A Student Who Stopped Being a Mormon While Attending BYU Explains What Happened Next October 11, 2015

A Student Who Stopped Being a Mormon While Attending BYU Explains What Happened Next

A few months ago, we had a guest post on this site about the problem with Brigham Young University’s honor code.

Here’s what it boils down to: Mormons get cheaper tuition at BYU than non-Mormons. (It’s a private school. They can do that.) If you’re a non-Mormon who changes your faith while you attend school there, no big deal. But if you’re a Mormon who changes your faith, you could be expelled, evicted, fired from any university job, etc. It’s really harsh. And it sends the message that Mormons who stop believing while at BYU are better off lying than openly discussing their thoughts.

Now, a student who’s been affected by that policy has written about what happened after he told a school official about his de-conversion. It’s heartbreaking. The Student Review (an independent publication) has the story:

… I eventually sat down with an academic advisor and told him, “I am here because I left the Church and would like to pay non-member tuition.” But during the next ten minutes, he carefully explained, “In your situation, you actually will not be able to attend classes at BYU this semester, or ever again…”

no one — not a roommate, a friend, or a faculty member — has been able to explain to me why I do not belong with other BYU students. I’m from here, I’m a competitive student, I’m a contributing employee, and I’m willing to pay the price for non-subsidized tuition. So when I’m told I’m taking the spot of some poor student who wasn’t accepted, I’m thinking, This is my home, my community, and I have a real place here. I’m not in anybody’s spot but my own.

As someone who has no ties to BYU at all, I’m stunned by how idiotic this policy is. When you have an student who changed his beliefs but wants to stay at BYU, and is willing to give up all the Mormon perks (including cheaper tuition) to do that, why would you try to push that kid away? He’s going through enough. He shouldn’t need to start from scratch at a new school.

(Image via Jimmy Emerson, DVM on Flickr. Thanks to Sergey for the link)

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