Something of an uproar has happened after Elder Holland of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles read a letter with concerns about Brigham Young University. After stating his satisfaction with the Worldly accolades:
But, he added, “the real successes at BYU are the personal experiences that thousands here have had, personal experiences difficult to document or categorize or list.” Elder Holland also shared a few lines from another memo. “ ‘You should know,’ the writer says, ‘that some people in the extended community are feeling abandoned and betrayed by BYU. It seems that some professors (at least the vocal ones in the media) are supporting ideas that many of us feel are contradictory to gospel principles, making it appear to be about like any other university our sons and daughters could have attended. Several parents have said they no longer want to send their children here or donate to the school.He tried to express the need to defend the LDS Church and its morals at BYU while not becoming over zeolous. The term "friendly fire" was used to express his desire not to get personal. As usual there is much that both sides can pick to try and either hold to the progressive wave or orthodox use as a relying cry. This will most likely not change anything until something is done to make changes. For several years there existed two schools belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, both having different cultures. Rick's College was a two year school in Idaho that offered low tuition and the starting years of a college education. In many ways it supported a more rural student body not always prepared for larger university life. There also existed a more rigid and religious campus expectation. For the most part the larger BYU community sometimes laughed and pointed fingers at this smaller education institution.
Students from the former Rick's College who then attended the larger BYU schools sometimes were shocked by a few of the differences. They might become used to or enjoy a more "adult" atmosphere, but sometimes it felt somewhat Spiritually impoverished. Despite religious discussions in the classroom, there was less "private university" and more "same as other institutions" education. Not always and not in every department, but enough to wonder what was wrong. When Rick's College became just another BYU campus, it's unique and special qualities that bound the students together became lost. About a decade later and all of BYU had become just another university with a few differences hanging by a thread.
It is not too late to save BYU from losing the original mission of educating Saints while helping them maintain a testimony of the Gospel. To start with, it would be nice to re-examine what made Rick's College so special and Spiritually rewarding. That could include increasing the rules for those attending the Universities. A lot of students might yell and scream, perhaps, when they are instituted. Fewer possible students end up applying, but far more request admission than is space anyway. Requirements for serving a mission became tightened. Attending an LDS Church sponsored school can do the same. Such can "weed out" the bad apples easier before they become a problem on campus.
More than students are problematic. There needs to be some serious changes to the BYU teaching culture as well. Trends in the World's education system and a few unique to BYU should become obsolete or suppressed. To ignore them will make the need for any LDS Church educational institutions unnecessary.
One of the first changes is to get rid of "the LDS Church is neutral" pamphlets that get read and handed out on a regular basis. Despite the official seeming production of these papers, they are not actually endorsed by the LDS Church. The irony of that should be a caution to certain discussions they create or try to discourage. The most notorious is the paper that argues the LDS Church and its teachings are nuetral about Evolution.One of the first changes is to get rid of "the LDS Church is neutral" pamphlets that get read and passe around as fact.. First, passing around as fact the idea that the LDS Church is neutral about Evolution. It is true there were a few leaders of the LDS Church that did hold to the theory of Evolution, but they were a small handful. The majority of Apostles, and *all* Prophets spoke out against the theory. That isn’t to say they shouldn’t teach the theory, but all teachers no matter what department need to treat as just that; a theory. Any educator not comfortable with treating Evolution as a tentative idea based on man’s philosophy should teach elsewhere.
Defending or otherwise showing an acceptance of Socialism or Communism has been called many times by the LDS leadership false and anti-Christian systems of government. Again, that doesn’t mean not teaching about them as theories of men. It does, however, mean it should not be championed in any way. Once again *Prophets* have spoken out against both of these in very specific ways. If an educator insists these are valid political positions to hold, they can once again go teach at another University.. They can be allowed to be taught as theories of course, but cannot be tolerated through activism. Capitalism and materialism have their own problems, but far less than these two destructive cousins. It is shocking that any students at BYU can come away indoctrinated that they are respectable and even ideal.
Any member of the "LGBTQ cult" or supporters has no business attending BYU or teaching the students. They should not be accepted on an LDS Church sponsored campus.The only reason any person who claims to be other oriented should attend BYU is when they are in the process of repenting. What was once stated for military service should be doubly so on campus, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” The moment they speak up or out in public, that indicates they are breaking moral law. If they break the moral law, then they should be liable (as any straight person) to losing their ability to attend. There are any number of Universities that would gladly take in those who will not adhere to the Lord's commandments and teachings about gender and family relations.
This one might seem strange to some, but there needs to be more Religious department teachers that accept and teach the North American or “Heartland” theory of The Book of Mormon geography. At the least there is just as much evidence, both scriptural and other, as the South or Meso-American theories. I didn’t realize how questionable the South and Meso-America theory was until those who support it whole heartedly *defended* the questionable “Stone in the Hat” theory. I am not saying ditch either the South and Meso-America or the “Stone in Hat” completely, but there needs to be a balance toward the original translation and North America concept. I add this because rejecting or bypassing more than one legitimate idea has the consequence of building on an unsure foundation without another shelter. BYU professors are notorious for “guarding their territory” against the North American theory, leaving young students spiritually vulnerable.
The above is somewhat connected to the “New Mormon History” that some professors have embraced. Although good research has come from it around the periphery, it’s philosophy of sophistry and rejecting the traditional LDS Church history and teachings is troubling. The history is based on naturalism and not on the divine nature of the Church and it’s founding. They have often woven anti-Mormon ideas in with orthodoxy to form a hybrid based on “fairness” or “lack of bias,” seeping even into the Saints books. This is what has confused so many unread members and turned off investigators. A re-invigoration and defense of orthodox and traditionalism in historical studies should be required at BYU once again. The “swearing elders” need to be repudiated, regardless of loss to reputation. More Truman G. Madsen and far less Leonard J. Arrington..
These are only some of the challenges facing BYU as LDS Church sponsored private university campuses. The kind of students and faculty accepted and hired needs to be re-evaluated. Much of the Spirit and purpose of the BYU educational system has become lost in modern political morality and malicious trends. No wonder a growing number of parents and alumni are frustrated by what they see and hear happening. To put it another way, BYU needs to become a “traditional” or “orthodox” LDS school once again, or they have no reason to exist. I do believe, however, there is a reason that LDS Church run schools should exist, even if it means they are de-franchised by the World.