Allow Blueridge (Roman Gardens) Apartments to Remain a Co-ed Complex
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February 6, 2018
Attention: BYU Off Campus Housing Committee RE: Roman Gardens
I am writing today to express concern over a recent change in the tenant policy concerning the housing of both male and female residents at Roman Gardens (now called Blue Ridge Apartments).
I am wondering why an institution such as BYU has a policy to keep men and women from being housed in an apartment building under the same roof? It seems to conflict with what we teach in the Church.
The tenants at Roman Gardens are nearly 90% returned missionaries. They have taught the doctrine of agency and moral conduct for two years. They have been guided by the pamphlet “For The Strength of the Youth” as a guide to moral and personal purity in their teenage years. The instruction they receive from their mission presidents is: “Find a spouse and settle down.” They are encouraged to date properly and often. They’re encouraged to attend YSA wards where they can find good wholesome men and women who have the same values. We ask them to hold home evening together, attend activities, home and visit teach one another, and become involved in every way possible with so they can find a spouse.
After all that training, we now tell them “we” don’t trust you. You’re not capable of making moral judgements of purity and chastity. You can hold a temple recommend for two years and be trustworthy, but you cannot be trusted to live by someone of a different gender. They sign an honor code to get into BYU, they sign a lease agreement that holds them to the same standards as the BYU honor code, but oh, by the way we don’t trust you. You can’t live worthy if you live in close proximity to someone of the opposite gender.
In the 1 ½ I have been a bishop for the residents of Roman Gardens there have been 42 of our ward members who have found one another and married in the temple. None of them had to wait to resolve issues of moral impropriety. The 32 other members who married outside the ward also married in the temple and didn’t have to wait to resolve moral issues. To my knowledge, there has not been a single incident of moral indiscretion at Roman Gardens during my tenure; nor in the 50+ years in the existence of Roman gardens.
The social atmosphere at Roman Gardens is phenomenal. The residents look out for one another, care for one another, and are united in their love of God and Jesus Christ. They know what each individual is doing, when they struggle, and how to help each other. They are than friends; they are family.
The decision to make Roman Gardens a single gender facility sends a message of distrust in our youth who we claim “We are in good hands”. The question really should be: Do we trust ourselves enough that we have taught the next leaders of the Church and nations to be wise and prudent with their agency”? Joseph Smith taught, “I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves”. Yet, we seem to be trying to “regulate” morality?
I ask you to prayerfully reconsider the decision to require Roman Gardens to be a single gender facility.
Bishop Hales Provo YSA 243rd Ward
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