Stop Talking Crap About the BYU Democrats

Stop Talking Crap About the BYU Democrats

“I heard that all five of you BYU Democrats have been pretty active this year! *wink wink*”

“You’re a member of the BYU Democrats? Have they taken away your temple recommend yet?”

“They let you guys exist?!?!”

If you have ever thought about saying one of these things (or maybe you continue to say them)- please, in the wise words of our beloved President Uchtdorf: STOP IT.

As the current Co-President of this group, let me share with you a few things.

Did you know that we have about 30-35 people regularly attend our weekly meetings? Did you know that we have close to 700 BYU students on our emailing list and about 400 in our Facebook group? Did you know that the advisor for our club is the Chair of the Political Science Department? Did you know that none of us have gotten our temple recommends taken away for being a member of the club?

Did you know that every time you crack a joke about the BYU Democrats being lame or too inconsequential to make any difference, you diminish the possibility for recognizing their achievements and prominence, and by extension liberal Mormons as a whole?

The BYU Democrats is the largest College Democrats chapter in Utah. Dozens of us participated in campaigning for President Obama, with many of us taking weekend trips to canvass in Colorado and participate in weekly phone banks. Several BYU Democrats are currently serving internships with the Utah legislature, including as interns to two of the five Democrats in the State Senate (which are difficult spots to achieve). We have weekly club meetings with speakers, debates, and other activities like field trips to the state capitol, all of which have been well attended.

So please, stop talking crap about the BYU Democrats. We’re not the largest club on campus, and we haven’t single-handedly influenced any elections. But every time you jokingly (or not jokingly) spread these incorrect assumptions about the BYU Democrats, you disparage liberal Mormons and the possibility for the Church to be politically neutral. You send the message that liberal Mormons are still a joke, it is some feat of enormous courage and threat for excommunication to admit that you are a Democrat, and it is okay to diminish the successes of a minority simply for being a minority.

We deserve better, you deserve better, and the greater community of Mormons and people outside the church watching this dialogue unfold deserve better. So stop talking crap about the BYU Democrats. Instead, think about speaking about us favorably once in a while. Consider supporting our club, monetarily or by offering your professional services as a speaker at one of our club meetings if you’re ever in Utah. Let us know if there are any job openings or conferences in your respective fields that members of our club might be interested in. Instead of talking down about us, reach out a hand and help us be better- among us are members of the next generation of LDS Dems.

Feel free to contact Hannah at hannah.wheelwright@gmail.com

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3 Comments on "Stop Talking Crap About the BYU Democrats"

  • John S. Harvey says

    Good points. Hopefully the article will be read by many who can benefit from its logic.

    I still despise BYU (I went to USU) but I agree that we should NOT poke fun at BYU Democrats (or LDS Democrats, or Utah Democrats). BYU in general though is still open season for me. :-)

  • Anonymous says

    As a BYU student as well, I must admit I sometimes hear comments like this. And no offense to the author, but acting like a martyr certainly doesn’t help. I’m never the victim of this kind of kind of mockery, but yet I am often the first to share a viewpoint in class, and as Poli Sci major it’s always related to political ideals. As a proud BYU dem, it’s important to represent your views in a non-confrontational way. I think often people are looking for a fight, they want to be the martyr. I’ve noticed this is particularly true of out of state liberal minds. What they fail to recognize is that there is a large population of liberals in both the student body and professors. If we stop acting like such martyrs maybe this kind of bigoted rhetoric won’t happen. My conservative friends have certainly never said things like that because they know I can take their opinions to town if they want to debate a key issue. If we show we have intelligent dialogue rather than seek to defend ourselves all the time, we might be surprised at a vastly different reaction. I’m kind of sick of BYU liberals and Democrats waking up every morning with existential threat goggles over their eyes. The world is not out to get you. Prove yourself an intellectual being with great ideas and you will gain respect, not of all, but more than before.

  • Aaron says

    As a BYU alum and former president of the BYU College Democrats, I support the points you make, Steve. It is unfortunate that some members of the church will belittle others for having different political beliefs. That is an unchristian thing to do. Members need to be reminded of statements like this from our Church leaders: “Whenever your politics cause you to speak unkindly of your brethren, know this, that you are upon dangerous ground” – President George Albert Smith.

    BYU isn’t the only place this happens. Unfortunately, this kind of berating happens in wards and branches all across the U.S., but especially in the Mountain West. Know this, that there are a lot of us progressive / Democratic members of the Church. And because of the extreme-right trajectory the GOP has been on lately, there will likely be many more in the future. It’s odd how many American church members have become so extremely conservative, when compared to church members around the world, who come from all different political backgrounds. Since graduating from BYU, I’ve lived abroad and attended local wards. I’m grateful that in these environments, church meetings rarely turn political. I can only imagine how difficult 2012 must have been for Mormon Democrats during the run up to the election. I’ve heard some crazy stories from friends and relatives about how political their church meetings became. Regardless of one’s political leanings, we all need to stand up for keeping our church meetings politics-free. The Church is politically-neutral and our sacred meetings must be as well. At MormonDems.com, we posted an article with ideas on ways to keep politics out of meetings: http://www.mormondems.com/archives/144