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BYU student video on homosexuality is not in violation of honor code, says administrator
One unnamed male student in the BYU video says he had thoughts of suicide.
April 9th, 2012
06:52 PM ET

BYU student video on homosexuality is not in violation of honor code, says administrator

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN)-– The students featured in a video about being gay at Brigham Young University are not in obvious violation of the honor code, according to Carri Jenkins, an assistant to the president of BYU.

Jenkins went on to say that for the video alone, the students would not be punished. The honor code, Jenkins said, is “based on conduct, not on feeling, and if same-gender attraction is only stated, that is not an honor code issue.”

All BYU students sign on to the honor code upon enrollment. The code outlaws premarital sex and breaking the code “may result in actions up to and including separation from the university.”

“Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the honor code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings,” reads the honor code.

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The 9 minute, 37 second video features a number of gay, lesbian and bisexual students around BYU and is part of the larger “It Gets Better” video campaign started by writer Dan Savage. The project was started in response to a rash of suicides of teenagers who were bullied for being gay. The goal of the videos is to let people know they are not alone and that life gets better.

“It is very different to be gay and Mormon because it feels like neither community accepts you completely,” said Bridey Jensen, acting president of the group Understanding Same-Gender Attraction. “We put out the message for youth that are going through this and we want them to know that we were them a few years ago and it gets better and there is a place for you.”

Jensen’s organization is not recognized by the university, but she did say that professors and administrators have been supportive of what the group is trying to do.

The BYU video is unique in the fact that it discusses being gay at a university that has consistently been ranked as the most unfriendly campus for LGBT students in the country, according to Princeton Review.

Brigham Young is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and many of the school’s board members are also church officials.

In 2007, the honor code was changed to state that it is based on conduct, not on feeling. Jenkins said, however, that the university observed that policy even before the rule change.

“One's stated sexual orientation is not an honor code issue,” was added in 2007.

Throughout the video, students speak of the hardships they have encountered. In some instances, students talk about their thoughts of suicide.

"I thought that eventually maybe it would be better if I died," said one unnamed male student, "so I did everything I could to really be that perfect Mormon. I thought that was going to cure myself."

Jenkins said what concerned her most about the videos was the talk of suicide.

“I hoped they would use the services available to them and that they would take advantage of the professional services that we have,” Jenkins said, speaking about the university's counseling services.

Though Jensen acknowledged the hardships of being gay and Mormon, she said that in her leadership of this unaffiliated group she has seen an unexpected changing attitude among Mormons toward gay rights.

Jensen said she believes that while church doctrine has not changed, feelings toward LGBT members of the church have.

“I am not sure how much the doctrine or policy within the church will change, but there is definitely a changing of how they treat the issue and how they treat the people who are gay,” Jensen said. “It is definitely getting better within the church. They are not so quick to judge. They understand that they don’t understand everything.”

Richard Bushman, a pre-eminent scholar on the doctrine and history of Mormonism, echoed Jensen. He says the fact this debate is even allowed to occur is a signal of liberalization in attitudes toward homosexuality in Mormonism.

“The last 10 years have been a huge sea change in terms of willingness to accept homosexuals,” Bushman said. “Gay kids are still going to have a tough time in the church, but this level of acceptance and acknowledgement, that is really that last decade I would say.”

Even within the last decade, however, the church has had a confrontational history with gay rights. When Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage illegal in California, was challenged, Mormons contributed half the $40 million war chest that was used to defend the proposition, according to TIME magazine. Mormons made up 2% of the Californian population.

During the Proposition 8 debate, the church leadership penned a letter that was to be read to all congregations on June 29, 2008.

“We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman,” read the letter. “Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”

The response from gay rights activists was fierce; many accused the church of bigotry and blind religious obedience.

Jensen, however, as a gay Mormon, took a more nuanced look at the Proposition 8 debate.

“I think that what Prop 8 was all about was the church has a stance that eternal marriage is between a man and a woman,” Jensen said. “As a religious institution, they have every right to protect that.”

Jensen said that while the church defended that position, congregants at large “don’t view us [LGBT Mormons] any different.”

In the video, the students state that 1,800 students at BYU are members of the LGBT community. According to Jensen, those numbers were extrapolated from national numbers that show between 6% and 10% of people have homosexual urges at some point in their lives.

With around 34,000 students at BYU, Jensen said they figured around 1,800 would have experience homosexual urges.

Jenkins disputes those numbers, stating that the university has never collected data on the number of LGBT students at BYU. Those numbers are not “scientifically valid,” Jenkins said.


soundoff (659 Responses)
  1. CSX

    Gee, even the Moron cult has failed. Even the fake Christians are weak.

    April 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  2. articulett

    From the article: "Those numbers are not 'scientifically valid,' Jenkins said."

    Neither is the Book of Mormon.

    April 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  3. Joe

    Scientology is a cult. I don't think Mormonism is. Mormonism may be very weird to those of us who look at it from the outside, but they do not coerce their members or otherwise do them harm, like Scientology does. Therefore it isn't really a cult. It's just a strange religion.

    Then again, believing in any god on the premise that his representation (religion) is pure, valid, and were not subject to the whims and selfish agendas of whatever men wrote them at the time is also quite a strange act. It's far more likely that if God does exist, none of the earthly religions describe him or his will. They are all subject to man's deceit and corruption.

    April 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  4. Nii

    Sam Stone
    Civil rights is prevention of discrimination not granting of priviledges. If u r impotent and can't make love to a woman u can't be legally married. Is that a civil rights issue? I tried being an impotent marriage activist and was shot down by atheists. Why shud I support gay marriage?

    April 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " If u r impotent and can't make love to a woman u can't be legally married."

      Again, please provide the relevant citations to state laws that state this.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Joe

      LOL, are you serious? There is no law on the books about impotence. And you were shot down by...ahtiests? LOL. As if ahtiests give a cr4p who you marry. You are a either extremely stupid or just making things up.

      April 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • JD

      Impotence doesn't make a marriage invalid, but if one spouse lies about it to the other to convince him/her to get married, it is grounds to annul the marriage. However, the lied to spouse can affirm the marriage too.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Nii

      @Joe-u r confused!
      @Primewonk-21st century Google baby!
      @JD- U r quite right but u left out the part that as soon as she squeals to the govt I'm out.
      I am so sad for impotents. Gays shud wait for me to get over it first. They get to have s.ex already. We can't add marriage its too unfair.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      Nii, again, you are the one making the claims about there being laws stating impotent folks cannot marry. As such, the onus is on you to provide support for that claim.

      So again, post the cites to state laws and SCOTUs decisions that say this.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  5. Mark in Omaha

    Other than maybe Buddhism, I don't think there is one single, solitary Organized Religion that truly practices what it preaches. Religion has become divisive, not inclusive and self serving and a way of justifying bad behavior.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • sam stone

      Seems that way to me. At least, in some people. Much of religion seems to be a "My god is better than your god" schtick. Rainy Bloviating is a good example of that. Nii speaks of treating others as he wants to be treated, but has no objection to denying people their CIVIL RIGHTS.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Hamlet

      That's because any time there is something that would bring bad media to the Mormon's God has a revelation and their rules change.

      Seems to me that if the Mormons believe that God is all-knowing (they do) then how can he have a revelation?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • JD

      God doesn't have a revelation; God gives revelation to prophets.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  6. Bill Fitzgerald

    Destructive cult? Teaching my children to love everyone as the Savior taught is destructive? Teaching them to get an education and be productive and marry and volunteer and contribute and love your neighbor as yourself is destructive? Develop faith hope and charity, care for you body as a gift from God is destructive? Really?

    April 12, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Primewonk

      The LDS, along with every other fundiot (fundamentalist îdiot) religious group seeks to legislate and legalize discrimination against gay folks. All because you choose to be ignorant about the reality of se.xual orientation and instead believe in the myths of 2000 year old itinerant bronze-age shepherds.

      And somehow you have the audacity and unmitigated gall to claim that this is "loving your neighbor"?

      April 12, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • momoya

      Love towards everyone is such a stupid notion.. Love is only meaningful by the very nature of its specialty.. What if my husband only loved me as much as he loves everyone?? What if my love for my grandchildren was no greater than my love for all children? Since god can't be proven to exist and since books that claim to know his desires and commands are more contradictory than Rick Santorum, there's just no need to worry about belief or unbelief..

      April 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  7. Bill Fitzgerald

    Thank you BYU for free speech. Of course he can make a video. Logic is taught to us once again.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  8. bubblerific

    This is really sad. The problem is not that they are gay, but that they believe in a false Jesus, not the one of the bible. I used to have gay tendencies myself and now Jesus changed my heart. It's not about focusing on your guilt, pain or sin, it's about focusing on Jesus and what He has done and asking Him to change your heart. Unfortunately, the "jesus" in the mormon religion is no Jesus at all. They added to the bible and add works to gain salvation, when Jesus said "it is finished!" Amen and lets please pray for these students as well as all Mormon students that they come to know the true Jesus of the bible. In Love, K. Louise

    April 12, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Bill Fitzgerald

      We have a Prophet for our day now. Which would you rather have? A prophet or a bible which has been translated a thousand times and interpreted 1,000,000+ times. By the way if you want the most correct version, read the Joseph Smith translation. The one that corrects the manmade scripture that reads Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause! Without a cause is not in the JST. obviously that was added by someone. And the several scriptures that read "And God repented" God does not need to Repent. Rediculous. obviously added by someone. Hundreds of other words retranslated or removed and or added. Only possible by inspiration of God and authority given to Joseph to do it.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven
    Powerful
    Pervasive
    Prayer changes things

    April 12, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not change anyting; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! ~,~ `~

      April 12, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • just sayin

      Yes it do. God bless

      April 12, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Jesus

      "Yes it do. "

      More lies and desperation proving my post is correct.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Snap

      Naughty naughty, God said not to bear false witness.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • just sayin

      Fake Jesus can't help itself . Lying is what atheists got to do. God bless

      April 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      like rain dances change the weather

      April 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • JD

      God rarely does things for us that we can do for ourselves. Those poor parents were misled to believe that they didn't need to do anything for God to save their children.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  10. Kathleen

    Prop 8 was about *civil marriage* , not about bloody religious rituals. Count on the Mormons to engage in lies and deciet whenever it benefits their sect.

    April 12, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  11. GrowUp

    You're sadly mistaken if you think Mormons are becoming enlightened and sensible about gay rights. They aren't and to suggest otherwise is denying reality.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Kathleen

      Correct. The Mormons are one of the most backward and bigoted of the Christian sects. They are an embarassment to American values, and they are Exhibit A of the inbred effect of religious-based inanity and ignorance.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • lainna

      Frankly I think this shows that you know nothing about mormons. Stop assuming things and actually ask mormons what they think. In general we are open-hearted people with strong religious beliefs. We don't always follow opinions of the world, but that doesn't make us ignorant.

      April 15, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  12. EatYouAlive

    Is BYU where Muslim suicide bombers go to collect their virgins?

    April 12, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  13. Reality

    Putting the kibosh on all religions to include Mormonism in less than 500 words:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel, gay or straight i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details are available upon request-

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    April 12, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • DoNotWorry

      Not one person on this planet knows the "truth" so create a good story and live by it. Allow others to pick their best story and live by it... since YOU know nothing at all.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD–

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      "Latter-day Saints (e.g. M. Romney) also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented. (said followers include the B. Obama)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

      April 12, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  14. Paige Worley

    I'm just saying, there's no way 1800 students that are gay would go to a college that obviously puts something like that in their honor code. Let's be honest.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • BBCue

      Yeah, to "extrapolate" 6% overall LGB rate in the country to the most conservative, gay-bashing, overtly-religious school in the country is not a correct use of statistics. I guess he hasn't taken that class yet ;)

      Hey, don't like your college? Don't like your location? MOVE. There are 49 other states and at least 200 habitable countries to select. Utah is very nice, but damn.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  15. RichieP

    There is no way they have 1800 members of the LGBT community at BYU. The author obviously has no comprehension of the meaning of the word "community."

    April 11, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  16. jaredbradshaw

    Mormonism is a cult. It's terrifying actually.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • ug

      How do you know about it i d i o t! Have you read the book of Mormon? have you had a life altering event in your life that terrorized dealing with the Mormons? or are you just a cheap trick liberal who likes to open you big pie hole like the rest of the liberal m o r o n s! Prove your stupid point or shut the h e l lup! what do you know about the Mormons other than what you hear from the liberal freak media...always the same s c u m like you who want to jump on the band wagon but have no reason or ryme with your stupid statements! You play the double standards...you don't question the freaks that Odpey hung out with that are all radicals and yet you choose to say something that you have no authority about other than your big mouth...go skrew yourself freak! And leave releigion out of politics and leave the Mormons alone! they have done nothing to you...they have more honor in dealing with people that the sc u m like you!

      April 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • liberal and mormon

      First, it is true that if you have not actually experienced any aspects of actual Mormonism, you are not qualified to label it a cult. But to Ug, going off like that and accusing the person of being liberal is pretty stupid as well. As a Mormon all my life, and a liberal as soon as I got enough common sense, I have seen much more abuse and ignorance from the right wingers than from liberals, so redirect your comments to those who deserve them. To the atheists who blast all religious types though, at least I have the guts to believe in something and not think the world is stupid.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • BBCue

      Agreed. Mormonism is a destructive cult.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • GrowUp

      Ug is Exhibit "A" for why we really will need God's help if Romney becomes President.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Richimo

      Jared... As a Mormon from birth – 21, I'd have to say it's not a cult, but mostly made up of well-intentioned, horribly misguided people. Most of them I've interacted throughout my life have been exceptional human beings, and fairly respectful of my differing beliefs (I AM MY OWN GOD!). Far better than many from other 'franchises' of the Western guilt-based religions. At any rate, anything that would cause someone to go off frothing at the mouth the way people do when it comes to religion should be done away with... Hmm, seems to happen with politics too. Insert your 'Murca is a CHRISTIAN NATION, convert or get the Hell out' comments here, Fox News Trolls!

      April 12, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • Civility

      Sorry, this is in reference to ug. Ug, while I appreciate you standing up for Mormons, there is no need to get so upset! We have been attacked for 200 years with things like this, and although I would prefer we weren't we have made it through ok. I believe that the truth will prevail and that our responsibility is to be the kind of people Jesus can smile upon. I hope our lives will show everyone who we are, and that we really aren't such bad people after all.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • BBCue

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"
      What are you actually trying to say? That animals, plants, fungi, and other "living things" need to pray in order to be healthy? The best way to be healthy is to set down that bag of cheetos in your hand – God doesn't like it when you pray with cheetos residue on your fingers.

      Prayer doesn't change anything for good. It only gets us closer to war with Iran. What actually changes things? Help thy neighbor, regardless of their orientation, race or beliefs.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Richimo

      Some of the finest examples of what people would call 'Christian behavior' I've witnessed have come from atheists. Some of the most cowardly, hateful, selfish, criminal acts I've seen have come from 'Christians'. Maybe it's because Atheists don't feel they are pre-forgiven, therefore can act as horribly as they want without repercussion? There's definitely something to be said for 'doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do' vs. 'Doing the right thing because you want a prize when you die.'

      April 12, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not change anyting; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! ~,~ `~

      April 12, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      like rain dances change the weather .

      April 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  18. Nii

    SAY YES TO IMPOTENTS RIGHTS!
    It is not fair that people who have a limp sausage which Viagra can't revive are prevented from marrying just because they can't consummate the marriage!

    April 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.