The BYU men's basketball team was one of the best four in the country until last week, when forward Brandon Davies had consensual sex with his girlfriend. He's been dismissed from the team, and they are likely no longer a title contendor. At most colleges, the repercussions for premarital sex end at high fives, but BYU operates under a strict honor code. And of its five most unconventional tenets, lovemaking barely makes the cut.
We are not out to point and laugh at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which guides all the BYU campuses and forms the basis of its honor code. Students willfully sign the thing when they come to the school, and it's not a patently wrong thing for a school to have a moral code.
But it is a surprisingly old-fashioned set of restrictions, hardly consummate with the widely-accepted standards for kids between the ages of 18 and 22. As a Division I basketball player, Bradon Davies is constantly surrounded by a culture outside the regressive BYU way, and it seems a curious tragedy that he will sit out the Tournament while his peers who have committed actual felonies at other schools will be allowed to play. So what, exactly, are Davies and his peers forbidden from doing?
5. No premarital sex We knew this one, obviously. The actual wording of the Code says, "no sexual relations outside marriage" which we assume would include any touching of bathing-suit parts. The list of kids we went to college with who never engaged in any sort of sexual relation of any kind is something like two people long.
4. No involvement with pornographic or indecent material Now we assume it is sort of an unspoken thing that the above two would combine to make masturbation a violation of the honor code. Obviously, there would be no way to enforce that, but this is literally a set of rules forbidding thousands of kids -- again, between the ages of 18 and 22 -- from having an orgasm. We're not even sure if that is healthy.
3. No form-fitting clothing Really, the best of the restrictions come in the clothing mandate. Both men and women are expressly forbidden from wearing anything "form fitting." Did you realize that your local gym was a sinful den of temptation? We certainly didn't.
2. No beards Yep, no beards. This one is probably our favorite, just because it's so amazingly arbitrary. This is just authority figures making sure they have something to enforce. You may be granted a medical exemption, but you should not need a waiver to grow a damn beard. The female equivalent for absurdity, by the way, is that women aren't allowed to have bare feet in public.
1. No homosexual behavior We understand that conservative religious types are generally opposed to people loving each other and that this should come as no surprise. And actually, the wording of this particular tenet of the honor code is very careful to make it clear that BYU does not oppose gay students, as long as their homosexuality is reserved for "feelings and attractions" rather than actions. Which makes it all the more conspicuous, because isn't that what all students are restricted to? Or, at the very least, the only difference is that straight couples may kiss and hold hands but go no further, and gay couples can't even do that.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.