The Most Non-conformist Girl (BYU begins…)

I watched the second hand slowly make its way around the clock face. For all of the bright, enthusiastic people running it, Sacrament Meeting in a BYU student ward really wasn’t any more interesting than the Sacrament Meetings put on by the worn-out, tired families back home. And here of course Sacrament Meeting had the added fun of being mandatory, and I don’t mean just “earn your stars in heaven” kind of mandatory. I mean more like “if you don’t show up for church regularly, then don’t bother to come back to school next semester” kind of mandatory. Read the rest of the story ร‚ยป


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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20 Responses

  1. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    and the LDS leaders probably Don’t believe that they’re being heavy-handed with members; (as I would believe) Most college students are 18y.o. +… Can’t the Mo church let them decide on their own how often to attend meetings? NO.

    They’re REAL PICKY about the small details… but about the important stuff: Divorce and other life-forming decisions… either ambiguity or ‘you’re on your own’

  2. chanson says:

    GNPE — I wrote this story a few years ago based on what BYU was like back in the early 90’s. Some of the rules have changed since then, but apparently the church attendance rule is enforced as strongly as ever — I thought I read something in the Bloggernacle somewhere about an athlete getting expelled for no-attendance or something…

  3. belaja says:

    Hey, Chanson. Can I just say, I am always happy when you put up a new installment! You just need to do them faster please. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. chanson says:

    Thanks Belaja!!!

    But if I post them faster, it will be over too quickly… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Seth R. says:

    He was a one of the top players on BYU’s baseball team. He’s recently been reinstated.

  6. Guy Noir Private Eye says:


    WHAT??? YBU / his bishop…Didn’t ‘admit’ a ‘mistake’, did they?

  7. Seth R. says:

    Whether he stays in is up to the school administration, not the bishop or stake pres.

  8. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    Can’t the bishop effectively pull the plug on any student member of their ward by withdrawing the Eclesiastical ‘whatever’.. (just more Red Tape, actually.)
    Mormon leader LOVE CONTROL… Then, they can’t quite figure out why people/members resent it/ its abuses…. So Sad.

  9. Seth R. says:

    It’s a school requirement. So the school decides.

    My dad was a BYU bishop. He said the whole system put him in a rather unreasonable position. Here he had to sign off on this document from BYU about what a swell kid this was. But if the kids didn’t attend his ward, how was he supposed to know? How do you sign off on a character document for a kid who has never attended your ward? He’d just refuse to sign if he didn’t know the kid at all – due to their non-attendance.

    Nothing heavy-handed about it. It’s just called having personal integrity about what you will and will not sign your name to.

    If you want to blame someone about this, blame BYU. I think the way they do it is dumb too. But it’s not really the bishops’ fault.

  10. Guy Noir, Private Eye says:

    my point *’the’ point* here is that there is this drive to be controlling/manipulative in the first place….
    whether done ‘officially’ like this, Dockers slacks for guys/ an overly zealous SP, pants on women at church (on and on)…LDS culture engenders if not blatantly encourages this kind of CRAP. Ive been out for a couple years, attend now only as a courtesy to my wife; mainstream Christians have NO or at least diminished-little need/desire to dwell into the details of faith/beliefs or practice; ‘We’ve got bigger fish to fry’…
    (Sorry, don’t mean to offend) I now view LDS practice as Highly petty, extremely judgemental. It’s based mostly if not completely around the observation/ compliance-conformance to (leaders notions of) the outward appearances. It seems to thrive on pushing out ‘things of the heart’, along with appeal to those who thrive on a Highly-structured, Highly-scripted practice…
    Know what I mean?
    ex: my DW has ‘permanent eyelash’ which is actually a (gasp) light tattoo. Some Nazi ‘TBM’ member came up to her in church and gave her the raspberry about it…
    ‘This’ (that) is Christianity? I DON’T THINK SO!

  11. belaja says:

    I think Seth is right in a general sense, that this is a BYU control issue (which is a very special sub-species of Mormon control issues) at play. It’s not the bishops’ fault as a general proposition. The problem becomes that BYU has actually put the power over someone’s academic matriculation in the hands of the bishops. BYU, yes, says if a kid (or a faculty member: see stays or goes, but they will not let them stay if the bishop refuses to sign off. For the most part, yes, this puts bishops in a difficult position, but it also empowers fanatics and control freaks who can be completely arbitrary if they like and there’s no structure in place to rein them in. If a student does get to stay, that’s completely arbitrary as well–and no doubt if the baseball player in question was allowed to remain…well, if he’d been Joe Schmo from Lizard Bump, Arizona, would he have been afforded that opportunity? I somehow doubt it.

    This policy was instituted just as I was leaving BYU and I was glad to be going (for all kinds of reasons) because I would not have lasted another semester. Church was almost unbearable for me while I was at BYU and I was inconsistent in going the whole time I was there. That, of course, had no bearing on my academic standing at the university–which is not the case now. My feeling at the time was that this requirement corrupted any attendance at church of observance of religious duties and obligations–whether I was personally being sincere or not. To me it’s not to do with your “personal integrity” because you signed something. Your “personal integrity” is being forced, some of the most intimate parts of your soul are being invaded. So whether you “sign something” or not I think the act by the administration (which ultimately is the church) is behaving in a morally questionable, if not actually corrupt, manner just by insisting that you sign such a thing and then leaving it in the completely arbitrary hands of bishops and stake presidents who have no controls on their behavior and from whom the students and professors have official, structured avenue of relief.

    Let the flaming begin, I suppose, but it’s a “system” (if it even can be called such) that’s ripe for abuse.

  12. belaja says:

    Woops–I meant “NO official structured avenue of relief.” Nor, since I’m still at it, even the most basic protection for their rights by any due process. And before anyone says it, I imagine if that baseball player is back in, it’s a lot to do with his dad being willing to make a stink in the media. That is NOT the avenue of relief or protection.

  13. Seth R. says:

    BYU gave me an excellent wife, an education, and a football team to root for on occasion. For which I am grateful.

    But frankly, they can take their Honor Code office and shove it as far as I’m concerned. You want to criticize the religious oddity that is BYU, you aren’t going to get much spirited debate from me.

  14. I wonder what would happen if a few bishops refused to sign any endorsements, even for the “good” students they knew. They probably wouldn’t be bishops for long, but if a bishop or stake president can’t call bullshit when their conscience dictates it, then you know how concentrated power is.

  15. Guy Noir, Private Eye says:


    “BYU gave me an excellent wife”…
    were her parents / parental units involved?

    just thought that should be clarified…

  16. Seth R. says:

    Couldn’t have gotten her without BYU.

    Besides, we’re talking about BYU, not in-laws.

  17. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    comon now, Seth…
    wasn’t online meet & greet online by then?

    Be careful; your posts may fit into my ideas of narrow/closed minded, ‘Right or Wrong’ thinking…
    You don’t wanna play into my hands, do ya?

    with all the fatalism going around in Morland… couldn’t have God found another way?

  18. Seth R. says:

    Whatever Guy. This is a bit of a stretch, even for you.

    I met my wife at Aspen Grove, a university alumni camp. We both worked the summer there. Essentially, I got set up by some of the other girls on the staff. If you know my personality back then, I was not incredibly likely to get a committed relationship without being pushed into it. Besides, I was talking about this particular wife, not just any wife like you seem to be talking about.

    I swear, sometimes I think you’re being a twerp on purpose…

    Nah. Couldn’t be…

  19. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    I looked in Black’s dictionary, I didn’t see an entry for twerp…Might it be a compliment?

    congrats to you & your gal…(Mrs.)?

    If you’re licensed in Ohio, let’s work together on a bang-up First Amendment case I got going…

  20. Seth R. says:

    Nope, Colorado. Bankruptcy law (debtors’ side) actually. We’ve been married almost eight years now.

    First Amendment was fun in school. But coming out of law school, I thought I’d like to go into an area of practice where I actually get to win my cases.

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