It Gets Better: Brigham Young University Edition

This is one of the more powerful It Gets Better videos I’ve seen:

As awesome and hopeful as it was to hear their words, their problems would decrease dramatically if they stopped buying into the Mormon Myth.

Maybe after they graduate…

(via Religion Dispatches — Thanks to Lauren for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Trevbritt

    Engaging in homosexual behavior is a no no on the code of conduct at BYU that all students sign. If it isn’t an indicator that this church is not friendly to gays, i don’t know what is! I am glad that they are confident to come out, and make this video, and it is a powerful video, though. 

    • Anonymous

       Engaging in sexual behavior outside of marriage is a no-no at BYU, regardless of orientation. At least according to the video, the honor code has changed to not single out identifying as gay as a violation. So gay students are subject to the same official (silly, retrograde) code as straight students.

      Not that I want to diminish the role the LDS church has in promoting homophobia mind you, just that I think the rules don’t officially sanction it at the university, even though I’m sure they can be selective about what they enforce.

      • Anonymous

        That’s why a very, very large percentage of BYU students get married before they graduate. Finding a husband/wife is one of the most important goals while attending

        • MWilson

          It isn’t just BYU students. It isn’t uncommon for girls to get married as young as 18. Most girls I knew and went to school with were married by the age of 23 and probably had at least one kid. You are not supposed to engage in any type of sexual behavior, gay or straight, before marriage, so most kids get married quite young. Because you can’t get marred if you are gay, that is where the gays should remain celibate idea comes in. The church is abviously completely unhealthy in the way they teach and control peoples sexual lives. I can’t say enough how glad I am that I’m out and my daughter won’t have to deal with all of that!

  • Annie

    Very powerful video.  My favorite line?  “It gets better… even on this campus.”  The statistics at 4:14 were very powerful as well.  I’ll have to google to see how they compare to the general population.

    Although I agree that their lives would be easier if they left the church (any church, really), I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as gay, and at the same time, lose the comfort of your childhood religion.  It sounds like most of the speakers in the video still rely on and cling to their faith.  I am thrilled that they feel comfortable (and safe) enough to come out on that campus though.  It’s exciting for me to see the LGBT community gain more and more ground in acceptance.  I just hope atheism is right behind them.

    • DG

       Surely you must realize how inflated, and basically outright invented, these statistics are…  They are based entirely on already bloated statistics of the entire population of the world, and BYU is hardly a parallel in demographics to the entire world.

      This video is not about love and acceptance, it’s about propaganda and indoctrination.  Gay isn’t an identity, it’s not genetic, and it’s certainly not something your born with.  It’s a pattern of thought and behavior that can and should (and must, if you believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ) be overcome.

      • DG31

        *you’re, that is… *facepalm*

  • Amanda

    I grew up in the Mormon church, and most of my family is still very active.  I have one sibling who graduated from BYU and two who are currently attending, and holy shit that video made me cry like a baby.  It also made me really mad.  Yes, I’m sure it does eventually get better for these kids, and I’m certainly glad they have developed a community within the school to give and get support.  But they’re still clearly buying into a belief system which tells them that, while it’s not necessarily a sin to BE gay (sort of a grey area, depending on who you ask), it’s definitely a sin to act on any homosexual feelings you might have.

    So yes, for many it probably does get better – family and friends go from being shocked/disgusted/unaccepting to (hopefully) being supportive and loving, but that doesn’t change the fact that by staying in the church, they are basically resigning themselves to never being able to be in a real relationship.  You’re a boy, and you have feelings for other boys?  That’s okay, but bury those feelings deep inside.  God loves you and wants you to be happy, but if you’re gay, you’d better learn to be happy on your own. 

    If that’s what you really believe, then your god’s a total dick.

    • Anne Sauer

      This is what I was wondering about while I was watching the video. I noticed that none of them mentioned anything about current relationships. It seems like they’ve found support for being out, but does their community support them being in romantic and sexual relationships with the people they are attracted to?

      • Amanda

        Romantic relationships between members of the same sex are strictly verboten in the Mormon church.  That’s why the video upset me as much as it did.  Support from others is great, but how damaging is it that many of those kids probably still believe, deep down, that there’s something inherently wrong with them.   Many of them admitted in the video to trying to pray away the gay.

        Actually, I’d be willing to bet that many of them see their homosexuality as a test from their god to asses their faithfulness/worthiness.  I remember, as a teen, being encouraged by church leaders to think that way about any sort of temptations or desires I felt that were “against the rules.”

        • MWilson

          Amanda I’m in the same situation as you. Raised Mormon now I’m out (officially- my husband and I had our names removed) but with very active family members. I agree with you completely, especially when you say that many see their homosexuality as a test from god. I recently had someone in the family come out and his Dad immediately went and bought a church approved book which basically instructed the reader on how not to be gay anymore. Because, you know, you can just switch it on and off.

  • Mark Panzarino

    I wonder if it got better for Stuart Matis.

  • http://deepergroundblog11.blogspot.com/ Secret Agent Woman

    My hope is that finding a supportive community within the school will give them the peace and space to re-examine their beliefs and question the Mormon faith.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chriswarr78 Chris Warren

    Its beautiful to see how love and knowledge are starting to infiltrate the impermeable walls of stupidity. We can never back down or allow this progress to diminish. When people ask me why I care about something I ‘don’t’ believe in, I can reference videos like this. The heartache caused by narrow minded dogmatism can not be allowed to continue. Religion IS the vanguard of ignorance. The “It get’s better campaign” makes me want to fight for a better world, instead of simply wishing for it. 

  • Tim Pate

    It’s telling that they felt better after they prayed. It certainly doesn’t prove that a god was actually listening; I would venture a guess that it suggests the opposite. The sense of feeling as though someone out there loved them was something for which they were all struggling to find, and they found it within themselves.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Hemant – it would probably get a lot better if they gave up the absurdity that is Mormonism. 

  • Chelsea Butler

    There is a secret atheist club at BYU, according to an ex-Mormon, ex-BYU student I recently met. Let’s hope these secret atheists are infiltrating the GSA and showing these poor kids that love, compassion, and acceptance exist outside of their religion. 

  • SS

    As far as I’m aware, and anyone is free to correct me if I’m wrong, even the more tolerant Mormons, the ones who consider themselves accepting of gays and lesbians having membership in their church, generally believe that homosexuals should remain celibate.  So while it’s commendable that these young adults have found some acceptance from their peers, friends and family, “It Gets Better” ignores that the issue of celibacy can’t be swept under the rug.  You’re still going to have to meet certain expectations in the eyes of many Mormons if you want to be tolerated.

  • Anonymous

    Do I think that they’d be better off abandoning the religious beliefs that caused them so much pain in the first place? Undoubtedly. However not everyone is in a place to do that at any given point in their lives. If they can, find a place in scripture that justifies their lives and “feel” that God approves, then honestly I’m inclined to give them a pass because of a greater psychological need.

    Letting go of your religion is hard for a lot of people. Letting go of your religion when already struggling with another massive issue must be inmeasurably harder. I hope these kids can graduate and then establish lives and families for themselves. Then, from a position of emotional strength and a circle of support not dependant on religion, they can re-examine their beliefs. For now, whatever keeps them from darkness is fine by me.

  • Anonymous

    So … they prayed to God, and God told them it was okay that they’re gay. But they’re still following a church that claims to teach the will of that same god, and the church says that it’s not okay to be gay. Like, the prophets of the LDS church supposedly talk directly to God, and they are not cool with homosexuality. How … what … buh?

  • Tyler

    I hope I can learn to understand other people and their point of views.  I am not gay, but I do attend BYU.  I realize that this is an atheist website, and I’ll probably be stoned to pieces for saying this, but I believe in respect.  I know most of you do not hold my beliefs, but God or no God, religion or no religion, I hope we can learn to understand each other and have a respectful conversation, without degrading or deprecating comments.  

    To me, my religion is my way of life, and calling Mormonism a myth, or calling it down are just like me saying atheism is a myth, or like me saying that gays don’t really exist.  I understand if you hold that opinion yourself, but please don’t bash my beliefs.  My belief in God is just as strong as your belief in the sun rising in the morning.

    I love this video because it helps me understand another’s point of view, and I hope that I will never be guilty of judging a gay/lesbian/bi student, or anyone for that matter.  

    It’s true that the Church of Jesus Christ forbids acting on homosexual behavior, but that stems from a belief in an all-knowing God who is also all-loving.  It’s not about restriction, it’s about what we believe is wrong and right, because God has told us so.  It must be incredibly difficult to follow this standard for those with homosexual tendencies and lifestyles, but I know that Heavenly Father will help them, just as he helps me overcome my morality problems or my selfish pride.

    Thanks for listening!

  • GladiatorJohn

    “I am a gay vampire american”


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