Students who attend BYU must follow a strict honor code that includes a dress code, forbidding sex outside of marriage, clean shaven for men, multiple earrings not allowed, maintaining a clean and neat appearance, prohibiting use of alcoholic beverages and no visiting of dorm rooms of the opposite sex. Occasionally the media reports of prominent athletes at BYU who have been dismissed from the university for violating the honor code. Marriage is encouraged for students who have completed their missions and as a result many students live in impoverished conditions. Laake (author of Secret Ceremonies) was very upset when she became aware of the neglected living conditions that the BYU community had for the married students. 2.
One also finds the same improvised conditions in Utah’s predominately Mormon cities in low income housing areas. The author recalls one evening, visiting with a young family in a mobile home section of the city. The mother was trying to handle a baby and her other two young children while at the same time trying to carry on a conversation. The mobile home itself was in a bad state of repair, with doors hanging open and parts of the inside coverings torn away from the walls. (The father was out doing home teaching for the church but should have been home repairing his home.) This is but one example of the church spending millions of dollars of their members hard earned money to build temples, and to pay for radio and television commercials for promoting Mormonism, but is not helping to improve the lot of these needy families. Laake must have been thinking the same as she drove through these areas of the BYU community for young married students who are encouraged by church leadership to raise large families.
First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles Control Brigham Young University
The General Authorities are in complete control of BYU of which nine of the thirteen member controlling board are members of the First Presidency, his two counselors or the Quorum of Twelve. In addition, the head of the church’s parochial education system, a member of Presidency of the Seventy, is also a member of the BYU board. The remaining three seats are filled by women presidents of the women’s and young women’s auxiliaries “both appointed by the top General Authorities.” The thirteenth seat is filled by a secretary. The current president of BYU is member of the First quorum of Seventy. 3.
While the current (2,000-2001) undergraduate student tuition of $1,470 and the graduate fee of $ 1,730 per semester is extremely low, even when compared with a public state university, the student pays a high price in loss of individual freedom in such areas as religion, life style and academic freedom. If a student becomes indoctrinated into the Mormon faith (as most are), the lifetime cost of spending nearly twenty hours a week in activities and service to the church in addition to paying the ten percent annual tithing is tremendous payment for receiving (for many students) a lifetime career. An LDS BYU student must attend religious classes and conform to the regulations drawn up by the university administration and approved by the controlling board. In addition, to remain in the university, Mormon students (98.6 percent of the enrollment) must receive an annual recommendation from their bishops. Non-Mormon students must either receive a letter of recommendation from their own church minister or one from a local Mormon Church bishop.
2. Deborah Laake, Secret Ceremonies, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993, 43-44 (Excer pts Totaling 3-4 pages Copyright © 1993 by Deborah Laake., Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.)
3. Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, The Power and The Promise of Mormon America, 224