In the Friday, December 7th edition of the Wall Street Journal Naomi Shaeffer Riley, deputy Taste editor wrote on “What Iowans Should Know About Mormons.” Good stuff, this article.
Riley spent some time at BYU while researching religious universities. Based on her experience then and there, she recommended not that readers vote for Romney, but that they do not discount him because of his religion.
About BYU and its students she wrote:
The young men and women at Brigham Young University are among the smartest, hardest-working and most pleasant college kids you will find anywhere. (For better or worse, I have visited dozens of college campuses.) The student body lives by the Mormon principle: “The glory of God is intelligence.” Most reside off campus without adult supervision, yet they adhere strictly to curfews, rules about contact with the opposite sex and every other church directive. They are purposeful but seem to enjoy themselves, spending their free time hiking in the sprawling desert. And BYU has America’s largest ROTC program outside of our military schools.
This last fact is one I had occasion to think about on my trip. I left for BYU on Sept. 7, 2001, and returned home a week later. On 9/11, the students gathered for a campuswide devotional. The university president tried to comfort the students with “the eternal perspective.” My eternal perspective is not the same as theirs, of course. But hearing more than 20,000 young people around me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance made me realize that our temporal perspective is the same. I’m sure Sam Adams would have agreed.
While we personally haven’t spent much time “hiking in the sprawling desert,” we much prefer this characterization of BYU students to others we’ve read.
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