Readers’ Forum: Marginalization at BYU

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I know this week has been a touchy one for a lot of people. As a second-semester student here, I can say that marginalization at this campus is real and prevalent. There’s no way for me to deny that.

Many of us are here at BYU came because of our need for refuge. We are a “peculiar people.” It’s vital for me that I can go to a school where I can share the parts of my life that are most important to me. How could I take that away from someone else who also abides by the same rules I do? 

The Savior treated the lowest and vilest sinners with compassion. How much better should we treat the strong and intelligent (yet marginalized) people around us that have brought so much good and so much care for those around them? How much can we learn from people who not only have faced significant opposition from the world, but also from members of our own church that have stayed true to their testimonies and their faith? How come we often spend more time denying their problems than addressing them? 

I, for one, want to learn. I want to learn who you are, what makes you unique and different, and I want to know what gives you strength. I want to change hearts on this campus that maybe don’t know enough about you or what you’ve gone through and I want to know how I can help you. 

I will support you, but I don’t agree with the protest today. The BYU and CES system is not your enemy. Satan is your enemy. I know that policy does not equal doctrine, but we need to be cognizant of what we’re fighting. These people around you may need their hearts changed, as we all do at times, and that should be our goal. 

The world is in confusion. It doesn’t know what to believe or what is truth. Don’t fall into the trap of popular politics or ideologies. People are most important. BYU students should know better than any campus in the world about people and their worth. You’ve served missions globally, you know “The worth of souls is great in the eyes of God.” 

How else can I say this? To those who are feeling marginalized: My heart hurts for you. But thank you for being strong, thank you for a tremendous faith I wish I knew. Thank you for fighting through so much adversity to reach the God you love. You are an example for me in my life. And it’s my hope that you will be an example to many, many more people. There are people who, like me, don’t know you or what you’ve gone through. But I want to. Understanding each other and our divine identity is key. Help me and others on this campus to do that.

Hunter Johnson
Boise, Idaho

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