Jeffrey R. Holland has made some waves recently with a lovely little speech given at BYU. His apostolic jowls are all aquiver with righteous indignation over the issue of...well, he has some difficulty saying exactly what the issue is, but it's safe to say that he's uncomfortable with the fact that there are a lot of people out there who don't share his narrow view of sexuality and gender identity. And he's going to shit on those people whilst vainly attempting to convince his audience that he loves and values those people.
And, yes, I meant both definitions of "vainly."
For reference, Holland's full speech is available on the Church Newsroom's site. Diving in with his opening anecdote about being flabbergasted at the sight of Y Mountain:
I don’t know how to explain that moment, but it was a true epiphany for a 7-year-old. If I had seen that “Y” on the drive up or any other time, I couldn’t remember it. But I saw it that day, and I believe it was a revelation from God. I somehow knew that bold letter meant something special and that it would one day play a significant role in my life. When I asked my mother what it meant, she said it was the emblem of a university. I thought about that for a moment then said quietly, “Well, it must be the greatest university in the world.”
This actually makes me kind of sad for Holland. It sounds to me like he ascribed inordinate significance to a childhood impression and then never allowed himself to mature beyond it. He spent his entire life working for this university and for the organization that runs it, all because of a naive, wide-eyed sense of awe that came from seeing the university's emblem on a mountainside as a first grader. It almost casts the trajectory of Holland's life into a tragic light.
But, hey, if he's happy doing what he's been doing, then who am I to say his life turned out wrong?
This story illustrates, I think, how unreliable childhood impressions are and how we shouldn't give them full weight when drawing upon our experiences to make judgments and decisions in our lives. The Y on the mountain is pretty cool, but it has nothing to do with the greatness of the university it represents. There is no correlation between spectacle and virtue. But it's much easier to conflate the two when we're younger, more impressionable, and more easily dazzled. The fact that Holland thought the painted character above Provo indicated BYU was the greatest university in the world—and that he allowed that concept to drive his behavior as an adult—should give us all pause about how we teach our children about other spectacular things. The stories of Jesus and Noah and Ammon and Nephi and Coriantumr may all have the allure of drama and spectacle, but that doesn't mean those stories should shape the way our children see the world. We need to make sure our children understand the substance—if any—behind the spectacle or we're just setting them up to be repeatedly hoodwinked by every bit of meretricious pageantry.
If anyone in this audience has been coming to this campus longer than that, please come forward and give this talk. Otherwise, sit still and be patient. As Elizabeth Taylor said to her eight husbands, “I won’t be keeping you long.”
Also, why is a representative of the Mormon god taking cheap shots at people who get married multiple times?
My point, dear friends, is simply this: I have loved BYU for nearly three-fourths of a century. Only my service in and testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including my marriage and the beautiful children it has given us, have affected me as profoundly as has my decision to attend Brigham Young University.
Read that back. Focus on the word "including."
Yes, he's saying that his actions as a husband and father are merely extensions of his service in and his testimony of the church. This is not a difficult line to write. Saying that your accomplishments in life are second only to your family is an easy platitude to deliver, whether it's sincere or not. It happens all the time inside and outside of Mormonism. But he's actually saying that his family accomplishments are a subset of his church service, which is gross. And weird.
Holland threw himself a softball, but instead of hitting it with a bat like a normal person, he decided to swat home plate with a badminton racket a few times and then pour his Gatorade on the umpire.
After his mission, our faculty friend returned to Provo where he fell under the soul-expanding spell of John Tanner, “the platonic ideal of a BYU professor — superbly qualified in every secular sense, totally committed to the kingdom, and absolutely effervescing with love for the Savior, His students, and His subject. He moved seamlessly from careful teacher analysis to powerful personal testimony. He knew scores of passages from Milton and other poets by heart, [yet] verses of scripture flowed, if anything, even more freely from the abundance of his consecrated heart: I was unfailingly edified by the passion of his teaching and the eloquence of his example.”
I'm not saying Holland is making this up, but this does sound suspiciously like Holland's own writing style. It's indulgently purple and it includes an em dash, several examples of alliteration in a single paragraph, lengthy sentences with odd structures, and a few words that most people wouldn't dare use unironically (the professor was effervescing, seriously?). Or perhaps these are just the words of a writer who was really hoping to impress Holland by speaking his own language.
I will say, though, that if this quote isn't actually from Holland's personal correspondence like he claims, pretending there was a need to add the bracketed word "yet" to modify the quote for ease of understanding could have been an ingenious forger's masterstroke.
“Please don’t think I’m opposed to people thinking differently about policies and ideas,” the writer continues. “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.”
"I'm not opposed to people thinking differently about policies and ideas, I just want any professors who think differently about policies and ideas not to say so." That's not really much better, is it?
Why is Holland even including the line about bridging gaps between faith and intellect? Why are there such notable gaps between those two things? Isn't he basically implying that faith in Mormonism defies the intellect? Isn't he admitting that Mormonism is illogical and unreasonable?
“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.”
Okay, I really don't like the use of the word "radicalizing" here. If the graduate chose to use the term in her Facebook post, that's one thing, but for an apostle of the Lord to repeat that word in reference to apostates in a public address is wrong and irresponsible and divisive.
In what contexts do we usually hear that word in the country that's home to both Jeffrey R. Holland and BYU and most of Holland's live audience? Terrorists. White supremacists. Nationalist militias. By using this word, Holland is—intentionally or unintentionally—causing people to draw comparisons between ex-Mormons and racist murderers. He's taking the boogeymen of Mormonism and trying to align them with the boogeymen of modern America. Perhaps this was not done maliciously, but at best it's extremely careless for a man of his position—a representative of a supposedly loving god—to choose such a negatively emotive term, especially when he's reading someone else's words that he's already modified for his audience by omitting the specific university department that the graduate blamed for her disaffection. If you can excise one part of the quote to substitute your own less incisive wording, why can't you do the same to a second and possibly even more defamatory part of the quote?
It's also interesting to me that it was important to mention that this disaffection happened specifically after the graduate served a mission and married in the temple. Why would these things be necessary to include? Maybe because those are two big moments designed to lock people into lifelong subservience to the church. Or maybe because it's common to assume that people who leave Mormonism were never truly committed to it in the first place and the writer knows he has to overcome that preconception to convince his audience that this particular woman was supposed to be too good to lose her faith.
In 2014, seven years ago, then-Elder Russell M. Nelson came to campus in this same setting. His remarks were relatively brief, but tellingly he said:“With the Church growing more rapidly in the less prosperous countries, we . . . must conserve sacred funds more carefully than ever before.”
Right, they're worried that the worse Mormonism does in wealthy countries and the better Mormonism does in less wealthy countries, the more likely it is that the flood of tithes will peter out into a slow trickle. So that's why they're conserving funds.
There should be no effort to conserve sacred funds. There should be a consistent and concerted effort to expend sacred funds judiciously for the betterment of society. Conserving church funds is not Christlike. Spending those funds to help the poor and the sick and the underprivileged and the outcasts is Christlike. Christ would never have talked about conserving tithes.
Nelson is using baptisms in developing nations as an excuse to hoard money, and he's pretending like it's a sacred responsibility not to spend it. If he has any sacred responsibility in a financial sense, it's the exact opposite of what he claims. So what if the church runs out of money because it's been overzealous in its charitable efforts? Is his faith in his followers so feeble that he thinks they wouldn't donate even more when they see the good that would be accomplished by church expenditures of that magnitude?
“In a way[,] [Latter-day Saint] scholars at BYU and elsewhere are a little bit like the builders of the temple in Nauvoo, who worked with a trowel in one hand and a musket in the other. Today scholars building the temple of learning must also pause on occasion to defend the kingdom. I personally think,” Elder Maxwell went on to say, “this is one of the reasons the Lord established and maintains this university. The dual role of builder and defender is unique and ongoing. I am grateful we have scholars today who can handle, as it were, both trowels and muskets.”
This is Neal A. Maxwell's extrapolation of the Nauvoo era persecution complex into the modern era. The persecution complex made sense in the days of Joseph Smith because the persecution was real. You can't graft armed-militias-are-burning-our-homes-and-driving-us-across-state-lines persecution of bygone days onto today's people-vote-against-things-we-don't-want-and-also-apostates-are-pointing-out-our-abuses persecution and pretend they're analogous. You can't graft a tree onto a branch. It doesn't work that way.
Sure, Maxwell is being metaphorical, but that doesn't mean the damage done by his metaphor isn't real. Using weapons of war as a focal point of a paradigm like this breeds a warlike culture among the faithful. It may not involve physical violence, but it nurtures a divisive, combative, Manichaean spirit—exactly the kind of spirit Holland is about to denounce.
Pluralism and disagreement do not need to be framed as a mortal battle. Throw down your weapons of war and throw down your metaphors of war while you're at it.
Then Elder Oaks said challengingly, “I would like to hear a little more musket fire from this temple of learning.”
I realize that Oaks is also being figurative, but it's still disturbing. The word "temple" in Mormon parlance refers to the holiest place on Earth that one can possibly inhabit. Imagine thinking it's cool to talk about shooting guns from the holiest place on Earth. Imagine thinking that an implement whose sole purpose is to inflict physical damage on living things has any place whatsoever inside a loving Heavenly Father's holy of holies.
Even though it's clearly not meant literally, the implication is there, and this only bolsters the poisonous idea that holiness and militancy are one and the same.
He said this in a way that could have applied to a host of topics in various departments, but the one he specifically mentioned was the doctrine of the family and defending marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Little did he know that while many would hear his appeal, especially the School of Family Life who moved quickly and visibly to assist, some others fired their muskets all right, but unfortunately didn’t always aim at those hostile to the Church. A couple of stray rounds even went north of the point of the mountain!
The longer this fucking metaphor is stretched, the less and less metaphorical it feels. Why, even in a figurative sense, is anyone aiming a musket at a hostile? Why does anyone think it's constructive to describe people who may disagree on certain points of doctrine as hostile to the church? Why don't we realize that the idiocy of this kind of mindset matches the idiocy of physical violence because stray rounds wounded the wrong targets?
It's all right there in your own speech, Jeff. You're showing how asinine this paradigm is the more you talk about it, but you're somehow completely oblivious to it.
We hope it isn’t a surprise to you that your Trustees are not deaf or blind to the feelings that swirl around marriage and the whole same-sex topic on campus. I and many of my Brethren have spent more time and shed more tears on this subject than we could ever adequately convey to you this morning, or any morning. We have spent hours discussing what the doctrine of the Church can and cannot provide the individuals and families struggling over this difficult issue. So, it is with scar tissue of our own that we are trying to avoid — and hope all will try to avoid — language, symbols, and situations that are more divisive than unifying at the very time we want to show love for all of God’s children.
Oh, poor Jeffrey. He's been hurt by the debate over LGBTQ+ treatment in the church too!
Not only is he too squeamish to use the normal terms that normal people use or even the normal acronyms, but he can't even get out the full church-approved euphemism of "same-sex attraction." What, exactly does "the whole same-sex topic" mean? "Same-sex" by itself is a completely benign term. It's not a term that even Mormonism finds controversial until you add "attraction" or "marriage" or something else at the end of it. So what's the whole same-sex topic? Is it the fact that BYU roommates attend classes with people of the same sex? They attend church with people of the same sex? They live in the dorms with people of the same sex? It's weird that he can't bring himself to say what he really means, even though he'd be saying it in a nice safe Mormon-speak dialect.
If we transpose it into a different context, what if he were talking about the whole woman topic? That doesn't mean anything. There's nothing controversial about the existence of women. It's only when we start talking about putting women in leadership positions or giving them the priesthood or letting them be the primary breadwinners for a family that it becomes a whole topic.
If Holland and the Brethren have really spent more time and shed more tears on this subject than we could possibly understand, why has their treatment of anyone who is not heterosexual and cisgendered been so utterly piss-poor? I gotta tell you, I could come up with much better church policies for the treatment of LGBTQ+ members in hardly any time at all without even crying about it. But, of course, Holland wants us to think that these policies are motivated by empathy and love and piety rather than by visceral bigotry and fossilized inhumanity.
If they were really trying to avoid things that are more divisive than unifying, the November 2015 policy wouldn't have been slipped into the handbook. BYU wouldn't have removed its ban on homosexual behavior from the Honor Code last year only to later clarify that it wasn't actually a portent of acceptance after all. Holland wouldn't have given this speech. And Dallin H. Oaks wouldn't be employed by the church in any way.
Saying you want to show love for all of God's children isn't the same thing as actually showing love for all of God's children. There should be no tears shed. No hours discussing. No struggling. No scar tissue. This is not difficult. The Brethren are only making it difficult because they don't like people who aren't like them.
If a student commandeers a graduation podium intended to represent everyone getting diplomas in order to announce his personal sexual orientation, what might another speaker feel free to announce the next year until eventually anything goes? What might commencement come to mean — or not mean — if we push individual license over institutional dignity for very long? Do we simply end up with more divisiveness in our culture than we already have — and we already have too much everywhere.
Holland is absolutely right. But the only solution is to not let anyone speak about anything at graduation. What if one of the graduates brings up his or her own academic achievements, which are not representative of everyone getting diplomas? What might another speaker feel free to announce next year until eventually anything goes?
I assume Holland is making an oblique reference to Matt Easton's speech in 2019. If he is, then it's a gross mischaracterization to say that the person giving a valedictory speech "commandeered" the podium—especially since he ran his speech by the dean's office first. Holland is also completely discounting the experience of students who exist in a stiflingly heteronormative culture and the value of Easton's speech and the value of the response to it. Can you imagine being a closeted gay person at BYU, seeing that applause, and realizing that maybe the people around you aren't as unreceptive to who you are as you thought? If Holland really was concerned about showing love for all of God's children, he would be celebrating these kinds of events as evidence that we really do love our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters instead of characterizing them as selfish stunts that pitch the university down a slippery slope toward indignity and anarchy.
Even if Matt Easton's coming out wasn't strictly germane to the ceremony, it pushed the needle more toward acceptance and further from divisiveness. If Holland thinks that it's divisive to proudly proclaim your oft-assailed identity so that others like you can be reassured of their own value and that it's not divisive to smear, denigrate, and dismiss that kind of bravery, then he's not nearly so well-acquainted with the dictionary as he seems.
In that spirit, let me go no farther before declaring unequivocally my love and that of my Brethren for those who live with this same-sex challenge and so much complexity that goes with it. 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.
Oh there it is. "Now that I've said my piece in an attempt to continue to repress these particular types of people, I'll say some stuff that sounds nice so people will think I actually like them."
He still can't come at the thing head-on. It's "those who live with this same-sex challenge" rather than "gay people" or "non-binary people" or even a phrase that hints toward compromise like "people who identify as transgender." And I think what Holland either fails or refuses to understand is that "same-sex," as he terms it, is only really a challenge because of people like him. Too many people in the world approach the whole same-sex topic as a flaw, a disease, or an error to be corrected. It's a challenge for so many because so many others have decided to make it a challenge. You don't get points for professing sympathy for an atrocity that you're pretending you're not complicit in.
Too often the [church] has been unkind, in many instances crushingly cruel, to these our brothers and sisters. Shifting the blame from the church to "the world" doesn't work. The church is a part of that world, and it's not on the right side of the issue. While Holland's statement is true, his phrasing doesn't make the church's culpability in this behavior any less inescapable.
I think there's a critical failure in someone's humanity when they have to make an exerted effort to offer love and hope to someone who's done nothing to them other than be. If your worst crime against me is that you're gay, then you've committed no crime against me. Why would I need to dig down deep and weep and pray to come up with a way to love you as my fellow human being?
Also Holland, like Oaks and others before him, is trying to paint his attempt to partially overcome his homophobia as a heroic effort through which he's had to balance conflicting concepts. But none of that is real. He offers hope and love while keeping the gospel strong, but offering hope and love to a lesbian person or an intersex person has zero affect on how strong the gospel is. This is not a balancing act. He offers hope and love while keeping obedience to commandments evident in every individual life, but offering hope and love to an asexual person or a transgender person doesn't diminish how evident obedience to commandments is in anyone's life. This is not a balancing act.
But he wants it to be a balancing act so that he can pretend to be valiantly endeavoring to reconcile diametrically opposed ideals in a magnanimous effort to extend the hand of brotherhood.
Actually, the more I think about it, the more "keeping...the obedience to commandments evident in every individual life" is a dummy phrase. It's filler. It's meaningless, but it has enough good-sounding words in a complex enough arrangement to seem meaningful as it drifts by in context. But Holland was worried that "keeping the gospel strong" didn't make his case sound solid enough, so he needed to add another reason why it's such an earnest struggle to be compassionate to people who don't conform to his sexual norms. He solved his problem by coming up with this side dish of word salad to make the heaping bowl of salty cardboard he's trying to force-feed us seem a bit more palatable and a bit more nutritious.
For example, 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.
Love and empathy are not the same things as condoning and advocacy, so I don't know what the fuck he's worried about.
Let's say Jeffrey R. Holland has a friend. Let's say that friend is bald. This is nothing his friend has any control over and it's not a status he chose to adopt, but Holland thinks that bald heads are gross. Would Holland be concerned that showing love and empathy for his friend might be mistaken for condoning his disgusting dome or mistaken for advocating for better treatment of bald people? Well, maybe Holland would, but a regular person wouldn't because it's absolutely ridiculous. And, of course, despite the stigma attached to baldness, it certainly doesn't rise to the level of discrimination and vitriol and violence heaped upon LGBTQ+ members of society.
God forbid Holland's friend decides to lean into his identity as a bald person and begins to routinely venture outside wearing a hat so that other people are forced to see him for who he is even though they'd rather not think about it. I mean, that would just be going too far.
It's amusing, in a brutally depressing kind of way, that Holland immediately tries to lay out the counterpoints to love and empathy as though he's treading the moderate, reasonable path. Because there's two sides to this, of course, and we don't want to get carried away with our orthodoxy and our loyalty to principle to the point that people think we're gigantic fucking dicks.
Orthodoxy is a toxic concept to begin with (obviously Holland and his pals would disagree), so the fact that he's including it as a beneficial trait that could have negative consequences when taken to extreme means he's already lost credibility. You're not being the coolest head in the room and being the rational, moderate, thoughtful one when you're accepting orthodoxy as a virtue. And which principles are we talking about when we're expressing concern that they could be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty? The principles of hope, charity, and love? How about virtue, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, or humility? There are many, many principles of Mormonism that should impel members of the church to have genuine care and empathy for all human beings regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Holland has simply decided that all of those principles are secondary to the principle that he doesn't like men who like other men.
Also, why the fuck does he use the word "interpreted" here? It should be "misinterpreted." If he'd said he doesn't want orthodoxy to principle to be misinterpreted as unkindness, that would make sense—it means orthodoxy isn't intended to be unkindness but it could be incorrectly construed as unkindness. But the way he's chosen to phrase it, orthodoxy to principle is intended as unkindness, but he just doesn't want anyone to call it out for what it really is. He wants to be a dick without getting penalized for being a dick.
It's really pathetic that he can't even get simple terms right without betraying his truer, uglier feelings. He could very easily have given a completely disingenuous talk full of reassuring and easily told lies, but he can't even manage that.
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.
Uh, sure, Jesus didn't say that, but did an apostle of the Lord completely forget about "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her"?
Jesus kind of famously hung out with sinners and outcasts. One might say he was leading by example, showing that the people society rejects deserve companionship, kindness, and even the love of God just as much as everybody else. But I'm sure Holland wouldn't understand that, since he doesn't, like, claim to speak for a Christian god or anything.
What I'd like to know is where Jesus taught that we should shun, denigrate, and shame people who we believe are sinners. Where did he teach that our behavior toward people should be based on our judgments of their sins? Doesn't he teach that we should judge not that we be not judged, that we should forgive trespasses until seventy times seven, and that of us it is required to forgive all men? Who cares if someone is sinful in our eyes? Clearly we should not let that affect the way we treat them—unless our goal is to become more like the Pharisees that a certain notable Nazarene routinely criticized for their shameful behavior.
There is no balance to strike here. Holland's insistence that there's any balance to be maintained between supporting an LGBTQ+ person and staying true to the gospel is precisely the kind of divisive rhetoric that we don't need—precisely the kind of divisive rhetoric that this bloviating hypocrite is railing against.
Stop talking about how difficult it is to love people and just love people.
Musket fire? Yes, we will always need defenders of the faith, but “friendly fire” is a tragedy — and from time to time the Church, its leaders and some of our colleagues within the university community have taken such fire on this campus. And sometimes it isn’t friendly — wounding students and the parents of students who are confused about what so much recent flag-waving and parade-holding on this issue means. Beloved friends, this kind of confusion and conflict ought not to be.
Confusion and conflict are two entirely different things, despite Holland's attempt to slyly conflate them.
In the context of musket fire, friendly fire is a tragedy, but firing on enemies isn't? Listen, if you fire a gun and the bullet hits someone, that's bad regardless of whether you consider that person a friend or an enemy. While it may be more devastating to you personally to wound an ally than to wound an enemy, the fact remains that your worldview is built on a presupposition that someone has to get wounded and that's really unhealthy.
Holland also seems to keep coming back to the idea that this whole same-sex issue—and its associated LGBTQ+ concepts that he can't be bothered to even make direct reference to—leads to confusion. It's confusing to him. It's confusing to him because he doesn't want to understand it. I don't think most of the people doing the flag-waving and the parade-holding are confused. They've taken the time to come to grips with the realities of how certain cross-sections of our population are unjustly marginalized, and they've decided to publicly demonstrate their opposition to that marginalization. Anyone who's confused about what that means isn't really giving the subject the time and attention it deserves.
If the conflict ought not to be, then Holland needs to stop inciting conflict.
There are better ways to move toward crucially important goals in these very difficult matters — ways that show empathy and understanding for everyone while maintaining loyalty to prophetic leadership and devotion to revealed doctrine.
He's right about that. There are better ways to move toward important societal goals and there are ways to show empathy and understanding for everyone. But those better ways do not involve putting our loyalty to prejudiced paranoiac prophets above our loyalty to our species.
My Brethren have made the case for the metaphor of musket fire, which I have endorsed yet again today. There will continue to be those who oppose our teachings and with that will continue the need to define, document, and defend the faith. But we do all look forward to the day when we can “beat our swords into plowshares, and [our] spears into pruning hooks,” and at least on this subject, “learn war [no] more.”
Great, thanks for explicitly endorsing the combat metaphor. That certainly won't embolden anybody into detestable acts of hatred because they think they're firing their proverbial muskets at gay people in the church's defense.
Holland looks forward with a perfect brightness of hope to the day when he won't have to go to war over the subject of sexual identity. That would be a lot more inspiring if he had any reason to be at war in the first place. You don't have to hope for that day, bud. You can make today that day.
And while I have focused on this same-sex topic this morning more than I would have liked, I pray you will see it as emblematic of a lot of issues our students and community face in this complex, contemporary world of ours.
Pretty sure the reason this was more than he'd have liked to focus on the topic is because he's made so uncomfortable by the topic that he can't even speak to it specifically.
If there a lot of issues that BYU faces in this complex world and if Elder Holland really holds compassion and love for his LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, why would he choose to spend so much time talking about their issues as being emblematic of the rest? If there are so many salient items in a similar vein, couldn't Holland have used one of those as the emblem of the wider body of troublesome ideas and thereby spared the people he claims to have wept and prayed for the discomfort of being publicly singled out?
But I digress! Back to the blessings of a school in Zion!
And I'm assuming diversity and inclusiveness are not among those blessings, right?
We could mimic every other university in the world until we got a bloody nose in the effort and the world would still say, “BYU who?” 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.
What an idiotic thing to say. A university second to none in its primary role as a teaching institution that is unequivocally true to the gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the Mormon definition of that gospel? What other university would have that particular mission in mind? What other organization would have the desire and the resources to raise up a rival institution? Better watch out, Holland, I've heard a bunch of Jesuits have started a university and they're teaching the Mormon gospel even better than you are, so I guess you have some competition for that coveted number one spot.
If at a future time that mission means foregoing some professional affiliations and certifications, then so be it. There may come a day when the price we are asked to pay for such association is simply too high, too inconsistent with who we are. No one wants it to come to that, but, if it does, we will pursue our own destiny, a “destiny [that] is not a matter of chance; [but largely] a matter of choice; . . . not a thing to be waited for, [but] a thing to be [envisioned and] achieved.”
Hey, weird, isn't that kind of exactly what your organization reviles LGBTQ+ people for doing? Pursuing their own destiny according to their own definition of who they are, regardless of what traditional institutional authorities may say?
Oh, but it's okay when you do it, right?