Hi, my name is Peter

 

peter-brown

I support FreeBYU.

I am an active and believing member of the LDS Church.  I have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration.  Part of that testimony is the Article of Faith: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

As a former student and grad student at BYU, I had the honor of working side-by-side with people of other faiths, primarily Muslim, who were attending BYU because of the Honor Code, which dictates a moral life and lifestyle which aligns with Islam.  They brought a rich diversity that was complimentary to the LDS students and added to the unique flavor of BYU despite them not being LDS.  I think we shouldn’t be afraid of studying side-by-side with other students that have decided to follow a faith path other-than-LDS after they commence attending.  Furthermore, I think it damaging and unjust to compel someone to believe in order for them to keep hard-to-transfer credits at both BYU and other BYU-affiliated institutions in Salt Lake, Rexburg, and Hawaii.  Furthermore, it will invite lawsuits now and in the future, dealing with compensatory damages to those who are denied acceptance, cannot transfer, as well as students expelled from BYU-approved housing.  I would think the Church would not want that sort of headache or publicity.

I have no problem with BYU enforcing Honor Code behavioral standards, as exists in other higher education organizations around the country, in order to be allowed to attend BYU or live in BYU housing.  There is a compelling argument in protecting the culture and society that surrounds BYU in expecting students to refrain from immoral behavior as dictated by the LDS Church.  I believe it quite acceptable to deny tuition-subsidies to those that decide to leave the LDS faith, since those funds are to support LDS students through tithing.  But to expel a student from both BYU and from BYU Housing is downright criminal, particularly in the instance of belief.

I would expect that any student that leaves the LDS faith be required to obtain ecclesiastical endorsement from a bishop or another faith leader, ensuring the institution the desire and commitment of the student to live by the Honor Code.

I will end with a quote from Joseph Smith: “I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like Methodism and not like Latter day Saint-ism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believe as I please, it feels so good not to be trammeled. It don’t prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine.

Author: Joseph Smith, Source: The Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 183-184”