PROVO, Utah, March 4, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Wednesday after officials say many misinterpreted last month’s change to the Brigham Young University Honor Code as an increase in acceptance of LGBT romantic relationships.
A section titled “Homosexual Behavior” was removed from the Honor Code. Many people interpreted the removal as a sign of the LDS Church softening its stance against gay relationships, its rejection of gay marriage, and its belief that gay relationships cannot lead to eternal marriages, while heterosexual marriages are believed to continue into the afterlife.
The Honor Code change came out several weeks ago, and many students celebrated by declaring their sexual orientation and kissing for cameras.
But a letter released Wednesday by the LDS Church, written by Elder Paul V. Johnson, commissioner of the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said it sought to clear up any “misinterpretation”:
To students, faculty, and staff of the Church Educational System:
Recently the language of the principle-based Church Educational System Honor Code was updated. Those adjustments include significant doctrinal and behavioral matters that have led to much discussion and some misinterpretation. Out of respect for all concerned, we are providing the following clarifying statement.
One change to the Honor Code language that raised questions was the removal of a section on “Homosexual Behavior.” The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of “The General Handbook” or the updated Honor Code. There is and always has been more to living the Lord’s standard of a chaste and virtuous life than refraining from sexual relations out side of marriage. Lasting joy comes when we live the spirit as well as the letter of God’s laws.
A foundational doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His Children (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”). Church leaders have taught these principles.
Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code.
We are grateful for the commitment that all students and employees in the Church Educational System make to live the principles and spirit of the Honor Code.
Six hours after it was posted, the tweeted letter had earned 765 likes, 132 retweets and mixed comments including the following samples:
- “Thank you BYU. God’s laws don’t change and this has shown the true colors of certain ‘members’ and where their loyalty lies.”
“This whole process has been absolutely shameful.”
“This is embarrassing.”
- “I mean, most heterosexual romance at BYU also does not lead to eternal marriage but sure let’s go with that.”
- “I thought we already established that homophobia isn’t a good look.”
- “Right, so you removed the language so you could say ‘hey look we aren’t discriminatory’ while still being discriminatory? Any particular reason for doing so? If nothing has changed then why bother changing the language?”
- “I just think Jesus would be incredibly ashamed of how willing you are to sacrifice the most vulnerable among you on the idolatrous altar of the ‘eternal family.'”
- “BYU and the Mormon church are outwardly bigoted, no way around it.”
- “Does this mean that the promises of the BYU Honor Code Director are void? In which he told a group of students that same-sex dating and expressions of romance are acceptable at BYU and not punishable by the Honor Code Office?”
- “These are YOUR STUDENTS — many of whom are depressed and suicidal because of your policies — who continue to get lied to and backstabbed by people who should be doing everything in their power to protect them.”
- “You’re playing with your students’ lives. Disgusting behavior.”
- “I love BYU. But if you weren’t going to change the honor code, why change the honor code? This hurts.”
- “When you have a change like this and don’t provide students with direction for two weeks, you play with people’s lives. This hurts people. You are causing people pain. At the very least, you could have owned that.”
- “Great work gaslighting an entire group of LGBT students and pull the rug from underneath them. Y’all are really out there doing God’s work.”
- “I’m proud of BYU. They stood for Gods laws today.”
Read the released statement below: