Years ago, when I first joined the faculty at Brigham Young University in Provo, I had a conversation with a non-Mormon professor of German, based at a college in the American Northeast, who was teaching on campus as a visiting professor. He was so happy, he said, to be teaching students who weren’t hung over and basically unconscious during Monday morning classes. I found his comment amusing. I had never thought of such a thing.
I’m grateful, too. At least, I am when I think about such things. But sometimes I need to be reminded. Here’s one reminder:
According to many commentators and social scientists, the idea of “dating” is virtually dead on many college and university campuses. “Courting,” to use a rather archaic-sounding word, has been replaced by “hooking up.”
Now, I’m aware of current strong trends, even among Latter-day Saint young people, to put off the commitments of marriage. And, as a former young-single-adult-ward bishop (not at BYU), I wish more dating were going on among Mormon youth, not just “hanging out.” Moreover, as a past bishopric member and high councilman and a current professor at BYU, and from my experience long before that as a former student, I realize that the situation at BYU is, and always has been, imperfect. A few BYU students flout the University’s Honor Code and the Church’s moral standards. Many more have good intentions, but “slip up.”
But, overwhelmingly, students at BYU are trying to live up to their beliefs, and, on the whole, they do very well at it. It’s a remarkable place. So much so that it’s routinely derided, in our weirdly hypersexualized culture, as puritanical, “uptight,” “repressed,” lost in the fifties, Ozzie and Harriet, and every other kind of pop-Freudian Bad Thing.
I’m deeply grateful for the standards taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and upheld by Brigham Young University. This article is quite foreign to me as a person who has now spent more than half of his life connected with BYU as either a student or a member of its faculty, and a substantial portion of that time involved in BYU-affiliated wards and stakes. I’m happy that it’s so. May it long remain so.
Posted from Waikoloa, Hawai’i