Readers’ Forum: 4/9/19

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LGBTQ community

Within the Church community there is another one: the LGTBQ community. While Church policies haven’t been perfect, the Church has recently extended its hand to people who legitimately struggle with same-sex attraction. It recognizes same-sex attraction as a real issue that members around the world confront. Even with the emphasis the Church has placed on embracing these fellow members, people have a hard time letting go of the dissensions we’ve had in the past.

It is important to recognize that there is a rift between the Church and people struggling with same-sex attraction because of the ideals the Church holds dear regarding the marriage between a man and a woman. Still, people need to make a conscious effort to change their mindset regarding members with same-sex attraction. The Church’s official website, known as mormonandgay.lds.org, states members with this struggle can still “… enjoy full fellowship in the church, which includes holding the priesthood, carrying out callings, and attending the temple.” These members long to feel included and long for the same blessings afforded to all who choose to follow Christ. They should never feel alienated from the Church.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is open to all. We are all striving to be disciples of Jesus Christ regardless of the secret struggles we find ourselves with. Members who strive to follow the prophet and become more like Christ will strive to extend a loving hand and embrace all members regardless of their sexuality.

— Paige Rose

Henderson, Nevada

Honor Code

If you have connections with the BYU community, your social media was likely flooded the past few days with horror stories of the Honor Code Office. In addition to the stories, there is a plea to sign a petition to reform the Honor Code. I became confused at the apparent discrepancy — people are complaining about one thing and asking to change another.

When examined closely, it becomes clear most people’s serious grievances center around the procedures of the Honor Code Office, not the Honor Code itself. Many students felt they had been wrongly accused or their specific situation had been dealt with unjustly. Why then is the petition aiming to change minor standards of the Honor Code rather than the procedures? If students want the dealings of the Honor Code Office to change, they must focus their efforts on encouraging more transparent and straightforward procedures to ensure all cases are dealt with justly. Changing the Honor Code standards without amending the procedures will only lead to more gray areas where the Honor Code Office actions could be unfair.

Students argue at a religious school such as BYU, the Honor Code Office is in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings of forgiveness. However, forgiveness does not equal an absence of accountability. Although a student can be forgiven of their transgressions in a spiritual sense, they are not exempt from the consequences — which may include disciplinary action from the university at which they agreed to not participate in such behaviors.

While we, as students, advocate for improvements in the procedures of the Honor Code Office, let us not forget what a privilege it is to be a BYU student. There are many Church members all over the world who will never have a chance to attend this great university, but whose sacred tithing funds subsidize our world-class education. Students and BYU affiliates are eager to sign the petition and enact change, but one must wonder if in a world of online petitions that take seconds to sign, are we signing our names onto the correct cause? Let us think carefully about what we post on social media and how we choose to represent ourselves, because we are ultimately representing BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

— Alexa Winters

Lindon, Utah

Planned Parenthood

When women and men have control of their bodies, they feel confident with themselves and can empower each other and the rest of society. When there are 2.5 million people who rely on Planned Parenthood to have the care they need, it should be a no-brainer that something that helps so many should not be taken away. Planned Parenthood serves those who have low income and those in underserved and rural communities.

Planned Parenthood provides beneficial reproductive services for both women and men. Women receive pap smears, lifesaving cancer screenings, vaccinations, contraceptive, sex education and more for little to no charge. Men can get STI screening and treatments, counseling and referrals for free or low-cost vasectomy, testing and counseling for HIV and more with the same low charge.

People of color and those in the LGBTQ community are less able to access quality health care because of racism, sexism, classism and other systemic barriers. People with lower incomes go to Planned Parenthood. If people do not have health care with their job, they use Planned Parenthood’s services. When it comes to birth control or other services, no co-pay means extra money toward anything. Having access to basic preventive health services relieves people of worries of having to pick between extra money towards food or other necessities in life. Women are able to keep the extra money and their lives, contribute to the economy and much more when they feel at peace with their bodies. Men are able to help themselves and contribute to helping women’s health by being safe themselves.

Planned Parenthood provides a safe environment and services people need without having to decide what they can afford. These patients do not want to make a political statement, they want to come in for the basic services they need so they are able to go out into the world feeling confident. Help these people provide for themselves and their families, while feeling confident and empowered along the way.

— Laurel Heer

Dublin, Ohio

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