by MELANIE BRIDGE
It’s about honor. “We believe in being honest … .” “‘Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.” My word is my bond. If I give my word, draw a chalk circle around me, and I will not escape.
How many of us step out of that chalk circle, or at least peek a toe out like and elephant testing the water? A slight eraser mark in our circle, just to see what will happen. Can we get away with it, or will we get caught? It’s not about getting caught; it’s about honor.
It’s not about people spying, Gestapo hiding behind bushes, library carrels and apartment steps to catch us in the act, hauling us off to the Honor Code office. There the tribunal pronounces us guilty. Without a chance for appeal, we are unmercifully flogged and thrown beneath the stadium with the dinosaur bones and marshmallow-mateys.
It’s not about the media analyzing the rightness of it all, our entire sordid history sent out in a press release so the whole world will know what we’ve done. Right or wrong, it’s about an agreement we said we’d follow. An agreement given to all of us regardless of athletic, academic or any other ability.
It’s not about bishop’s secretly wired to record our confessions so they can turn us in and meet their monthly quota from the Honor Code office. Bishops have honor too. They are required to keep secret our confessions — only you can turn yourself in. After all, it might go better for you if you turn yourself in. You might get off with a plea bargain, or immunity to testify against someone else.
But it’s not about turning our friends in. The chalk circle isn’t drawn around our ward, it’s drawn around us individually. Honor means encouraging others to have their own honor — setting the example by following all the rules, making it easy for others by not pressuring them when they choose to live the standards — but it doesn’t mean ratting on our friends.
It’s not about seeing how far we can bend the rules. It’s about saying you’ll do something and then doing it. The First Presidency has asked us to follow certain standards at BYU. Yet we fail to follow the constant standards they have instituted. It’s not a question of good standards, bad standards, certain standards we don’t like, certain standards we do — it’s about honor.
It’s not about justification, wearing shorts two inches above the knee because we can’t find anything else, not shaving for two days because we’re just too tired, having our boyfriend over at 12:30 a.m. because he doesn’t get off work until midnight. It’s about wearing jeans even in the summer, setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier, using the telephone after midnight — not because we’re fanatics but because we said we’d follow the standards at all times.
When we sign ecclesiastical endorsements in March, it’s not about praying our bishop hasn’t seen the attendance records or rationalizing the rules we plan to break, it’s about our name on a piece of paper. It’s about a promise, it’s about our word.
It’s about honor.