[Editors Note: Name has been changed for this story]
I support freeing BYU and other affiliate church universities because I believe in everyone having the freedom to believe whatever suits them, and express those beliefs openly and in a healthy environment.
My shift in belief has taken place over many years and started with simple questions I’d ask myself as I served a two year mission in Brazil. I began to challenge things I had previously left unquestioned and often found myself at odds with logic and truth, opting to instead let things go and “carry on in faith.” This solution didn’t last and little by little, through much pain and anguish, I was finally able to accept MY truth, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not the place for me to find truth and spirituality.
I preserve my anonymity here because I am still a student. I know in my personal experience, my attendance at BYU-I always feels tense. I’ve never felt like I could turn to anyone or have any meaningful discussions about doctrinal discrepancies because everyone seems to fall back on the “so-and-so said so and so we should and so on.” There’s always this incumbent estrangement everyone leans to whenever anyone disagrees. And it has brought an acceptable amount of fear for my life. Not life as in my mortality, but my life as in: literally everything else. I, like others who share similar circumstances, have a job, an apartment, years invested in my degree, and a multitude of friends that I love and who love me. And that’s just it. I’m here because being honest with my closest loved ones, and the institution to which I’ve signed an agreement saying that I would be honest in all my dealings with my fellow man, would mean forsaking everything I hold dear. That is, living truthfully means not living at all, under current policies and restrictions put in place by the administrative power of church universities. I don’t want to have to hurt any more than I have already for this. I’ve found the happiest me and I want to be able to freely share that with the people and institutions that have raised me to believe that loving people doesn’t have to be about belief or religion. Love is within us all. “