Harvey Unga

July has been a busy, but good, time for former BYU footbal standout Harvey Unga. On July 4th his first child was born. He is getting married today (the 16th) to Keilani Moeak. And yesterday he was selected by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the NFL supplemental draft.

I see this as a win-win. BYU won by sticking to their guns and enforcing the honor code when his fiance became pregnant and it became obvious that they had had premarital sex. It’s easy to enforce the code in the case of some no-name freshman, but Harvey was a football star and in some ways the face of the program. Holding to the honor code showed that the school was serious about it, and had moved on from the embarrassingly laissez-faire approach a few years ago. When this happened, BYU got a lot of positive press around the country for sticking to its guns.

But I think Harvey walks away from this a winner as well. First, it should be obvious that no one outside of BYU cares that he had premarital sex, so even though he was dismissed for an honor code violation, it’s not something he has to feel ashamed about. He can hold his head high. And he has been a class act through this. He could have fought the dismissal, but he acknowledged that he violated the code and took his medicine like a man.

In the Mormon context, sure, having premarital sex with your fiance is not something you’re supposed to do, obviously. But that is not something I personally hold against him at all. Although that didn’t happen to me, I remember the four months I was engaged as extremely trying in that regard, and it would have been very easy for that to have happened. Harvey acknowledges that he is human, and I acknowledge that I am as well. My feeling is that there but for the grace of God go I.

I like that Harvey hasn’t tried to be coy about the situation, but has frankly acknowledged it. As far as I can see he has handled himself with consummate class. I hope that he remains engaged with the Church (I would be interested if any of our commenters have any information on that score.)

Since his wife is from here, her parents are excited that, for the time being, at least, they are going to be moving to Chicago, as that will mean time with their daughter and new grandchild.

From a selfish perspective, I kind of like it when we have Mormons on the Bears roster, such as the now retired John Tait or the current safety Al Afalava. They’re already my team and I root for them regardless, but having some brothers on the squad just intensifies my rooting interest all the more.

So welcome to Chicago, Brother Unga. I’m glad you’re coming. And congratulations on your recent run of good things happening in your life. Now here’s hoping you can actually win an opening day roster spot.

Comments

  1. Scott B. says:

    Do I sense a field trip to Soldier Field for the HP Group in your ward, Kev?

  2. Very well said Kevin. I agree with you on all counts. I have been especially impressed with the grace and class that Harvey has handled the whole situation. I hope he goes on to be a perennial all-star in the NFL. He is certainly beloved by BYU fans.

  3. For an external/national perspective, here’s CBS Sportsline’s Gregg Doyel who is usually an insufferable blowhard but his piece was an interesting POV.

    http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/13256720

  4. Amanda V says:

    Harvey Unga–what a classy guy. He made a mistake and handled what must have been an extremely difficult situation with major class. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to know he couldn’t finish out his stellar college career at BYU.

    I’m so happy he got drafted; he is an amazing player and I’m sure he’ll do well in the NFL.

  5. Antonio Parr says:

    I see this as a win-win-lose situation. Unga is a winner, for the reasons identified by Kevin. BYU, the institution, is a winner, for the reasons identified by Kevin. But BYU football? If I had access to one of those crying emoticons, I would insert multiple crying cyberfaces. No Unga. No Pac-10. Things are not looking so great for the football program . . .

  6. And an article from today about Unga’s chances making the Bears’ roster.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AqnzUc1K2Hst_eLy2_3J3IL.uLYF?slug=nfp-20100716_can_unga_make_the_bears_roster

  7. Karen M. says:

    Harvey Unga is in my ward (I’ve only been in the ward a year, so I don’t really know him, but my husband shared his book in EQ one week). I think he is staying quite close to the church through this, at least in part because we have an amazing bishopric and because he has a supportive family. He bore his testimony shortly after things were coming to light and (at least from what I gathered) he has a very strong testimony, but, as you said, he’s human. He broke some rules, but it’s not the end of the world.

  8. I hadn’t heard about this. Of course, I don’t follow sports at all, and I don’t hear about a lot of things. I knew Harvey in high school. Not well at all, but knew him. That’s all I have to offer. I’m glad for Harvey, and glad for BYU. This article makes me glad about things.

  9. Thanks for this, Kevin. I thought your analysis was fair and accurate. (Oh wait, I think I just used a Fox News slogan. Ugh. Except in my case, I meant what those words really mean.)

  10. #3 – I read the Doyel article back when it ran in April. I remember my initial response (and it is still my response) was twofold: “Doyel, were you born in a cave?”, and “Is it really so shocking that there are people who will voluntarily submit to an honor code after full disclosure of the code?” Seriously. Is that SO shocking? Even the title “Old-school” smacks of a genuine disbelief that there are actually people out there who live by such a code. Anyhow, he’s a sport’s journalist and he had no clue about BYU’s Honor Code . . . ???????? C’mon.

    Hindsight is 20/20. Back in April I was somewhat curious as to how BYU (proxy for LDS Church) would handle Unga: would they be “integral” and expel him for a year (like they do for other students that do this), which would compromise their own football program and his education? Or would they go soft and make an exception because of the publicity factor?

    Well, in April, BYU kicked him off the team. I am not sure BYU expelled him from academics, though; does anyone know? As an institution, with all the other students and athletes watching this one closely, I’m guessing that BYU probably could not go soft. The decision sends a message. But so does the end of the story: the silver lining in all of this was the supplemental pro draft yesterday. What would have probably been a tough year for him turned out great yesterday. Lesson learned.

    Glad to see he got picked up. Glad to see he got married and is having a kid. And glad to see he was integral enough to self-report and put it all on the line. Good decision BYU, good result Unga. BYU football is going to suck this year because all the seniors left. Out.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    Karen M., thanks for that report, that is exactly what I was hoping was the case.

  12. not so fast says:

    Having family who know him and the entended family well – Brother U. is, in their assessment, a [redacted – I thought twice before posting]. But not quite as big a [redacted] as his cousin, Reno Mahe, who my wife grew up with. That dude took the cake.

    Anyone foolish enough to view either of them as “examples” for LDS folk is, IMO, worshipping at the one of the more retarded of our modern altars.

  13. I agree: Unga’s handling of this has been a class act. We wish him well. Though not with the ferfor we’d exhibit were he to be joining the Rams or the Chiefs.

  14. John Mansfield says:

    Continuing the Chicago connection, consider the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by NORC, a social science research center at the University of Chicago. Question 217 in their database is “There’s been a lot of discussion about the way morals and attitudes about sex are changing in this country. If a man and woman have sex relations before marriage, do you think it is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?” Response portions in those categories were 28.2%, 10.0%, 22.0%, 39.9%. Three out of ten respondents thought that pre-marital sex is always wrong.

    The support for Harvey Unga is great. Let’s express it without treating our Church’s teachings on sex as some quaint, oddball Mormon thing.

  15. Antonio Parr says:

    12. No fair condemning an individual you don’t know, not even with redacted insults. (And even if you did know him personally, no fair condemning him on a public forum.)

    At the risk of sounding preachy, one of the most beautiful things to come out of Mormonism in my lifetime is the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee”, which contains the very wise observation:

    “Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly?
    In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see”

    God bless Brother and Sister Unga. God bless Not So Fast. God bless us, everyone.

  16. Eric S (#10),

    BYU did not kick Harvey off the team or expel him. Rather Harvey withdrew from school himself. Obviously he and the coaching staff were hoping he could get married and re-enroll and play this Fall even though everyone knew that was a bit of a long shot. About a month later the school announced that he would not be allowed to re-enroll until the start of next year.

    BYU football is going to suck this year because all the seniors left.

    FAIL.

    I predict 8-9 wins for BYU this season.

  17. And God bless you Tiny Tim.

  18. Geoff (#16 ) – I just took this line from the article at face value: “. . ., who was dismissed from his college team in April for having sexual relations outside of marriage . . . .” Sounds like they booted him after he self-reported. Is there press that says he also self-removed?

    #17 – Hilarious.

  19. Eric S: Is there press that says he also self-removed?

    Yes. See here.

    (Alright, you can see here too…)

  20. The SLC Trib article says Unga self-removed: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/cougars/49935659-88/bears-draft-unga-byu.html.csp

    Which is accurate?

  21. Antonio Parr says:

    17. Geoff:

    The Mountain West Conference is so weak that a mediocre team can easily win 8 or 9 games (since most MWC teams are poor, at least on a national level). The real test will be against the Florida State team which, although just a run-of-the-mill ACC team, slaughtered BYU at home, before a nationally televised audience. If BYU loses badly, it won’t really matter if we win 8 or

  22. #15
    Thank you Antonio Parr.

  23. Antonio Parr says:

    10 or whatever. We will still appear to be a team that has a good record because we play weak teams.

  24. Solicitor says:

    Since when is fathering a child out of wedlock “not something he has to feel ashamed about”??

    I seem to think that is something to be very ashamed about — feeling shame being an important part of the repentance process, and all.

    I don’t know what he actually has felt, mind you, and I strongly believe in withholding judgment absent all the facts — but that statement is deeply wrong.

    Living in an area with an above-average number of illegitimate births, I can tell you — perhaps what we need in this society is a little more shame in circumstances like this, not backslapping because someone wears a helmet and pads for a living.

  25. Antonio Parr,

    You’ve changed subjects on us. I was responding to the prediction that BYU will suck this year.

    They won’t.

  26. Antonio Parr says:

    Geoff:

    I was responding to your insinuation that winning 8 or 9 games is evidence that a team doesn’t “suck”. I would agree if those 8 or 9 wins came against SEC opponents. But a team can still “suck” if the wins are coming against New Mexico and UNLV and the rest of the weaker portion of the conference.

  27. Whatever you say Antonio Parr. If you insist on thinking a team that wins more than 75%+ of its games “sucks” knock yourself out. You are of course entitled to your opinion (no matter how inane it might be).

  28. Antonio Parr says:

    I don’t think BYU football sucks. I love BYU football, and am an avid, avid, fan.

    BYU football won a lot of games last year. However, my ACC friends, after watching the FSU game, felt that BYU football sucks, and were not impressed by the subsequent victories against weak MWC teams.

    (What’s up with the “inane” comment?)

  29. Best of luck to Harvey and Keilani and their new family.

  30. my ACC friends, after watching the FSU game, felt that BYU football sucks

    Meh. I think your ACC friends suck along with the ACC. It’s my job to think that though as a MWC fan. Will they think the MWC “rules” if BYU beats the Seminoles this Fall? Nope. It’s their job to not think that.

  31. Antonio Parr says:

    Geoff:

    Put another way, some say that BYU football stinketh; but as for myself, to me BYU football doth not stink.

    (As for Harvey and Keilani, a big, big “Amen” to Stephanie’s post.)

  32. I think BYU handled itself in a respectful way, unless they knew about the sex before he admitted and did nothing. But there is no evidence of that. So I take BYU at their word. I’m glad he got kicked out.

    As for Harvey, I don’t respect very much. He obviously only came forward because his fiance was pregnant. I’m sure if she wasn’t pregnant things would have gone on just the same way and he would be playing for BYU this fall while have sexual relations with his fiance. I also doubt they had sex just once and got pregnant. Most likely they have been having sex for sometime.

    You say he took this like a man. I disagree, a real man would have come forward much earlier and repented and not waited until his fiance was pregnant to confess.

  33. You say he took this like a man. I disagree, a real man would have come forward much earlier and repented and not waited until his fiance was pregnant to confess.

    I wasn’t aware that the repentance process involved confession to a BYU staff member.

    There’s no way of knowing if he is/was fully repentant of having sex long before any baby was showing. Assuming that he didn’t repent is just that, assuming. If he didn’t come forward and talk to someone in authority at BYU about the sex, then the only thing we could imply is that he is guilty of not fulfilling the BYU honor code. Seems like a much lesser thing to have on one’s conscience than fornication, that is if we were going to rank sins.

    Again, you may be right Mike, but, you may be wrong too.

  34. #15 who called #12 out for condemning without Unga personally. How about all the posters here who are impressed with Unga’s decision, calling him a winner and a class act. Do they all know him? If it’s not fair to condemn him without knowing him, is it fair to commend him without knowing him. Doesn’t the sword cut both ways. Just askin’.

  35. #34 oops, Should read condemning without knowing Unga …

  36. Karen M. says:

    I’d rather have someone commend me without knowing me rather than condemning me without knowing me, wouldn’t you?

  37. I’ve read somewhere “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Never read “Praise not lest ye be praised.”

    I did once read “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”, but I don’t know if thats relevant. Whattyathink?

  38. “Most likely they have been having sex for sometime.”

    Well, it is good to know that somebody is.

    Thanks for the post Kevin. You are one of my heroes.

  39. I think we could all be more positive sometimes. Let us be happy for other people.

  40. Doesn’t the sword cut both ways. Just askin’.

    Not among kind and decent people it doesn’t. The Thumper Rule applies here I think.

  41. Antonio Parr says:

    What’s up with all of this speculation about Unga’s standing before God?

    Isn’t enough just to wish him and his new family well?

  42. I also doubt they had sex just once and got pregnant. Most likely they have been having sex for sometime.

    Interestingly enough, it is none of our business how many times they had sex. Nor is it our place to imagine what was in his heart or what he might have done if circumstances had been different.

  43. Mai Li, Assuming the best of people you don’t know is an important part of the golden rule.

  44. Solicitor says:

    Sometimes, the “judge not” canard is abused in furtherance of moral relativity. It is possible to say “X screwed up” without “judging” X. If we believe that a line was crossed (and I hope we aren’t at the point where having a child out of wedlock is a gray area) we should say so, if for no other reason than to stand up for the truth.

    But, it should done with compassion and concern for the transgressor.

  45. #40 – Oh, Geoff – I just can’t comment on that choice of words more than to say I can’t.

  46. Many people have been stoned to death in the name of standing up for truth.

    Also, as of today, the out of wedlock issue has been solved. Happy day!

    Jacob: I like the golden rule, but for some it is not as much fun as some good old testament style loathing of the sinner.

  47. Solicitor says:

    Chris,

    Happy day, indeed. And best wishes to them. My main point is that the OP statement about not needing to be ashamed about fathering an illegitimate child was wrong. My secondary point is that shame is a fine motivator sometimes, and we could use more of it in our society.

  48. Well, shame on you for referring to a child as illegitimate.

  49. Solicitor says:

    Chris,

    Grow up. It’s a legal term.

  50. Scott B,

    I am resisting the temptation to go “bully” on this one. Civility sucks.

  51. Guilt yes, shame no.

    Guilt is internal. Shame is external. We, as a people in general (not talking about this person’s bishop, and if he happens to be on here commenting, well then he has other issues) have never been called upon to punish the unrighteous with our shame. Its not our job. Even to use it as an object lesson to teach others has dangers of nurturing ideas that we are better than others when we don’t know the circumstances.

  52. Of all the options open to Brother Unga once he had to face the consequences of his action, he took the most honorable one. He then proceeded to act, as far as I can tell, with dignity and grace – particularly when it might have been so easy to lash out at BYU.

    I’ll praise him for that without reservation.

  53. Solicitor says:

    I’ve never been bullied in my life. Not about to start now.

  54. As for Harvey, I don’t respect very much. He obviously only came forward because his fiance was pregnant. I’m sure if she wasn’t pregnant things would have gone on just the same way and he would be playing for BYU this fall while have sexual relations with his fiance. I also doubt they had sex just once and got pregnant. Most likely they have been having sex for sometime.

    You say he took this like a man. I disagree, a real man would have come forward much earlier and repented and not waited until his fiance was pregnant to confess

    Seriously? Seriously?!?!? Who are you? What do you know about their situation? And why do you care?

    The man slept with his fiance. They both left BYU. They had a baby and are married. Leave them alone! How many couples in your ward started that way? I know several in mine. People make mistakes and they move on. Leave the man (and his family) alone.

  55. Sometimes, the “judge not” canard is abused in furtherance of moral relativity. It is possible to say “X screwed up” without “judging” X. If we believe that a line was crossed (and I hope we aren’t at the point where having a child out of wedlock is a gray area) we should say so, if for no other reason than to stand up for the truth.

    First of all, canard? Are you implying that the scriptural command from Jesus Christ during the sermon on the mount is an unfounded, fabricated hoax? Well, okay.

    Second, I would rather abuse the “Judge not” scripturally-canonized-savior-uttered commandment, than abuse the much more common “well, I have a duty to decide whats right or wrong in other people’s lives, you know, for the good of society” TMZ attitude.

  56. “How many couples in your ward started that way?”

    Well, Stephanie, on Sunday we should all give these couples/families dirty looks. When discussing their children, be sure to refer to them as illegitimate children. We must not miss the opportunity to shame other into acting according to the correct norms.

  57. Exactly Chris, stand up for the truth.

  58. I’m _illegitimate_! It would be great fun if someone tried to shame me…

  59. Solicitor says:

    B.Russ,

    Of course, here comes the knee-jerk reactions….

    When used loosely and out-of-context, “judge not” becomes abused …. just as some abusive husbands use “reproving betimes with sharpness” as a justification for abusive behavior of kids/wife makes twists that part of scripture as well.

    The commandment to refrain from judging *unrighteously* does not mean we are to excuse sin. Or are you arguing that there is no sin in voluntarily parenting a child out of wedlock?

    I’ve got nothing against the guy/family in question, never met him, never heard a bad thing about him outside of this….but the idea that what he did is nothing to be ashamed of is false.

    I’m standing up for the idea that some things are shameful — and that is one of them. It’s obviously a point that needed to be made.

  60. Tracy,

    I am sorry, I will not be allowed to talk to you at Sunstone after all.

  61. Solicitor says:

    Tracy,

    Please don’t put words in my mouth….I certainly don’t believe that any child should feel shame for the circumstances by which they came into the world.

    The parents, on the other hand, should feel *some* for some limited period of time. Perhaps that period of time comes to a close with a wedding….

  62. Solicitor, where in the OP and in the comments is sin being excused? This is about forgiveness (which isn’t even ours to give).

    My feeling is that there but for the grace of God go I.

  63. “It would be great fun if someone tried to shame me…”

    I know I’d pay to see it.

  64. Antonio Parr says:

    Thus saith the minor prophet Rich Mullins (RIP) re: judging:

    Now the plummer’s got a drip in his spigot
    The mechanic’s got a clank in his car
    And the preacher’s thinking thoughts that are wicked
    And the lover’s got a lonely heart
    My friends ain’t the way I wish they were
    They are just the way they are

    And I will be my brother’s keeper
    Not the one who judges him
    I won’t despise him for his weakness
    I won’t regard him for his strength
    I won’t take away his freedom
    I will help him learn to stand
    And I will
    I will be my brother’s keeper

    Now this roof has got a few missing shingles
    But at least we got ourselves a roof
    And they say that she’s a fallen angel
    I wonder if she recalls when she last flew
    There’s no point in pointing fingers
    Unless you’re pointing to the truth

    And I will be my brother’s keeper
    Not the one who judges him
    I won’t despise him for his weakness
    I won’t regard him for his strength
    I won’t take away his freedom
    I will help him learn to stand
    And I will
    I will be my brother’s keeper

  65. The parents, on the other hand, should feel *some* for some limited period of time. Perhaps that period of time comes to a close with a wedding.

    What is the purpose of feeling guilt? To bring us closer to God. To help us turn away from sin. Guilt is not a punishment. You or I have no idea what their feelings are. I think feelings of guilt could end long before marriage if forgiveness is felt. It’s just none of our business.

  66. Feelings of guilt could end with no marriage. They are not based on the outcome of the situation, but on forgiveness (from God).

  67. Solicitor, I wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth, I was just having fun.

  68. Solicitor,

    I reread your comments, and you haven’t really said anything personally that I would find troublesome. However, your comment was a response to mine, which was a response to Mike in 32, which I find very troublesome. I think it represents a cancerous judgmentality which is rampant among our congregations and is exactly what Jesus was talking about. Also Mai Li in 34, which was mostly asking a question, but in light of Mike’s 32 I felt my comment was appropriate.

    Your comment 24 I don’t know what he actually has felt, mind you, and I strongly believe in withholding judgment absent all the facts Yeah, thats reasonable.

    I guess my feeling is simply that if we were to make an accounting of sins using the following formula (how common the occurence)x(how grave the sin)=(size of the problem for the salvation of church members) I honestly feel that the judgmentality quotient would be 100x larger than the fornication problem.

    And knee-jerk? Really? If you’re going to throw around insults, lets stick to some that apply. Knee-jerk would be relevant if I hadn’t listened to your argument and just retorted with a meaningless platitude that had been repeated by thousands of people before me.

  69. I hate it when threads go like this. Reminds me of fMh (sorry Stephanie). “Illegitimate child” is a shorthand for child conceived illegitimately (ie., out-of-wedlock). It’s obviously offensive because it transfers fault to the child, even though those who use the term don’t mean it that way. So let’s loath the offensive person who would ignorantly use such a term, shall we?

    Personally, stories like Unga’s grieve me. The guy went from football star to publicly-known fornicator. That’s a painful fall. If he handles it well, stays close to the church, does right by wife and child, then to me it should be as though it never happened. Welcoming and rejoicing over the returning prodigal is not condoning his sin.

  70. All that being said, I stand by comment 55 100%. I would much rather be accidentally too forgiving than too judging.

  71. Jimmy James says:

    Kevin, you need to get your facts straight. This isn’t the first child that Harvey has fathered. Nobody looks into why he started at BYU after his fellow classmates. It’s because he got another girl pregnant our senior year of high school. It’s amazing how well this has been covered up in Provo. Wake up!

  72. Solicitor says:

    [First, it should be obvious that no one outside of BYU cares that he had premarital sex, so even though he was dismissed for an honor code violation, it’s not something he has to feel ashamed about. He can hold his head high.]

    This is what my response has been to.

    First of all, I think I’ve been pretty careful to *not* try to read anyone’s mind in this situation, just to comment on the facts as known. I don’t claim to be able to read anyone’s mind or heart, and never have.

    From my perspective, forgiveness is a given. Unga doesn’t need *my* forgiveness because he hasn’t offended me. There’s nothing for me to forgive. I don’t know what’s in his heart; to a certain extent I don’t care what’s in his heart — I’ve got more pressing things to worry about. I wish him and his family nothing but the best.

    Where I dissent from the OP is in the idea that the circumstances do not require some amount of shame. This is, of course, an abstract discussion because I have no idea (and frankly no interest in knowing) what he has felt. I’m just saying, that as a matter of principle, there are things for which people — and I’m talking about any people, not just members of the church — should feel ashamed for doing. Voluntarily parenting a child out of wedlock is one of those things. Implying that he has done nothing to be ashamed of is incorrect, in my opinion. And point out so is very much my business, as I have to try to raise my children in this culture and I’d prefer a smaller headwind.

    And, for what its worth, my humble opinion is that the window in which some feeling of shame is appropriate closes when the parents get married, or the child is old enough to perceive the world around him/her. So, case closed as far as I’m concerned. But I strongly believe that we should, as a society, quit the “happy, happy, joy, joy” dance when we see someone voluntarily parent a child out of wedlock.

    Should that child receive anything less than the full support of its family, church family, and the community? Absolutely not. But the situation is not something to be celebrated! It’s, more often than not, not a happy situation for the single parent, our society, of the child. In this situation, an NFL contract surely makes things easier. But, usually, to pretend otherwise is to do the child, parents, and everyone concerned an immense disservice.

    But, like I said, the parents in the situation are making it right. Good for them. I am hopeful for a happy conclusion.

    And as far as guilt being a punishment, I’m pretty sure I said no such thing…..I did say, however, that shame is a great motivator. I haven’t talked about guilt — that is genuinely none of my business. Shame, however, is not the same thing as guilt.

  73. Solicitor says:

    B.Russ,

    I agree with your formula, but would have to give some further thought to the relative frequency and seriousness of judgmentalism and sexual sin . But I think we err when we throw down the “judgmental” accusation too freely. Is it not possible that calling someone judgmental is, itself, judgmental?

  74. “I hate it when threads go like this. Reminds me of fMh….”

    No way. FHM would have over 200 hundred comments by now.

  75. Solicitor, it sounds like you are saying that you think society should recognize premarital sex as a sin. I agree. Maybe we should preach the gospel a bit more and convert everyone else. (I’m not being snarky – it’s just that there isn’t really another solution.)

    And as far as guilt being a punishment, I’m pretty sure I said no such thing…..I did say, however, that shame is a great motivator.

    I know. I substituted guilt for shame because I agree with the comment above that said shame is external and guilt is internal. I don’t think shame is a good motivator. If we use shame in the church to try to stop sinning, then people are just motivated to leave when they sin.

  76. I think what Solicitor is reacting to — and it made me wince a little, too — is this line from the OP:

    First, it should be obvious that no one outside of BYU cares that he had premarital sex, so even though he was dismissed for an honor code violation, it’s not something he has to feel ashamed about.

    That’s saying that BYU is so weird that it’s the only place in the world where these things matter, and that not even Latter-day Saints outside of the BYU community would or should care about behaviors that are honor code violations.

    Well, guess what? We do. And that concern doesn’t have much to do with any particular case. The concern is that chastity matters, and keeping well-understood promises matter — the dismissal matters in at least an abstract way, not only to the BYU bureaucracy, as the OP seems to claim, but to anybody who is saddened or disappointed whenever something like this happens.

    Whether someone who is dismissed for an honor code violation needs to feel shame is another matter. He certainly shouldn’t be proud of the dismissal, and neutrality seems unlikely, so a negative emotion like shame is appropriate. Unga may not *have* to feel ashamed, and it certainly isn’t the place of me or anyone else here to enforce the shame, but that does seem an appropriate emotion for anyone dismissed for an honor code violation to feel.

    Don’t beat up Solicitor because he or she is grieved that someone was dismissed for an honor code violation. We all should be.

  77. Okay, so I’m a slow writer, but at least I zeroed in correctly on the line that bothered Solicitor.

  78. “If we use shame in the church to try to stop sinning, then people are just motivated to leave when they sin.”

    Amen.

  79. I didn’t read that line that way. I didn’t read it as Kevin making a values statement. I read it as a statement on the practical realities of society: noone really does care that this football player slept with his fiance.

  80. My sentiment Ardis, is that it goes against the spirit of the post, which is a positive one. Of course, I do not share the typically LDS views on sexuality, so I may well be the one off the mark (though I do not mind if I am).

  81. Kevin’s statement in the OP about “No one outside of BYU” caring is, given the context of the post, pretty obviously limited to Unga’s set of future possible employers in the NFL, who don’t enforce such honor codes.

    Folks, Kevin’s not an idiot. I’m pretty sure he knows that non-BYU-attending Mormons care.

  82. Or, as Stephanie (79) said it.

  83. Solicitor says:

    Ardis,

    Thanks. I’m slowly emerging from lurker-land and perhaps my writing needs some greater clarification. You hit the nail on the head.

    Stephanie,

    I think the degree to which shame is appropriate depends in large part on who the sources of the shame are. You’re right about the Church shaming people…that does not seem right; however, it used to be that family, especially older relatives, were the purveyors of shame — that has, by and large, dissipated.

    What seems much more wrong than the idea of someone being shamed is the parts of our culture that actually promote and celebrate single parenthood — even when we’re talking about young people that have zero business raising a child.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to see someone personally called out from the pulpit in Sacrament Meeting, but some kind of external dis-affirmation, appropriately restrained and properly motivated, can nudge behavior in the right direction.

  84. Solicitor, how about “disapproval”? If a man in my ward cheats on his wife, I disapprove. I don’t condone cheating. But I also don’t want to shame him. Scum or not, he is precious to Heavenly Father and shouldn’t be run out of the church because of shaming. So maybe disapproval is more what you are talking about? Knowing that others will disapprove of ones actions is a powerful motivator. Maybe I am just parsing words here. I just don’t like the idea of a community shaming someone.

  85. I guess it gets back to “Hate the sin, not the sinner”.

  86. What an idiotic thread. Are you really arguing over whether Harvey Unga should be ashamed of himself or not?

    Hey, his fiancee was a basketball player at BYU! Why don’t you analyze whether she should be ashamed! Or are you just going to let her off the hook?!?

    One thing for sure is that the kids of these two athletes are going to be huge. Start recruiting now.

  87. Is it not possible that calling someone judgmental is, itself, judgmental?

    Well, that is the paradox. I don’t think I particularly referred to anyone as judgmental. In fact I think the closest I got was either a sarcastic response to Mai Li, or calling Mike’s comment troublesome. I don’t know that troublesome is a judgment call, especially since its the trait common in churchgoers I find troublesome, not Mike.

  88. Solicitor says:

    Stephanie,

    Perhaps we’re not thinking about the same thing when we use the term “shame” — because I’m thinking about disapproval, as you are using the term.

    When I say shame, I’m not thinking about “shunning” or some kind of Dwight Schrute/Pennsylvania Dutch ostracization. I’m thinking about disapproval, mildly expressed. I used “shame” because the OP used a variant of that word. Sounds like we’re talking about the same thing.

  89. Solicitor says:

    B.Russ,

    I know….I was just kidding with you.

  90. Scum or not, he is precious to Heavenly Father

    Alright, get the Young Women stitching. I need a needlepoint of this hanging on my wall, STAT!

  91. I think the Bears need a QB more than a 5th running back.

  92. Antonio Parr says:

    re: Shame:

    A woman in our Ward is having a baby out of wedlock, and my wife held a baby shower for her in our home. The purpose of this shower was not to celebrate the fact that the baby was conceived through sex outside of marriage (something that the expectant mother recognizes to be wrong). Instead, the purpose was to celebrate the fact that a new child of God is about to be born. My wife felt it very important to help welcome this baby to the world, and to do so with all of the unqualified hope and joy that should accompany the beginning of this sacred journey that we call life. There were no asterisks placed on the shower — it was all about love.

    Ditto for the Ungas. They have joined hands in marriage. They are now raising their child, together. Instead of wallowing in their sin, they are trying to do what is right. To quote Ludwig, “joyful, joyful!” Godspeed to them both.

  93. Antonio Parr says:

    Notwithstanding my prior post, Solicitor raises some interesting questions. How do we show unconditional love and encouragement to others, yet at the same time remind our children that certain conduct is unacceptable to God? If we treat an out-of-wedlock birth as being every bit the cause of celebration as a child being born in marriage, might our children conclude that premarital sex is OK? How do we comment on sexual behavior without appearing judgmental? How do we recognize the nuances associated with loving the sinner/hating the sin? What of more extreme examples, such as the NBA star who has multiple children with multiple mothers, all out of wedlock? In this latter instance, is there a way of condemning the behavior without condemning the player?

    I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I do know that God loves His children, and, to the fullest extent of our mortal powers, He wants us to do the same.

  94. Latter-day Guy says:

    “To quote Ludwig Schiller, “joyful, joyful!” “

  95. Latter-day Guy says:

    “loving the sinner/hating the sin”

    You know, this sounds great––a balanced way of living gospel values in an imperfect world––but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it successfully practiced. Hating “fornication” (or whatever) is no challenge, but hating a particular instance of sin is more complicated. For a number of reasons it is so much easier to hate than to love, so we overbalance and can’t avoid it when some part of the hate reserved for sin inevitably runs out of our neatly marked boundaries.

    I have recently become convinced that, practically speaking, Oscar Wilde’s dictum is very often right: “Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.”

    Being human, I don’t do much perfectly. So if I am going to err, as I unavoidably will from time to time, I’d prefer to err on the side of mercy and love.

  96. Kevin Barney says:

    My apologies to everyone. The comments were in the teens when I left to go see Inception, and I frankly thought the thread was about done. I had no idea it was going to blow up like this.

    As Scott B. correctly says, my third paragraph was directed to the non-LDS context, my fourth to the LDS. I bifurcated that aspect of things.

    I meant this as a very positive celebration of their nuptials today and the good result from a difficult situation. i’m not comfortable with all of the negative commentary, so I’m going to close comments.

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