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    • This was a fascinating journey down the rabbit hole as I read stories of how the Honor Code was weaponized to fail students accused of cheating, punish victims who reported assaults, and to create an atmosphere where forgiveness isn’t tolerated [1].

      I attended VMI many moons ago and their Honor Code was nothing to joke around about. I remember several times being awakened to the sound of drumming while it was still dark outside, assembling in the barracks courtyard and hearing that a cadet had been “drummed out” for violations of the Code. There were stories of sons of VMI alumni who took their life after they were drummed out.

      I remember going home for Christmas break after being told not to talk to anyone about my tests until the next day when exams ended. I lived 500 miles away from campus, but at home my parents didn’t learn how I did until the following day.

      [1] Horror stories of the BYU Honor Code

    • I’ve always wondered who ratted out BYU basketball player Brandon Davies about sleeping with his girlfriend from ASU. He missed the NCAA Tournament as a result. Crazy!

    • I'm not familiar with the incident you're referring to, but so many Mormons have a passive aggressive superiority complex and will find the smallest things to drag others down (but in the name of love and wanting to help others do what's right) and make themselves feel better. It's pretty sad. But the organization fosters it with all the indoctrination that you're not good enough. There's a lot of guilt there.

    • It is. But no one on the inside is willing to admit it. And those at the top seem to use it as a tool to keep the members submissive. I can tell you from about 30 years experience that putting on the happy exterior is just what you do, even if on the inside you feel like you will never live up to the expectations of being perfect. All the while, you secretly judge everyone else looking for ways that you can tell yourself you're better than them. It wasn't until about 5 years ago when I got out that I realized this. There are undoubtedly good people, but I hate Mormon culture - it's toxic.

    • Ha! That’s even true within factions of church-goers. California Mormons think they are better than Utah Mormons. Born-in-the-Church Mormons think they are better than converted Mormons. Returned missionary Mormons think they are better than those who did not serve a mission. Mormons who train to be professional seminary teachers think they are better than the volunteers who teach seminary. Married Mormons think they are better than single goes on and on - all the comparing and self-criticism.

      It’s baked into the culture—heck, there are even levels of heaven that are better than other levels of heaven. It’s never ending. 😵

    • Yeah, that's all pretty much spot on. Even missionaries do it. I remember being in the Missionary Training Center and hearing about some missionaries that reported a couple others for leaving their garments (the supposed magic underwear) on the floor. It was ridiculous. But from what I've heard, that kind of thing seems to be the extra crazy that happens to be normal among Utah Mormons. I can't say I noticed much of that in the Pacific Northwest. Superficial relationships seem to be pretty standard everywhere, though.

      I never considered going to BYU because I couldn't stand the thought of being constantly surrounded by other Mormons, so I never dealt with the honor code. But I did live through the ultra-restrictive missionary life.

    • The reception from the audience for this seems pretty amazing:

      Honestly, I’m not very active in church any more, partly over the treatment of gays, but I never felt the better than view much, no more than in society or workplace. I’ve always felt very welcome at church.

    • But that's what church is designed to do. It's supposed to be a happy, faith-promoting place where people can meet and help each other strengthen testimonies. Assuming you fit into the mold, they do everything possible to make you feel welcome while you're there. But outside of that, most members don't seem to really care to have any significant interaction with you outside of church or church-sanctioned activities. In the last ward my wife and I attended, we had recently moved into the Portland, Oregon area and were still trying to find some friends. Our home teacher and his family had us over for dinner one time and we kind of liked them, so we were excited about it. While we were there my wife asked if they hung out with other members outside of church and the husband checked with his wife and she was like "pfft, no!" And then in church my wife didn't even get a hello from literally anyone in relief society. So that was pretty telling for us that dinner was more of a way to meet fellowship responsibilities than a genuine interest in actually getting to know us.

    • I'm sorry to hear that. 😢 I worked on that really hard in our ward and would talk to regulars about introducing themselves to people they don't recognize. It's surprisingly hard for most of us. We fear we should have known you because you were introduced on the day you arrived but we weren't here or paying attention or didn't remember.

      In time and with practice, my wife and I would walk up to anyone and introduce ourselves and take an interest in their stories. Sometimes it was embarrassing because we had done it before but didn't recognize them.

      One thing that always bothered us is it was one thing to get over our inhibitions, but we were always so busy with life, children and callings — and so many people moving in and out of the ward — that we rarely had time for more than being chatty at meetings.

    • I wasn't aware of any issues regarding this, but It looked like the gender gap is mostly just in Utah. I think part of it is probably the gap in responsibilities within the church and the way men and women are treated/taught differently.

      Women are basically taught that their value is in the home. They should stay faithful and virtuous, get married, have children; be supportive of husbands and raise nice children. Men have to go on a mission, be good husbands and fathers and leaders at home as well as in church in addition to making enough money to support your family. It seems women constantly get the "you're so great and it's a privilege for us to have you. You help us be better people, etc. etc." talks. They get put on a pedestal, at least outwardly.

      Men on the other hand, get the "you're not good enough, not meeting all your responsibilities, you need to repent" talks on a regular basis. Whatever kind of spin they put it on them it tends not to be very encouraging, in my experience. It wears you down. Now you can take those a couple ways depending on what kind of person you are: you can be inspired to do better and work harder to meet those expectations, or you can find it depressing because you already feel like you're failing.

    • that we rarely had time for more than being chatty at meetings.

      I totally get the busy aspect of it. It's another problem I have with the church. Keep the members so busy that church activities consume their whole lives and they can't stray, right? In my experience nobody really wanted the busy work or to be the target of most of the busy work.

      It sounds like you were one of the good ones, and it fits with what I've seen of you from here. Unfortunately, we had other experiences with people that basically gave off the "your value to us is really at church only" vibe. We didn't really expect to be friends with everybody - or even more than a few people - but we basically got ignored. I've heard lots of other people express the same sentiment.

    • First, can I say it seems Corine is slinging around stats like a woman scorned? 🥴

      Let’s go to Jana Reiss for some vetted stats:

      “...there’s a large body of research suggesting that in this country [USA], men are generally less religious than women. They are also more likely to disaffiliate from organized religion. In the American population, more than a quarter of men have no religious affiliation (27 percent), while this is true of less than a fifth of women (19 percent). Among current Mormons, women slightly outnumber men...a regression analysis of the NMS [Next Mormons Survey] data shows that men are slightly more likely to leave Mormonism than women, after controlling for other factors.” (p. 213)

      Jana also notes that “In Utah, 69 percent of never-married women reported attending church at least weekly, compared to just 31 percent of never-married men...this may confirm previous research indicating that a gender imbalance in Utah was a result of higher disaffiliation among men than women there.” (p. 264n14)

      So it seems that Corine is right in bitching about what is true in Utah, but that doesn’t necessarily apply the same way to the church in the rest of the world.

      My own sense is that the church hierarchy is so baked into Utah culture that if a man is not “progressing” (i.e. being called to more and more authoritative levels of leadership in the church), he is judged to be a “drone/worker bee” and not a leader, so his standing in the workplace is similarly capped. For men in Utah, it is actually better to be disaffiliated from the church than to be branded a drone/follower/primary teacher. Interestingly, being a Boy Scout leader was sort of a neutral zone. Too bad that path was shut down recently...

    • Let’s go to Jana Reiss for some vetted stats:

      Very insightful, thanks.

      It seems to me the happiest Mormons are married with children. It's really hard for someone who wasn't able to have children to sit through the service on Mother's or Father's day. It's also really hard to be Mormon and go through a divorce or have a gay child.

      I got interested in the Seventh Day Adventists for awhile because I loved how they built schools, orphanages and hospitals in poor countries instead of building temples. I love how they keep researching their version of the Word of Wisdom for health and improving it. I loved how they came to grips with the fact that their founding prophet, Ellen White, made mistakes and had plagiarisms, but the core tenants of the New Testament were still good. Their growth rate is astounding.

      But in getting to know them, I found they seem to struggle with many of the same things as Mormons: hardliners versus progressives, feeling judged, etc.

    • I think that is a fair assessment. Mormons have propogated their own version of the Leave It to Beaver family stereotype (but with more kids-ha!) This is fine and dandy for some people, but for others whose lives/families veer away from the proscribed stereotype, there are very few resources and very little guidance other than “be obedient,” which is sort of a red herring. Those who are called to leadership are, for the most part, blessed and living the Leave It to Beaver life, so it is rather difficult for them to understand some of the challenges people face who are grappling with situations that lie outside of the stereotype. It’s problematic. All each of us can do is try our best, no matter what life dishes out...and be kind to those who walk a different path.

    • I often think about how privileged we are and how hard it makes it for us to understand. I’m the worst, an American white man.

      Related to the honor code and American white men, there’s this. It’s depressing but so important

    • Yes, this child abuser is the man who made the most recent temple film, if I understand things correctly.

      There is another similar case working through the courts. The child abuser is a relative of the prophet.

    • My mom’s cousin Guy Dorius is a professor of religion at BYU. He told me he loves the gospel and what it teaches, but has always struggled with the church I.e. culture. He described the church as an imperfect vehicle that frequently has broken down for him. I think that’s pretty on point.