The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a “clarifying statement” on the Honor Code for BYU and other Latter-day Saint schools today. The statement comes weeks after the language in the principle-based Church Educational System Honor Code was updated.
After two weeks of widespread confusion about an update to its honor code, BYU tweeted a letter clarifying the update and what it means for student behavior.
“Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles in the honor code,” said the letter, which was written by Elder Paul V. Johnson, commissioner of the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church announced in February that Latter-day Saint universities are operating under an updated Honor Code that aligns with the Church’s New General Handbook, released February 19. The new administrative handbook for all Latter-day Saint leaders and members replaced Handbook 1 and Handbook 2.
The updated Honor Code for Church schools no longer includes a section on same-sex behavior.
“One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on ‘Homosexual Behavior,’” according to the letter. “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 outside 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 long 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.
According to Deseret News,
LGBTQ BYU students and supporters held an impromptu campus rally Wednesday afternoon in Brigham Square between the Wilkinson Student Center and the library. More than 160 people marched in a large circle and another 75 or so stood on stairs holding signs. They chanted “No more fear,” “Rise and shout the gays are out” and “Gay rights.”
They said they were frustrated by what felt to them like a whiplashing policy….
LGBT students at the rally said they were skeptical at first about the removal of the same-gender language from the honor code, but there was little clarification other than an invitation to visit with the Honor Code Office. It remained clear that while the church accepts same-sex marriage as the law of the land, it considers as sin any sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and a woman.
It’s complicated. The day before the rally, President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, addressed students and taught from the Bible about the two great commandments — to love God by keeping his commandments, and to love your neighbor — in the context of the campus discussion. He also said:
“Marginalizing and persecuting people based on age, gender, nationality, religious preferences or anything else can be hurtful or misunderstood
It’s complicated: love your neighbors but don’t necessarily support all that they do, and don’t marginalize them. It’s easy in theory, but more complicated in practice. People whose behavior is not accepted almost automatically feel marginalized. It’s complicated…