Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Warns BYU Faculty of Balance Between Love and Condoning Advocacy

Speaking to the faculty at Brigham Young University, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who formerly served at President, discussed the place that BYU had in the structure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He discussed the importance of BYU standing out and being unique and not following the trends and focuses of other universities in the country. 

This talk is in part due to discussions in and outside of BYU on topics that go against school policies, as well as doctrines of the Church. In recent years, faculty have been more open on being against certain Church doctrines and policies, and even encouraging them within the campus, and wanting BYU to be like every other university. Elder Holland said in response to his:


"No, we must have the will to stand alone, if necessary, being a university second to none in its role primarily as an undergraduate teaching institution that is unequivocally true to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the process. If at a future time that mission means foregoing some professional affiliations and certifications, then so be it.” 



When talking about diversity and inclusivity, including that of the LGBTQ community, he says:


“We have to be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy, or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people. As near as I can tell, Christ never once withheld His love from anyone, but He also never once said to anyone, ‘Because I love you, you are exempt from keeping my commandments.’ We are tasked with trying to strike that same sensitive, demanding balance in our lives.” 


“Too often the world has been unkind, in many instances crushingly cruel, to these our brothers and sisters. Like many of you, we have spent hours with them, and wept and prayed and wept again in an effort to offer love and hope while keeping the gospel strong and the obedience to commandments evident in every individual life.”



Elder Holland shared a few lines from the following letter that prompted such a discussion: 

You should know 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. 

Please don’t think I’m opposed to people thinking differently about policies and ideas. I’m not. But I would hope that BYU professors would be bridging those gaps between faith and intellect and would be sending out students that are ready to do the same in loving, intelligent, and articulate ways. Yet, I fear that some faculty are not supportive of the Church's doctrines and policies and choose to criticize them publicly. There are consequences to this. After having served a full-time mission and marrying her husband in the temple, a friend of mine recently left the church. In her graduation statement on a social media post, she credited [such and such a BYU program and its faculty] with the radicalizing of her attitudes and the destruction of her faith.


What are your thoughts on this topic? Let us know in the comments!

A great resource is the book Listen, Learn, Love currently on sale at cedarfort.com