This is a quick letter based off my thoughts after reading the article about “cheating” the beard ban.
BYU has something we commonly call the “Honor Code” which is required to be reviewed during a face-to-face interview for an ecclesiastical endorsement and clearly stated in advance.
Many see it as something to be challenged at any corner, others embrace it, while still others just endure it. What is the purpose? Ultimately to facilitate communicating the expected standards of conduct of the University? Of the Church? A tool to develop character in students? I think we often forget that policies like the dress and grooming standards embedded in the honor code are really a tool to try and develop character and discipline.
The aims and mission of a BYU education go way beyond mere academic development , but oftentimes there is some odd perception that BYU is just about classes, tests, papers, grades and degrees. It is intended to build a lot more than just mere scholars.
Now lets talk about the article. The mere fact that the title is related to men finding ways of cheating the beard ban shows that it is understood by the author and those doing it that it is cheating. Lying, cheating, stealing are all indicators of a lack of character and demonstrate dishonorable behavior. Knowingly taking a privilege you clearly don’t deserve, haven’t earned, or otherwise know is wrong isn’t just chancing a ticket – it is by definition dishonorable behavior.
If you know it is illegal, immoral, or in this case against the stated policy and then you agreed to it only to try and ‘cheat’ so you can do what you want, it is dishonorable and shows a lack of disciple and character. The real question is, if you can’t handle something as simple as having to shave every day, what will be your reaction and behavior when there is a real decision to make? It is time to build a backbone, be responsible for our actions and demonstrate some real character!