Friday, March 4, 2011

On My Honor

There's been a lot of stir in the news lately about BYU dismissing Brandon Davies, one of their best players, at the height of their basketball season. Why was he dismissed? Because he violated the school's honor code by having premarital sex.

The opinions I've read have been mixed. Some seem incredulous that college students are asked to follow such a stringent, "unrealistic" code (ESPN article and video). Many are very respectful that BYU places preeminence for its honor code over a chance at a national championship (LA Times article here). Either way, a lot of people are just saying, "Wow."

Here's my opinion :) I don't exactly see eye-to-eye with Mike Smith - one of the quoted sources in the LA Times article - on some of his statements. But I do agree that I am proud of BYU for acting on its priorities.

As far as living a chaste life goes, that's not something I struggle with. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, but all students and staff at BYU read and understand the Honor Code and agree to live by it if they want to pursue education and/or employment there. And really, it's not that unusual or hard. Some of these articles make it sound like the code is a set of strict rules unfairly imposed on students who are trying to be human and have their college experience. But for most of the students at BYU, that very code has been a lifestyle long before they came to BYU. It's part of who they are, and signing the contract serves as a reminder of accountability, not a newsflash after reading the fine print.

Why bother with an Honor Code? I can testify that the environment at BYU is almost inexplicably unique. Never have I seen such general friendliness: people will meet your eyes and sometimes smile when you walk down the street; people from class or your student ward will often say hello and make small talk when they run into you; people are genuinely interested in who you are and in your well-being. People are there because they want to excel in life and to learn. Compared to other students I've met, BYU students generally hold themselves to a higher standard personally, morally, and in their work ethic - they don't give up when times get hard. The type of people who voluntarily come to BYU are those who embrace the Honor Code.

You can list a lot of reasons for following this Honor Code: I can get in trouble for breaking it; it encourages me to be a better person; it leads to a safe and healthful environment; I do it because I'm told to. For me, it's not a choice I have a hard time making. All of the above reasons are true. More than these (or summing all of them), I do it because I want to. It's who I am, and leads me to who I want to be.

Relating back to the purpose of this blog, living the principles found in the BYU Honor Code opens my life to greater happiness. When I am honest, chaste, obedient to the law, use clean and uplifting language, respect others, take care of my body, go to church, dress modestly, and support others in doing the same, life is much simpler and I avoid a lot of worry-inducing things. It doesn't weaken me, it strengthens me. When I spend less time worrying, I can spend more time learning, improving myself, and serving others; all these things improve my relationship with Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. These things lead me to be happy, and that's what we're here for: to learn to be happy, and to share that gift with others :)


  1. Question. How do they know what his transgression was?

  2. Many of the sources I've read report that Davies confessed to the team (Fredette related the story), and I'm assuming that he likely talked to his bishop first. The exact nature of his violation didn't come out until after his suspension, and I don't know who leaked it.