Brother Of Jerry
Date: April 05, 2019 04:01PM
Yes, there is political exposure. Other schools refusing to associate with BYU was serious pressure. Just within the last few years, to organization that accredits law schools looked disapprovingly at the BYU policy of expelling students who left the LDS church. As I understand it, BYU changed their policy, at least for the law school, and law students can as a matter of conscience resign from LDS Inc and stay in the law school.
BYU has caved on other issues. They got sued over requiring that non-students in BYU approved housing sign an Honor Code standards agreement to live there. They settled out of court, and changed their policy such that non-students can not live in BYU-approved housing (I believe that was the settlement).
In the 1990s (I believe) BYU freshman Michelle Warner got expelled for resigning her membership. She sued, asserting that (a) the expulsion policy was not uniformly enforced, and (b) the BYU catalog, which is a part of the contract that the student agrees to when they enter BYU, did not specify that leaving the LDS Church would result in expulsion from school. She got an out of court settlement, where she got to take her BYU scholarship to another university, and BYU explicitly put the expulsion policy in their catalog.
And of course all the people who resigned their LDS membership when The Policy we are discussing right now put substantial social pressure on the church.
Bob Jones University lost their tax exemption for a while. their specific problem was that as a condition of enrollment, students had to practice racial discrimination. They were not allowed to date or marry interracially, on pain of expulsion from school. They fought the ruling, and there are hundreds of pages of various court decisions in that case on the internet. They eventually exhausted all appeals and lost. They changed their policy, stating opposition to interracial dating/marriage, but not expelling students, and got their tax exemption reinstated.
BYU of course was looked at while that case was going on (early 1970s). The IRS/DOJ decided that BYU did not have a problem because, while LDS Church policy was racially discriminatory, there were no institutional policies at BYU that were racially discriminatory. Black students could enroll at BYU, attend, graduate, and neither black nor other students would be sanctioned by the university for interracial dating or marriage. BYU did not have the same problem that Bob Jones U had.
I'm running out of time, or I'd insert several paragraphs here about churches that have lost their tax exemption, but I have a busy day and no time. Short version: it was always about money that got them in trouble, and The Policy of LDS Inc had nothing to do with how LDS Inc was spending its money. I can't think of a single church that lost a tax exemption over doctrine or non-financial practice. (BJU was a school, not a church)
OK, so it is possible to sue church schools and win, it of course is possible to sue and criminally charge church officials in sexual abuse cases. There are lots of ways social pressure can be applied. I get all that.
What I am being black and white about is the claim, often dragged out here, that they changed the policy because they feared losing their tax-exempt status. Two reasons. the bar is spectacularly high on that. And if the IRS were to propose such a thing, LDS Inc would fight it tooth and nail, for years on end. Kirton McConkie would rack up enough frequent flier miles to Washington to qualify for a first class seat upgrade to Alpha Centauri. There would probably be literally a freight car's worth of paper generated. Everybody on the planet would know that the IRS was trying to strip LDS Inc's tax exemption. There is no way in hell they would just fold at the barest hint of a threat.
People have claimed that Jimmy Carter and SWK had each other's phone numbers, and Carter told Kimball that the IRS was about to cancel the LDS tax exemption over the priesthood issue. First of all, that is not how the IRS does things. I had a typo that the IRS made when they transcribed one of my 1099s a few years ago. They sent me a bill for $13,000, I sent them a WTF, and long story short, it took about 6 months and about a quarter inch stack of paper to fix a one line typo that they made. Trying to strip the tax exemption of one of the largest single religious denominations in the US would generate paperwork. Lots of it.
Besides, Jimmy Carter is still alive. Somebody could just ask him if he ever called SWK to warn that LDS Inc was about to lose its tax exemption, which would have been the biggest church-state news story of the second half of the 20th century. He'd probably remember something like that.
Sorry, that story is so preposterous it doesn't even qualify as a decent urban legend.