I experienced my faith crisis my junior year. I was miserable in the LDS faith, yet couldn’t talk to anyone about it. At BYU, it is normal for other students, even your close friends, to report you to the Honor Code office where you will be investigated by the school and brought before a Council to refute the charges brought against you. Out of fear for this happening to me, I kept silent. I was scared and only two semesters away from graduation! So I lied and continued my schooling. I worked hard academically to get to this point and the fact that I began to believe that the LDS Church isn’t true had nothing to do with my degree! That fear led to paranoia [of] others learning about me so I began to be a recluse, made other friends like me in the shadows, and combat depressive and suicidal feelings all in an effort to fit in. Ask yourselves, is this climate conducive to an academic atmosphere?
Why BYU Doesn’t Give Full Academic Freedom
BYU’S standards create a culture of fear due to the prevention of thought. At church, one is taught that doubt is a natural process, yet when you doubt Mormonism at BYU, you are threatened with expulsion. Instead, one must keep quiet and continue attending Church out of fear of expulsion. One does not pursue knowledge and growth at this point; they stay stagnant in the learning process simply to keep them attending school and not losing their academic standing.
Why the Policy Needs to Change
BYU is an incredible academic institution. The professors and coursework in the political science department that I was in were challenging to my mindset and encouraged critical thinking! I grew incredibly at BYU . Yet that fear of being discovered, of being expelled due to your faith changing, is terrifying. If I am able to learn and grow, why can’t I learn and grow in or out of the LDS faith? I felt like BYU holds us hostage yo it’s faith in a desperate attempt to keep uniformity at school. Every one of my friends that experienced a faith crisis left Mormonism upon graduation. We were so spurned at this point a couldn’t stay. To further this hypocrisy, non- Mormons can convert to Mormonism. So everyone but Mormons are allowed religious freedom. This is not academia, this is forced indoctrination. Schools should be nations of free thought, all kinds of free thought! That’s how we grow is to question and explore. Please bring that to BYU for our future generations!