In response to recent attempts to make Brigham Young University more accommodating to students whose views on the Mormon religion change during college, a counter-protest has emerged under the banner ‘Keep BYU Peculiar’—an effort to keep the Lord’s University just the way it is.
“We’re here, we’re not queer, and we don’t want any dissent,” shouted one demonstrator—who referred to himself only as Ammon—donning the T-shirt, an outline of the celestial smile just making itself known above the logo.
The latest protestations against the University’s honor code have brought on an unlikely alliance between detractors of the university and those who attend and want its draconian policies to remain intact.
“We came here because we believe in the paternalistic ideals espoused by President Ernest Wilkinson in the 1960s and 1970s,” said BYU coed Torrey Christianson. “President Wilkinson was terrified of communists and hippies, and erected, er, built an oppressive honor code to reflect those fears. It’s our privilege as BYU students to have our lives micromanaged as a result of Wilkinson’s paranoid delusions about the counterculture.”
Another student of the academy where many young Mormons Enter to Learn and Go Forth to Serve, Brock Holden, agrees: “The rules shouldn’t change just because a minority prefer the Great and Spacious Building to the Tree of Life.”
Others, like ex-Mormon and former BYU student Bryce Perry, agree, albeit for different reasons.
“I mean, if they make BYU a more liberalized institution, open to free thought and discourse, how can I poke fun at it anymore?” said the malcontent, whose snark-employing blog uses BYU as means to lampoon the Utah-dominant religion. “BYU represents the crushing strictures of the LDS Church so well in a microcosmic way; if BYU loses that, I’m gonna have nothing to write about.”
The momentum fueling the uptick in t-shirt sales stems from students who want BYU to retain its repressive, ultra-conservative and beard-free ideals—essential qualities they say put BYU on the map to begin with.
“A free and open-minded institution? Guffaw!” freshman Corry Strindle scoffed. “That’s not why I came here. I came here to be hidebound to an outdated set of rules, to snitch and to be snitched on, to wonder what the women look like with uncovered shoulders, and to go through a pack of razors every week. In short, I came here for the full, unadulterated BYU experience.”
At press time, lawyers in the city of Austin were arranging a court case against the Provo-based t-shirt manufacturer for deliberate appropriation of the Good Dog Cool font.