Viewpoint: A rising epidemic


More common on campus & in our lives

Students at BYU are incredible.

Where else is “Stone Cold Sober” a badge of honor or NiCMO considered a terribly scandalous activity?

Where else can you get thousands of students to attend not only church meetings on Sunday, but FHE Mondays, Devotional Tuesdays and Institute Thursdays.

Even for members of the Church, where else can you find a busier temple where hard-working students wait hours to perform three baptisms?

BYU, and the students who attend, are one of a kind, and that’s something to be proud of.

There are two epidemics rampant on campus that I believe deserve an extra word.

The first is perfectionism — something President Cecil O. Samuelson spoke of during Devotional Tuesday.

“Some mistakenly consider worthiness to be the same as perfection; this is not true,” Samuelson said. “All of the standard works are replete with references to the expectation of perfection and yet all seem to acknowledge that the perfecting of the saints is a process that is likely never to be absolutely complete in immortality.”

If you’re trying to do your best, then you are succeeding. Don’t get yourself down.

You must follow the commandments, you must listen to your church leaders, you must study the word of God — however, those of you who forgot to say your prayers this morning are not ruined.

Strive harder, do better, but do not beat yourself up for small failures.

That being said, a second epidemic plagues this school. This is the epidemic of justification.

Many of you may remember a talk President Julie B. Beck gave on campus last year. The stand-out quote went something like this:

“You’re doing better than you think you are, [but] we’re not doing as well as we could.”

It’s true. BYU stands far above other universities when it comes to personal standards; however, at times I think we get too comfortable.

Some believe since we’re doing better than other people, it’s OK if we slip up sometimes.

Since we don’t drink alcohol, it’s OK we’re consuming energy drinks by the case.

Since we don’t wear sleeveless shirts, it’s OK if our skirts don’t make it quite to our knees.

Since we don’t have full-blown beards, it’s OK if we don’t shave every morning.

Since we don’t watch every rated R movie in theaters, it’s OK if we can justify it for academic reasons.

“I have been quoted as saying, ‘Do the best you can.’ But I want to emphasize that it be the very best,” President Gordon B. Hinckley said in a leadership conference. “We are too prone to be satisfied with mediocre performance. We are capable of doing so much better.”

Cougars, we are capable of being better. We are capable of leaving the justifications behind and grasping to the gospel we love.

Honor the Honor Code. Whether or not you believe in it, you signed it. Don’t forget that.

This epidemic is not limited to students. Teachers, you’re expected to live these standards as well.

I’ve been in classes where my teacher defends everything from swearing to viewing rated R movies.

Yes, they are always justified, but they are not always right.

Please remember you stand for so much more than you think you do. Your actions are an example to someone and you can’t lead them astray.

If you find yourself justifying small mistakes, don’t worry. Repent, work harder. Whatever you do, don’t get caught in complacency.

Just remember President Beck: You are doing better than you think, but you are capable of so much more.


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