I Dissent: Questions Regarding the Efficacy and Repercussions of a Dissenting Vote

by John S.

Recently the Church Educational System (CES) announced that “all new employees who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be required to hold and be worthy to hold a current temple recommend. Church members already working at CES institutions will be invited to adopt this standard voluntarily.”

In one sense, this doesn’t change anything. CES employees have long been required to have an “ecclesiastical endorsement” to hold a job. The standards for an ecclesiastical endorsement are the same as the standards for a temple recommend, and a local leader—usually a bishop—can grant, or revoke, either. The new requirement does not demand any standards in belief or behavior that were not already in place.

From another perspective, however, it changes everything. The ecclesiastical endorsement process was informal—something between a bishop and an employee that was created specifically for this purpose. The temple recommend process is highly formal, with a prescribed list of questions, and it requires the involvement of priesthood leaders at both the ward and the stake level. The process of getting a temple recommend, and going to the temple, should be part of a pastoral relationship between a minister and a congregant. It was never designed to be an employment evaluation.

Along with the obvious fact this new policy creates a transactional employment relationship in what should be an opportunity for counseling and spiritual growth, it also deepens the already existing problems that come from giving fallible ecclesiastical leaders near-total power over the employment of the people who look to them for spiritual guidance.

The problem is abuse. Abuse happens, even in the Church. And the potential for abuse grows when the power that an abuser has over a survivor increases. Numerous CES faculty have experienced misconduct or abuse by priesthood leaders, who have unchecked authority to extend or withhold temple recommends and ecclesiastical endorsements. Lavina Fielding Anderson documented cases in which “the clash between obedience to ecclesiastical authority and the integrity of individual conscience” resulted in punitive action for church employees. [fn1] Ironically and famously, she was shortly thereafter excommunicated as one of the “September Six” due to her writings on the subject.

As I have thought about these topics, I have also thought a lot about the whole idea of “common consent”—the process by which most Latter-day Saints are asked, every Sunday, to sustain (or not to sustain) those who have been called to leadership positions in their local congregations. Theoretically, the sustaining vote should provide some check on the power that priesthood leaders have over individuals—something that becomes even more important when one’s livelihood is on the line.

Some time ago, I had a conversation with a woman who was encouraged to cast a dissenting vote because she had firsthand knowledge of a pattern of misconduct by someone who had been called to a leadership position. She felt that she herself, and other women she knew, would be in danger of continued abuse by this person, and she was especially concerned for the young women who would surely be discussing sexual behaviors with this leader. However, she decided against casting a dissenting vote because she did not believe that her dissent would matter. She had tried before, when the man was in a different leadership position, and she was told he would be watched carefully. Instead, he was soon called to a “higher” priesthood office.

Her doubts doubled knowing that the leader of concern and the leader who had called him (and who would also respond to the concern) were longtime friends. And she felt that casting a dissenting vote would be more likely to bring retaliation against her—because the man was her ecclesiastical leader and had direct influence on her employment—than to prevent someone with a history of inappropriate conduct from gaining more institutional power. In the end, the cost-benefit analysis came out well below net zero.

This Sister’s situation resonated with me on several levels. Perhaps ten years ago, I might not have understood her predicament or even fully believed her. But I have since personally been in the unenviable position of trying to report a pattern of disturbing behavior by one priesthood leader (my neighbor down the street) to his presiding priesthood leader. It was uncomfortable, but my conscience demanded that I speak. The response was not encouraging. I was told that I had misinterpreted the situation, and I was directed to the September 2017 General Conference address by President Henry B. Eyring in which he stated that the Lord “makes no mistakes in his calls.” Nothing changed as a result of my report.

Further, I was saddened that this sister—and any of her fellow CES faculty—have been structurally placed in an adversarial position with the very people who should be ministering to their spiritual needs. The newly-announced policy, by re-weaponizing the ecclesiastical endorsement process and drawing the public’s and employees’ attention to it, only heightens that potentially adversarial relationship.

All of this has caused me to reflect on the process that we use to sustain people in callings—a process that we participate in nearly every Sunday without really considering our actions. Here are a  few questions that I have for BCC’s readers:

Has anyone out there ever cast a dissenting vote, or witnessed the occurrence?

  • What was the result? How did the presiding authority respond?
  • Was it cast publicly, when the congregation is called upon to do so (“any opposed by the same sign”)?
  • Or privately, after the leader was sustained by the congregation? Was it kept anonymous?
  • What was the nature of the relationship between the one called and the one who called them, who would also be the one receiving and responding to the dissenting vote? Were they associated as friends? Neighbors? Family? Professional colleagues? Professional hierarchy?
  • What was the relationship like going forward between the person who cast the dissenting vote and the person voted against?
  • Do any other institutions follow the same practice—they appoint leaders, then ask publicly for affirmative votes, then for publicly dissenting votes? Does anyone dissent in these cases? If so, what is the resulting action? How is the institution structured?
  • Further, has anyone been in or known a CES employee who was in a compromised relationship with their ecclesiastical endorser? What did that person do in response? How did they navigate the situation? What effect did it have on their pastoral church experience?
  • Do you have any solutions to offer that might address structural defects in the system currently in place?


  1. This seems to be part of a larger effort to insulate the Church against the possibility the government might do something, so the Church can say fully “we’re a Church, so you can’t tell us how to do anything”. Moving employees from “The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop” to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, requiring only temple recommend hires, moving FamilySearch to recommend only hires, and now this.
    Are we soon to a time where only members will be allowed at Church schools?

  2. Alma Frances Pellett says:

    This seems to be part of a larger effort to insulate the Church against the possibility the government might do something, so the Church can say fully “we’re a Church, so you can’t tell us how to do anything”. Moving employees from “The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop” to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, requiring only temple recommend hires, moving FamilySearch to recommend only hires, and now this.
    Are we soon to a time where only members will be allowed at Church schools?

  3. I have seen dissenting votes when an individual was called into a stake presidency. The presiding authority met with the individuals who were part of the brothers ward. They expressed their concerns. The concerns were investigated, and the individual was released a couple of weeks later. Unfortunately that brother didn’t stay in the church, and his immediate family left as well.

  4. In the stake where I was baptized, years ago, a new stake presidency was organized. It was emphasized during the stake conference that the new presidency was directly approved by inspiration from the Lord and with the prophet’s direct involvement (which seemed weird to me at the time.) A family I knew left the conference before the end of the meeting.

    A couple of months later, I got a call from my home/visiting teaching people (a married couple) that a member of the stake presidency was being excommunicated. He and his family moved, but he did not change his ways and ended up in prison.

    This man was not sexually assaulting, but stealing. Eventually enough people had gone to the Stake President that they looked into it more closely.

    I did not see or hear any dissenting votes during the conference, but I was sitting in the back and may have missed it. The weird commentary may have been in response to dissent I did not see.

  5. Matthew, I wonder if your guy and my guy are the same, and my timeline is just off?

  6. Stephen Hardy says:

    What an excellent post! It raises so many issues that I am not sure where to start. So I will start by thanking you for tackling a difficult subject. Does anyone think it would be different if we have a more formal process for dissent? Someone who disagrees with a particular assignment may simply not be a church that week.

    Here’s an idea: We could agree that there is a one week period of thinking, considering, before a calling goes through. The bishop would propose a calling, and then announce, after all the proposed callings, that he can be reached by email, or a visit, or what-ever if anyone dissents. Then the dissent could be carried out in private. A week’s period would give those who dissent but who weren’t present time to respond.

    There might be a few downsides to this: First, the call-ee would not have the experience of seeing a congregation raise their hand, as one, in declaring their support for the calling. Also: the wheels of filling assignments is often painfully slow. Do we want to add another week to the process?

  7. J K Shaver says:

    I have stood in opposition several times over the last fifty years. Each time – my position or concern was validated. Never in a public forum or a social media tantrum.

    Just question(s) or a clearly stated position. In each circumstance, church leaders listened and responded.

    The response was not always what I expected or how I thought it should go at the time. However, time has demonstrated the church leaders acted with inspiration (again and again). Happy to support and happy to express questions and positions appropriately to church leaders.

  8. Two comments:

    * I recall a meeting where the stake presidency and high council were both totally reorganized. For one proposed member of the high council, an entire ward expressed its dissent–they had clearly pre-planned this, as they rose together but had a single spokesman announce their opposition to the presiding authority and congregation (it was in a high school assembly room, and I remember the acoustics being terrible–forcing the man had to basically shout). I do not remember exactly what happened subsequently (this happened a good 40 years ago), but that was the largest demonstration of disapproval/challenging a calling I have ever seen.

    * As a faculty member at BYU, this new policy strikes me as problematic in a number of ways. Does this mean that we will not have any non-member faculty from this point on? What happens to current faculty who do not “opt-in” to the new requirement (as I will not)–do they get put on double-secret probation and/or face additional scrutiny? How much will leadership roulette affect the employment of faculty (short answer: a lot)? Will faculty be expected–either outright or by some unwritten rule–to attend the temple a certain number of times, given that this can be tracked? The post hits on a number of other issues, but I can tell you from conversations over the past few days that this change is definitely of concern to many faculty on campus…with no real way to push back against the rule.

  9. I have raised my hand in dissent twice in the past 20 years. Both instances were with regard to massive boundary changes to be made in the Stake in order to create a new ward. But in the vein of the OP, something like “she was told he would be watched carefully” was told to me and several of my close friends back in 2001 to 2005 (in a non-Utah state in the West). None of us knew how bad this man was going to be when called as a bishop so we did not dissent prior to his taking office. As Joseph Smith warned: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” He had always been outspoken and essentially bullied others when participating in Ward Council meetings. After being called as bishop the depth of his flaws became repeatedly evident. The details aren’t my point, but at least two of the young women in the ward refused to meet with him alone.

    My point is that several of us (including an ex-bishop, ex-stake clerk, ex-high councilman, current RS President, ex-Primary President, two practicing psychologists, and so forth) who had witnessed, either first hand or via friends, his totally unacceptable behavior began contacting the stake presidency. They told each of us essentially the same thing. “We are aware, we have talked to him.”

    His behavior continued for all 5 years of his tenure, during which the entire stake presidency changed. But these new *led by God* men had the same reaction and any discussions they had with him produced no noticeable effect on his abominable behavior.

    Shortly after being released he was called to the High Council and later as the Stake Clerk.

  10. Local church leaders are not trained to deal with dissent or discuss serious social or theological issues. The types of personalities usually called to church leadership positions in my area (Wasatch Front) can’t handle such things emotionally. They get defensive and the person attempting to get leaders to address the issue may be alienated to a degree and even denigrated in ward councils.

    I know that many of you, with strong academic backgrounds, think that some form of communication is the best answer. You want to trust your local leaders. But it simply isn’t wise. Now, if there is criminal activity and you possess evidence or have witnessed that activity, turn the matter over to law enforcement. Don’t inform church leaders. The only issue I would go out on a limb on is child abuse. But I simply would not inform a Bishop or Stake President about, well, anything else. Wave and smile, folks.

    In all seriousness ask myself before talking to any local church authority: Is this issue worth a change of residence? Is it worth your children facing harsh treatment at the hands of the Bishop in worthiness interviews? Because that is what my family faced.

  11. Roger Hansen says:

    There have been a number of issues and changes at BYU that are deeply troubling. I think the Church leadership has a poor understanding of what a university should be. Certainly Elder Holland speech to the BYU staff was poorly constructed and the message was inappropriate for a university setting. The recently released policy on student protests (including the use of the “Y”) is deeply troubling. The requirement that new hires in the religion department be a product of CES is crazy. And now the TR requirement. Instead of critical thinking, preparing student for the real world, the leadership is encouraging blind obedience. Instead of teaching inclusion, the university appears to be encouraging exclusion. TR interviews are a flawed process and a poor way to judge staff. What if a Bishop’s conservative politics are at odds with progressive BYU staff member?

    At least 3 of the GAs are former university presidents, including 2 in the FP3. They should understand the role that a university should play in a student’s education. Instead the leadership wants complete control of the message and to squash critical thinking.

  12. Observation 1: In principle the oracular process and the idea of common consent are at odds. (Oracular = giving forth utterances or decisions as if by special inspiration or authority. uttered or delivered as if divinely inspired or infallible.)

    Observation 2: In practice the opportunity to dissent comes very late. There’s already been significant deliberation and leaders are already committed to a process and an outcome.

    My suggestions, especially for high visibility leadership callings, more-or-less counter-cultural:

    (a) Open up the process. Break the secrecy, break the suspense. Approach leadership callings more like a hiring process, less like an appointment.

    (b) Consult with members in advance. And by the way, even when members are consulted, in current practice the ratio of women to men giving input is shocking+embarassing+indefensibly low.

    (c) Treat inspiration and authority as a small part of the whole. Treat information gathering as the larger part of the process. Per the GHI at 30.1.1., each calling should bless the people served, the member who serves, and the member’s family. Leaders seek the guidance of the Spirit and *also* consider the member’s worthiness, gifts and abilities, personal circumstances including health and work, and the impact the calling may have on the member’s marriage and family.

    In my opinion it should be a clear indication of failed process whenever there is dissent (that wasn’t known and taken into account from early in the process).

  13. We like to talk about our church being run by volunteers, but really, that’s completely inaccurate. We rarely volunteer; we are asked to fill a calling by someone else who was asked to fill the calling responsible for filling all the callings. Those who call the calling fillers were, in turn, called to fill those positions by yet higher levels of individuals who similarly didn’t volunteer for their positions either. It really starts to get dizzying when you try to puzzle out how this whole house of cards ever got started in the first place.

    christiankimball’s idea of treating the process like a hiring process is intriguing. At first blush it seems appealing, though I think it would be such a large departure from what we’re used to that it would be hard to foresee all the ramifications. (What about callings that literally no one wants to apply for?)

    I’m currently an executive secretary, which means I attend a lot of bishopric meetings where I try my best to keep my mouth shut. (It often works.) Callings are discussed, names are suggested to organization presidencies for their input, names are prayed over, probably multiple times, and only after everyone in charge has made up their mind is the person who is actually going to be doing the work ever informed of anything. It’s a curious system.

    My experience is that this all results in very uneven results for different individuals. If you are friends with (or married to) someone in the bishopric, it is easy to make suggestions (“I’d just love to be in the YW while my daughters are teens”) and in my experience those can carry weight. Perhaps some people get to pick their callings after all. The bishopric also has the ridiculous task of trying to know the personal details of everyone in the ward so they can decide if they’ll fit the calling, because we can’t bring ourselves to involve an individual in their own calling process. (Does so-and-so work nights? weekends? Do they like camping? Get along well with children? Like public speaking? Technologically savvy? etc.)

  14. We had a SP when I was a kid that was excommunicated for embezzling funds. He was beloved by many people and was instrumental in the conversion of my grandfather many years before. He was also a prominent politician in the county. My dad was his clerk. My Dad sensed something was wrong but did not know what it was. He talked to a friend who was a member of the Q12 and conveyed his unease. Joseph Fielding Smith passed and within a short time under HBL an audit was launched leading to the ex-communication. In the following Stake Conference, there was a man that voted against my father during the sustaining of stake officers. Upon the man being interviewed, he said he felt my dad was at fault because he had it out for the SP because of their differing political views. That was the end of the drama.

  15. Those are two different Dave’s that commented back to back. They must be tapping into some multi-verse Dave-super-consciousness or something.
    -The first Dave

  16. A Frightened CES Employee says:

    I’m glad John S. is bringing this issue to the foreground. Unless you are a CES employee, the full ramifications of ecclesiastical endorsements are hard to appreciate.

    How can you dissent from someone who may soon have the power to fire you?

    As a new CES employee, The first thing I noticed was that I lost all access to pastoral care. Bishops vary. I’ve had two since I moved to Utah who see mental health issues as a spiritual lack of faith. I’ve had bishops who take on the role of gatekeeper, i.e., make sure the church schools are protected from harm. I’ve had bishops who believe their political party is the gospel, which deviation from is grounds for ridding a person from church employment. Case in point, a Bishop with this political/gospel confusion about two months after tithing settlement decided not to sign my endorsement because he had a “feeling” that I was not paying a full tithing. He even demanded my tax records. An administrator of the Church school where I teach called me in and said that it was up to the Bishop entirely whether he would or would not sign my endorsement. There was no recourse for appeal. It was completely at the Bishop’s discretion. Luckily, my Stake President talked the Bishop down after I appealed to the handbook of instructions on tithing, but my job would have been lost if the SP had not been interested. The SP knew me well and was a CES employee. Some are not so lucky.

    Literally, a bishop becomes a line boss who can terminate your employment at will. Since you don’t know what you can bring forward to a bishop when needing pastoral care, that aspect is gone for all CES employees unless they know their Bishop better than I’ve ever known now. I know many such who would never dare show they need pastoral care. Ever. For anything. It may risk your employment.

    The statement quoted in the post by President Henry B. Eyring in which he states that the Lord “makes no mistakes in his calls.” Implies infallibility when applied to CES endorsements. It means that Bishop cannot make a mistake in assigning temple recommend status or ecclesiastical endorsement. A scary prospect for CES employees.

    And that’s the terrible thing. Reporting a bishop means that the Stake President was wrong to call him, an unthinkable fact to the person who “prayed and received a revelation by the spirit” that THIS was the man he was supposed to call. He could not believe you without doubting the sanctity of his own revelation. These are men culled by their own obedience to their position and those above them. It’s a system ripe for abuse.

    Ecclesiastical abuse really is an ongoing aspect of the conditions of church employment. For some, it seems to me, inevitable given the variety of people called to priesthood offices. The thought that some very flawed people have control over people’s whole lives and careers is frightening. I’ve had great bishops. I have one now. But I still can’t be sure where he stands on many things. I must remain silent.

    Dissent? No. It could cost me my job.

  17. Dave 2 – Yup ;) Daves rule! But to make it easier for those not in the club I change to Dave 2 to DLC.

  18. I wonder if a large portion of CES employees organized in protest. What would happen to BYU’s standing if half the staff and faculty walked off the job?

  19. Lon Franson says:

    Three times I’ve seen a dissent.

    First time as a Teacher. New quorum president had been a bully and we all knew it. One young man raised his hand to dissent. Bishop took him out into the hall to ask about the dissent. After, Bishop came back in and put the new presidency on hold. Apparently, re-interviewed the young man who had been called as president. Two weeks later, the young man apologized directly to all of us. And really did change his behavior going forward.

    Second time was for a new Elder’s quorum president. Again, leader met with the person. Calling was put on hold. Eventually new EQP was called and dissented almost-EQP moved out of the ward. Bishop and SP asked people not to speculate.

    Third time, I met with the dissenter who told me the individual who I had called to a new position was not a great home teacher. He had missed several months. I thanked him for his info, went ahead with the calling and encouraged the individual to be a better home teacher.

    Just my two cents..

  20. Four years ago we moved to a stake with legacy issues – open misogyny, casual racism, a bizarre antagonism towards the youth, rampant nepotism, etc – all driven by a top down leadership approach from consecutive stake presidents. The 2014 scandalous Puerto Rico mission president was from this line of line of leadership, although in an adjoining stake. There are a couple units with transplants and many units primarily from folks who grew up here. The ‘transplant’ wards are baffled by the way things are done but without any of there members in positions of authority there’s not much they can do. Those who grew up here have often not know anything different. I want to be clear they’re not bad people, but terrible leaders.
    I was complaining to an old mission companion about the issue, particularly with the youth, and he said his grandfather was the area secretary and would I like to talk with him. A few days later I got a call from an area authority. We went over specific issues I had seen and well known issues in the stake. All concerns he tried to explain away – I didn’t know the full context, good people, misunderstood, etc. I said it doesn’t appear you have any interest in taking feedback. He said mistakes can get made with calling leadership. I asked at what level and point do you fix those mistakes versus letting the members suffer? This isn’t a rogue facilities manager, it’s a stake president and leadership matters. I was warned against evil speaking of lord’s anointed. I asked who was anointed and who not? That was not well received but also not answered.
    I don’t know what impact, if any, my call had. The good news is the next stake president loves the youth, is emotionally aware, not from the previous leadership tree, and has quickly made some material changes while also being sensitive to not throwing the previous president under the bus.
    It’s complicated. I’m moving because my kids are 12 and I’m not interested in being part of an area that doesn’t care about the youth, even if it’s slowly changing. But I think standing up is important, but my job isn’t in jeopardy

  21. Not exactly the same thing, but once I had heard rumors of the bishop making some major changes to some of the organizational structure of the ward (not calling-related, but something that had major impact that affected everyone). I emailed the bishop to ask for a meeting so I could discuss my concerns. I didn’t even indicate in the email what I wanted to meet about, just that I wanted to speak with him. The response I got (paraphrased) was, “I know what you want to talk about, and you’re wrong, and I’m right, and my mind is made up. I refuse to meet with you.”

    His refusal to even talk to me (what if I had wanted to talk about something completely unrelated?) only hastened my exit from that ward. It was clear that I wasn’t welcome.

  22. nobody, really says:

    It’s going to be interesting when a bishop somewhere says “You know, my brother is applying for a position in the geography department. I’d hate to have to refuse you a recommend for not looking closely at his application.” Or “My wife is a little short on her point value for these leggings she sells. I notice you haven’t purchased any yet.”

    No appeal, just absolute power over another person’s employment. What was it that Lord Acton said about power?

  23. Another CES employee says:

    I have had so many lovely bishops who gave so much time and heart to so many. To me.
    And one who caused considerable stress to myself and others.
    I have not recovered my trust of the entire ecclesiastical and TR process since. As a CES employee, that latent punishment (just as possible due to misunderstanding or abuse) always hangs over the relationship with your bishop. And an off-the-main-script (marriage/kids/temple) life further complicates matters.

    Ecclesiastical abuse happens. It materially affects a CES employee’s mental, spiritual, physical health, not to mention the obvious threat to employment and livelihood, career.

    Here is another example of ecclesiastical abuse (skip to episodes 5-6), which happened to a CES colleague.


  24. Another CES employee says:

    Also, in terms of possible solutions:
    I would also add the potential helpfulness of an ombudsman/woman, disinterested party, to investigate concerns. (Not my original idea; not certain where I first heard it mentioned.)

    This could be in place certainly at CES institutions, but also for general members of the church. I’m not talking about the “abuse hotline“ which is available only to ecclesiastical leaders and connects them with church attorneys. This would be a mediator or advocate specifically in place to address cases of ecclesiastical abuse.

  25. Yes, there are multiple university presidents in the leadership of the Church. But two of them are from BYU-Idaho…which has always been a different type of institution. The new commissioner of Church education, Clark Gilbert, also did time at BYU-I before going to Pathways. The GAs who supported BYU the strongest–Presidents Hinckley and Monson, for example–are gone. It would not be surprising to me in the least if this policy change was a (really, another) step toward turning the Provo campus into a version of BYU-I South–more focus on time with students, de-emphasizing research and scholarship, more infantilization of the students (and faculty). So much for the “Harvard of the West”…

    No chance for a walkout or other protest among any significant number of the faculty–at least in Provo if for no other reason than the academic job market is so bad that very few would risk a secure job for a protest that would not have any impact whatsoever. And even if you could convince the faculty to stage some organized dissent, nothing would change–except the number of Ph.D.s on unemployment.

  26. For those employed by the church or studying at a church school, if you are in need of pastoral care, I would suggest seeing a therapist, obviously not through LDS social services.

  27. This discussion has been so meaningful and encouraging—all perspectives. Thank you.

    I very much believe that most church members, and most church leaders, men and women, desire to do good. And bishops bear especially heavy burdens of time, energy, and emotional stress. Also, humans are humans. They have blind spots, they have weaknesses, frailties, and Achilles heels. My problem is not so much with the humans who are called to positions, nor even those who may not respond effectively to concerns (though I admit that doesn’t sit well). Humans are fallible. We all are of course. Including lay leaders. The problem comes in when the system perpetuates and enables abusive patterns, and when weakness, over-zealousness, and misunderstandings can unnecessarily lead to serious life-changing consequences. We cannot say, “let’s be forgiving and supportive because leaders are humans too” (something I generally agree with) while also putting such fallible humans in positions of extraordinary, too-often-unchecked power over people’s spiritual, emotional, and in the case of CES, temporal well-being—not without a far better process to manage abuses of such power. Not without provision for human fallibility.

    I am so glad to hear from several of you that, in some cases, the system that currently exists was effective. I am so sorry to hear of cases in which it was costly, whether to the one dissented against, or to those whose dissent/concerns were not heard or taken seriously. The latter are both heartbreaking. One case is too many, but there are so many more than one.

    Additionally, this raises another related point, one that has been raised before: how bishops (and other priesthood leaders) are given such latitude to discuss sexual matters with youth and adults. Again, given human fallibility, how can we be OK with this? How is one with a pattern of sexual misconduct allowed to be alone with young women speaking about sexual transgression?

    Whether or not the law should be involved is of course another great point. It would require one or more women to come forward, and for the law (police etc) to also believe women. Just as male priesthood leaders confronted with such a report would have to open up to the possibility that women’s perspectives should be heard and considered, especially when a behavioral pattern emerges. Again, the cost/benefit scale so often doesn’t come out in the green for women. This is why so many don’t come forward.

    All of this to say, the structure—the system—is the problem. I believe in forgiveness and redemption; human error is not usually a tragedy unless it has tragic consequences—due to an unjust system.

    If I were in a position to, I would propose a change to the system and implement several of your excellent suggestions.

  28. I think I agree with those who speculate that church leaders intend to dilute the education experience at BYU so the school can be exempt from any requirements church leaders don’t like. As someone with personal experience with the effects of these decisions, I feel sorry for those with degrees from BYU. About 10 years after I got my Masters degree from the Y, the school closed my degree program because they didn’t want to be held to national standards. My degree immediately became a liability. Job interviews became exceptionally difficult because of the reasonable assumption that graduates of the program would not understand or support standards. I’m glad I’m nearing the end of my career. With 3 degrees from the various BYU’s, I’m just tired of trying to convince others that I can be competent and ethical.

    I’m extremely grateful I didn’t take the job with the church that I was offered. Yes, they would have accepted my degrees more than my actual employers. However, private conversations with church employees tell me that many of you are really struggling.

  29. I’ve seen one dissenting vote. It was for a man who was replacing me as young mens President. The counselor just stated from the pulpit the vote was noted and the Bishop met with him after Sacrament meeting. The dissent was about perceived competence not worthiness and the called man was promptly set apart.

    As a Bishop I hated ecclesiastical endorsements and spoke of my dislike for them fairly openly to my leaders and members of my congregation when they came in for the interview. It gives power to one man over another’s livelihood. I received calls from CES occasionally fishing for info about a members TR status. Yes or No answer only. I felt awful having to say no once knowing that it was the end of the line for that path if employment for that man. Similarly Bishops can ruin or halt a student’s education by not endorsing them. I never liked being the gate keeper to employment and education.

  30. The Other Brother Jones says:

    christiankimball said (at 12:33 yesterday)
    “Observation 2: In practice the opportunity to dissent comes very late. . .”
    I would like ot add that the congregation get about 3 seconds to decide to dissent. After taking realize who is called, and second guessing yourself about dissenting or not; That’s at least 7 seconds, and the opportunity is gone.

  31. I was a teenager when our bishopric was changed. When the congregation was asked for a sustaining vote on the new bishop, one woman raised her hand in opposition. She and the stake president left the chapel and had a conversation while the meeting continued. I don’t know, of course, what was said during that conversation, but the new bishop was set apart later that day, and presided over and conducted sacrament meeting next week.

    During our next testimony meeting, which I think was a couple of weeks later, that woman stood up and said that she would sustain the new bishop but expressed gratitude that she had had the freedom to raise her hand in dissent. She ultimately ended up getting divorced and leaving the church. In the meantime, that bishop kept the ward on a particularly and sometimes dramatically tight rein. I remember going in for a run-of-the mill interview and he went way WAY off script, digging for misdeeds that hadn’t happened, trying to get me to fess up to problems that didn’t exist (it took me a few years to even figure out one of the issues he was talking about), and even looking up to the ceiling and calling out, “Inspiration, help!” It was wildly inappropriate, easily the worst meeting I have ever had with an ecclesiastical leader, and obviously an abuse of his position, but I wasn’t old enough to know what to do, or confident enough to say anything to anybody. I did find myself wishing the stake president had listened a little more carefully to that one sister.

  32. BYU employee says:

    It’s not clear what this temple recommend rule actually changes for BYU faculty, since the university has quietly called our bishops for some time now for occasional checks. But here’s a general comment on BYU’s practice of tying ecclesiastical endorsements to employment:

    This policy cuts BYU faculty off from pastoral care. I cannot express any doubts, seek counseling, or make a confession to my bishop, since I don’t know whether I might say something that causes him to revoke his endorsement of me to the university. It happens that I have no confession to make, nor am I in need of counseling at this time, but that is not the point. I have no sense for what might trigger a loss of my livelihood. Surely when Jesus said “be ye therefore perfect” he didn’t mean for us to pretend everything is perfect at the cost of our careers.

    I understand the logic of requiring ecclesiastical endorsements for BYU faculty even if I don’t fully agree with it. But if this is the route BYU wishes to double down on, it would be lovely if BYU offered some sort of anonymous pastoral care through a chaplain’s office or something, since this policy cuts faculty off from being authentic with their bishops about anything that isn’t rainbows and sunshine.

  33. Anonymous Old Man- for this one. says:

    My dad had a creepy feeling about my first bishop, before I was born. He dissented and the stake president ignored him. (The stake president eventually became the president of the church- a really great guy.) My dad had a nickname for the new bishop, Flapper.

    Flapper sold real estate and he would often stop by to visit various ward members during the day. When he visited my mom, she would send us kids into the back yard to play. One day my dad showed up suddenly when Flapper was visiting. He went in the back door and a few moments later, Flapper came flying through the screen and hit the cement face first. My dad followed immediately. He threw Flapper up against the brick wall and I will never forget his words. “You come sniffing around my wife again and I will cut your throat. I’ve slit more throats than Jap throats.” Flapper ran to his car with my dad on his heels kicking him at every step. Pops had a bit of PTSD from hand to hand combat in pitch dark caves in Okinawa at the end of WWII and he went through a wild stage after the war as a street fighter in LA, before he repented.

    People, you don’t have to put up with it. Stand up against wickedness in high and low places.

    Nothing really happened to my dad for that. Flapper never came back to our house. A few years later Flapper was excommunicated from the church for having affairs with young married women in the ward. He fathered one of my school mates who lived a few houses away. I never had the courage to ask how far Flapper’s visits to my mom went.

    Unrighteous dominators, beware. There are still a few mean old coots around.

    The fortunate fact is that ecclesiastic abuse is self correcting in volunteer institutions. People can easily just leave. Old Man is right, but you can change wards without moving houses. Beyond a few small enclaves along the Wasatch front, the youth peer group in the ward is a joke compared with friends at school. Nobody has to attend or work for BYU or the church. Nobody has to attend any particular ward or church.

  34. Formerly Frightened CES Employee says:

    A nod to frightened CES employee. As a former BYU-Provo faculty member I can say I never felt there was any real avenue for pastoral care. Leader roulette is real.

  35. It sounds like the CES employees now know how the students feel.

  36. I know this likely isn’t the place that would hold sympathy to this view, but I’ll put it out there anyway. If I read the tea leaves, and connect it to the Faculty conversation with Elder Holland a while back, I can see where it comes from. The potential for ecclesiastical abuse for adult employees of the BYUx/CES to have serious blowback is weighed against the topic Holland expressed that students are being led away from their faith by faculty. The implication is that professors are ‘skating by’ with the current system and continuing to influence students out of their faith. It is apparently wide-spread enough that Holland addressed it, and now they are following up with the explicit item, the only thing, really, that they can employ to combat the reality and/or perception. No longer is there a wink and a nod with the Bishop, but an agreement with the fundamentals required for the TR.

    If I’m in a position in SLC I can see the balance of the potential issue with things they absolutely know are happening.

  37. Not an example of dissent, but…Ann’s story of the calling being announced as having prophetic support reminded me of when my dad was called to be ward executive secretary or something similar. People in our ward didn’t like my dad, in large part because there were (founded) rumors about his physical abuse of his kids. I remember the bishop stating emphatically that the spirit had confirmed this calling “so strongly it hurt.” It seemed perfectly clear to me at the time that the bishop was preempting the expected dissent over the calling. And it worked, because no one dissented. My dad was pretty stoked to be “part of the bishopric,” as he reminded us frequently…until he decided it was too much work and asked to be released. Maybe it really was revelation, because I don’t know of any harm he caused in the position, and it sure made him happy for a while, which probably made our home life easier.

  38. pconnornc says:

    I have never seen the hand raised in dissent, but I have experienced a few members who have come to express concerns about someone at the ward level.

    One instance, their issue was a “vibe”, which is very difficult to take direct action on – though the bishopric committed to keep an eye on the individual.

    Another instance, there was vibe/weirdness that caused members to suspect an issue, but the brother would not speak of anything to the bishop. Note, the bishop even probed with no results, but that can lead to the accounts of abusive leaders – kind of a danged if you do, danged if you don’t scenario. Unfortunately there was fire where there was smoke and things did get exposed, and sorted out legally and ecclesiastically later, but leaders are clearly challenged.

    Lastly, years ago I worked @ HQ. A TR was a requirement for employment at the time. There was a person who did have a repentance issue, and they wound up working @ corporate Deseret Industries for a period, until they could come back. My understanding was the individual felt very supported to be able to repent and keep their livelihood.

  39. John, if it were true that faculty members were leading students astray, perhaps this would be a reasonable response. But there is simply no evidence that that is the case. And certainly no evidence that disaffection is happening because of professors’ private sins, which are probably not tied to their politics.

  40. anonymous says:

    I once spoke w/ the SP regarding how the bishop whom I was serving with was handling a very sensitive issue. BTW – could not love that bishop more, and both the other counselor and I did try to influence him. The SP listened and shared concern over the issue (in everyone’s defense, I think they all felt way out of the league on the matter). I do not know the conversations w/ the SP & bishop, but believe there was a discussion that resulted in a shift in the handling of the situation. We have never spoke of it again, but I have always felt deep love from that SP. I wish the worst our leaders have to deal with is “my teenage won’t get a haircut” – but that is not the case, and I always feel the burden to “sustain” my leaders in any way I can.

  41. another isolated BYU professor says:

    As a BYU professor, there is NO WAY ON EARTH I would ever confide in my bishop if I were in need of spiritual counseling or support. Not on any topic, no way. I can’t predict what a bishop will decide is disqualifying, and my employment is tied to that decision. I lost any access to pastoral care the moment I began teaching at BYU.

  42. Left Field says:

    This policy is a lot of pressure to put on a bishop, too. It’s one thing to ask someone to skip a few temple visits while they work on improving the cleanliness of their thoughts. It’s quite another to tack unemployment onto the decision to sign or withhold a recommend. I sure wouldn’t want to be put in that situation.

    When sustaining someone for Aaronic Priesthood ordination, a recent bishop in my ward would ask for opposing votes and invariably add, “…and there better not be!” He thought he was being funny. I hated it. I hated it because it abandoned even the pretense that the sustaining was something to be taken seriously. But mostly I hated it because there is always the possibility that someone in the ward knows of a serious problem that the bishop does not. And maybe the appropriate response to that is something other than a public opposing vote. But if we’re going to ask for an opposing vote from people who might have pertinent information, we ought not be telling them to shut up about it.

  43. anonymous says:

    It would take something really egregious and provable in a court of law for me to publicly dissent. If it was something serious, I’d send an anonymous letter to the stake office. I wouldn’t trust local leaders not to put me and my family on the unwritten ‘watch-list’ if you know what I mean. The cost would just be too great otherwise.

    I have a side job in CES, which thankfully isn’t critical for me and it wouldn’t be a crisis if I had to quit. As the daughter of a bishop, stake president, and patriarch, I had a front row seat to some crazy stuff that happened (and stuff I couldn’t help overhearing through the door and down the hall when they used to do interviews in the SP’s home!) I learned early in my life that callings and character don’t always go hand in hand. I learned quickly to be extremely careful about what I do and do not say in interviews.

    Currently I’m keeping my head down. I’ve been put in to teach Relief Society, which is usually where they stick you if they don’t know what to do with you and/or if you’ve ruffled somebody’s feathers. It was probably my handling of the Old/New testament in Gospel Doctrine – I’m not a Bible literalist… we have a lot of Bible literalists in the ward… I am totally ok with my current calling though, because our RS is awesome!

    I’m in backwater Utah, in a small town where people are more interested in how long your family has lived in the area than whether you’re competent or actually righteous. Extroverts rule the roost here, and various things such as social skills, charm, attendance at every soup social, and popularity, are very often mistaken for righteousness. We’ve got a bishopric member who is mostly ok, but he makes me nervous because he seems to want to assert control over things that are frankly none of the bishopric’s business. I’m really worried he’ll be the next bishop.

  44. your food allergy says:

    “It’s one thing to ask someone to skip a few temple visits while they work on improving the cleanliness of their thoughts. It’s quite another to tack unemployment onto the decision to sign or withhold a recommend. I sure wouldn’t want to be put in that situation.”

    Really? What’s so difficult? It’s a set of simple yes or no questions. If the answers are affirmative, sign the recommend. If not, give them the benefit of any doubt, and offer any help you can to get them to where they can give the right answers. And why would avoiding the temple, if it is a source of spiritual power, help someone improve their spirituality? Bishops going off script is the problem.

  45. I’m coming a bit late to this, but I have a story so I thought I’d share it.

    Over thirty years ago, I was in my late teens, sitting at the front of a sacrament meeting thanks to a speaking assignment. A man was sustained to a position in the young men’s organization. A woman, his neighbor, sitting in the front row, cast an opposing vote. I saw it, but I don’t think most of the congregation did. The following week, the bishop announced that a calling announced the previous week had been reconsidered and retracted. I don’t remember him naming the man or offering any other details. I don’t even remember whether he named the specific calling in question. I later learned through a gossipy relative (my late grandmother who I was living with during my early college years) that the woman voting opposed had revealed in a Relief Society meeting that she had witnessed abusive behavior from the man toward his wife and children and felt it was not right for such a man to be working with the young men. As it happens, I was also the man’s home teacher. The next month when we visited him, he complained about not getting the calling, did not seem aware of who voted opposed to it, but correctly assumed it was one of his neighbors, who he expressed disdain for. Clearly there wasn’t a lot of love going around on that cul-de-sac. I found the whole saga pretty fascinating. Being pretty young at the time I did not appreciate how rare this particular example of the system working was. I would like to think that many bishops in the church would respond as my bishop at the time did, but I’ve heard enough stories of leaders refusing to believe allegations against individuals they have personally called to leadership callings to know that one can’t necessarily count on it.

  46. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    It seems like the practice of asking for sustaining votes applies differentially to some callings. Bishoprics, callings with the youth, financial callings (or callings where financial issues might be in play), even teaching callings, should absolutely be subject to input from the congregation (that list isn’t complete). But there may be things like activities committees, newsletters, administrative callings, or such that might not need to be subjected to the whims of members’ assessment of a person’s worthiness/appropriateness. For example, I would have loved to raise my hand in dissent at the person who was recently called to play the organ in Sacrament Meeting, knowing first-hand just how awful they would be at it (and I’ve been proven correct each week, since), but that’s a very different concern than having evidence that someone is abusive or corrupt. And an abusive or corrupt person might be a really great organ player, and could contribute in that way.

    But the manner in which we are asked to dissent is fundamentally flawed. It’s inherently public (mostly), and puts in motion a series of events that is awkward, at best, embarrassing or discrediting for the person being called, or has potential for retribution towards the person who dissents. These should be avoided, and they can be avoided. Callings shouldn’t be sprung on people. Not on those being called, and not on a congregation. Somehow, it became the norm to issue a calling and have it be a surprise to…everyone. So, reorganizing a Bishopric became an ‘event’ with very few people in the loop. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Announce the potential callings and allow a time for comment. I know, these things are supposed to be inspired (treated more like revelation). They can still be inspired, and leaders can ignore member comments they deem immaterial.

  47. Dawnmarie says:

    I am not at all surprised by any if this……Henry B Eyring’s statement about the Lord making no mistakes in his calls does not mean that the person is right for or should be in that calling. Sometimes we are called because the Lord is giving us an opportunity to make things right. It’s an opportunity to look at ourselves and say hey there are things I need to make right. People always assume that just becsuse ypu are called that you are actually supposed you be in that calling and I don’t think it’s always the case. Everyday I see more reasons to walk away than to stay.

  48. Left Field says:

    Food Allergy, I’m not sure if my comment was unclear, but I don’t understand your response at all.

  49. I’m really late replying to this post, but will do so anyway because I think it is an important topic.

    *When I was a young boy (around 6-years-old) a new stake president was called to lead our area. When he name was presented, about a dozen men in the chapel stood and dissented. A hush fell over the congregation followed by audible mumblings. I recall asking my dad what was happening and he said we would talk about it later. They asked those who opposed the action to meet in the relief society room after the meeting. During the car ride home I asked my parents and my dad simply said some in the stake evidently didn’t like the man presented. Our stake split when I was 10 and we were placed in the other stake. I remember my father again mentioning how happy he was with our new stake president. The other stake president was unpopular but to this day I can’t get my father to explain why. He will only say that a lot of members, himself included, didn’t agree with how he treated people.

    *The problem I see is local leadership looks an awful lot like an NFL coaching tree. Who becomes a bishop is determined by who served with the stake president when he was a bishop and so on and so forth. It is the definition of a good-old-boys network.

    *For a decade and a half I worked professionally at the same company with a man who served as a bishop and then as a counselor in a stake presidency. He was widely regarded as one of the most incompetent individuals in the organization. It was common knowledge (because he talked so openly about it) that his individual finances were a mess, he was laden with revolving debt, he had very tenuous relationships with his children, and his relationship with his wife was terrible. That didn’t stop him from giving everyone advice, which was terrible. He would also talk openly about how badly he felt for having to excommunicate this sister or that brother, gosh, so many things happen when you stray from the path he would drone on. Everyone around him in the company found his hypocrisy to be unbearable. He redefined how I look at church leaders. Why was he called? Long-time buddies with other stake leaders and he came from a legacy family. Bottom line: I wouldn’t have trusted this man to babysit my pet cat over a weekend let alone expose my family to him had we been in his ward or stake. He is the reason I don’t trust leaders until I have cause to trust them–and I set that bar high. Because of him, I join my teen children in bishop interviews and ahead of time I tell the bishop what he will and will not talk to them about and that I don’t care if that compromises their receiving limited use recommends. So far no push back from our bishops. I also have to add I have never sought out a bishop for counseling except one, and he is the rarest of bishops. Paradoxically, this bishop’s heterodoxy is what made him such a good bishop.

    *I think the biggest tragedy in all of this whether you are a CES employee, or current BYU-X student is that these policies incentivize lying. I am also at a place where I simply do not trust the church…at all. Are they tracking my temple attendance (or lack of temple attendance)? Are they regressing my tithing payments with temple attendance with the number of internet sessions I spend on lds.org/general_conference_talks? And I’m tired of BYU’s dishonesty. I’m tired of our church’s lack of transparency and deplorable institutional ethics. It pains me to say this and I have expressed it on several blogs before and will say it again here, I am so glad none of my children attended BYU. I am so proud of the moral individuals they are. Strong, smart, committed to doing the right thing and free thinking. Their development has been so much better nurtured because they are free from the weight and increasingly thick and hypocritical politics of BYU and its board of education. There are other educational paths for young adult members. Ones, I’ll assert, which are much better than BYU.

  50. “The new requirement does not demand any standards in belief or behavior that were not already in place.”

    I don’t understand. The first five temple recommend questions are more or less doctrinal. The ecclesiastical endorsement requires us to attend church and keep Honor Code standards. I say that as a graduate instructor at BYU–perhaps there’s an entirely different ecclesiastical endorsement process for full-time faculty.

  51. The closest thing that I can think of to this topic is while I was on my mission an elder was called to be a Zone Leader, and I remember that surprising some of the missionaries. The time we had Zone Conference the Mission President made a line about sometimes the Lord gives callings of condemnation. Presumably he was referencing this Zone Leader. No idea how accurate my Mission Presidents point of view was, but I’ve always kept it in mind.

  52. Another CES employee says:

    Dylan makes a good point. The temple recommend process is far more about inner testimony. And those aspects seem to be highlighted in the press release (is there any other policy change for CES employees that has been given the visibility of a press release?).

    This new emphasis then on questions of testimony commodifies personal belief, one’s personal relationship with God.
    Can that really be measured? As one of my colleagues said,”is there a rubric for that?”

  53. female ces employee says:

    “What is the process for existing faculty, staff and administrative personnel to adopt the new requirement?

    “Employees will receive an email the week of January 31, 2022, with a link to a website where they can voluntarily opt in. Employees will also receive personal invitations to adopt the new requirement at annual faculty stewardship interviews and annual performance interviews for administrative and staff personnel.”


    Current employees have been “invited” to “opt in,” and, according to the pages on BYU‘s website, we will be invited frequently in stewardship reviews and performance reviews. ???
    Will we be nagged to do so? By whom? Our supervisor/chair? (how often?) Will this put a target on our backs if we don’t opt in? A number of us CES employees at two institutions were discussing whether or not we would opt in; our answers were mixed among us. Several of us said we would not, based on principle; the policy doesn’t pass the stink test. Others of us said we would, for various reasons, from not feeling it would be a big deal to do so, to fear that it would put them in jeopardy.

    A while back I spoke with one of our title IX officers about concerns I had regarding the endorsement process and specifically some sketchy behavior by him who was over my endorsement. The title ix officer was not even aware that faculty received ecclesiastical endorsements. Let me repeat that: he, the title IX officer, was not even aware that faculty received endorsements at the hands of their (male) ecclesiastical leaders. To his credit, he later called me and confirmed what I was already keenly aware of: indeed, yes, bishops are sent a form at the end of every calendar year for every faculty member in their “flock” confirming that they are a member in good standing in their ward and a number of other questions.

    Now, in my years as a CES employee I’ve never seen the form or known the questions (or how they were framed) that determined my employment. Male faculty who rise to leadership positions in the church, however, have, of course. And they also could be the ones endorsing their colleagues or their own department chairs (The latter relationship happened in my department). The new policy, whether intentionally or unintentionally, seems to address the problem of transparency. (Until the recommend questions change?) And also opens up several crates of cans of worms.

    It’s baffling how an institution filled with so much good can also enable and perpetuate so much injury. That is the way of things, I suppose. That is the way of people. People are complex.

    To the Institution:
    If you want to garner trust, don’t do stuff like this.

  54. I have dissented twice. Once publicly and once in private. The public dissent (“those opposed by the same sign”) was while I was relief society president and, along with a few others, including our young women’s president and the Bishop’s wife, dissented a decision to split off all the new African American converts in an ill-conceived ward boundary change (we had 100 baptisms in one year). Within weeks of our dissent, My first counselor and I also sent copies of a letter to four apostles outlining abuses of power committed by the Stake President and Mission President. This triggered a request from the regional representative for an interview. In hindsight, it was a wonderful blessing that he came from a geographical area that was also familiar with how western transplants can undermine the leadership of local leaders. Although he was expecting to meet with two sisters who described inappropriate leadership, he was met with us and our entire Bishopric who proceeded to pour out their hearts regarding undermining, gaslighting, etc. Upon hearing all this, he called in the Stake President and Mission President in front of us and asked them to apologize. This triggered an about face with both leaders.

    The second dissent was a private one in which my Bishop asked to meet with me regarding my current assignment as a seminary teacher and wanted to know if I could “bear my testimony” about Prop 8 in California (gay marriage). When I explained why I would not bear this testimony and why, he encouraged me to attend a “fireside” at his home that night to hear more about how our ward was supposed to support Prop 8 (finances . . . each ward in our stake had an “allotment”). Three days later, I had a voicemail from a member of the Stake Presidency informing me that there were not enough students enrolled in seminary to warrant a third teacher. I was fired. I feared other forms of retaliation for months after that and was given a blessing by a neighboring Stake President who agreed with the abuse of power. He is now in the quorum of seventy. Good guy.

    These are two very different situations. All involved abuses of power. The only thing that saved us in the first situation was the sympathetic experience of the Regional Representative. In the second situation, there were so many rogue Stake Presidents who could do what they wanted that it amounted to mayhem across all of California. I call this the roulette wheel of Mormon leadership. When it works well, it works very very well and when it doesn’t work it can be awful.

    In my opinion, a real solution would be to become transparent about the need for checks and balances throughout lines of authority. The biographies about Ezra Taft Benson by Matthew Harris shed light on how much it was necessary to have checks and balances on his judgement. If the council of the 12 can actually veto and change a prophet’s direction, why not have a formal procedure known to members for reviewing practices at a local level, such as our stake president asking all wards to mention Prop 8 every week in sacrament meeting up until election day (Excuse me. Let me go to Starbucks after the sacrament and calm down with my steamed milk!).

  55. Yosemite Sam says:

    This is likely a response to some extremist views and less than doctrinal teachings creeping into the curriculum at church institutions and seminaries. This is merely my opinion and speculation, but BYU isn’t what it used to be 15 or 20 years ago and i believe the brethren recognize a need to bring it back on track. They want to root out the dissenters and those teaching false doctrine. Essentially they need instructors and professors that have a solid testimony in the gospel and a firm commitment to following all commandments and teaching doctrines that may not align with worlds standards. BYU or any CES program isn’t the place for folks to be teaching if they are going to be teaching other views. We have always been warned to live in the world but not of it. Slowly members have let the world creep into their lives.

    There are some great comments and concerns here about potential abuse by bishops or stake presidencies. Those are all valid. I would suggest potentially allowing for an opportunity to contest or argue your case to a higher authority if a temple recommend wasn’t issued and it effected employment. Of course that suggestion is mine alone and unlikely to make it to anyone in a position of authority.


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