BYU Employment Standard FAQ
Recently the Church Educational System (CES) announced that all new employees who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be required to hold and be worthy to hold a current temple recommend. Church members already working at CES institutions will be invited to adopt this standard voluntarily.
More information about this adjustment can be found in this news release and in this message from President Kevin J Worthen.
Enclosed below are responses to questions employees may have about this updated employment standard.
How does this employment standard relate to and advance BYU’s mission?
Elder Clark G. Gilbert, Church Commissioner of Education, said, “It is critical that each employee represent the mission, values and goals of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
The mission of BYU is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life. In his fall 2021 devotional address, BYU President Kevin J Worthen, quoting BYU’s mission statement, explained that to “succeed in this mission the university must provide an environment enlightened by living prophets and sustained by those moral virtues which characterize the life and teachings of the Son of God.”
The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, has emphasized the importance of temple ordinances and revelation received in temples. BYU can better preserve its commitment to its mission by aligning employment standards with temple worthiness. All new hires who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be required to hold and be worthy to hold a temple recommend; all who currently teach and work at BYU will be invited and encouraged to voluntarily adopt this same standard.
Why is the Church Educational System (CES) making this adjustment to its employment criteria?
By requiring new faculty, staff and administrative employees to hold and be worthy to hold a temple recommend, CES schools remain true to their mission statements and anchored to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At BYU, the university’s identity and operating structure flow from its faith-based mission, aims and objectives, as affirmed by its Board of Trustees and sponsoring institution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU is a faith-based community and always has been. The temple-recommend requirement strengthens the spiritual foundation for employees—individually and collectively—that better enables them to provide a spiritually strengthening experience for BYU’s students.
I thought this was the policy all along. What is the difference between the former standard that stated “conduct consistent with qualifying for temple privileges” and the updated standard that states “hold and be worthy to hold a temple recommend”?
For most employees who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, BYU anticipates this will not represent a change because they already hold and are worthy to hold temple recommends. BYU’s employees are known for their commitment to the university’s mission, their devotion to Jesus Christ and their dedicated service in the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
Holding and being worthy to hold a temple recommend signifies that a person believes in and adheres to Church doctrine, principles and practices and is worthy to enter the temple. https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/october-2019-general-conference-temple-recommend
Why is the conjunction “and” used in the new standard: “Hold and be worthy to hold”?
Church members have the opportunity every two years to interview with ecclesiastical leaders and affirm their belief in and adherence to Church doctrine, principles and practices. A temple recommend becomes effective when the member and the ecclesiastical leaders all sign it. Use of the word “and” emphasizes the fact that employees need to renew their temple recommends every two years and also maintain their worthiness to hold the temple recommend at all times.
What is the process for existing faculty, staff and administrative personnel to adopt the new requirement?
Employees received an email the week of January 31, 2022, with this link to the website where they can voluntarily opt in. Employees will also receive personal invitations to adopt the new requirement at annual faculty stewardship interviews and annual performance interviews for administrative and staff personnel.
Will a current faculty member or employee be terminated if they choose not to adopt the employment standard of holding and being worthy to hold a temple recommend?
No. Current faculty and personnel will be invited to adopt the new standard, but it will be their choice. BYU’s existing employment standards, including the requirement that employees who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ “accept as a condition of employment the standards of conduct consistent with qualifying for temple privileges,” will continue to apply to employees who decline to adopt the temple-recommend standard. https://policy.byu.edu/view/personnel-conduct-policy
Does this standard also apply to part-time personnel and adjunct faculty?
Yes. Each employee at BYU has an important role to play in accomplishing the university’s mission.
Do student employees fall under this category?
The standard will apply to student employees who work at the Missionary Training Center and who work at the Church of Jesus Christ’s FSY programs. All other student employees will not fall under this standard. All students will continue to need an annual ecclesiastical endorsement.