BYU classes begin a students eye more honor code changes 01

Brigham Young University students pass by an entrance sign as they make their way toward campus during the first day of classes for Fall Semester on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Brigham Young University released a letter Wednesday clarifying changes that were made over two weeks ago to the school’s honor code, saying “same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code.”

The university updated its honor code, which was approved on Feb. 12, removing specific language regarding homosexual behavior and relationships. In the former version of the code, the section stated all forms of same-sex physical intimacy went against the code.

In the letter signed by CES Commissioner Paul Johnson sent to students and employees of all Church Educational System schools, including all three BYU locations and the LDS Business College, the removal of the section does not reflect a change in the church’s moral standards.

Johnson is a General Authority Seventy and has served The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for almost 15 years. In the letter, he acknowledged the confusion many experienced after the update, and states that the letter was written to clarify the changes after some misrepresentation.

“There is and always has been more to living the Lord’s standard of a chaste and virtuous life than refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage,” the letter read. “Lasting joy comes when we live the spirit as well as the letter of God’s laws.”

The statement referenced “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” when addressing the discussion surrounding the change over the past weeks. Within the reference, the letter confirmed the church’s stance that “marriage is between a man and a woman.”

The update was made available on Feb. 19, which was the same day that the church released its updated and revised General Handbook online. In a previous statement, the university said the code was updated to more closely align with the church’s updated General Handbook.

The full letter can be seen at

The OUT Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ+ students and alumni of BYU, criticized the school’s clarification of the honor code in a written statement released Wednesday.

“This troubling reversal is a breach of trust that leaves queer students with a target on their back,” the statement said. “Any student who may have come out to their roommates as dating, or displayed any affection in public may now face a precarious situation in which their academic standing, on-campus jobs, housing, or career prospects could all now be in jeopardy.”