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April 14, 2011 12:46 PM   Subscribe

The Truth About Race, Religion, And The Honor Code At BYU. Deadspin has released an exposé on Brigham Young University's Honor Code, which prohibits students from having sex or drinking alcohol. The article accuses the University of selectively punishing minority (and especially African American) athletes who violate the Code. Co-authored by Darron Smith, a former BYU instructor. Responses from former BYU students at Religion Dispatches, the Deseret News and the Provo Daily Herald. (Previously)

Radio interview with Darron Smith
posted by zarq (133 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
This should be a surprise to few. It's no more hypocritical than the Mormon Church fighting for polygamy up in Canada, while funding Prop 8 and similar anti-GLBT hate legislation in the US.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:51 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very sobering article that made me rethink my stance on Brandon Davies and the BYU athletics program in general.
posted by muddgirl at 12:52 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mormons, racist? Unpossible!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:52 PM on April 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Reading this yesterday, I was glad that someone had done some research into what the cynical part of my brain had insisted was already the truth. Then, of course, I was sad.

Speaking of violations of the BYU Honor Code, the dude from the Daily Herald better get off his knees because I hear they don't look kindly on dudes performing fellatio in the Beehive State. It's hard to think of Deadspin as real journalists, until you look at almost every local sports journalist.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:55 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this article, found while I was researching the post.
posted by zarq at 12:56 PM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't read this because there's a huge unremovable list of other articles that pops up in front of it. No amount of fiddling with my noscript settings makes it go away. I don't want to threadshit, I'm not complaining about this being posted, I want to read it; can somebody tell me how?
posted by longtime_lurker at 12:57 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, BYU's honor code forbids beards? The Book of Mormon is full of bearded dudes. So weird.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:58 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This should be a surprise to few. It's no more hypocritical than the Mormon Church fighting for polygamy up in Canada, while funding Prop 8 and similar anti-GLBT hate legislation in the US.

Red herring. The Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints are not the same as the Latter-Day Saints who run BYU.
posted by liketitanic at 12:58 PM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Perhaps they could consider something more like my alma mater's honor principle.
posted by jardinier at 12:58 PM on April 14, 2011


Well yes, it's racism, but I think it's a particularly fascinating manifestation:
Mormon athletes can turn to bishops and church leaders from their own homogeneous communities — people who look like them and might even be related to them — to "repent" and avoid official punishment. Black athletes, who are typically non-Mormon, rarely have this option.
BYU wants to attract top-quality athletes to their NCAA Division I sports program, which means recruiting non-Mormons, which means minimizing the rules and consequences of their honor code. The majority of sports programs at the high school and college level have rules of conduct - my own Division III football program didn't want underaged students drinking during the season - but the punishment rarely has academic consequences.
posted by muddgirl at 1:00 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]



Red herring. The Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints are not the same as the Latter-Day Saints who run BYU.


So there's more than one Mormon Church?
posted by doctor_negative at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2011


The defenders' responses are thick with denial.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2011


I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this article, found while I was researching the post.


That's actually pretty fascinating. Anyone want to research that some more and make it into an FPP?
posted by schmod at 1:02 PM on April 14, 2011


schmod: " That's actually pretty fascinating. Anyone want to research that some more and make it into an FPP?"

The last time I brought up Mormons trying to coopt my religious traditions around here, I got attacked, so no thanks.
posted by zarq at 1:04 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


So there's more than one Mormon Church?

Yes. Or there are several denominations that all call themselves "the Mormon church." But the organization that runs BYU no longer condones polygamy.
posted by liketitanic at 1:06 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


NoScript - if you allow deadspin.com and pretty much every other script* (except chartbeat), and reload the page manually, you can get the side bar to move where it belongs. All the Gawker sites do this now.

*holy crap I was surprised that I had allowed so many scripts. sigh
posted by Xoebe at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2011


Re: the seder thing, I wouldn't be so quick to judge it negatively. My Unitarian Universalist congregation back in California hosted a seder every year, too. At least the LDS traditions include a connection with the tribes of Israel.
posted by padraigin at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2011


That's actually pretty fascinating. Anyone want to research that some more and make it into an FPP?

You may find this Ask MeFi question interesting. I found this link especially instructive, as well as the best answer, also from a rabbi.
posted by jedicus at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


So there's more than one Mormon Church?

Yes. There is more than one church that people colloquially refer to as Mormon. There is one Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is not the same church as the one people refer to as "fundamentalist" Mormons.
posted by The World Famous at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


longtime lurker, I've emailed you the text of the article. Apologies. I didn't realize their format wasn't readable for everyone.
posted by zarq at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, I just had a snarky comment pop into my head: When do we get to prohibit "Sharia Law" in Utah?
posted by Xoebe at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


padraigin: "Re: the seder thing, I wouldn't be so quick to judge it negatively. My Unitarian Universalist congregation back in California hosted a seder every year, too. At least the LDS traditions include a connection with the tribes of Israel."

The invocation given to the Christian Messiah at a Jewish religious ceremonial meal was a particularly nice touch, I thought.
posted by zarq at 1:09 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Reed College's "honor principle" is scary. Some of it's very good, of course, but it's way too wide open. Sounds as if they can punish you for saying or doing anything they don't like, because anything controversial can easily be described as "causing embarrassment, discomfort or injury to other individuals or to the community as a whole." At least at BYU they give you a specific list. And hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.
posted by copperykeen at 1:10 PM on April 14, 2011


Jedicus, thanks. Interesting links and comments.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on April 14, 2011


My favorite thing? People from one religious perspective criticizing rituals of people from another religious perspective. Funny stuff.
posted by found missing at 1:12 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints are not the same as the Latter-Day Saints...

Ah, that's right. That's Warren Jeffs' denomination.
posted by ericb at 1:14 PM on April 14, 2011


For whatever it's worth, when I attended BYU, it was widely-understood that the Honor Code was not enforced with much rigor where athletes were concerned and that minorities at BYU were not treated particularly well by the administration. I always assumed that, although a minority athlete would be more likely to be punished for Honor Code violations than a white athlete, a non-athlete would be more likely to be punished than an athlete of any color or ethnicity. But I didn't have any run-ins with the Honor Code enforcement folks, so my knowledge of it is all second-hand at best.
posted by The World Famous at 1:14 PM on April 14, 2011


Personally, I've always found the most creepy part to be BYU's requirement that students get their bishop (or other clergy if not LDS) to sign off on their behavior over the summer every year in order to return to school. This even includes their living standards, which are designed to ensure that boys and girls don't get too close to each other.

For example, if you live in an off-campus apartment:
Visitors of the opposite sex are permitted in living rooms and kitchens but not in the bedrooms in off-campus living units. The use of the bathroom areas by members of the opposite sex is not appropriate unless emergency or civility dictates otherwise, and then only if the safety, privacy, and sensitivity of other residents are not jeopardized. Visiting hours may begin after 9:00 a.m. and extend until 12:00 midnight. Friday night visiting hours may extend until 1:30 a.m. Landlords may establish a shorter visiting period if proper notice is given to students.
So if you're male and you invite a woman over to work on a class project together, she's discouraged from going to the frickin' bathroom? Doesn't civility basically always dictate that you allow people you know to use your bathroom? This even seems to apply during the summer and to non LDS students.
posted by zachlipton at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


padraigin: "My Unitarian Universalist congregation back in California hosted a seder every year, too."

My UU church in New Orleans did as well, and I always looked forward to it! However, UUs are really big on incorporating different religious traditions in general. It doesn't make the Mormons doing it any less surprising.
posted by brundlefly at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Both colleges and religions are businesses. It should surprise no one that they'll act in the best interests of their shareholders and not their customers, partners, employees or the community at large.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2011


And then there's the ongoing controversy:
The Issue of The Mormon Baptisms of Jewish Holocaust Victims.
posted by ericb at 1:17 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, for whatever it's worth, none of my bishops ever asked or seemed to care about any of the stuff that zachlipton mentions.
posted by The World Famous at 1:17 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a word for creating a law that's widely ignored except when it's useful to get somebody arbitrarily in trouble?

Preferably in German.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


There have been MANY offshoots of Joseph Smith's original religious movement based on the Book of Mormon. Most are defunct, but some still exist.

List of sects in the Latter-Day Saint movement.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2011


Also, for whatever it's worth, none of my bishops ever asked or seemed to care about any of the stuff that zachlipton mentions.

I figured as much, and it's not like clergy are running around checking up on people anyway. Still, I find something rather creepy about everyone having to get someone to sign off every year that they haven't been naughty over the summer. Presumably the sex and alcohol rules are a bigger concern though?
posted by zachlipton at 1:20 PM on April 14, 2011


I went to a religious university with a code of conduct that prohibited

* any alcohol (even at home during the summer, with your parents, and you of legal age)
* any dancing (we hosted the Moscow Ballet once, some kids from the theology department picketed the event)
* membership in a 'greek' organization (this one was used against some kids living off campus who had jokingly put up the alpha and omega symbols on the front of their house)

Our basketball team had their own off-campus apartment complex with a pile of beer bottles by the trash.
posted by nomisxid at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock's link at the start of this thread is priceless. It's called: "Anti-polygamy law a 'relic:' lawyer" and the picture right under it is a bunch of women and girls playing basketball while dressed in clothing that looks like a relic from 150 years ago.
posted by Hoopo at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article from Religion Dispatches is very good, too:
There can be no question that black college athletes are economically and socially exploited at universities from coast to coast.
Although like always it's best to avoid the comments.
posted by muddgirl at 1:27 PM on April 14, 2011


I figured as much, and it's not like clergy are running around checking up on people anyway. Still, I find something rather creepy about everyone having to get someone to sign off every year that they haven't been naughty over the summer. Presumably the sex and alcohol rules are a bigger concern though?

I and most of my friends also thought that it was both creepy and inconsistent with our religious beliefs as members of the LDS Church. The sex and alcohol/tobacco/drug rules are a bigger concern, yes. But it always puzzled me that people who didn't believe in or weren't willing to live according to the basic tenets of the LDS church would choose to attend BYU in the first place, let alone remain there for the full 4 years. I guess when people are going to a college because their parents want them to and pay their (very low) tuition, they sort of feel stuck.
posted by The World Famous at 1:27 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


muddgirl has mentioned it already, but I think the authors significantly underestimate the importance of this:
Mormon athletes can turn to bishops and church leaders from their own homogeneous communities — people who look like them and might even be related to them — to "repent" and avoid official punishment. Black athletes, who are typically non-Mormon, rarely have this option.
I didn't get any impression that the authors discovered enough data to support their claim that there is some sort of racial sorting algorithm at work here. They've got about three or four anecdotes from guys who admittedly got the short end of the stick. But if BYU works anything at all like the way my alma mater* did, asking the guys who get caught about how the system functions isn't a great way of learning how it actually does.

No, I think what seems to be going on, something which is suggested even in the interviews they do have, is that non-Mormons of all stripes have an incredible disadvantage in navigating the honor code. The school probably doesn't view it as a disparity in enforcement as much as a disparity in outcome. Punishment isn't necessarily the goal here as much as taking some kind of official notice. But where the offender is Mormon, there are going to be all kinds of administrative or non-punitive options for resolving the issue. "Repenting" to a Mormon elder is probably high on the list. But if you aren't Mormon? Not only is there not as much give in the system, but there's not any incentive for there to be any give.

Comparing again to my undergraduate college, if you got in trouble for drinking and/or sex, it was actually pretty difficult to get kicked out if you played ball with the administration. Pretty much the only way to guarantee you'd get kicked out was to combine the sex/booze/drugs trifecta with an outrageously bad attitude.** At my school, "playing ball with the administration" basically just meant saying you were sorry, promising not to do it again, keeping your grades up, and being more careful about getting caught the next time around. But at BYU, that probably means some kind of formal, religious repentance procedure--think Roman Catholic confession--to which non-Mormons necessarily lack access. So while the Mormon students are basically allowed to do what they want so long as they make nice, non-Mormons don't really have an opportunity to make nice given their lack of access to the Mormon church.

Looking at the numbers, only 0.6% of the student body (about 180 students) is black. The majority of those are probably going to be athletes, as I can't see there being much incentive for a non-Mormon black student to go there. Which creates something of a problem for the authors position, i.e. is the school actively discriminating against black athletes or just non-Mormons in general? Specifically, at what rate do non-black non-Mormons show up on honor code lists compared to black non-Mormons? Also, are black non-athletes showing up on the honor code list as much as black athletes? Are black men getting in trouble at the same rate as black women? Really, if the authors want to take the position they do, they're going to have to have those numbers, and they just don't.

But they probably do have the numbers to establish that the school is effectively if not deliberately discriminating against non-Mormons, a significant percentage of whom happen to be black, and many of whom are going to be athletes, given the school's recruiting needs. Honestly, religious discrimination is a pretty freaking big deal, though it lacks the sexiness of allegations of racial discrimination, so it makes some sense as to why the authors went the way they did. But really, can't we just be content to make the inflammatory claim for which there is clear evidence?

*And we had a very similar no-drinking/no-sex policy.

**Which happened from time to time, but most of those kids didn't actually want to be there in the first place, so everybody but the kids' parents was kind of a winner.
posted by valkyryn at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I am shocked that the Mormon religion could lead to racism. Its not like anyone could have guessed that by reading their book or knowing their history or doing a damn google search.
posted by jenlovesponies at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's hard to think of Deadspin as real journalists, until you look at almost every local sports journalist.

Only local?
posted by phearlez at 1:40 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is an extreme example of why every college "honor code" is nonsense. College kids are gonna bone, they're gonna drink, they're gonna do drugs, they're gonna cheat on tests and download papers off the internet.

If you kicked out every kid who violated these codes campuses would be very very empty. At BYU it seems to be more race-based, but at most schools I imagine it has more to do with how much money daddy has. At any rate, these are the kind of policies that will realistically only ever be enforced selectively.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:46 PM on April 14, 2011


Sounds about right. I'm glad someone did the legwork. It's welcome anathema to all that back-slapping a month or so ago for "sticking to their principles" and suspending Brandon Davies. Turns out they are shitty principles to stick to.

That's actually pretty fascinating. Anyone want to research that some more and make it into an FPP?

It's not that fascinating.

Also, for whatever it's worth, none of my bishops ever asked or seemed to care about any of the stuff that zachlipton mentions.

You must be white. ^_^
posted by mrgrimm at 1:49 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


So if you're male and you invite a woman over to work on a class project together

Just for the record, my understanding (growing up LDS) is that as a single young mormon you wouldn't invite a woman to your apartment for something like that, you'd do it in a public, neutral environment like a library.

Of course, enforcement of these things vary widely. I never lived in Utah but when your entire ward lives within a couple blocks I suspect the nannying gets intense.
posted by polyhedron at 1:53 PM on April 14, 2011


If it's a well-known fact that the Mormon church is racist, as many sarcastic comments have implied, then why wasn't this a factor discussed in the millions of sports stories which praised BYU for punishing a black athlete for premarital sex?
posted by muddgirl at 1:55 PM on April 14, 2011


Why would a non-Mormon even think about attending BYU? Is it cheaper than a state university? Do they have any world-class programs? I just don't get it.
posted by tommasz at 2:01 PM on April 14, 2011


because most sports writers are old white dudes who secretly resent the athletes they report on?

Because poor black kids are "the other" for most of white mainstream america?
posted by JPD at 2:02 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well sure, JPD, which is why I'm glad this article was written, despite its problems.

Do they have any world-class programs?

Well, they have an NCAA Division I sports program.
posted by muddgirl at 2:03 PM on April 14, 2011


Why would a non-Mormon even think about attending BYU?

Because they are recruited athletes - its generally some tradeoff between quality of program and likelihood of playing time. BYU has for a long time outperformed its talent, which makes it an attractive place to go if your choice is going there or being a marginal guy at USC or something like that.

Social life is easy to rationalize when its all about getting into the league. And education is tertiary.
posted by JPD at 2:07 PM on April 14, 2011


I wouldn't say it's that the Mormon church is racist (today), it's that the Mormon culture was significantly influenced by the racist dogma of 19th century America. Their conservative nature protected racist doctrine into the 70s or so, but institutionally I get the impression they want to move on. Individually they're socially insular and racist beliefs persist because they don't realize how racist they really are (Uh, I grew up with this...)

The problem, as I see it, is that so much racism ended up entwined in their doctrine that they risk alienating the true believers if they move away too fast.

Anecdote: a black guy from a local ward went on a mission to Atlanta and the scuttlebutt is that he had to come home early for being "too white." The mormon culture relies on a close social network and ignorance of others' culture to keep people inside. That racism persists is somewhat inevitable, but I truly think most mormons want to be kind, objectively caring people. When the racism surfaces, it's often out of a sort of naiveté. That and confirmation bias.
posted by polyhedron at 2:07 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


muddgirl - I think if you read a bit beyond the mainstream Rick Reilly's of the world you would have seen there was not unanimous praise for the situation.
posted by JPD at 2:08 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


For whatever college rankings are worth, it looks like BYU is relatively competitive and inexpensive.
posted by kmz at 2:10 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


academics don't matter when it comes to athletics. The recruits just care about the program and the facilities. The number of Non-Mormon, non-athlete, non-foreign students at BYU has to be pretty damn close to 0.
posted by JPD at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2011


Honestly I don't really think BYU will continue to be particularly competitive in Division I athletics much longer (if they are still relevant) unless they substantially relax the moral code stuff in regards to high profile athletes.

There simply is so much competition for top tier recruits that having to deal with an overwhelmingly white, Mormon, conservative campus has got to hurt recruitment for the teams.

Sure it's the alma mater for a bunch of faithful fans but increasingly that's not enough to remain competitive.

IIRC BYU isn't actually a pretty decent school academically but I really can't see going there unless you get a crazy scholarship or you are LDS.
posted by vuron at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2011


Why would a non-Mormon even think about attending BYU? Is it cheaper than a state university? Do they have any world-class programs? I just don't get it.

It is extremely inexpensive and yes, it does have some world-class programs. Still, I wouldn't go there if I wasn't LDS.

I wouldn't say it's that the Mormon church is racist (today), it's that the Mormon culture was significantly influenced by the racist dogma of 19th century America. Their conservative nature protected racist doctrine into the 70s or so, but institutionally I get the impression they want to move on. Individually they're socially insular and racist beliefs persist because they don't realize how racist they really are (Uh, I grew up with this...)

This.
posted by The World Famous at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2011


muddgirl: "If it's a well-known fact that the Mormon church is racist, as many sarcastic comments have implied, then why wasn't this a factor discussed in the millions of sports stories which praised BYU for punishing a black athlete for premarital sex?"

It was speculated on by a few bloggers at the time. Others didn't think BYU had a problem with Davies being African American so much as that he was dating someone who was Caucasian. But without doing their homework, no one in the media is going to speculate aloud and invite a lawsuit without some sort of evidence.
posted by zarq at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it's a well-known fact that the Mormon church is racist, as many sarcastic comments have implied, then why wasn't this a factor discussed in the millions of sports stories which praised BYU for punishing a black athlete for premarital sex?

That is a good question. While there was plenty of questioning among Web commentators and bloggers about the not-so-subtle implications (yet another) BYU suspension of a minority athlete, most of the mainstream press took the "Reilly/Vecsey/ConventionalWisdom" perspective without digging further.

I mean, c'mon, the school had fucking Jim McMahon, who claims to have repeatedly flaunted the honor code (particular in regard to alcohol - I believe the story is that he would steal airplane bottles on flights), and had very little action taken against him.

I dunno. I suppose race relations are still generally a taboo subject for mainstream media. I mean, who outside of Jonathan Kozol is talking about segregation in modern primary education? It's obvious to anyone who looks, but everyone is scared to talk about it.

academics don't matter when it comes to athletics. The recruits just care about the program and the facilities.

That is blatantly untrue for many athletes, particular those not playing men's basketball or football. Even the best of the best athletes in the biggest sport can care about academics.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is blatantly untrue for many athletes, particular those not playing men's basketball or football

Yes, the generalization really only applied to the major revenue sports. Now how many of the african-american athletes at BYU play non-rev sports? I don't know, but I'm willing to bet the makeup is a lot closer to the rest of the student body.

As for the revenue sports - basketball where there are only 12 schollies - I bet the number is less then 5% actually care about academics beyond getting a degree, and degree. Probably slightly higher for football given the greater # of schollies relative to guys who get on the field and the greater % of guys who can't or don't play 4 years of ball.

Its funny my alma mater is an academically minded school with a big BB program, and all the time we lose recruits to place like Memphis or Kansas who at some point in their recruitment talk about how important academics are. I don't begrudge an 18/yo his decisions for a moment, but at this point I've learned to discount what is meant by "academics"
posted by JPD at 2:37 PM on April 14, 2011


I figured as much, and it's not like clergy are running around checking up on people anyway.

A few good friends of mine wound up going to a conservative Christian college in Indiana (not LDS related by any means). The rules were similar to what I've heard at many religious colleges and universities: No smoking, no drinking, no dancing, no intermingling of the genders, no premarital sex, must go to Chapel at least twice a week, etc.

I went to a public school that is known for, among other things, it's severe lack of such rules. When I read through some of the rules (that efficiently arrived after applying and enrolling and way too late to try to accept at a different school) I though to myself "this has got to be here to eliminate students that they don't like, don't fit into their mold, or are minorities." In no way did I expect this crap to actually be enforced.

I visited my friends at the college when we were all 21, perfectly legal to buy booze. When I arrived, I mentioned quite quickly that I hadn't had a chance to grab anything, let's go to the store. They all pooled their money together and told me where there was a liquor store outside of town, about 12-15 miles away. "Umm... why?"

They proceeded to explain that the college regularly sent people out to monitor the local grocery and liquor stores for students. Originally they would go into the stores and stand around waiting for a student to walk in, but the store owners kicked them out. Some were even warned about trespassing. So they began to watch the students from the parking lot. If a student was caught with booze in hand, they would approach them, take their picture, read them the riot act, confiscate their alcohol under the threat of dismissal, etc.

Students got wise to this, so they would have friends who were not students go and buy the alcohol. Inevitably, the non-students would get the same treatment, but would tell the college staff where to go with their warnings. The staff instead began following anyone they suspected to be a student to see where they went after purchasing alcohol. They would take the license plate and address they went after buying. This led to having to leave the town and still watching for potential staff sitting in the parking lot stalking people, just to get alcohol, despite being legal because you didn't want to get your friends kicked from school.

The greatest part in my mind was the penalties. Alcohol, smoking or drugs would result in having to consent to a semester's worth of random drug screens and academic probation. Second offense was expulsion. Missing chapel, or not going enough times per semester was $50 for the first semester offense, and expulsion the second time. Earned credit hours were largely non-transferable.

My point in all of this is yes, the clergy at some schools actually do run around and check up on people. Sometimes it goes so far as to stalking and harassing students to keep up an image and an honor code.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:45 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


If you don't understand the mentality that allows the United States to lock up breathtaking numbers of people for seemingly victimless crimes, spend some time in a religious school.
posted by mullingitover at 2:56 PM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


mccarty.tim: "Is there a word for creating a law that's widely ignored except when it's useful to get somebody arbitrarily in trouble?

Preferably in German.
"

Shaden-fraud?
posted by Splunge at 2:59 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least the LDS traditions include a connection with the tribes of Israel.

If you are going to go full-bonkers (i.e., a tribe of the Israelites quote-unquote discovered America before, I dunno, the Vikings or whomever did -- and, uh, are actually Native Americans), then you might as well go full-bonkers.

I know, I know: this is just the culture of MeFi atheism run wild. Guess what? Your account of the origins of the population of the Americas is wrong. Demonstrably wrong. So wrong it is not even funny, wrong.

Lovely people, though. For the most part. Sincerely.

But still, wrong.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:10 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your account = that particular account, not trying to assign beliefs to the person whom I am quoting.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2011


Mister Fabulous, do I understand correctly that your friends only found out about these rules after they had been accepted and enrolled? Crazy! Did the school have an extraordinarily high transfer rate as a result?
posted by epj at 3:15 PM on April 14, 2011


Back on topic (?): this is bullshit treatment of student athletes. The racist track record of the organization is clear. That shifts the burden of proof, in my opinion.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:21 PM on April 14, 2011


I figured as much, and it's not like clergy are running around checking up on people anyway.

My school didn't have clergy, and the administration wasn't nearly as draconian as the one described by Mister Fabulous, but if you were unlucky enough to be seen buying beer/smokes/whatever by an administrator who happened to be at the same gas station/grocery store/whatever... that wasn't going to go well for you. I mean, they weren't actively looking for people, but if they did see you, they wouldn't ignore it.

All that really meant was that you didn't buy smokes at the gas station most accessible from campus. You had to be pretty spectacularly stupid to get caught, and even stupider to get in any kind of serious trouble, but you could manage both if you really wanted to.
posted by valkyryn at 3:25 PM on April 14, 2011


Guess what? Your account of the origins of the population of the Americas is wrong. Demonstrably wrong. So wrong it is not even funny, wrong.

You know, I actually agree with your assertion on technical grounds, and I'm not going to get into an argument about it here, but I think the premise of your assertion is pretty seriously flawed if you're referring to the text of the Book of Mormon, which does not, itself, purport to be an account of the origins of the population of the Americas.

Again, I actually don't disagree with you, and I am well-aware of the various historic and archaeological problems with the actual text of the Book of Mormon. I guess what I'm saying, joe lisboa, is that I'm a Mormon and I agree with the overall technical meaning of what you wrote but I think the premise has some problems to begin with.

Back on topic (?): this is bullshit treatment of student athletes. The racist track record of the organization is clear. That shifts the burden of proof, in my opinion.

Really? Without any evidence at all of the frequency and type of Honor Code violations by white non-athlete students together with information regarding the frequency of various punishments of those individuals, how can one arrive at any conclusion about whether or not the Honor Code violations of black athletes at BYU are treated more severely than those of white non-athletes?
posted by The World Famous at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Honor code

Respect others


So by respect they mean forcing students to bend to their beliefs and playing PIs. These people make me a little sick.
posted by ersatz at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2011


So by respect they mean forcing students to bend to their beliefs and playing PIs.

Who's forcing students to bend to someone's beliefs?
posted by The World Famous at 3:34 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess what I'm saying, joe lisboa, is that I'm a Mormon and I agree with the overall technical meaning of what you wrote

I am glad we agree, TWF. From this I infer that you are not a strict literalist, then, when it comes to the interpretation of scripture(s. If I am correct (do not intend to put words in your mouth, sir), then I am glad we agree on that point as well. As to what to make of a religious patriarch who stakes his authority on relaying the literal truth as directly received from God and what this means for future adherents who wish to discard the claim to direct literal revelation of world historical events, well, you are right: that takes us (arguably) off-topic. Thank you for the calm, sincere response to my somewhat off-the-cuff reaction.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:37 PM on April 14, 2011


Really? Without any evidence at all of the frequency and type of Honor Code violations by white non-athlete students ...

I was under the impression this was the point of the original link.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:41 PM on April 14, 2011


From this I infer that you are not a strict literalist, then, when it comes to the interpretation of scripture(s.

You're absolutely right. As a friend and fellow Mormon of mine likes to point out, the Mormon church doesn't even literally interpret the Doctrine and Covenants, let alone the Bible or the Book of Mormon. Any Mormon who claims to be a strict literalist is either an idiot or hasn't been paying attention in Sunday School.

Thank you for the calm, sincere response to my somewhat off-the-cuff reaction.
posted by The World Famous at 3:42 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops - I didn't get my last response in there: You're welcome. It helped that your off-the-cuff reaction was, for the most part, something that I agree with and that I know from your posts on MeFi that you're a smart, sincere, and respectful person. But I do try to be calm and sincere in any case.
posted by The World Famous at 3:43 PM on April 14, 2011


I was under the impression this was the point of the original link.

According to the article, the majority of the Honor Code violations by athletes are by the minority athletes. They don't have any numbers for the non-athlete student body. The article does explain the numbers by going into detail about how those athletes were led to believe that it was OK to flagrantly violate the Honor Code by having orgies. I think it stands to reason that, in contrast to those particular athletes, your average Mormon athlete (of any race) going to BYU does, before signing up to go there, understand that orgies are not OK.

The article's apparent assertion that BYU athletes having sex orgies don't "sin" more than everyone else at the university is both idiotically laughable and completely unsupported by the information presented in the article.

I have been a student both at BYU and at two major, non-LDS universities outside Utah, including a major state university in the Midwest. At all three of those institutions, I can safely say that sex orgies were not usual events for the bulk of the student body, regardless of race or religious affiliation.
posted by The World Famous at 4:01 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


At all three of those institutions, I can safely say that sex orgies were not usual events for the bulk of the student body, regardless of race or religious affiliation.

Bummer.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:06 PM on April 14, 2011


My (weird?) reaction to this article was that I would like there to be a front page article in a national paper about how the Mormon institutions are racist every day until the election... but on second thought, that would probably HELP Mitt in the primaries.
posted by damehex at 4:17 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If my assumption that you're not a Republican is incorrect, damehex, please forgive me for asking this, but do you really think Romney is a serious threat to Obama in 2012?
posted by The World Famous at 4:36 PM on April 14, 2011


I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this article, found while I was researching the post.

Mormonism and Judaism
posted by milkrate at 4:45 PM on April 14, 2011


Who's forcing students to bend to someone's beliefs?

The university that requires, as far as I've understood, and enforces the Honor Code.
posted by ersatz at 4:52 PM on April 14, 2011


The university that requires, as far as I've understood, and enforces the Honor Code.

I don't see how that's forcing someone to bend to the beliefs of the religion. You sign a contract and you're required to adhere to the terms of the contract. If one of the parties to that contract is a university whose board of directors consists of twelve guys with the title "apostle," don't be surprised to find out that the terms you agreed to have some religious elements. Moreover, if you do consider mandatory adherence to the published and fairly-unambiguous Honor Code upon voluntary enrollment to be "forcing students to bend to their beliefs," do you not also consider the Honor Codes of every other university in the world to also be "forcing students to bend to" the beliefs of their respective universities?

Ultimately, the Deadspin story is about outrage that BYU's recruiting people did not adequately warn non-LDS athletes that orgies are against the rules. Seriously, the due diligence necessary for the guys in the Deadspin article to solve their entire problem would have consisted of just reading the first few pages of the registration materials.

Look at the title at the top of this page:

"I was 100 percent deceived. One hundred percent."

Deceived about what? Well, look at the quote in context:
"As for the honor code, they did mention it. Yes, they did. No, they didn't go into great detail. If they had, there's no way in hell I would have gone there. Truly, I forgot all about the honor code. It's not like it's being put in your face every day. After my first meeting with the coaches, the honor code was never mentioned. … I was 100 percent deceived. One hundred percent."
One hundred percent deceived how? Their deception consisted of them telling him about the Honor Code and then him "forg[etting] all about the honor code." Their great deception was that they didn't remind him often enough that, by the way, you're not supposed to have sex, drink alcohol, smoke, or do drugs?

Then look at the next two paragraphs, where another player, James Allen, is quoted:
"Girls were there, and sex was going on," Allen says. "It was an orgy going on. School didn't know about it and coaches didn't know about it. Beer and hard liquor were there. It was a players' house. I think it was the very house I was living in when I [got in trouble in 2004.] I didn't know too much about Mormonism. I was told that everything was kept on the hush and that everything would be OK in respect to the honor code."
If the school didn't know about it and the coaches didn't know about it, who was the one being deceived? If his understanding was that as long as "everything was kept on the hush" it would be "OK in respect to the honor code," how is there any claim of deception by anyone other than the players themselves? His understanding was correct: You can break any rule in the world all you want and as long as you never get caught there will be no repercussions.

The Deadspin article presents a picture of a group of athletes who admit that they knew about the rules and knew that they had to keep from getting caught in order to get away with violations of those rules, but who apparently believe that they were treated unfairly when they were caught flagrantly and outrageously violating those rules and were disciplined. I'm sorry, but if James Allen attended BYU and honestly thought that it was OK to have orgies, he is an idiot.
posted by The World Famous at 5:30 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I still think it's a sad commentary on the state of America that hardly anybody points out that the so-called Honor Code is explicitly antigay. Like it'd be okay if it were applied equally to whites and blacks, who cares about the gays? Religious institutions get a pass on homophobic bigotry.
posted by callmejay at 5:30 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


People point that out all the time, callmejay.
posted by The World Famous at 5:35 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're absolutely right. As a friend and fellow Mormon of mine likes to point out, the Mormon church doesn't even literally interpret the Doctrine and Covenants, let alone the Bible or the Book of Mormon. Any Mormon who claims to be a strict literalist is either an idiot or hasn't been paying attention in Sunday School.

Your experience with mormons and mormonism has been highly different than mine or most people I know.

As someone who has a lot of experience with mormons and mormonism, I would like to state that the majority of active mormons do indeed interpret the book of mormon literally.

Of course the number of active mormons is a mere fraction of the 14 million that the mormon church claims are members.
posted by long haired child at 5:37 PM on April 14, 2011


As someone who as attended BYU, I can verify that the article rings true to me. Also, the institutional racism at BYU is overwhelming, though it's not surprising given mormon doctrine.
posted by long haired child at 5:40 PM on April 14, 2011


The BYU grad I know indicates there was plenty of bangin' going on there.

Perhaps not everyone gets invited, thus leading them to believe BYU isn't full of sexually-repressed, hormonally-overloaded youth who end up dragging anything in sight.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:41 PM on April 14, 2011


Also, when I was at BYU, I was taught blatantly racist religious doctrines over and over again. I find it shocking when people try to minimize the racism that is just a part of the cultural fabric at BYU.
posted by long haired child at 5:43 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


From zarq's link about the Seder:

Seders have become a tradition at BYU, where nearly 99% of its 33,000 students identify as Mormon, and where, according to a university spokeswoman, there are only three Jewish students.

I understand that BYU might not be the first choice for a jewish student but I can't see how it's possible to have only 3 jews in a student body of 33,000.
posted by rdr at 5:44 PM on April 14, 2011


As someone who has a lot of experience with mormons and mormonism, I would like to state that the majority of active mormons do indeed interpret the book of mormon literally.

What does that even mean? The majority of active Mormons have no idea what the Book of Mormon actually asserts as opposed to the various inconsistent interpretations and additional commentaries that have been made about it by church leaders over the years.

I don't think there's any point in getting into a contest about which of us has more experience with Mormons and Mormonism, but I am a little offended at your insinuation that I don't have as much as you.

Of course the number of active mormons is a mere fraction of the 14 million that the mormon church claims are members.

What is the relevance of that point? Nobody harps on the difference between the number of "active" Catholics in the world and the total number of Catholics in the world.

Also, when I was at BYU, I was taught blatantly racist religious doctrines over and over again.

By whom and in what context?
posted by The World Famous at 5:48 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The majority of active Mormons have no idea what the Book of Mormon actually asserts as opposed to the various inconsistent interpretations and additional commentaries that have been made about it by church leaders over the years.

Sorry, but this is just silly. And it's also very misleading.

Anybody reading this wondering which one of us is telling the truth should go have a look at the official sunday school manual for mormons on the book of mormon.

I sat through over two decades of lessons out of this and other manuals, and I can assure you, the book is taught as "the most true and correct book on earth."
posted by long haired child at 5:55 PM on April 14, 2011


Also, when I was at BYU, I was taught blatantly racist religious doctrines over and over again.

By whom and in what context?


By my religion professors, who were teaching me the doctrines of the mormon church.
posted by long haired child at 5:56 PM on April 14, 2011


3 jews attending BYU? That's about 20 more than I would have expected.

But then I also think raising a non-lds child in utah is a form of child abuse.

cf. Rosanne Barr
posted by hexatron at 6:13 PM on April 14, 2011


But then I also think raising a non-lds child in utah is a form of child abuse.

I live in Utah now, and I have some friends who were raised here as non-mormons. OF course everyone's experience is different, but I know some of my friends had a very hard childhood because the were outcast and shunned for not being a part of the mormon church. Of course, it's harder the higher the % of mormons are in any given city in utah, the more other kids are shunned. It's not so bad in some places.
posted by long haired child at 6:18 PM on April 14, 2011


Sorry, but this is just silly. And it's also very misleading.

Oh for crying out loud.

Anybody reading this wondering which one of us is telling the truth should go have a look at the official sunday school manual for mormons on the book of mormon.

And they should remember that I'm talking about the text itself and you're the one referring to an external source. Lots of Mormons claim to believe that the scriptures are literally true. But not many of them believe that oats and corn are not for human consumption, that eating meat in the summertime is just as bad as drinking alcohol, or that it's OK to drink alcohol if you make it yourself. Likewise, the vast majority of Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon is, to use joe lisboa's characterization above, an "account of the origins of the population of the Americas," while no such claim is found anywhere in the text of the Book of Mormon.

I sat through over two decades of lessons out of this and other manuals, and I can assure you, the book is taught as "the most true and correct book on earth."

I'm not having a "I've sat through more Sunday School than you" contest, and I can assure you that "correct" and "literal" do not mean the same thing. Moreover, Joseph Smith's own understanding and interpretation of the Book of Mormon and virtually every aspect of Mormon doctrine changed immensely and repeatedly after he made that statement.

By my religion professors, who were teaching me the doctrines of the mormon church.

Who, exactly? I don't doubt that someone at BYU taught you those things. I also do not dispute that there is racism both at BYU and in the doctrines that have been taught by certain people in Mormonism over the decades. I do not, however, believe that any of those doctrines are true doctrines of God. As a BYU student, I strongly objected to and vocally opposed those things on the very, very few occasions that I heard them mentioned, and I carefully selected my required religion classes based in large part on my conscious effort to avoid what I believed at the time and still maintain are apostate and wicked views held by certain members of the church. That's why I'm curious to know who taught you such things.

But then I also think raising a non-lds child in utah is a form of child abuse.

I think raising any child in Utah, LDS or not, is a form of child abuse. But I am, I will admit, not your usual Mormon.
posted by The World Famous at 6:22 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


And they should remember that I'm talking about the text itself and you're the one referring to an external source. Lots of Mormons claim to believe that the scriptures are literally true.

The external source I am talking about is THE official mormon churches textual guide to the book of mormon, which pushes the book of mormon as literally true.

Are you telling me you think that most mormons believe that the people, events, and words of god/jesus found in the book of mormon did not literally happen?
posted by long haired child at 6:28 PM on April 14, 2011


The external source I am talking about is THE official mormon churches textual guide to the book of mormon, which pushes the book of mormon as literally true.

What do you mean "literally true," and where, in the secondary source, do you think it uses those two words?

Are you telling me you think that most mormons believe that the people, events, and words of god/jesus found in the book of mormon did not literally happen?

I'm telling you that most Mormons don't know what the Book of Mormon actually says, because their belief is based on secondary sources rather than on a careful reading of the book itself.
posted by The World Famous at 6:31 PM on April 14, 2011


One hundred percent deceived how?

You can fault the student recruits for not taking the Honor Code seriously enough, not reading the fine print or looking at the big picture, and for putting a priority on the social aspects (ie, drinking and sex) over the merits of the athletic and academic program, but they were still deceived. The purpose of bringing recruits to a university is to sell the university and to give them a sense of what to expect. If you're recruiting regular students, you show them libraries and research labs. For athletes, they show you the athletic facilities and trophy cases, and for major Div I programs, you are introduced to the boosters over a steak dinner, taken out to nearby clubs, and in some cases provided the naughty types of things that entice young people. The athletes in the story were given the proverbial dog and pony show, and once they committed to the program, it turns out not only was there substantially less booze and sex than advertised, but they were constantly scrutinized and disproportionately punished for engaging in said activities - even retroactively. That's bullshit.

The real question is: if BYU wanted these athletes to succeed in their program and intended to unilaterally enforce their Honor Code, why was there even an alcohol-infused sex party taking place during the recruiting visit? Why not have the athletes meet the coaches in the temple, after a morning of prayer and sermons lambasting the evils of temptation? I think the answer is that you get booster money based on recruiting, so they oblige by tempting a good crop of athletes to commit. Once they've got the booster money they can get rid of the undesirables and just say "we gave them a chance, but turns out they just weren't good enough to be Cougars."
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:32 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


For anyone curious to learn more about racism at BYU, this essay is an amazing first person account of Darron Smith (who wrote the article linked in the FPP) and his experiences as a black man teaching about racism at BYU.
posted by long haired child at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2011


but they were still deceived.

By whom and how? According to them, they were informed of the Honor Code. According to them, they signed the Honor Code - which does not contain fine print and is not a long document. According to them, they knew that the coaches and administration were not aware of the sex, orgies, etc. According to them, they were told - correctly and accurately - by unnamed sources that they would not be punished under the Honor Code as long as they didn't get caught. Where's the deception?

For anyone curious to learn more about racism at BYU, this essay is an amazing first person account of Darron Smith (who wrote the article linked in the FPP) and his experiences as a black man teaching about racism at BYU.

FWIW, I wholeheartedly agree with long haired child on this point and would also refer anyone curious about the topic to read that linked article.
posted by The World Famous at 6:41 PM on April 14, 2011


I'm telling you that most Mormons don't know what the Book of Mormon actually says, because their belief is based on secondary sources rather than on a careful reading of the book itself.

Citation please?

In my experience most mormons I knew prided themselves on carefully reading the book of mormon again over and over.
posted by long haired child at 6:41 PM on April 14, 2011


For anyone curious about Mormons and racism(1), here(2) is some information(3).
posted by long haired child at 6:46 PM on April 14, 2011


Those links are a bit thin. Wikipedia has two very good articles on the history of black people in the LDS movement and black people in the current LDS church.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:51 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


rdr: "I understand that BYU might not be the first choice for a jewish student but I can't see how it's possible to have only 3 jews in a student body of 33,000."

I can't speak for everyone, of course. But my impression is that Mormons don't really have a great reputation with many religious Jews. Generations of aggressive, disrespectful proselytising. And then there was the whole "baptizing our dead" thing.

Generally speaking, observant Jews tend not to send their children to places where they will receive religious instruction from other faiths. It's even less likely to happen when those faiths have a history of practices that attack our religious traditions.

Even so, I'd be willing to be that many religious Jews would have little to no problem with their kids visiting another house of worship for services.

If the best school in the area were a Christian one, my kids would attend. But send them to a Mormon college when other, better options are available? No way.
posted by zarq at 6:56 PM on April 14, 2011


In my experience most mormons I knew prided themselves on carefully reading the book of mormon again over and over.

Yes, in my experience, they do pride themselves on that. They're wrong, of course, but they do pride themselves on it. Have you not noticed that many of those same people think the Book of Mormon is an account of the origins of the population of the Americas, in spite of the fact that the Book of Mormon says no such thing? Joe lisba didn't just make that up, you know.

Citation please?

The World Famous, Stuff The World Famous Has Observed Over The Years, 10032 (2011).
posted by The World Famous at 6:58 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


They're wrong, of course, but they do pride themselves on it. Have you not noticed that many of those same people think the Book of Mormon is an account of the origins of the population of the Americas, in spite of the fact that the Book of Mormon says no such thing? Joe lisba didn't just make that up, you know.

Oh please. The introduction to the book explicitly claimed exactly what you are saying it didn't...until DNA forced the mormons to change the text of the introduction to suit reality.
posted by long haired child at 7:04 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I can't remember his name off the top of my head, but while I was at BYU a science professor was fired for stating he didn't believe the Native Americans were of semitic origin. Of course now the church is pushing limited geography theory, oh how time (and dogma) changes! :)
posted by long haired child at 7:09 PM on April 14, 2011


The introduction to the Book of Mormon was written in 1981, long haired child. It is not part of the canon, nor was it part of the book that was allegedly translated by Joseph Smith.

oh how time (and dogma) changes!

Yep. One of the many reasons why Joseph Smith was so strongly opposed to dogma. As a culture, we don't ever seem to learn.
posted by The World Famous at 7:12 PM on April 14, 2011


Well, except the introduction still specifically mentions the Americas. But the introduction isn't a part of the actual scripture, is it?

Joseph Smith's testimony states, "He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;", but again - also not part of the actual scripture as transcribed.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:14 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The World Famous, you don't get more official than this:

"We also bear testimony that the "Indians" (so called) of North and South America are a remnant of the tribes of Israel; as is now made manifest by the discovery and revelation of their ancient oracles and records."
- OFFICIAL CHURCH PROCLAMATION OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS. April 6, 1845
posted by long haired child at 7:15 PM on April 14, 2011


We also bear testimony that the "Indians" (so called) of North and South America are a remnant of the tribes of Israel, as is now made manifest by the discovery and revelation of their ancient oracles and records.

And that they are about to be fathered, civilized, and made one nation in this glorious land.

They will also come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and of the fulness of the gospel; and they will embrace it, and become a righteous branch of the house of Israel. [...]

Let the government of the United States also continue to gather together, and to colonize the tribes and remnants of Israel (the Indians), and also to feed, clothe, succour, and protect them, and endeavour to civilize and unite; and also to bring them to the knowledge of their Israelitish origin, and of the fulness of the gospel which was revealed to, and written by their forefathers on this land, the record of which has now come to light. [...]

He [the Lord] has revealed the origin and the records of the aboriginal tribes of America, and their future destiny.--And we know it. [...]

And last, but not least, we would invite the Editor of the Cherokee Advocate, and others of the remnant of Joseph, to publish the same as extensively as possible in the Indian tongues. (A Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: To all the kings of the world; to the president of the United States of America; to the governors of the several states and to the rulers and peoples of all nations; 1845)

http://mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15738
posted by long haired child at 7:16 PM on April 14, 2011


There is lots of interesting stuff about the mormons, hitler, and the Jewish people.

For example:
"In 1937, LDS President Heber Grant had visited Germany and urged the members to remain, get along, and not cause trouble. "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmuth_H%C3%BCbener

The story of Helmuth Hubner is very interesting. There were also glowing articles written about Hitler in the LDS newspaper.

Hitler has also been baptized posthumously and I believe sealed to Eva Braun.
posted by long haired child at 7:21 PM on April 14, 2011


milkrate: " Mormonism and Judaism"

Holy shit. The mind boggles.

long haired child: " "We also bear testimony that the "Indians" (so called) of North and South America are a remnant of the tribes of Israel; as is now made manifest by the discovery and revelation of their ancient oracles and records.""

TWF, you're an Elder in your Church, yes? Is this doctrine currently being taught to Mormons?
posted by zarq at 7:25 PM on April 14, 2011


zarq, I can tell you the doctrine was taught widely up until recently, but it is now no longer being taught officially, though many mormons still believe it.
posted by long haired child at 7:28 PM on April 14, 2011


long haired child: " "In 1937, LDS President Heber Grant had visited Germany and urged the members to remain, get along, and not cause trouble. ""

Yeah, but singling out the LDS Church doesn't prove much. A number of Protestant faiths (other than the Lutherans) either openly supported the Nazis or tried to remain neutral. The Methodists in particular were viewed as outsiders by the Nazis (they were an English import) and tried to be "more German than German."

long haired child: "zarq, I can tell you the doctrine was taught widely up until recently, but it is now no longer being taught officially, though many mormons still believe it."

Ah. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but that strikes me as very... odd.
posted by zarq at 7:44 PM on April 14, 2011


zarq: Mormons believe in continuous revelation. Things can change.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:51 PM on April 14, 2011


Yeah, but singling out the LDS Church doesn't prove much. A number of Protestant faiths (other than the Lutherans) either openly supported the Nazis or tried to remain neutral. The Methodists in particular were viewed as outsiders by the Nazis (they were an English import) and tried to be "more German than German."

Oh I have no doubt many other protestants did the same. It's interesting to me because I was taught to believe since birth that the people who led the The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS were god's voice here on earth, prophets of the most true and correct church on earth.

Things like this (which is one of hundreds of such things I've learned) made it impossible for me to so believe once I was no longer a child.

zarq: Mormons believe in continuous revelation. Things can change.

Since the era of correlation, it's interesting how the revelation always comes about twenty years behind the american mainstream.
posted by long haired child at 7:55 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, I am neither Mormon or ex-Mormon. I'm not here to judge, just to share factoids and links.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:00 PM on April 14, 2011


Hey, I am neither Mormon or ex-Mormon. I'm not here to judge, just to share factoids and links.

Oh, I was just sharing my thoughts on what you linked, nothing personal! :)
posted by long haired child at 8:01 PM on April 14, 2011


Kind of fun seeing the mental gymnastics taught to Mormons on display again. Also kind of nauseating but hey! Whatever.

I will say that up until I stopped attending ~15 years ago my experience was in line with what long haired child has described. I still managed to be taught that black people were cursed (oddly in conflict with the third? article of faith "we believe that man shall be punished for his own sins and not for adam's transgressions") and that native Americans are a tribe of israel that came across the Atlantic in weird wooden boats lit with magic stones.

Are Mormons allowed to read Wikipedia entries about the church? /derail

It's petty but I love bringing up the United Order when having economic/political discussions with my Mormon relatives. Communism was once church doctrine. True story. Church doctrine has changed radically a number of times.

posted by polyhedron at 9:03 PM on April 14, 2011


There are a whole mess of Mormon churches, each claiming to be the one true church that will cast out the impostors. John Krakauer goes through some of the larger splinter groups n his book Under the Banner of Heaven.

Fundamentalists bring the fun and mental back into religion, I guess.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:13 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure whether I want to laugh or cry. This is quite the thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:18 PM on April 14, 2011


TWF, you're an Elder in your Church, yes? Is this doctrine currently being taught to Mormons?

That's a hard question to answer because I'm not sure the breadth of it - taught by whom? My current calling in my ward is as a sunday school teacher, and I certainly don't teach it, nor is it in any of the curriculum materials for my class. There are plenty of Mormons who erroneously believe it and, because the church has no professional clergy and all church services and classes are officiated by lay members of the church with very little supervision in terms of doctrinal accuracy, etc., I'm sure some of those lay members erroneously teach it from time to time. It is not, as far as I am aware, part of any current official curriculum within the church generally, though I am not an expert on all of the content of the curriculum for everything taught in the Mormon church. CES may be another story, but as far as I'm concerned, CES may as well be a separate church in and of itself.
posted by The World Famous at 10:40 PM on April 14, 2011


I've only been able to skim a bit, but one thing worth mentioning about the athletes and the scholarships, for basketball and football, playing for a D-1 school is crucial (though *rarely* students from lower divisions make it) to any chance of a professional career, and there are a very limited number of scholarships available. Furthermore, exposure in the form of playing time is incredibly important. As mentioned upthread, if the choice is between being a starter at, say, BYU, or a three year bench warmer at a "name" school (Florida, Texas, Miami, Nebraska, or Michigan State*), a good number of kids would go for the chance to be the starter.

Personally, I needed a scholarship to pay for school (no, no athletics for me, I lack all talent and any sort of physique for sports), and I had a choice, in the end, between two schools. One school essentially gave me the money, the other attached a large chunk to a special scholarship that required maintaining a 3.4 or higher. This was made very, very clear to me, and, knowing myself, I figured it was best not to risk it (which, since I finished my freshman year well below that, was a good decision).

The thing is, as some of the players mention, the honor code wasn't stressed. No BYU coach, presented with an athlete who fulfills their needs on the team is going to say, "and, uh, by the way, once you get here, no fucking." Even given the travesty that is sports and higher education, most student atheletes are athletes first, students well after. Many of them look to the athletics department, the coaches and the assistants, for help in all facets of university life. When I had roommate issues as a freshman (being forced to share a dorm with two juco transfers, who were juco national wrestling champions in their weight class), I went to student services, who largely ignored me. They went to their wrestling coach, who got the problem fixed (entirely in their favor). The system is set up to glean as much value from each athletic scholarship the university hands out as possible. Little thought is given to what they get out of it, and at BYU, it's just that much worse, seeing as the athlete/non-athlete is so bluntly obvious (98% white school, black students making up something like 90% of the athletes**).

* I can dream
** That stastistic is from the 90's, things may have changed. I don't know the exact numbers.

posted by Ghidorah at 10:57 PM on April 14, 2011


TWF,

I know there are liberal, progressive, non-literalist Mormons. I've even met one (and he wasn't a convert). I told my parents I am an atheist at around age 13, still managed to get ordained as a Teacher but I think we were just going through the motions. My experience growing up in the church was that the leadership were all very conservative and quite literal. The caveat being that my exposure to the melchezidek priesthood, temple work/ordinances (beyond proxy baptisms), and the material taught to adults in the church is basically nil.

Mormon literalism is a conundrum when the core beliefs can change with a prophecy. That's where it gets wonky. I was taught, quite clearly and repeatedly over ~12 years by different teachers in primary, sunday school, and my short time in priesthood, that the native Americans were the descendants of Laman. It was pretty unequivocal. I don't doubt for a minute that the church would change that if they felt it was necessary. The beliefs will persist for a very long time.

When the church changes a belief, like polygamy or the United Order, they rarely say it was actually wrong (both of those are actually still the rule for celestial glory, aren't they?). I'm not sure they ever do. They say we aren't ready, or the time for that is past. This enables conservative members to hold onto their beliefs and settles the cognitive dissonance. It does very little to fix the deeply ingrained beliefs of lifetime members.

I'm not calling your testimony into question, but the concept of a living gospel makes it far too easy for these inherently racist ideas to persist. Eliminate any public trace of the doctrine and go into denial mode. Meanwhile the children will be exposed to the beliefs, taught them by their parents or a sunday school teacher. They persist because the insular nature of LDS social activity and strongly conservative leadership doesn't allow for fresh, outside ideas to replace them. I have no doubt that some children are still picking up the bit about black people being cursed.

The leadership structure rewards conservative literal mormons. Our bishopric was conservative and literal, the stake leadership was conservative and literal, and I don't remember how the upper echelons are structured exactly but the apostles and whatnot tend to be pretty damn conservative and literal.

I'm not calling into question your testimony or adherence to the gospel, but your calling is often given to strengthen testimonies. The best part about the LDS faith is the concept of free agency but it's a double-edged sword. They will subtly and passive aggressively position members to accept a more literal interpretation. As a sunday school teacher, you are being conditioned just as much as the children. It's better than Lucifer's plan, sure. It's still insidious and institutionalized.
posted by polyhedron at 11:55 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh and I bet the book of Abraham is still in your quad. That's strongly tied to the curse of ham and no doubt a reason the beliefs about black people being cursed persist. And it's a "translation" of some pedestrian egyptian records. Kind of WTF.
posted by polyhedron at 12:12 AM on April 15, 2011


I'm not calling into question your testimony or adherence to the gospel, but your calling is often given to strengthen testimonies.

...which is your way of telling TWF that he's so isolated his opinion isn't valid. And then you suggest that yours (terminated long before reaching any similar experience level) is.

They will subtly and passive aggressively position members to accept a more literal interpretation.

"Subtly and passive aggressively position members to accept...?" Hmm, see above.

As a sunday school teacher, you are being conditioned just as much as the children.

You can do better than this. This thin film of smug passive-aggressiveness rubs right off to reveal your own angry bias.

From everything I've seen here, TWF has a good read on things. He did make a weird comment about CES upthread though. :)
posted by circular at 12:16 AM on April 15, 2011


Sorry for the very delayed response.

Mister Fabulous, do I understand correctly that your friends only found out about these rules after they had been accepted and enrolled? Crazy! Did the school have an extraordinarily high transfer rate as a result?

Amazingly, no. I'd say 50% of the students knew what they were getting into ahead of time The other 50% of the students were unaware. The trick was that this school was, for a lack of a better word, advertised at the parent church. Parents were usually well aware of the rules, even if the student wasn't fully aware. Several students didn't get the full brunt of what it meant until they were there and it was freshman orientation time. I knew a couple of people who wanted to transfer as soon as they found out, but they were in a conundrum: 1. Their parents already forked over $10k, 2. Credits tended not to transfer well because of the scheduling and naming of courses (school was accredited) and 3. Their parents were encouraged to not support their kids if they transferred, and sometimes didn't. It resulted in a very crappy situation for several students I met. As in most situations though, they made the best of it.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:17 AM on April 15, 2011


I was taught, quite clearly and repeatedly over ~12 years by different teachers in primary, sunday school, and my short time in priesthood, that the native Americans were the descendants of Laman. It was pretty unequivocal. I don't doubt for a minute that the church would change that if they felt it was necessary. The beliefs will persist for a very long time.

I don't doubt that you were taught that in Primary. But the notion that the native Americans were the descendants of Laman is not a literalist interpretation of the Book of Mormon.

I'm not calling your testimony into question, but the concept of a living gospel makes it far too easy for these inherently racist ideas to persist. Meanwhile the children will be exposed to the beliefs, taught them by their parents or a sunday school teacher. They persist because the insular nature of LDS social activity and strongly conservative leadership doesn't allow for fresh, outside ideas to replace them. I have no doubt that some children are still picking up the bit about black people being cursed.

I don't think I agree with you there. The concept of a living gospel (and an evolving and progressing human understanding of God's will) makes it possible to abandon erroneous beliefs without really creating a theological dilemma. The fact that some people choose to persist in those erroneous beliefs even when the church does not is not something that I think would be fixed by having a religion that is dogmatic and unchanging. The problem is not that the church is willing to change according to its leaders' understanding and inspiration. The problem is that people want to be dogmatic whether or not their religion tells them to be.

The leadership structure rewards conservative literal mormons.

What do you mean "literal?" And what do you mean when you say that the leadership structure rewards "conservative literal mormons?" I'm confused by your use of the term "literal," since you seem to be using it to describe a set of beliefs that is not based on any literalist reading of scripture.

Our bishopric was conservative and literal, the stake leadership was conservative and literal, and I don't remember how the upper echelons are structured exactly but the apostles and whatnot tend to be pretty damn conservative and literal.

I really am having a hard time understanding what you mean by "literal." Literal what? They literally drank mild barley drinks, practiced polygamy, refused to eat meat in the summertime, put tobacco on their bruises, made their own wine, and believed that oats and corn are unfit for human consumption? Because if they believed that Mormon scripture is literally true, those are just some of the things they would have been doing.

I'm not calling into question your testimony or adherence to the gospel, but your calling is often given to strengthen testimonies. . . . As a sunday school teacher, you are being conditioned just as much as the children.

That is probably the most ignorant, insulting, and patronizing thing I've ever read on MetaFilter.
posted by The World Famous at 12:25 AM on April 15, 2011


I really am having a hard time understanding what you mean by "literal." Literal what? They literally drank mild barley drinks, practiced polygamy, refused to eat meat in the summertime, put tobacco on their bruises, made their own wine, and believed that oats and corn are unfit for human consumption? Because if they believed that Mormon scripture is literally true, those are just some of the things they would have been doing.

Ok, literal isn't the best word. I'm not sure a truly literal interpretation of the gospel is possible, it's the conundrum I mentioned. The gospel changes. You know that a literal interpretation of the gospel today does not include practicing polygamy on earth. I know very salt-of-the-earth mormons who grow and hunt for their food and apply the agrarian knowledge of the church. They have also had good, prominent callings in the stake leadership. I don't know if they ever consumed lightly alcoholic beverages but they DID avoid corn syrup on WoW grounds. Just anecdote, but it exists.

The gospel is much more than the Old Testament, New Testament, or Book of Mormon. When the prophet says he has a revelation, that is gospel. When I speak of literal members of the church, I am mostly meaning that they interpret all the edicts (whatever they're called) that come through the church leadership to the stake and are provided to the members in the most direct fashion.

I don't think I agree with you there. The concept of a living gospel (and an evolving and progressing human understanding of God's will) makes it possible to abandon erroneous beliefs without really creating a theological dilemma.

I will amend my bit about the concept of the living gospel enabling beliefs to persist. The non-denial denial method that the church uses to apply their concept of a living gospel allows these beliefs to persist. The church didn't say Brigham Young was wrong to prohibit black people from holding the priesthood, the leadership said it's OK now and that doesn't do anything to eliminate the belief that black people are "other."

That is probably the most ignorant, insulting, and patronizing thing I've ever read on MetaFilter.

Apologies. It is late and my phrasing was inartful. The you in "As a sunday school teacher, you are being conditioned just as much as the children" was meant generally. Not all sunday school teachers are given the calling to strengthen their testimony and I did not mean to imply that. I'm going to have to stand by my bit about the conditioning of members through instruction, but I was sincere in saying that I am not questioning your testimony.
posted by polyhedron at 12:53 AM on April 15, 2011


It's religion and it's personal and touchy... my beliefs about the church do not apply universally, I wouldn't presume to tell someone how to live their faith, but conditioning is the right word for what I experienced and have witnessed in my family.
posted by polyhedron at 1:07 AM on April 15, 2011


The non-denial denial method that the church uses to apply their concept of a living gospel allows these beliefs to persist. The church didn't say Brigham Young was wrong to prohibit black people from holding the priesthood, the leadership said it's OK now and that doesn't do anything to eliminate the belief that black people are "other."

I agree with you 100% there. Absolutely. The church should, in my opinion, come out and say Brigham Young and his successors were wrong.

Apologies. It is late and my phrasing was inartful.

My apologies, as well. I understand what you're getting at, but I can be fairly certain that's not the case with me, particularly given the other previous callings that I have held where everyone around me in the church was fully aware of my personal opinions and interpretation of Mormonism. I'm tired, too, and you're right, it's religion and it's personal and touchy.
posted by The World Famous at 1:23 AM on April 15, 2011


It's better than Lucifer's plan, sure

How do you figure that? It seems to me Lucifer has had time and experience to learn how to fool mere mortals into believing any silly thing.

Mixing religion and politics, as happened in Prop 18: Luciferian. Telling tall tales about lost tribes? Luciferian. Racism as an article of faith: Luciferian.

Better than Lucifers plan, or Lucifers plan all along?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:03 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq: Mormons believe in continuous revelation. Things can change.

Not to be snarky or anything, but policies and procedures can change. Rules can change. Even 'commandments' can change. There is a certain way that we can indeed change reality by changing our attitudes and actions, and if 'continuous revelation' can help make that happen in a positive way, then more power to it.

But past reality can't change. Facts can't change. History can't change. Once things have happened, they have happened one way and one way only. No matter how many revelations you have, or how continuous they are.
posted by flug at 11:35 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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