I just love my Alma Mater, BYU. It is a source of endless entertainment to me. It’s almost like its own little special planet, BYU. Untouched by normal things of the world.
I always like to take a look at the Police Beat. I worked for the BYU police department waaay back in the late 80’s. As you can see from the most recent Police Beat BYU isn’t exactly a hotbed of criminal activity with its stink bombs and frisbee throwing and snowboarding on campus.
Some BYU students escaped from their own special planet lately and broke through the realm of the real world. KSL broke this story last week and it has generated a great deal of discussion on the message boards. When I first read this story I laughed. And then got simultaneously disgusted and amazed. Now I understand the type of mindset that would create this ruckus. After all, these are good BYU students, between the ages of 18-30 and seem like healthy males. They are technically in their sexual peak, probably virgins and have likely suppressed every healthy sexual urge they have had since they were born. They’re likely to be turned on by an extended wiggle of the big toe. Which explains why they would view aerobics as provocative and insist that blinds cover the aerobics room. I’m surprised there was not a request for burka body coverage along with the other demands.
Two similar occasions came to mind when I read this story. I was on a management team at a prominent international company several years back when we were handling the logistics of a personnel situation for a new team member. He was devout muslim and insisted he take the cushy seat that faced the north-east so he was aligned with mecca for optimal work productivity. Well, that’s all well and good except for accomodating this request would necessitate for two other people to move to other desks which would be extremely inconvenient, expensive and time-consuming for everyone involved. As we attempted to moderate this situation with HR who wanted to be sensitive to religious “needs”, I began to think it was frankly unsportsmanlike conduct for this man to be making these types of demands for what I suspected was a personal rather than a religious dictate. I also wondered if I could provide a strong enough case for the big corner office based on my need for positive feng shui energy.
The other situation that comes to mind is a poster on an exmormon board. She recently posted an essay about wanting a life where she could make a positive difference. A lofty thought, in my mind. She brought up several examples of how small things make a positive difference, like picking up litter, or reporting spills in a restaurant, or walking the grocery cart to its stall in a parking lot, etc. While I was silently complimenting her for realizing the value of a small act of kindness in a big world, she segued immediately into the positive difference of making sure religious fanatics (by her pesonal definition) did not overstep their boundaries. This included “I destroy their mishie tracks and materials when they’ve been covertly left in waiting rooms and places like in airplanes” and “I complain to the waitstaff if mormons are praying on their food in a way that disturbs other diners.”
At what point does ones religious belief stop and another one starts when there is a clash of beliefs? How wide should this circle be before one invades another circle and the imposition is regarded as inflexible, dogmatic extremism?
Well, I think we found that line with these BYU do-gooder students. From an outsider looking it, it does not appear to be very complicated. These folks don’t like what they are seeing at Gold’s gym. These folks can show their faith by walking. BYU has its own gyms. And I am pretty certain that BYU is more diligent in enforcing the standards of their own honor code on their campus. It’s their job to make sure this certain set of values is protected and maintained within the bubble of BYU.
I know that President Hinckley has encouraged all to take a stand for what they believe in. But I don’t see this Gold’s gym cause as noble. I see it as bullheadedness and making demands where more practical, sensible routes are available. I am, however, not necessarily surprised at the brouhaha. This is what people get like when their sexuality is tightly coiled. Perhaps if they started addressing that particular energy problem they would get less excited to see a gal bending over to do stretches for her aerobics class.
Dudes. Grow up. Understand that there is a difference between a right to your belief and a right to imposing your beliefs onto others who may not share your beliefs. Life is a big sandbox. You’re going to have to learn how to interact and compromise with those who may see the world through a different lens. Sometimes you are going to have to learn to walk away rather than insist everyone roll the red carpet for your lofty value system.
Quote of the day: “The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” (Jim Hightower)