The 96 Theses: Constructive Suggestions for Improving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1-12
The 96 Theses: Constructive Suggestions for Improving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 25-36

The 96 Theses: Constructive Suggestions for Improving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 13-24

13. The Church owns a private hunting ground on which it sells hunting permits for up to $8,500 to hunters to shoot and kill exotic animals.

14. The Church should divest itself of this property. The Church should not profit from the merciless slaughter of animals for sport.

15. The Church owns television station KSL, which is an NBC affiliate, and approximately 30 radio stations.

16. The Church should sell its interest in KSL and other media ventures. The Church should not be in the media business.

17. The Church announced the purchase of the Crossroads Mall in 2003 for over $1 billion. That project’s cost is now estimated to be over $2 billion. (the original article contained the $2 billion number; the church-owned paper later deleted the reference to the cost).

18. The Church should not be in the shopping mall business, nor should it pay for Salt Lake City’s downtown revitalization efforts.

19. The Church requires nonmember BYU faculty members to “keep” the Word of Wisdom even off campus and during semester breaks.

20. The Church should eliminate this nonsensical requirement for nonmember professors.

21. The Church strictly enforces an exacting code of conduct at BYU and other church-owned universities under which students and teachers may not, among other things, be in the bedroom of a member of the opposite sex to whom they are not married, drink alcohol (or even be in the presence of others who are consuming alcohol—deemed a “serious” offense), coffee, tea, or use tobacco products, miss more than 3 church meetings in a semester. Failure to abide by the code of conduct may result in loss of scholarship money or expulsion from the university.

22. The Church should relax the code of conduct to focus on academic honesty and respect for others, remove attendance at church meetings from the requirements, and eliminate the requirement that students obtain each year an “ecclesiastical endorsement” from their Bishop or Branch President.

23. The Church does not require its universities to adhere to the principles promulgated by the AAUP in its 1940 statement on academic freedom. The Church values loyalty to ecclesiastical leaders above the honest search for truth in its faculty and student body.

24. The Church should adopt the principles of academic freedom ... The Church should apologize to and seek to reinstate Jeffrey Nielsen and any other qualified academic whose employment at a church-run school has been terminated because of the expression of ideas different from or distasteful to the Brethren.


Arizona Expositor

Great ideas, but I wonder if it will take 500 years to get many of these implemented?


Good point, AE. Some have a better chance than others. For example, I think it conceivable that the church could relax its WoW rule for nonmember BYU faculty. And I think if enough people knew about and put pressure on the church, it would consider selling the hunting preserve. As for the media ventures, I'm not holding my breath.

Abner Doon

Great points, Equality. I'm really enjoying them. I'm curious, where did you hear that it is grounds for dismissal if a BYU student or professor misses miss more than 3 church meetings in a semester? Is that somewhere in unwritten order of things? I'm pretty sure it's nowhere to be found in the honor code. Isn't it pretty much just up to the individual bishop whether you get the yearly endorsement or not?

Lunar Quaker

That policy was in place in my stake (BYU 15th Stake) when I was at BYU from 1999 to 2002. Attending church with your parents in your home ward didn't count, either. If we wanted the ecclesiastical endorsement, we had to attend church at BYU. Nice, eh?


I just graduated from BYU, and was told that the rule was something like 80% or 85% FULL attendance (ALL meetings) to qualify for the endorsement. I'm not sure I ever bothered to look it up, but I do know most bishops are down your throat if you start not showing up.

And the opposite sex thing? Yeah, that applies to RELATIVES. I technically wasn't allowed to have my BROTHER in my bedroom. And someone I knew had a friend (I know - not the most reliable intel ever) who was put on probation when her roommate turned her in for letting her 3-year-old nephew nap in her bedroom.

About the hunting grounds - where did it say they were hunting exotic animals? I think I missed that part... But if so, I think that's even worse than hunting the regular stuff.

John Hamer

I don't really agree with Theses 17 and 18. City planning has always been a central value of the movement. New Urbanism contains important values and the LDS church should do everything in its power to promote it; it should also act to reverse its past policies which have promoted urban sprawl and suburbification. It's likewise true that the LDS church has an important stake in the success of Salt Lake City as an urban center.

However, I agree that for the Salt Lake City to thrive as an urban center, the LDS church will have to promote the trends, but then divest itself of holdings. For example, all successful city cores need entertainment districts that include bars and nightclubs that might be problematic for the LDS church to effectively operate.

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