Category: BYU

I Wish BYU Would Stop Shooting Itself in the Foot

Contrary to popular belief, I actually prefer writing fluff pieces. Give me a good “top 10 favorite fruits” post any day of the week. Not because I mind writing on a weighty subject, but because it means there’s nothing weighty on my mind at the moment. Also, I never have to worry about the comments section on fluff pieces. (Except from those pesky apple connoisseurs . . .)

But late last night, I came across troubling news: BYU had (yet again) created a PR nightmare for itself and seriously upset and angered a good portion of its student body by bungling an Honor Code issue. If you weren’t following along at home, a bit ago BYU revised its Honor Code. As part of the revision, it deleted the section in it that dealt specifically with homosexual behavior. Students read it and were very confused. Was it now okay to have same-sex dating on campus, as long as no sex was involved? Many students asked the Honor Code office and were told “yes.”

(True, this is just what I hear second hand. I wasn’t involved in any of the actual discussions with the Honor Code office. All the school said publicly was that it would be dealt with on a case by case basis.)

There was much rejoicing from a significant chunk of the student body. (There was also much gnashing of teeth from another chunk.) What there wasn’t was clear discussion and explanation from BYU right from the get go. Either way, it made national headlines, and many students at BYU came out of the closet, since they now felt like they were free to do so without repercussions.

Then, yesterday, the school tweeted to say, “Just kidding.” True, it wasn’t quite that callous. (Though who handles important things like this through Twitter? Honestly? Is this what we’ve come to as a nation? Isn’t this the grownup equivalent of breaking up through someone on the phone, or with a letter? Apparently it also went out as an email, which is marginally better, but . . . ) What they actually did was explain that homosexual behavior (kissing, public displays of affection) can still get you in hot water, and then they gave a bunch of reasons that I suppose made sense to them at the time, but came across to yours truly as fairly tone deaf.

This, in turn, has caused all those students who were excited to now be crushed. Many are looking at transferring away from the university. Thousands are protesting. (And at BYU, that’s saying something.)

Let me be clear: I don’t speak for the Church. (Duh.) And I don’t pretend to receive revelation for everyone. How the Church and BYU decide to handle same-sex attraction is way beyond my pay grade. However, what can say is that the way this was handled was just plain awful. It was as if the administration didn’t realize deleting the whole “homosexual behavior” section of its Honor Code might catch the attention of other people. Like they were taken aback that they had to explain it at all, and so there they were fumbling for a response for weeks after the announcement, only to end up with this.

Speaking as a parent, one of the worst things I can do with my kids is to set false expectations. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. They might think it’s not fair. They might think it’s stupid. But if I’m consistent in what I say and do, things are a lot less problematic.

This waffling back and forth around such a hot-button issue isn’t just tone deaf. It’s cruel. I’m not saying BYU was being cruel on purpose, but casual cruelty or indifferent cruelty is just as bad in many ways. And all of this was so avoidable. If they weren’t going to really change the policy, then they shouldn’t have edited the policy in a way that so easily could have been misinterpreted. If the policy was being misinterpreted, they should have clarified that right away. All of that should have been ready to go as soon as the first new Honor Code announcement was sent.

Instead, we have this mess . . .

I feel terribly for all the students affected. I’m saddened leadership keeps lurching from one bungled response to another. Why? Because I still believe in the religion and the school. They’re both definitely run on a day to day basis by humans, though. No doubt about that. Plenty of mistakes to identify. On a decade-to-decade level, they improve however. Let’s hope that improvement keeps coming.

At bare minimum, hopefully they get better at not actively making things worse for themselves and others.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

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On BYU Football Independence

BYU football started up again last night. Well, “started up” is a relative term, as apparently we still haven’t learned that when you play against Utah, the goal is to NOT throw them the ball when we’re on offense. But I have confidence in our team. If at first you don’t succeed, try try try try try try try try try again. We’ll get it down eventually, and in the meantime, we’re doing wonders for the self-esteem of half the state of Utah.

The game started at 10:25 Eastern time last night. There’s a lot in that sentence I don’t like. The late start of the game, and the early date of the BYU/Utah game itself. But for better or worse, that kind of represents this rivalry at this point. The teams feel obligated to play each other still, probably mainly because of the fan base, but the game itself . . . just doesn’t have the same importance it once did. The biggest impact this game could have was if Utah had lost, in which case BYU might have played a spoiler to a great season. But that’s the same situation any time a highly touted team takes the field. And if BYU won, what would it have meant for the team’s season? There would be more games to win next week and the week after.

The biggest drawback to BYU independence is that it feels like much of the reason to root for a team is gone as soon as the first loss comes each season, since BYU’s one real hope for relevance is to sweep the table and hope for a great bowl game. There’s no conference championship to play for. The games after a single loss stop having any real meaning other than personal pride and trying to get the best record we can, because . . . winning? In the days of the Mountain West, there was still jockeying for position within the conference. There was the championship to go for. The longer we’re away from a conference, the more I see how much that meant.

That said, we were also stuck with the Mtn, a TV station I abhorred, and one that was very difficult to watch on the East Coast. These days, almost all of the games are fairly easy for me to see, with the exception of away games with conferences that have bad television rights. Except so many of the games start at terrible times for an Easterner. I end up watching the first half, going to bed, and then watching the second half on DVR the next day. Sure, I get to skip the commercials, but . . . it’s just not the same.

So which would I prefer? Games that are harder to watch and not as challenging week to week, or games that are a beast the first half of the season, and easy to see?

The answer, of course, is “neither.” There’s a pleasant middle ground there somewhere, but I’m not sure BYU is anywhere near getting to it. It would involve joining one of the big conferences, which is what it would take. At this point, I’d say it’s likelier we join a smaller conference. Maybe the Mountain West again. Or we just keep sticking to the independent route.

Fact: none of the hoops would matter as much if we were winning games consistently. You feel just fine losing sleep over a game when you win a tough match. It’s when you keep losing that fans start to check watches and grumble about time starts and game importance.

I’ll always be a BYU fan, regardless of the record, but the longer these sort of sputtering seasons go on, the likelier drastic change is sought for again soon. But I’m not sure switching coaches is going to do much in that department . . .

But maybe I’m just grumpy because we lost and I’m feeling sleep deprived. There’s always next week.

Go Cougars!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Heaven is a BYU Game

I headed down to Massachusetts over the weekend to go to the BYU/UMass game, being played at Gillette Stadium (home of the Patriots). I’d been looking forward to going for quite some time, since the last time I’d been able to see the Cougars play live was back in 2014, four years ago.

This time, they had a bunch of activities surrounding the game, with a “tailgate” beforehand. It turned out to be inside, and it was jam packed with BYU fans. I heard they’d been planning on having 500 people show up, and around 1,600 came, instead. You could tell they weren’t prepped for so many. Lines were really long, but it was still fun to see Cosmo (the mascot), have free face painting, eat snacks, and hang out with a ton of likeminded fans.

The game itself started out really shaky, with BYU quickly going down by 10 points in a game they were heavily favored to win. Thankfully they turned things around, and things got much better after that.

But really, the coolest thing for me was the chance to have multiple run-ins with people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Old roommates, old friends from church, professors, family. It was like one big reunion show, with guest stars that weren’t announced ahead of time. And that’s just the people who we managed to somehow run into. I imagine there were many more people there who I knew, but I didn’t know they’d be attending.

That feeling (running into old friend after old friend and meeting up again after a long time away) is one thing I really look forward to in the afterlife. A lot of the concepts of the hereafter can be very foggy and hard to really picture in concrete terms, but this is one that’s so easy to picture. It’s a consolation when people pass away, thinking of the other people they’re now able to see again. (Yes, this presupposes you believe in an actual afterlife, but let’s keep this topic bright and cheery, shall we?)

I’m not sure how this would work for other fans of other teams. When Penn State plays a game out in California, do a slew of Penn State fans show up? There were thousands of BYU fans at that stadium. It definitely felt like a home crowd for BYU, based on the amount of noise we were able to churn out. I tend to think BYU sits at this strange intersection of sports and religion and alumni, but it could also be just because I’m familiar with it more than any other university. Ute fans who live on the east coast feel free to speak up to contradict me.

In any case, it was a fun time, and I was very happy we had a chance to go. (And win!) Go Cougars!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

BYU Scavenger Hunt

While trying to come up with family reunion activities, one event many of us wanted to do was take our kids to BYU. Show them around. Let them see the campus. But I was worried that would sound boring to kids, so I thought it would be more fun to make a scavenger hunt out of it. Turn the tour into a game, and see if that didn’t catch their eye.

The concept caught on as soon as they heard about it. There was just one problem: I hadn’t made the scavenger hunt.

Somehow I always assumed I’d have time to make it up in the future, or that there would be some freely available online. I kept kicking that “To Do” item down the road, until finally it was the night before, and my awesome nieces were talking about how excited they were for the scavenger hunt the next day.

“Yeah.” I said. “Me too. Here’s the thing, though. I haven’t made it.”

Sometimes it stinks to admit your own incompetence. My nieces could have told me just what they thought of that, but instead, they offered to make it for me. (Note how I said they were “awesome nieces” and not “loser nieces.”) In the end, the one heading to BYU came up with the whole thing in an hour. The next day, we put it to the test, and it was a complete blast. Everyone had a great time, and I’d recommend it to anyone. I asked my niece if she would be okay if I posted it online, to share the love with others, and she happily agreed.

So without further ado, here’s the scavenger hunt. In case one of you out there is looking to do such a thing and just doesn’t have the time to come up with it.

Enjoy!

BYU Photo Scavenger Hunt

Take a picture of each of the following. You have 45 minutes.

  • Find a byu student and pose with them in a way that evokes the club, major, campus organization, or sport they’re involved in. This photo only counts if a member of a different team can correctly guess the organization/major within 5 tries. (No text or pictures within the photo) (50 points)
  • Awkward photo with a couple. (25 points)
  • High five a professor, administrator, or janitor (50 points)
  • Go to any shop and ask a staff member what product they recommend, then take a picture with it (25 points)
  • CTR ring (that someone already owns, not for sale) (20 points)
  • Recreate a picture from a poster or advertisement for a byu event (20 points)
  • The most expensive thing for sale on campus (object with the highest price counts) (50 points)
  • Pose with any animal (15 points)
  • An even-numbered classroom (10 points)
  • Selfie with Karl Maeser (15 points)
  • Someone wearing a different college’s merch (30 points, or 75 for University of Utah)
  • Reading the wackiest book you can find in the library (wackiest book gets the points) (50 points)
  • Make an illusion where one of your team members looks unnaturally large or small (50 points)
  • A pendulum (15 points)
  • A funny or interesting quote (15 points)
  • Something from the 19th century (30 points)
  • Find a sculpture or art installation and use it in a creative photo. (Most creative gets points) (10 points for the photo, +40 for most creative)
  •  As many people as possible from your group (those who have phones) in the dark shining a phone flashlight up onto their faces (15 points)
  • A video of a teammate singing to a student/staff member (40 points)
  • A video of a student/staff member singing to the team (50 points)
  • Whole group with any person who’s not on the scavenger hunt (20 points) (+10 points for each photo they are in if you can get them to join your team)
  • Someone who’s engaged, not married (50 points)
  • A flag from a different continent (up to 1 from each continent) (10 points per flag)
  • Reading a book written by a family member (30 points)
  • Your group with finger mustaches outside heritage building 8 (15 points)
  • A water fountain (5 points)
  • An exit sign (5 points)
  • A fan (5 points)
  • A piece of art from more than 30 years ago (30 points)
  • A modern piece of art (20 points)
  • The librarian shushing your group (50 points)
  • Smelling flowers (10 points)
  • Teammate leaving the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to their shoe (30 points)
  • Whole team in a small place (most creative gets bonus points) (20 points for photo, +30 for most creative)
  • Video of group singing a song by an object that is in its lyrics (ie singing “wheels on the bus” next to a bus) (30 points)
  • Pose like a statue next to it (20 points)
  • Cheapest thing for sale (not free, lowest price counts. For a tie, split the points) (50 points)
  • Something that refers to Brigham Young (15 points)
  • A picture of Jesus (15 points)
  • Someone sitting at a computer in a computer lab (15 points)
  • A campus police officer (40 points)
  • Something having to do with engineering, music, art, law, education, or family science (10 points per major)
  • The daily universe (20 points)
  • Something that was not there when the adult of the group went to byu (30 points)
  • A piece of fudge or any by creamery object for sale (10 points)
  • The inside of a dorm building (10 points)
  • The sports complex (10 points)
  • A teammate dancing in front of the Smith field house (10 points)
  • On the edge of campus (25 points)
  • PDA (50 points)
  • A student studying (30 points)
  • An info sheet about any major (1 only, 10 points)
  • An on-campus ATM (15 points)
  • Nike branded byu merchandise (15 points)
  • A byu bumper sticker (15 points)

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. I’m looking to get to $10/month to justify the amount of time I spend on this blog. I’m at $8/month so far. Read this post for more information. Or click here to go to Patreon and sign up. It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

 

BYU, Independence, and Its Season So Far

No one can say BYU hasn’t had an interesting season so far. 4 losses by a combined 8 points. If you need a team to go out there and have a really close game with just about anyone in the country, call us up. If you’re looking for that team to actually win the game, however . . .

You might want to call someone else.

That said, when I take a look back at the season, 8 games in, I can’t be too disappointed. (Well, I can. But I can try not to be, okay?) A few takeaways:

  • Our starting quarterback is definitely still a few steps slow from all his injuries over the year. Taysom just isn’t quite what he was, and his accuracy has left some to be desired too. (Not all of it is on Taysom. Many times he gets the ball to the receivers, and they just drop it.) Why haven’t they turned to Tanner? I assume because Taysom’s mobility (even limited somewhat) adds one extra wrinkle. A wrinkle that our offense desperately needs. I really don’t think they would have stuck with Taysom out of loyalty.
  • In last night’s game (a game we had no business being within 1 point of winning, let’s be clear), we still managed to hang in there somehow, and that was without our star running back. Put Williams in, and you might well have a different outcome.
  • I know a lot has been said about independence and the Big 12. My take? The Big 12 just doesn’t seem long for this world. They’re too disorganized and too full of squabbling for them to last. I don’t know if super conferences will pick BYU up when they form. I’d like to think so, but who knows. What I do know is that as a Cougar fan living in Maine, I’ve loved independence. The team comes close enough for me to go see them in person now and then. I can watch all the games live (and on replay even). We get the exposure we really wanted. (Though these 10:15 games are killing me. Killing me!)
  • Really, the only thing I’d like to see change would be to somehow carve out a bowl agreement where we get to go to a nicer bowl based on performance. That would be the one thing we’d need to be able to keep playing for a goal as the season goes on. With no conference championship or bowl to play for, it can feel like as soon as we have one loss, what’s the point of playing anymore.
  • That said, week after week this year, we’ve had a series of games that have been thrilling to watch against opponents who aren’t Powderpuff U. Sure, it would be great to be winning more of them, but I can’t find fault with the schedule. (Though I don’t ever need to think about going to home games, so that takes away a complaint from me that I know fans in Utah have.)
  • This is the first year with a new coaching staff and a new offensive and defensive scheme. I know heading into the season all the fans were dreaming of having it all, but this kind of thing takes time. To go 4-4 with our schedule while making all those changes at once? I think that’s commendable, personally. I have great hopes for the future.
  • I like a coach who believes in his team and has confidence. Going for it on 4th and 19 from 9 yards into our end zone? Maybe a bit much, yes? Though I guess it all worked out for them, so what do I know?

Anyway. Now we get a bye week and we finally start playing a bit smoother of a schedule. I’m hoping our team can get healed up and that we can start getting good practice for our coming years. I think BYU’s future is bright, and that makes me very happy.

Go Cougars!

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