A Visit to Standards (BYU continues)

The interview was in the administration building, which was a funky 60’s-style building which had the shape of a narrow X, like a chromosome, when viewed from above. I handed my letter to the receptionist and took a seat in the waiting room. Some other kids were also there waiting, undoubtedly for the same sort of interview. They all looked perfectly normal, so I couldn’t imagine what they might have been called in for, yet their eyes were studiously fixed on the walls or on their own shoes, and they had looks on their faces that could be either read as guilty or apprehensive. Read the rest of the story »


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

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16 Responses

  1. Guy Noir Private Eye says:


    ironic/Sad…. in that if it hasn’t happened, there’s a fair to good chance that it might.
    Once ppl are turned loose (little or no accountability) ‘on a mission from God’…a lot of collateral damage often results.
    Another item that tscc Could reign in, but so far as I have observed, they haven’t.

  2. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot….
    the scc focus on the Outward Appearances… Also serves to encourage a lot of snooping & gossip by busybodies who don’t have much/anything else better to do.

    take it from me… I got ratted out to the Bp for making a presentation before the (Washington) state parks & recreation board, IN A PUBLIC MEETING!

  3. aerin says:

    The whole visit description from this chapter seems so odd and foreign to me.

    I went to a small midwestern liberal arts college (less than 1200 students).

    I remember the “honor” board. I remember having a friend called in front of the honor board for cheating. It consisted of a mixture of professors and students who would weigh the “evidence” and testimony.

    The idea that any student would be called in front of some sort of dean or authority figure for appearance is just odd. I understand that this is well known for students attending BYU, but in my public high school we barely had any sort of dress code. Well, aside from wearing t- shirts with profanity, alcohol, smoking or drug references. I have heard this has changed – but really, not too much – particularly about hairstyles. (Some public high schools don’t want kids to wear baggy pants OR spaghetti strap shirts). I can’t believe that there are regulations at BYU about men having beards! Or possibly multiple ear piercings??!?

    It just brings into question (to my mind) what’s really important.

    Is it someone’s appearance? Or what they are learning?

  4. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    aerin: Exactly.
    this Clearly points out to us what/where the GAs want members’ focus on, since they directly run YBU. (to me) it’s simply amazing that such trivia is not only allowed any attention whatsoever… but it is exalted to a High Place in Mo worship & culture….
    Golden Rule, anyone?
    Young ppl have a need to find their own place in the world; for some, that involves Service to others in such as Habitat, the Red Cross, or with Mother Teresa. While some support rampant militarism, others march & demonstrate for Peace.
    Radical Hairstyles are among the most benign forms of dissent-expression-or individuality. When such are repressed, some will ‘willingly’ comply, others will grow resentful; Why nourish that, why brand it as unacceptable. with as wide a membership as LDS has…. the thoughts of this sort of repression-extinguishment of expression are chilling if not worse.
    To me, things like this amount to another load added to the GA/COB pile of Dung.

  5. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    Oh, I Forgot… most posters/readers here don’t remember as I do that YBU BANNED pants on females for a long, long time…
    Ever tolerated one of those cold mountain winters walking around in a dress?
    earrings/tattoos, anyone?
    the idea of standards wouldn’t be so oppressive if a wide spectrum of students was encouraged or at least allowed input on their goals & specifics, would it?

  6. Hellmut says:

    Honor can only be enforced by peers, not superiors. For honor is about the commitment to incur damage to uphold a greater good.

    If one has to answer to superiors rather than one’s peers then it is not a matter of honor but dependency.

    As a nineteenth century Karl Maeser understood that when he talked about the circle of chalk. Honor is about volition. Therefore hierarchy is inherently incompatible with honor. So are contracts. For hierarchy and contracts are about coercion, not commitment. By contrast, honor is about commitment to take damage voluntarily.

    Put differently, honor is about not shirking in face of one’s duty.

    Honor codes reflect the consensus of peers and can only be maintained by the society of peers. The punishment for failing to abide by the requirements of honor is to loose status as a peer. Loss of status results in shunning, which may include the loss of business, property, and sex.

    The proper way to adjudicate matters of honor are courts of one’s peers or more typically, a duel among peers.

    Therefore, neither BYU nor Aerin’s college have an honor code. Authority figures set and maintain the code. Bureaucracies administer the code. Peers do play a role but in matters of honor, anybody but one’s peers ought to be excluded.

  7. chanson says:

    Good points! Doing as you’re told out of fear of punishment can hardly be called “honor.”

  8. Guy Noir Private Eye says:

    Hellmut: AGREE.
    Honor ‘cannot’ be externally enforced.
    My experience with LDS, Inc. is that they either have or will twist most anything to suit their needs (self-preservation, maintenance of authority) rather than honor the individual with even a minimum of respect-dignity.

    just my .02

  9. Hellmut says:

    Notice, GNPE, in my post, I did assert that honor can be enforced by one’s peers.

    The enforcement mechanisms are duels, peer courts, and shunning.

  10. MormonZero says:

    What I find ironic about this whole standards and honor thing (I am currently attending a LDS university) is it that it judges or at least pushes people away the same way the Pharisees and Saducees did during Jesus’ time. Isn’t that the exact opposite thing Mormon should be trying to accomplish?

    The worst part is not actually what a private university does and what rules those presiding the university wish to implicate. The worst part is that these strict regulations are also used to identify the “more righteous” people in the church. I knew a guy back home who had long hair and was told that he would receive so many callings and opportunities to serve in the church if he would just cut his hair. He refuses. In my old stake there was a policy that no church leader could have facial hair of any kind.

  11. chanson says:

    Mormon Zero — I think int theory it’s supposed to demonstrate obedience, but you’re right that the effect is to drive some people away. One might cynically say that this serves the organization since the church looks better (superficially) if those who can’t (or won’t) keep up appearances just go away.

  12. MormonZero says:

    If it wasn’t for the strong emphasis on increasing the numbers in the church I would almost agree with that idea. However, going along with that idea, one might conclude that they also only want the numbers in order to look better (superficially, as you said) and then only to have the ones who will conform to all their ideas to actively participate in the church–again, in order to look better to everyone else.

    There are some leaders that I have known that probably really think this way. Others (hopefully the majority) really are sincere in their efforts.

  13. chanson says:

    I don’t think there’s anyone in the church who is deliberately trying to drive away misfits for the purpose of making the church look better. Yet it’s kind of a weird (marketing) effect that arises unintentionally in practice:

    People look at the Mormons and think “Wow, Mormons are always so successful, clean-cut, and happy!” and they assume that it’s Mormonism that takes ordinary people and makes them successful, clean-cut, and happy. In reality it’s kind of the opposite — if you don’t happen to fit the Mormon success mold (through your own efforts and temperament) then you’re less likely to thrive in Mormonism and stick with it.

  14. Mormonzero says:

    I would certainly hope that they are not purposely driving ppl away. But, do you think they would be surprised if somebody told them that they are driving ppl away?

  15. C. L. Hanson says:

    I think they would see it as the leaver’s own fault for being weak or “offended”. It goes along with the Mormon belief that only the valiant will stay true to the faith.

    Actually, Wry Catcher did a great post here on this very subject.

  16. MormonZero says:

    I agree. That is definitely what they would say.

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