I’m Colton Babcock. I started attending BYU in the summer of 2013. At this point, I already had some doubts about the Church. I figured BYU would be a good place to help my testimony grow and get a great education while I was at it.
While attending BYU, I studied the scriptures and prayed diligently. I was approaching the age where a mission would be expected of me, so I felt that I really needed to know soon whether or not the Church was true. However, I never felt like I received an answer to my search. After quite a while of this process of searching without receiving an answer, I began to ask a new question: if the Church wasn’t true, how would I know?
This question quickly led me to a lot of new sources and material I hadn’t seen before, and I learned a lot about the Church. My faith in the Church was no longer what it used to be. Problem was, I was at BYU. I quickly learned that, despite my former convictions, BYU is not a good place to try and make decisions about one’s religion, as the lack of religious freedom meant that I could face severe academic punishments for even expressing doubts about the Church. I concealed my doubts from everyone but my trusted friends, but even they could have turned me into the Honor Code Office. I became fed up with the cognitive dissonance I was experiencing and, after spring 2014, stopped registering for classes at BYU.
I strongly believe that BYU’s policies regarding post-Mormon students is backwards and directly harmful to the students that run afoul of it. Real change needs to happen to disallow BYU from singling out these students for punishment, as the current policies are broken and discriminatory.
I’m now taking classes at a different Utah university, but I feel strongly that no one at BYU should feel obligated to leave the university because they no longer believe the same way that they did when they were less educated. For this reason, I strongly support FreeBYU.