritus GA.  

If you don't want a church leader as the commencement speaker. Which of the following would you support?

Person Age (Former) Profession
Amanda Righetti 39 actress
Jada Facer 22 actress/singer
Bruce Hurst
 
65 baseball player
Dave Arslanian 73 Football player/coach
Jay Don Blake 64 Golfer
Dixie L. Leavitt 93 insurance/politician
Monte N. Stewart
 
73/74 legal person (political)
Glen Leavitt 49/50 politician

Is there a requirement that the commencement speaker has to come from the area the college is located in?

If coming from the area is essential to choosing the commencement speaker, why did you exclude all of those that you listed as not being good choices for the Commencement speaker?

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22 minutes ago, california boy said:

You really don't get it do you.  It is not what Elder Holland might or might not say, it is what he has said in the past and the institution that he represents.  

I do get it from your perspective. And that's fine. I am coming from the perspective of the majority of other people who would like to hear him speak. So we are at an impasse. The college went with the majority.

 

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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

I do get it from your perspective. And that's fine. I am coming from the perspective of the majority of other people who would like to hear him speak. So we are at an impasse. The college went with the majority.

 

yeah I get it as well. Mostly Mormon audience, want to hear from an apostle.  That trumps everything else for that group.  

It doesn't mean the people signing the petition don't have a valid point.  They do.

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2 minutes ago, california boy said:

yeah I get it as well. Mostly Mormon audience, want to hear from an apostle.  That trumps everything else for that group.  

It doesn't mean the people signing the petition don't have a valid point.  They do.

Yes in their opinion. But I wonder how many of those people that signed it would have been going to the commencement anyway if he was not speaking?

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4 hours ago, california boy said:

That trumps everything else for that group.  

Depends on the apostle, I suspect. Some connect better than others. There might be a willingness to hear one speak out of respect, but others are deeply loved. Elder Holland does quite well connecting with quite a few members. 

Edited by Calm
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On 3/25/2023 at 1:18 AM, california boy said:

The Pew poll definitely brings data on how people feel about the Church.

And perhaps it is less important how people feel about the Church, and more important how God feels about it? 

There is some scriptural evidence to suggest that the closer we get to tribulation times the less popular God's laws will become. 

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On 3/24/2023 at 6:13 PM, california boy said:

How tolerant was the Church when it came to baptizing underaged children of gay couples?

I know this is a total diversion but I wonder how many children actually fell into this category? In other words, how many gay couples would have even wanted their children to be baptized? My impression was that these cases were very few in number.

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2 hours ago, Vanguard said:

I know this is a total diversion but I wonder how many children actually fell into this category? In other words, how many gay couples would have even wanted their children to be baptized? My impression was that these cases were very few in number.

I have no idea how many people had children that fell under this restriction.  My children were already over 18 at the time.  But I do know of other families that were affected.  

Mostly it is just sad that someone would use children as pawns like that.  No child should be denied baptism based on the actions of their parents.  And the Church should never think that it knows better than the parents what is best for those children.  

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41 minutes ago, california boy said:

do know of other families that were affected.  

You know of families where the children were under sole/possibly primary custody of a gay couple where the gay couple wanted them to be baptized?  Not saying it is unlikely, just want to be sure it wasn’t about what was the original fear of any kid having a gay parent being barred. 

Edited by Calm
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I know it's from a site that is frowned upon, but MS's has a great podcast with a panel of SUU students speaking about the petition. They go into all that took place with all of the information that may help those on here who don't understand the big deal about Elder Holland speaking. It's quite a punch in the stomach to those that attend this school who are LGBTQ+ or family and friends of those that are. As california boy mentions, it's all about what Elder Holland said during his musket fire speech, also some of what has been said in his other talks.

Here is a link to a gathering that the school's president, Mindy Benson, put together to be able to listen to the concerns of students about Elder Holland. https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2023/03/22/jmr-suu-officials-hear-from-huge-crowd-regarding-choice-of-latter-day-saint-leader-as-commencement-speaker/#.ZCZICyvMI5M

Also, in Elder Holland's speech, I see why students would feel sideswiped. https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/elder-jeffrey-r-holland-2021-byu-university-conference#_edn7

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11 hours ago, Calm said:

You know of families where the children were under sole/possibly primary custody of a gay couple where the gay couple wanted them to be baptized?  Not saying it is unlikely, just want to be sure it wasn’t about what was the original fear of any kid having a gay parent being barred. 

This was the original policy

Quote

 

 November 3, 2015 

Policies on Ordinances for Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship 

The following additions to 

 Handbook 1

 have been approved by the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for immediate implementation. 

 

A new section in Handbook 1, 16.13 will be added as follows: Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship 

A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing. A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be  baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows: A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met:

The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage. 2.

The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.

Yes, I know families that fit this scenario.

Edited by california boy
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On 3/25/2023 at 12:09 PM, california boy said:

It is partially in response to a speech by Elder Holland that many feel was insensitive and inflammatory.  

Everything these days is "insensitive and inflammatory." People need to grow a pair.

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On 3/26/2023 at 12:34 PM, california boy said:

Do the majority of universities have petitions against the commencement speaker?  I only hear about a few each year.  How many petitions against a commencement speaker last year, or this year amongst the over 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States?  

Maybe I am missing something??

I tracked down a website that tracks "commencement disinvitations".  They don't include SUU from this year in it so it obviously isn't complete but it does look like it is pretty decent - https://www.thefire.org/research-learn/campus-disinvitation-database.  It also tracks any type of disinvitation (such as speaker/teacher/etc).

Using that database, here's the number of disinvitations (either successful or unsuccessful) each year since 2000:

Quote

2000    5
2001    4
2002    9
2003    6
2004    3
2005    8
2006    7
2007    5
2008    8
2009    8
2010    12
2011    9
2012    11
2013    19
2014    17
2015    6
2016    7
2017    6
2018    2
2019    7
2020    4
2021    3
2022    4
2023    2

Interestingly, the number of disinvites went up until around 2014 and then started to go back down.  The site author wrote an opinion piece back in 2018 about this - https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/06/29/universities-politically-controversial-commencement-speakers-student-protest-column/734068002/  He thinks that the reason why the number of disinvites has gone back down isn't because we are becoming more accepting of the invitations but because the universities are growing "increasingly leery of inviting speakers who might offend the most vocal part of their student body or their faculty."

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