Unwelcome in Zion: Another Sad Story

Okay, I’ll keep this post short. Today I read something and it made me disappointed.

There is a man attending BYU–I’ll call him C. C. has been at BYU for 2+ years I believe. While at BYU he stopped believing in the church. He keeps appearances, attends church, and doesn’t cause trouble at school or in his ward. He likes BYU for lots of reasons, but also dislikes it because he feels he cannot both continue his education and be honest about the fact that he no longer believes the church is anything akin to true. He was trying to finish his education before “coming out” as a non-believer, since he didn’t want to have to start over with his schooling, and he also liked lots of things about BYU.

BYU has a policy that non-believers are welcome, Mormons are welcome, but ex-Mormons and Mormons who are disfellowshiped are not welcome. This causes much anxiety for many Mormons who loose their faith in the church while attending BYU.

C. is not doing anything AT BYU against the church. He is behaving like a perfect little lamb. But online he is participating in lots of boards talking about Mormonism as a cult, talking openly about the details of the temple ritual, and other things that would be offensive to Mormons. He doesn’t have a problem with this, since he no longer believes in the church and, for lots of good reasons I’m sure, he wants to talk about that non-belief in safe places.

An anonymous person sent a portfolio of all of C.’s online activity to his Bishop and Stake President. His Stake President called C. into his office and told him he was the anti-Christ, compared him to Corihor (sp?) from the BOM, refused to hear C.’s side of the story, and told him that in 2 weeks they are holding a disciplinary counsel for C., where, unless he comes with a very repentant attitude, he will be disfellowshiped and kicked out of BYU.

C. is now quickly trying to obtain his transcripts before he is disciplined and will no longer have access to his transcripts without his Stake President’s approval (I am told by some people this is BYU’s policy, but I do not actually know. One individual said a friend of his (so now this is completely rumor since it is at least 3rd hand) had to completely start over with school since they were never allowed access to their transcripts from BYU after being excommunicated and kicked out). He will drop out of school and remove his name from the church so that he doesn’t have to suffer the humiliation of the church court and he can finally live an honest life, true to his non-belief, outside of BYU.

First, I love BYU. I went there in the Spring and that place is like magic to me. I would move back there in a heart beat. But, now that I am where I am…I really feel badly for this person. And I know other people in his same shoes…living at and attending BYU quietly so they can finish their education in peace so they can graduate and then finally be honest about the fact that they no longer believe the church is true. I can’t say I  know what sort of negative things this person wrote about the LDS church. But it seems sad to me that this person now will endure the consequences of basically being forced out of his church (which I think he is probably ready to leave anyway) but also the consequences of being forced out of his university.

I understand that BYU is trying to create a spiritually uplifting environment for Mormons, and I personally benefited from that while I attended BYU. But it seems to me that BYU needs to revise it’s policies against ex-Mormons and non-believing Mormons. I say if people are willing to be respectful of the religion, live the Moral rules of the honor code, and not try to hinder the spiritual environment at BYU, let them stay. Don’t punish people and hinder their educational progress just because their spiritual path in life led them out of the church. Is that really asking too much?

I feel for this person. The question I leave you with is this: Why is it that some members, and, I would argue, the church as a whole to some extent, take such a hostile stance towards people who decide to no longer believe in Mormonism?

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4 Responses to Unwelcome in Zion: Another Sad Story

  1. Jennifer says:

    ya, maybe BYU should re-look at its policies. Maybe like you say if they can just not belong to the church and still go to BYU then they don’t have to hold some kind of double standard. And if they keep in mind BYU’s goals and are respectful of them etc, then maybe they could function fine there. I think President Uctdorf’s talk hopefully will be helpful for the church as a whole to embrace sincere questioners. However, there are some hostile people who’s main reason for staying is to get other people out who would probably be best served by not being in the church IMO. Your friend sounds awesome and I’d love to meet him someday, but he was taking a huge risk by talking about the temple stuff on cult websites. I’m guessing by that he will be happier as a non-member. But you have a good point. We probably have some work to do.

  2. For what it’s worth, I’m guessing they have to release transcripts if they wish to remain accredited. So I wouldn’t worry on that point. But as I’m sure you know, losing your entire social structure and spiritual framework can be… trying, so I wish C.C. the best.

    College is an important formative time for young adults. I’m guessing their policies are in place to prevent a wildfire. If there was a community of Ex-Mormons at BYU, a place students could still “fit in” as they safely share their doubts, the staff would be so busy putting out fires they wouldn’t have time to teach.

    • silvia stubbs says:

      We are a very peculiar people and having a private school for our children to attend is a wonderful thing. It is a little complicate to let just anybody go, but the most important thing is, the tithing of members from around the world are used to fund the school and there are many members who would like to attend and cannot do to the limit of enrollment. I know of some of people that declare to be Mormon so to pay lower tuition. When I first came to the USA I wanted to go to B.Y.U. and I was not accepted at the same time I had friends from Latin America who pretend to be members and were accepted.. I agree with Justin that transcripts cannot be withheld. Sometimes record are withheld when there is a bill or something like that. Students know the policies and have the choice to transfer to another school. There are many schools with non-Mormon views, but only a few with our views.. I think we all could be happier if we are all consider of each other,

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