Hi, my name is Mckay

Hi, I’m Mckay. I’m a former BYU student, and there are lots of things I loved about my experience at BYU: I loved the opportunities that I had to interact closely with my professors and do academic research as an undergraduate; I loved the fact that BYU enabled me to get a quality education in an affordable way; I loved the high aims entailed in the university mission statement.

However, during my time at BYU, I went through an unpleasant and unwanted transition in my religious beliefs that in some ways soured my relationship with the school. Despite all the things I liked about BYU, the current policies and prevailing attitudes towards students whose beliefs in LDS doctrine are absent or otherwise unorthodox often made me wonder if I really belonged there after all. This tension caused me considerable distress as I was forced to live in a non-genuine way, pretending to be something that I wasn’t. I felt like I couldn’t really address my most pressing concerns because I was afraid that I would be socially attacked and face serious academic consequences from the the Honor Code Office if I wasn’t careful about whom I confided in.

This experience is not unique: I have met many, many other BYU students who feel repressed and stifled in a similar way, forced into a box that they do not fit into. That is not an honorable way to live, and the fact that the Honor Code causes students to live that way seems to me an ironic contradiction. I eventually decided, as a matter of personal integrity, to transfer away from BYU and finish my undergraduate education at another institution. For many of my friends in a similar predicament, leaving is simply not an option. I really wish that, at the very least, there were better means of support for people like me. As it stands, many of the students who try to remain at BYU despite having changed beliefs come to see the university as something of an enemy — they feel oppressed, like their real, lived experiences are somehow not valid — and it really does not have to be that way; there must be a better way to tackle these issues.

I understand the reasoning behind current policies and recognize that finding a better solution is a complicated matter, but it seems clear that things as they are aren’t as they should be. I support FreeBYU for its mission to further religious freedom and allow students to honor whatever path God might take them on.