The Gays of BYU: Part One

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mormons Building Bridges march in Pride Parade Salt Lake City 2013

I recently read a Princeton Review article that called BYU 6th least-friendly campus towards homosexuals in the nation. (Since the actual article is unavailable to people without an account with the Review, the list can also be found here.) The poll was taken from a nation-wide, anonymous survey. While this ranking may not be shocking to some, it was shocking to me. As a student of BYU, I have always been under the assumption that our school (like our religion) was built on pillars of love, forgiveness, and Christ-like charity that extends to all, regardless of beliefs. From all of the material I've read about the LDS Church's stance on homosexuality, I was also under the assumption that we believe there is no sin in the actual orientation (tendency, predisposition-- whatever you want to call it) itself. I felt like there was a marked difference between the people and the practice, and that anyone who abides by the Honor Code is a welcome and valid student at BYU. So why were we ranked as being so extremely unfriendly towards our fellow students who identify themselves as gay?

My fellow Insight Magazine writer, Jason, and I felt like this title must be false and undeserved and we were determined to discover the truth. As we interviewed openly gay students in USGA (Understanding Same Gender Attraction-- the unofficial BYU club for LGB students), we realized the story was much bigger than we had previously imagined. Since the article that will be published on Insight's website will likely only be able to cover a small portion of the story (and only from a particular angle), I want to share as much of the story and our journey to find the truth as I can on this blog. We know that the subject of homosexuality and the LDS religion is a sensitive one, and we are grateful for the respect shown by all who have participated in the making of this article so far and ask the same respect of any who choose to carry on the conversation and comment on the subsequent installments. We also want to state that our only aim is truth and understanding and that there is no political agenda in this article. Stay tuned for part one!

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