The Mormon Church Could Save Their Sacred Sports Program While Still Hating the Gays
Recently there were two articles written in the Utah media that tackled the taboo issue of BYU’s Honor Code and its negative impact on athletics and, frankly, several other aspects of college life in Provo, UT. Deseret News, the State’s largest single employer of Baghdad Bob impersonators, published a surprisingly candid article on the subject. While they danced around how much of an impact the Honor Code has on recruiting, they were sure to remind us how persecuted they are by the rest of society.
Interviews with former coaches, former BYU athletic directors, players, alumni and an analysis of decades of results reveal a troubling pattern of decline as societal changes, politics and big money stand in contrast to BYU’s commitment to its honor code and religious and educational mission.
I am not sure what this ‘troubling pattern of decline’ is, but one can only assume it is increased acceptance of constitutional rights for all people and a realization that young adults have engaged in consensual sexual relationships since the beginning of time and maybe society should stop shaming people for it.
The Salt Lake Tribune, affectionately known as Satan’s Printing Press and Korihor’s Soapbox by most internet tough guys and gals who could defend a sexual predator to the point of worshipping him as a prophet of god, also tackled the dilemma facing BYU. The Tribune article, not being bound by the same mandated optimism as its pious counterpart, was much more pointed in its analysis of the situation. So much so that the piece called for the complete repeal of the Honor Code in order to save the athletic program.
Most people that consider what the Honor Code is and how it is applied see the obvious effect it has on sexual assault victims, athletic recruiting, and the general ability for a young adult to come of age while getting a quality education.
But the Mormon Church will never get rid of it. At least not anytime soon. Getting rid of the Honor Code would be, in the eyes of many faithful, admitting to a mistake or apologizing for something they did wrong. We all know that the Mormon Church apologizes for nothing.
So, I have come up with a way that the church can save face, keep on hating the gays and salvage their precious football program…maybe even win a national championship in the near future.
All they need to do is divest from the university. Gather the best descendants of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and make them the Board of Trustees and get the hell out of Dodge!
Now, before you get all upset and think I am trying to make BYU a secular petri-dish of sin, let me finish.
BYU can still identify as a religious institution. Even if it is not owned by the Mormon Church it can claim the church as their preferred method of magical thinking. Church leaders and parents can still encourage their children to go.
And all that tithing that is currently getting used to subsidize the tuition of non-coffee drinkers? It can be set aside and given to students in the form of a scholarship from the Church.
Once free from the clutches of the Church Office Building, BYU can move forward as any other private school would. They can allow two men to hold hands while walking around campus. Athletes who are over 21 will be allowed to enjoy a cocktail at a party without being worried about it ending their playing career. The Instagram account @provoguysamiright will run out of material because young Mormon men will learn how to interact normally with women. The improvements are endless. Personally, I would try to get my hands on each Starbucks franchise that will inevitably pop up on campus.
When it comes to recruiting for Football and other sports, the coaches will now be able to hype up the fact that BYU has a worldwide fanbase that will be paying attention to every game without offering a bunch of caveats. Slowly but surely top recruits will give BYU a shot and maybe, just maybe, they can claw their way back to a relevancy. Shedding the anti-LGBTQ stink and being willing to play on Sunday will also make it easier to get into a power 5 conference.
All of these wonderful benefits and the Mormon Church will still be able to treat LGBTQ people as second-class citizens and they can use the whole ordeal to add more fuel to the persecution fire. They can talk for decades about how the world forced their hand but they were strong and persevered.
If you think this is crazy talk and I am overreacting, then you need to wake up and smell the Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte. The problems will only get worse. Let’s take marijuana as an example. Medical marijuana is coming to Utah whether the Mormons like it or not (many of them support it, but the old guard is terrified). Once that happens is the BYU medical staff going to force players to take oxycodone if they want to use marijuana instead? How about all the regular students who will inevitably develop back problems and/or chronic migraines? Are they going to be allowed to use medical marijuana without a threat of getting kicked out? This might be a bridge that the Church does not want to cross.
Additionally, this LGBTQ issue is not going away no matter how many times Dallin Oaks says the words ‘religious freedom’. Each round of incoming Freshman at BYU is more and more accepting of people. Tolerance for this mistreatment is waning and it will disappear.
Get out while you are ahead.