“Chances for learning”

Here is a scripture that concerns me:

And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning, yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God. And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up…. (3 Nephi 6:12-14)

A few years back, the Church announced that it would not be building another Church university (at least at the time) and that BYU for the first time would begin rejecting applicants who had met minimum educational achievement requirements. I believe that this development has unleased an important change in Church culture. My concern is twofold: the perception and the reality.

First, the perception. In preparation for this change, the word went out from BYU: the bar is being raised! Not only would BYU admissions place more emphasis on Seminary attendance (a good thing, in the opinion of this early morning Seminary teacher), but get those grades and test scores up! Soon rumors began circulating (at least in wards outside Utah) that applicants needed straight A’s and standardized test scores in the 90+ percentile if they expected to be admitted. These rumors seemed to be fueled partly by the BYU admissions staff, which has made tremendous efforts to do informational firesides all around the country, but in their attempt to prepare people for the possibility of rejection may instead have created a sense of elitism. While I assume that their efforts are designed to encourage the youth, my anecdotal experience is that the message becomes garbled in the translation. The youth of the Church — at least the ones I have encountered in Oregon, Tennessee, and Wisconsin — view BYU as an elite institution of higher education, and most find their (supposed) dim prospects of admission discouraging.

Now consider this from the BYU Admissions website: “BYU has been able to admit about 80% of those who have applied in recent years.” Schools with highly selective admissions typically admit around 10% (last year, for example, Harvard and Princeton each admitted 11% of applicants). Thankfully, BYU has a long road to travel before it becomes the “Harvard of the West.”

Second, the reality. While I think I understand the decision not to start another Church-funded school, the fact is that BYU is a tremendous bargain. As the Church grows, smaller and smaller percentages of the youth will have the opportunity to attend. Admissions standards (and presumably the quality of the professors attracted to teach there) will inevitably rise, thus attracting more people who might have gone elsewhere in prior years. This is the world in which the reality begins to catch up with the perception.

Add to this the growth of the Church worldwide. Currently, U.S. Mormons have significant educational opportunities that are not available to non-US Mormons. In my opinion, one of the great legacies of President Hinckley’s term in office will be the creation of the Perpetual Education Fund, but the education contemplated by the PEF appears to be primarily vocational, and the gap between the “learned” and the “others” will likely remain large.

While differences in “chances for learning” have always been with us, my sense is that the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. Where differences exist, bitterness and estrangement often follow. As one who has had chances for learning, I feel a special obligation to narrow the gap, though I do not have any ready practical means of doing that, unless someone out there is willing to sponsor my family of seven on an education mission!

I cannot foresee the Church’s future actions in this area, though my impression is that the people who are pulling the levers (especially President Hinckley) are sensitive to the issue. In the end, however, my main concern is not over the Church’s future course, but rather my personal responsibility. While I do my best to encourage all of my Seminary students to further their education (and to explore the possibility of attending BYU if they desire to do that), I wish I could do more.

20 comments for ““Chances for learning”

  1. Gordon,

    This is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to redirect the goals of young LDS from “I want to go to BYU” to “I want to get a good university education” so failure to get into BYU isn’t perceived as rejection by the Church and doesn’t spark a self-esteem issue.

    The opportunity is that sprinkling LDS college students around the country is probably a good thing as well as an unavoidable development. You’re no doubt aware there are more LDS faculty at other universities now, too. Given the CES presence at most universities and the larger numbers of LDS faculty as well, LDS students have more “support resources” than they did a couple of generations ago.

    Here’s a personal story: I considered transferring from BYU to the UW (that’s Washington, not Wisconsin) after my mission. I met with a CES teacher at the UW Institute. From the conversation, it became clear to me that his impression was that the only reason I would consider such a transfer would be to hide or to get away (from BYU? from the Church?). So maybe the biggest hurdle to overcome is a CES mentality that views BYU as the elevated center of the spiritual and academic universe, an attitude which no doubt derives from its status as the center of the CES universe.

  2. The reason for the academic elitism Gordon fears is the church’s decision to limit the number of students who can attend church university or colleges. The reason they chose to limit the number of students, rather than expand to satisfy demand for church schools, was to limit the tithing subsidy yet keep tuition low. If they let the price of tuition rise to cover the costs of education, they wouldn’t have to set a cap on the number of students.

    The reason they didn’t do this is, presumably, because they realized that if tuition were raised to cover more of the actual costs of education, less-wealthy members would be disadvantaged, and BYU would become more elitist by wealth (rather than academics).

    One way they could address both problems is to raise tuition above the new price for the expansion, and then give scholarships to offset the price of tuition based on financial need.

    This would allow the church schools to satisfy demand without creating elitism on either the academic or financial axis.

  3. Matt, I have wondered about low tuitions at BYU. In my current position, I regularly encounter their extremely low law school tuition. If the Church were really serious about “sprinkling LDS college students around the country,” as Dave suggests, it could accomplish this fairly quickly by raising tuition to a competitive rate.

    So what is the justification for low tuition at BYU? As Matt suggests, many students at BYU come from families that would willingly pay much more for a comparable education, and students from less-wealthy families could receive need-based aid. As it stands, low tuition looks like a subsidy for the wealthy at the expense of the poor. I assume that is not the policy.

    Perhaps BYU charges below-market rates so that it can attract better students. But prior to the last decade, BYU has never been concerned about academic excellence, only about academic competence (with spiritual excellence). Nevertheless, I believe that BYU has charged below-market tuition for as long as it has been around.

    My theory: the Church subsidizes BYU so that it can exert control. I don’t mean to imply that there is anything nefarious in this. If BYU thrived based on tuition dollars and contributions alone, the Church would be a less credible force on campus. Sure, the Church would still control the Board of Trustees, but it would not take long for students and faculty to spread their wings if the only real threat was Church discipline. In the present state, I believe that compliance with strict rules on academic and moral freedom is substantially aided by a sense of bargain: we (the students and faculty) submit to these rules in exchange for a cheap education. Who knows? Without significant Church control, BYU might end up like the many religious colleges in this country that now have no discernable connection to their founding churches.

  4. I agree with much of what Dave has said. (My list of CES complaints is much longer.) I think that there are successful, non-BYU models of LDS college experiences. Here are two:

    1. My wife went to colleg at Boston University. There are a huge number of LDS students in the greater Boston area. When she began, there was a single student ward in Cambridge. Now there are four student wards in Cambridge. In short, it is possible to have a very vibrant LDS student life outside of Provo. Boston is probably more vibrant than most simply because there are a huge number of colleges and universities in a small area.

    2. Another possible model is Southern Virginia University, the privately owned LDS school in the Shenendoah Valley. I visited there this summer after taking the bar, and I was impressed. They have some challenges, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

    3. I think that the Church’s decision to focus the PEF on vocational and basic post-secondary education is right own. The purpose of the fund is to provide social mobility for those mired it pverty. It seems that you get the biggest mobility bang for your buck at a community college rather than Harvard.

    That said, I think that the difficulties of stratification by education are inevitable. In my own life, I think that I have found that differences in education have been the hardest barriers for me to bridge. I find it is more decisive that race, class, income level, and (in some ways) even religion.

  5. I would just add that although BYU only rejects 80% of applicants, it’s probable that lower-test-scoring, non-seminary graduating high school students are no longer applying. 80% is probably a bloated number because it doesn’t represent all those students who would apply to BYU if they felt they had a chance to get in.

    I think it’s remarkable how rapidly UVSC (Utah Valley State College) is growing. BYU’s little cousin to the west is quickly saturating many of the students who can’t get accepted by the Y but who want to live in Utah Valley. Students of UVSC receive many of the non-educational benefits of the BYU community. They enjoy the same social/fertility scene.

  6. Gordon, the specter of elitism is one that has worried many people inside and outside BYU, and for which, as far as I can tell, there are no great answers. I haven’t dealt much with the admissions people who do our recruiting, so I can’t say anything about them from experience, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you are right, namely that they aren’t getting the message out the way they would like to.

    Concerning the PEF: I think many of us have felt extremely good about it because it is more important to give returning Brazilian, Mexican, and other missionaries a chance at a good job than it is to give them a university education. We have been losing many of them because they go on missions, spend time with North American or sometimes European young men and women and become socialized to want to go to school, get ahead, etc. Then when they return home, they return to the same grinding poverty they left, with no way out. Though the PEF isn’t aimed only at returning missionaries, they are a major part of its clientele. It gives them a way out and I think is likely to be the most important thing we have done in a very long time to strengthen the Church in Central and South American. I assume it will have the same kinds of effects in Africa and parts of Asia. As we build a strong middle class in the church in areas such as those, the opportunities for university education are going to come along.

    As Dave points out, we are seeing more and more LDS college students and faculty at other institutions. The problem is that the overall rates for temple marriage, continued activity in the Church, etc. are not as good for those who go to non LDS schools as they are for those who do. There are pockets where that isn’t true. I understand that Cambridge is one of those pockets. And they are pretty close for those who complete four years of Institute—there may be no significant difference in the numbers—but not many do that. I think that Southern Virginia University is an important development and I pray that they succeed. We need a dozen such universities. Here the Catholics have a great deal to teach us; even without the backbone of religious orders that founded the Catholic schools, I think we ought to be imitating them. Much of the work of those institutions has been done by lay members who wanted their children to go to Catholic schools.

    Similarly, I think that the growth of UVSC has been a great thing for BYU as well as for Utah Valley. The valley has needed its own state university, and UVSC, in spite of predictable growing pains, has done an incredible job of changing from a small voc-tech school to a strong liberal arts college (without, I hope, losing the voc-tech part of the school). They are very welcoming to LDS students—consciously so—and students who go there should do well.

    Likewise, I think that Utah State and Snow College are excellent places for LDS students to go if they want to attend school in Utah. I’ve had discussions with non-LDS members of the USU faculty (non-religious, I believe), and my impression is that they want to be a place where LDS students feel they can go for a good education. I’m fairly sure that Snow College has the same attitude. So students who don’t get into BYU—or who may feel nervous about BYU for other reasons—ought to consider UVSC, USU, or Snow if they also don’t want to go to a state school or can’t afford SVU.

    I don’t know why the Board hasn’t agree to raise tuition. I do know that various schemes for doing so have been discussed over the years and all have been rejected. At least once the idea of high tuition with lots of scholarships was presented, but it too was rejected—and they Board doesn’t typically give reasons for their decisions. However, I think their insistence on low tuition has less to do with wanting to continue to exert control than it does with a gut-level concern that those with lesser means be able to attend. It is also the reason that the Board insists on having lots of jobs on campus. We cannot hire someone for a staff job unless we can argue that the job cannot be done by part-time student workers. As a dean, it took me three years to get approval for a part-time, non-student secretary. In my experience the Board is incredibly sensitive to such issues (as well as to issues of how well beginning students are able to acclimate to a large university environment).

    What does the 80% acceptance number mean? I don’t know and I doubt that anyone does. I’m sure there are students who have heard the rumors and therefore don’t bother to apply, but I don’t think anyone has looked at that possibility to see how much of a factor it is. I can say that in spite of everything that I hear about how good BYU students are, etc., I don’t think I’ve seen a huge jump in quality in the last ten years or so. I don’t mean that BYU students aren’t good. Many of them really are, and I think that students who choose to take part in the Honors Program here can do as well as undergrads as they would have done at much more selective institutions. But there are still a lot of very normal students at BYU, something that I hope doesn’t change.

    As the grandson of a blacksmith and the son of a junior high school drop out who got his BA the year before I got mine (having managed to get a Congressional commission in the Army and retire as a colonel), I feel quite strongly about these issues since educational level correlates very highly with income level, and not just because education provides more opportunities to make money. People with money have many more opportunities for education, especially informal opportunities. But as I said in the beginning, I don’t know any easy fix for them.

  7. It think that the church’s decisions regarding BYU will turn out very well for LDS education in general. Here at Notre Dame tuition has risen as far as the “market will bear” (people in charge know that when religious committment to a shcool is invovled, those with the means will pay a very hefty sum). The result is a fair amount deal of cultural elitism–the Notre Dame student body is high on affluence and test scores, relatively low on committment to ‘Catholic education’.

    BYU, in contrast, is relatively easy to get into and cheap. It’s a top 100 school, and so worthy of being called the flagship institution of the church, and yet it’s not a “Notre Dame” which would attract students more committed to a top 20 degree than the idea of LDS education. The very low tuition is also something BYU should be proud of–it reprsents resistance to the temptation to cash in on the school’s enormous status with those LDS parents that would take out 3 mortgages to send their children there. It also allows many middle- to lower middle-class kids and kids from other countries to go to BYU, who would be unable to otherwise.

    Nate: I went to Southern Virginia College, during the first three semesters of LDS administration (1996-97). The program of liberal education upon which it was originally founded is sadly now gone (very sadly). However, it has survived well into accreditation candidacy and has quite a following now in the mid-Atlantic area. It will not be a great Virginia liberal arts college, and it will not even be as attractive as BYU, but it could be something comparable to BYU-Idaho or UVSC for those on the East coast–someday. Right now it’s a glorified community college. The most popular course is recreational management. One of the biggest challenges so far is competing with a very low BYU tuition. The situation as it now stands is that the main market for SVC (SVU?) are students who were rejected from BYU who can pay more.

  8. Jim, your comments about BYU and university education in the church are both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Obviously, you’ve likely spent more time pondering these issues than any of the rest of us. I especially appreciate what your have to say about Catholic universities. Jeremiah, I’m sure your perspective on Notre Dame (especially having come there from Southern Virginia University) is valid, but I wonder if it isn’t limited somewhat. For one thing, I think you probably underestimate the degree of cultural elitism which already exists at BYU. It was high when I was there (1987-1994), and I can’t believe hasn’t continued to rise. Also, you’re right that BYU’s low tuition is especially helpful at enabling certain foreign students to attend; however, given BYU’s high and still rising entrance requirements, and given the way educational accomplishment is firmly tied in the U.S. (and elsewhere) to wealth (i.e., enabling tutoring, ACT-prep courses, etc.), I would have to see a lot of hard data to convince me that BYU’s tution doesn’t, in fact, unintentionally serve as exactly what Gordon described: a “subsidy for the wealthy,” or at least the firmly middle-class (I also agree with Gordon that, on some level, a desire for control/independence must factor in the church’s desire to keep BYU cheap and financially self-contained). Finally, you need to look beyond just Notre Dame: there are dozens of colleges and universities around the U.S., all of which serve the Catholic population by providing institutions which all along the joint continuums of orthodoxy and excellence (Georgetown, Assumption, Providence, the several Loyalas, Faifield, Catholic University, Ave Maria, Boston College, etc., etc.). The proliferation of (and adaptation to the marketplace by) Catholic institutions of higher learning may have created a hierarchy, but it has also made that hierarchy quite multifaceted, something the Mormon education hierarchy (which most certainly exists) is not.

    When I left BYU I was immensely frustrated with the place, glad to leave it (for the most part), and filled with plans for fixing it. Almost all of that was your usual whiny liberal undergraduate hang-ups, and its mostly disappeared. But I still tend to believe that my idea for BYU’s future is still a good one: the church should raise tuition, put lay members on the Board of Trustees, appropriate an enormous lump sum to the school, and then let it mostly finance itself. Similarly, the church should be willing to enter into such an arrangement with any responsible bunch of lay members who come to it with plans for a school. I don’t know anything about SVU’s struggles, but I still suspect that over the next hundred years or so the proliferation of (more or less) idependent Mormon universities, in imitation of the U.S.’s many (more or less) independent Catholic universities, is the way to go.

  9. I actually surprised myself by enjoying BYU immensely. I didn’t want to go there. I got into a couple of more prestigious schools and opted for BYU because I was frightened of debt and I could go there for free. As my family and friends will attest, I was extremely bitter about being there initially. By the time I left, I really loved it. I was realistic enough to know that the quality of the education was quite uneven. (Some professors and departments were good. Some were awful.) Although the integreation of religious and secular knowledge at BYU is usually more lip service than substance, there were a couple of professors who provided me with some very useful tools for negotiating intellectual issues from which I think that I have greatly profited.

    However, I left BYU feeling a bit guilty about the huge amount of money that the Church had spent on me. I think that the tuition and elitism concern is largely mistaken. I think that higher tuitions with generous scholarships would be the way to go. I also think that some level of financial independence would be a good move. It could free up money for more important things. (Any idea about how much it will cost to refurbish all of these temples in ten or twenty years when they need an overhaul?)

    My understanding is that Wilkinson sold the Brethern on BYU years ago by arguing that it paid for itself in terms of increased activity, leadership training, marriages, and higher tithing. My problem is I am not sure to what extent BYU is the cause of this, and to what extent BYU is simply selected by kids going that direcation anyway. It is probably a mixture of both.

  10. Great comments all around. As usual, I am learning a lot from the discussion.

    Something Nate wrote really hit home for me: “In my own life, I think that I have found that differences in education have been the hardest barriers for me to bridge. I find it is more decisive that race, class, income level, and (in some ways) even religion.” This feeling is largely what motivated my original post, and I notice that Jim expresses some sympathy with the idea.

    Unless I am mistaken, this is a problem that we need to confront, or we will follow the path described in the Book of Mormon (quoted in my original post). One way of chipping away at this is ward boundary gerrymandering, which we have discussed previously on this blog. Since education is highly correlated with wealth, and wealth is highly correlated with location of homes, gerrymandering can integrate both wealth and education simultaneously. Of course, integration alone does not solve the problem, but I believe it is a necessary condition.

    Once a ward is integrated, the challenge is to get people working together. So, here is a question for Jim and other teachers: should Sunday lessons be geared toward the highly educated, the lowly educated (?), or somewhere in between? My views on this fluctuate over time, and I assume this depends on the composition of the ward. But here is my point: while I get little spiritual nourishment from lessons aimed at those with a sixth grade education, I have witnessed situations in which “intellectuals” get carried away, leaving others in the ward behind and feeling alienated. How would you advise teachers in the Church to deal with the problem of diverse educational backgrounds?

  11. Regarding Gordon’slast post, my ward here on the south side of Chicago is integrated educationally and struggles greatly with it. There have been attempts at informally stratifying classes, which has worked out decently, although it degenerates into “advanced gospel doctrine” and “regular” essentially creating an elite… On the other hand, attempts to be completely integrated have resulted in inactivity among the less educated who feel so uncomfortable. One sister was called to teach a class, and on the first day misspelled something on the board. She was also asked some questions she simply didn’t understand. She never came back to church. (Perhaps members could be a little more understanding?) Last year, one man bore his testimony in sacrament meeting that he knew he didn’t “need no PhD to get into heaven.” Gerrymadering to integrate wards is a good idea, but doesn’t of itself fix anything.
    This is an interesting thread, and I’m looking for ideas…

  12. My family lives in the Maryland suburbs of DC. Our ward is diverse along every axis — race, education, age, family status, language, wealth. Our ward is pretty unified, but it’s significantly less cohesive than the more homogenous wards I’ve lived in.

    The language barriers are especially hard to overcome. Last year we baptized some wonderful immigrants from Brazil whose ability to communicate in English compares to an American missionary’s ability to communicate in Portugese after he’s been in Brazil three or four months. We have our church friends over regularly (basically the 30 and unders) and included them in this group, but the inability to communicate any but the most simple expressions was a huge barrier to genuine friendship. They stopped coming to church a few months after they were baptized. Lots of our members speak English poorly, or have thick accents that make communication difficult.

    And while it’s usually suggested that the education gap is due to haughty educated people thumbing their noses at everyone else, it’s been my experience that many of those with interests significantly different from my own quickly bore of _me_. I don’t watch television, don’t follow the NFL, and am only familiar with pop culture through 1997, to list just a few of the facts that paint me painfully dull in the eyes of many people. Our conversations are about their job, what they’re doing for the holidays, how their kids are, etc. These pleasant conversations are helpful, but they don’t build the tight social bonds that people yearn for, and that will establish Zion.

  13. Like most, I was very eager to leave Utah when I graduated. I’m still trying to figure out how I ended up back here living here! My views on BYU are a little more mixed, perhaps because I came from an area with few Mormons. I *loved* BYU simply because it was the first time I felt like I could really express myself and study Mormonism in an academic way. I took Chauncey Riddle’s Epistemology class my initial year and loved how it expanded my horizons about thinking Mormonism. (As a philosophy class it was far more problematic – but as a religion class it showed what religion classes ought to be like at BYU)

    This then raised my complaints about CES which seemed warmed over seminary classes and an embarrassment for a university education. (IMO) I don’t know if that has changed, but it really should.

    As for elitism, I suppose that’s always a danger. But I think if truly does offer to people outside of the Mormon west opportunities they wouldn’t find elsewhere. Even places with student wards don’t provide the kind of change coming to BYU does. Personally I think the church ought to follow through on some of their comments from a decade ago. Make one of the entrace “scores” how many Mormons there were in your home locale.

    I also am positive towards what is going on in UVSC. The one weakness that both UVSC (which is still moving beyond its vocational school roots) and BYU face is the basic lack of emphasis on graduate school.

    Regarding how to judge BYU. One thing I think one ought to consider isn’t just the college alone, but the education you get preparing you for grad school. Most of my friends I graduated with went to top tier schools in their majors. Most I’ve talked to who went to top tier schools for their undergrad didn’t get as good an education as those who went to BYU. BYU professors were far more helpful approachable and people appeared to learn more. (This will obviously vary from department to department)

    The only problem I have with BYU is that I don’t think its taken the bull by the horns with respect to religious education.

  14. Russell: Perhaps I was a bit too negative about Notre Dame. The fact is that I love Notre Dame, I will likely not find a university I love more in my life, though BYU offers the chance to teach LDS students.

    As for SVC: Many people who have criticisms of BYU have heard about SVC and said, as you do, that this is “the way to go” to educate the growing numbers of LDS high school grads. The idea is that SVC is LDS but independent: LDS education formulated outside the confines of Utah County and from the ground-up rather than from church administration down.

    That was the original plan; SVC was hatched and planned by an LDS academic who was teacing at a liberal arts college in Virginia. He developed a good liberal arts cirriculum and designed a service program, an honor code and a code of conduct to go along with it. It was a creative combination of a Virginia liberal arts college with LDS faith. The problem was that for most of the other people who came on to teach and work in administration, “LDS education” meant “exactly like BYU”. The student-run honor court was also dumped and the honor code put in the hands of the administration. Dress lengths and beards became the key concern; academic honesty and trust were deemphasized. This at a school of 200 people. After three semesters the dean who had started it all was also forced out. The new dean, an educational techonology guy from BYU, immediately dumped the liberal arts program and let his wife install a recreational management program.

    If SVC is the model for the future, then we can expect other privately run LDS institutions to have all of the rules and disciplinary practices of BYU, and many other outward appearances, with not much of BYU’s educational excellence–at a higher cost. So I’m not very optimistic if SVC is the wave of the future.

  15. Jeremiah: Interesting. Still, I don’t think what you say poses any real challenge to the thesis that what ultimately is needed is independent Mormon universities. All it confirms is that the first step has to come from the top: the church needs to stop putting so much of its money (and hence prestige) in its “official” relationship with BYU; only then will a change in mentality spread that will allow Mormons to imagine an “LDS education” which isn’t simply a copy of BYU’s (presumably, but I suspect in reality only at best partially) “divinely inspired” model.

  16. I guess I don’t see why the answer is to create more private LDS universities when there are plenty of good universities (many public ones are affordable) that LDS students can attend. I attended BYU as well, but I don’t have any problem with my kids choosing to go elsewhere. Is there a concern that the CES programs don’t live up to their potential?

  17. From the Radio West interviews I believe they are just thinking of moving their already existing adjunct classes for BYU in SLC to the old mall. Those allow students to take GE classes and many freshman classes up in SLC.

    The church already owns a college in SLC btw. The LDS Business college is a church college and is actually far more strict than BYU in many things. My brother in law goes there.

    As an ironic side bit, channel 2 news had a show on a few months back about strip clubs in SLC. (Apparently there are a fair number although they aren’t true nudity due to public nudity laws in Utah) Anyway the girls were defending their jobs saying they were just regular folk and one mentioned she was a student at the LDS Business College. Ooops. So much for her college degree. (Its honor code is much stricter than BYU’s and I’m sure being a stripper violates it)

  18. Regarding the new school in Salt Lake:

    The proposal is to move BYU-Salt Lake Campus and the LDS Business College to the block between North and South Temple and between 200 and 300 West. Right now this block is a Beehive parking lot. It’s east of Triad Center and North of the Wyndham Hotel.

  19. I really like post #16 by brayden. Two good questions are brought to mind. First, can CES provide the religious connection to the Gospel and Mormon culture (that’s good right?) that is so needed at the twenty-something stage? Second, as important as education is, couldn’t one argue that we are debating the Church’s twenty-somethings access to the BYU “scene”. Isn’t that why UVSC has attracted so many from across the nation? It’s not their academics, but the social capital because of their proximity to BYU. Now my question: Is there any organization, other than an LDS college/university, that could foster an LDS community (an institute program/ward with a great reputation [like the Colonial Ward in McLean or the Cambridge wards) would seem to be on the weaker end of the spectrum)?

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