Why I Support BYU’s Ban On Sex

I’m sure many of you have read this article. It’s all about a sweet girl who is asking BYU to repeal its ban on sex. I’ve been asked by a few people to voice my comments, so here we go.

There are a few things you should know about the BYU Honor Code, and the LDS Standards.

1. The Honor Code and LDS Standards are a choice. People who attend BYU sign the Honor Code willingly. You don’t have to come to BYU and live the Honor Code. But if you sign that Honor Code, you are obligated to live it. I’m sorry if this is harsh, but if you don’t like the rules of your school, maybe go to a different one? Nobody is forcing you to be here, or follow those rules.

2. The Honor Code isn’t a list of horrible extra rules. They’re basically the Church standards, written down for people to agree to live by. If you’re a practicing member of the LDS Church, most of these rules shouldn’t be that big of an adjustment.

3. Never in the church or in the Honor Code, are women asked to dress modestly for men. They’re asked to dress modestly for themselves and for their Heavenly Father. While there are people who talk about modesty as it regards to men, more and more the conversation is becoming about your personal self-esteem, and how you can show a God up in Heaven that you respect him and the body he gave you. Yes, modest dressing does help the boys around you. Is that such a bad thing though? It’s not your responsibility to help boys have clean thoughts at all, but if dressing modestly helps them, why not do it? The bigger reason to dress modestly is to prepare for the temple, and because God has asked you to. End of story.

4. Sexual sin is viewed by the LDS Church as very serious. That’s not because a bunch of men sat down and decided it was. It’s because God said so. And the consequences are exactly the same for women as they are for men. Because it’s against LDS Church Standards, it will stay against BYU standards. There is no changing of God’s law here.

5. The church doesn’t blame women for sexual sin. This talk by Elder Holland says it all, and I’ve included a piece of it here:

In this matter of counterfeit intimacy and deceptive gratification, I express particular caution to the men who hear this message. I have heard all my life that it is the young woman who has to assume the responsibility for controlling the limits of intimacy in courtship because a young man cannot. What an unacceptable response to such a serious issue! What kind of man is he, what priesthood or power or strength or self-control does this man have that lets him develop in society, grow to the age of mature accountability, perhaps even pursue a university education and prepare to affect the future of colleagues and kingdoms and the course of the world, but yet does not have the mental capacity or the moral will to say, “I will not do that thing”? No, this sorry drugstore psychology would have us say, “He just can’t help himself. His glands have complete control over his life–his mind, his will, his entire future.”

To say that a young woman in such a relationship has to bear her responsibility and that of the young man’s too is the least fair assertion I can imagine. In most instances if there is sexual transgression, I lay the burden squarely on the shoulders of the young man–for our purposes probably a priesthood bearer–and that’s where I believe God intended responsibility to be. In saying that I do not excuse young women who exercise no restraint and have not the character or conviction to demand intimacy only in its rightful role. I have had enough experience in Church callings to know that women as well as men can be predatory. But I refuse to buy some young man’s feigned innocence who wants to sin and call it psychology.

Indeed, most tragically, it is the young woman who is most often the victim, it is the young woman who most often suffers the greater pain, it is the young woman who most often feels used and abused and terribly unclean. And for that imposed uncleanliness a man will pay, as surely as the sun sets and rivers run to the sea.”

6. Sexuality isn’t forbidden by the Church. It’s encouraged at the right place and at the right time. This doesn’t include walking around being sexual while you’re on campus. The scriptures tell us to “bridle our passions,” for a reason. Be sexual in the correct context that God has implemented.

7. There are many outlets for those who are victims of sexual abuse. I’m not sure about this girl’s specific situation. Perhaps her leaders did handle it incorrectly. Even church leaders are human. The important thing is, the church takes sexual abuse very seriously, and does not blame anyone who is a victim. There are dozens of talks, resources, and counselors who deal with this very issue and are clear that the church does not view someone who was sexually abused as impure. Ever. 

8. People are imperfect, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect. People may say or treat others in a way that’s unkind. We need to work on that. I’m a total advocate for fixing that in this LDS culture. But that doesn’t mean that the laws given by God are imperfect. Those are perfect, and never changing. And there is help! So many people are working on repenting, getting better. Sexual sin doesn’t mean you are less, as second-class citizen in this Gospel. God wants everyone to make it back. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is there for everyone! We all have things we are working on, nobody is perfect. The point is to work together to help our brothers and sisters make it back to Heaven. We are all on the same team. 

9. The Honor Code is there to help you. Believe it or not, the Honor Code helps students at BYU have happier, more successful lives. It’s because they are mostly Church doctrine, God’s laws. Following those laws will help you, not hurt you.

10. I don’t judge anyone who has sinned. Because I am also a sinner. And so many people in the Church feel the same way. You get to work on your salvation with Jesus Christ and a loving Heavenly Father. Sins are sins, and we all have sinned. Remember, “don’t judge me because I sin differently than you?” Well I’m trying to do that, and so are so many others. Some of our sins may be that we are judgmental. We’re all trying. We’re all working. And we can work together. 

I could be considered a bit of a feminist myself. I’m all for women being treated correctly. Being treated as equals and respected. A ban on the Honor Code will not do this. A look at how we teach young girls about modesty will, identifying the best ways to help everyone understand the law of chastity and their responsibility in staying clean will.

The BYU Honor Code, and the laws of the Gospel for that matter, are here to stay. We need to focus on changing a judgmental culture and looking at the way we treat one another, more than changing the laws that God has given us.

So, Keli, I hope you find what you’re looking for. I hope you are able to find the peace and reassurance that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can bring. It’s a beautiful religion, filled with people who are trying to be better. Hopefully you can forgive all of us our shortcomings, and work with us to make this gospel welcoming to everyone, without trying to change the very laws that God gave us.


My family and I just got back from an amazing trip to Boston to drop off my brother and sister-in-law at Harvard for law school. I’ve been to Boston before, but I don’t remember much about it. Can I just say, I’m obsessed with this amazing city!

One of the first things we did was go to Bunker Hill where Liv and I climbed to the top of the monument. Can you say GORGEOUS!? Beth broke her foot just the day before they left, so she was wheelchair/crutch bound for the trip. She took it like a champ though! 
The “Hahvahd” tour was incredible! So funny and so awesome to learn about Harvard. This is the second most photographed statue in the United States!

 The Boston Museum of Fine Art was AMAZING. I could’ve spent days, even weeks exploring it. It had some of my favorite paintings and some of my favorite artists and it was incredible!

My sisters and I LOVE Degas, so seeing The Little Dancer was incredible! I loved seeing paintings that I’ve studied in high school and college.

Also. Pollock. Wow. 
Awwww aren’t they awesome! 
Seeing the Orchard House that Louisa May Alcott lived in was amazing. My family loves “Little Women” so seeing the inspiration behind it was incredible! 
I also loved going to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to see the graves of some of my favorite authors


Walden Pond was probably my favorite place on this trip. It’s incredible!
Pose with a Thoreau statue!
The house site, so tiny!
And we ended the trip with a wonderful trip to the temple. I love my family, and I loved this time we got to spend together!
Also included on this trip: walking up to the wrong car several times, LOTS of amazing seafood and clam chowder, the best blueberry pie imaginable, trying to figure out where we were, Lexington and Concord visits, the Freedom Trail, the most amazing Italian food ever, game night, struggling to find parking, a sweet dance group on the street, lots of churches and cemeteries, lots of history, too much laughter and a lot of fun! 
It was a great trip but I’m glad to be home, setting up my new apartment and welcoming Hailee Jane Henson home from her mission! But more on that tomorrow:)
Happy Friday everyone!

Goodbyes are hard

My brother and sister Ben and Kim are two of the most amazing people I know. Dropping them off in Boston was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I know Ben is going to do amazing things in law school and I’m SO grateful Kim will be by his side. They’re rockstars, and Harvard is lucky to have them both!
Once again, Treat is my go to site for cards to find the funny in the sad. They have cards for EVERY occasion (even when your brother and his wife move go to law school!) 
Treat is the place my friends! Check it out!

Ben and Kim, we’re going to miss you here in Utah. But I don’t doubt for a second that you’re making the right decision. You are both so incredible, I couldn’t be more proud of you both and I couldn’t love you both any more. Good luck out there!

Follow Up: 10 Things Girls Who Aren’t Serving Missions Want You To Know

Hello friends. I’m overwhelmed and humbled by the response I’ve gotten to this post. Most of the comments have been positive, but there has been some negative response. So I’m going to address some of the issues that have come forward, clear some things up once and for all so that the real purpose of my message can be the important part. I apologize if I’ve offended anyone, at all, for any reason. That was never, ever the intent of this message. The intent was to inform others of how so many are feeling, and to help change the culture we’re currently in.

  • I wrote this article for a few reasons. I saw so many girls struggle with deciding whether or not to go on a mission. I myself struggled. I felt pressure from every side to serve, and I knew serving a mission would be wonderful. When I got the answer no, it was hard to trust in the Lord and follow what he had asked me to do, because of this pressure. I want other girls who are going through this to know they are not alone, to see the support that they can have, and know that if they choose to serve or not, there is a place for them and people who understand. 
  • Another reason why I wrote this article is to help those who aren’t in this situation understand what these girls (and sometimes boys) are going through. It allows others to understand the situation, and to act accordingly. It helps them know what might hurt the feelings of others, and be as kind as possible so everyone feels they have a place in this gospel. 
  • I have been accused time and time again of being offended. I will openly admit, when I first received my answer about a mission and then heard some of the things people had to say, I was offended. That was months ago. I have since decided that I have no need to be. I am not angry, revengeful, self-serving, or offended. But there are some out there who are offended by what others say about missions. And there are others who are offensive in what they say. My goal is for everyone to be kinder, more understanding, and more Christ-like. 
  • I have also been accused of being insecure in my choice. I can assure you, if I was insecure in my decision, I would not call attention to myself in this way. I wrote this blog to help others who may be insecure in their decision know that there is help out there.
  • I have been told time and time again that being offended is a choice. I understand that, and with all the negative comments I’ve gotten from this post, I’m choosing not to be offended. But as much as not taking offense is a choice, so is not giving offense. My hope with this post is for everyone to understand what someone may take offense at, and to be careful with what they say so they don’t give offense or choose to be offended. 
  • There are those who have said to choose not to serve a mission is selfish. This is not correct. In this situation, I received personal revelation. To not follow God’s plan, to ignore his guidance for me, would be selfish. 
  • There are some who say there is no need for this post, that this isn’t an issue. From the flood of responses I’ve gotten, it’s obvious this is an issue. In our society right now, so many feel forgotten, pushed out, inferior. I want everyone to know there is a place for them in this gospel, whether they serve a mission or not. You can decide to ignore the issue, but it’s real, and so many people feel it all across this church. 
  • I’ve been accused of too much censorship. I only publish comments that are respectful. If I didn’t feel like something was respectful to me personally, or those in my situation, it wasn’t published. I have been nothing but kind and respectful in my posts and replies, and I expect the same of anyone that publishes on my blog. There are several comments of those who don’t agree with me, and these respectful comments were respectfully published and replied to. Also, for those who accused me of being a faker and not a natural redhead, I am 100% naturally a redhead! I’ve never dyed my hair haha!
  • I have been accused of hating missionaries. This is not true at all. Missionaries are wonderful! They are so important for our church. Member missionaries are also important. So are Bishops and Relief Society Presidents, primary teachers and nursery leaders. Everyone has a place in this Gospel! I realize how distinguishing a mission call is. However, there are also things that others do that are distinguishing as well. My only suggestion is to help everyone feel their accomplishments are important. 
  • Not serving a mission does not make anyone inferior. That’s all there is to it, really. If you believe that someone is inferior, or less, because they aren’t serving a mission, then you are entitled to your opinion. But please don’t bash me for expressing mine.
  • I just want less judgment, and more love in the church. I’m not asking anyone to love a sin or a sinner, just extend love to those who may have a different plan. Both options are good options! Both options are Christ-like options. Let’s all help everyone feel their prayerful considerations are valued in this church. 
The intent of this post is to help everyone feel welcome in this church. To help others understand what some sisters (and brothers) around you may be feeling. You can choose to be upset about this, but it’s true. It’s how so many of us feel. 
Thank you for your discussions, your comments, and being willing to listen to what I have to say. I love you all! 

5 Things I Hope My Children Know About The Temple

I haven’t gone through the temple yet, and I’m sure when I do my understanding of the temple will change. But there already a few things I know that I want to teach my children about the temple!

1. We are a temple attending people. I want to go to the temple as often as I can. That will change based on where my family is at; when I have young kids I may not get to go at often, if I live farther away from a temple I may not get to go often. The important thing will be that I go, and that when I do go, I don’t complain. I hope my kids see me smiling, happy to be getting out the door and heading to the temple!

2. Temple garments are important. I hope my children understand that temple garments are wonderful. I hope they know that Mom wears her garments whenever she can, and she doesn’t look for reasons to take them off. I grew up in a house where garments were very important, and that was obvious by the way my parents dressed and by the way they had us dress. In our house, we always wore clothes that could be worn with garments. This helped us learn that dressing modestly wasn’t about not tempting boys, but was about our own preparations for the temple. It helped us realize that modesty was for us, and for Heavenly Father.

3. Temple marriage is eternal. Divorce happens, unfortunately. I hope I never have to go through a divorce, but even if that happens, I want my children to understand that because of the temple, our family is forever. Temple marriage means that families are never-ending. I hope my temple marriage is a source of strength for my children. I hope my kids love this, and it helps them want to have their own temple marriage so their family can be together forever.

4. Covenants are kept. I hope my children see me keeping my covenants every day. Both baptisimal, and temple covenants. I hope they see me following Christ, keeping the commandments, and being the best person I can be. I want them to know that my promises to anyone, especially God, are important and need to be kept.

5. The temple is a House of God. I hope my children know that the temple is one of the most holy, special places in the world. I hope they always know the Spirit can be felt there, and that it is a sacred place. I hope they also know that our home is as sacred as the temple, if we let it be. I want them to see me setting the example of making our home a holy place.

Happy anniversary you crazy kids!

These amazing parents of mine got married 27 years ago. I will never be able to express how lucky I am to call them Mom and Dad, and how grateful I am for everything they do for our family, starting with their decision to get married in the temple, so our family can be together always. 

Just another awesome Treat card! I’m such a huge fan of these cards, their message, and the price! Check out www.treat.com!
Seriously though Mom and Dad, thank you for your amazing life together, and the life you created for me. Your decision to be together has literally make me the person that I am. I’ll always be so thankful for you and your marriage. I love you both so much!

3 years later

I’m getting a little tired of telling the Randy/Maddy story without Randy. For those of you who have had the pleasure of hearing Randy and I tell the story together, you’ll agree I just can’t do it justice alone.

So I’m not even going to attempt. If you want to know what happened that fateful day, click here

Instead, here are a few things…
Randy puts his hands over his eyes when he’s excited.
He hates contention.
He pops my thumbs when he holds my hand.
He’s not afraid of emotions.
He loves shopping almost as much as I do.
He pulls the cart behind him in the grocery store instead of pushing it like normal people.
He tries to be a ballerina.
He never fails to say “the Church is so true!” in every, single letter.
He has more compassion in his pinky than some people do in their whole body.
He loves to sing in the car.
When he’s tired, he makes syrup bottles talk to each other. 
He loves playing the guitar and piano more than just about anything.
He always has one Nilla wafer in his bowl of frozen yogurt.
In all his letters and emails, he promises to make me proud. And he does.
He loves playing all my silly games with me.
He brings me flowers when I’m sick.
He celebrates the little things with me.
He also celebrates the big things with me.
He can read me like a book, and knows exactly what to say and do to make me smile.
He dances in parking lots with me.
Every bone in his body is sentimental.
He lets me stand on his feet to be taller.
He writes me songs.
He pops my back for me.
He rarely gets mad.
He hates disappointing people.
He loves going to the temple.
He holds his own in board and card games.
He talks like a little kid to get what he wants.
He uses words like “childish, ashamed, and foolish” on a regular basis.
He hates stereotypes.
He loves leaving voicemails.
He’s a fan of Chili’s runs and Olive Garden date nights
He’s the best missionary in the whole wide world.
He’s also my very best friend and
I’m 100% crazy about him.
3 years ago I decided to take a chance, and it was the best decision I could’ve made.
Happy 3 years Randy Kazuhiro Low. See you in roughly 4 months.

The Richards

Boy, do I love my family.

Earlier this week we gathered in Salt Lake to have one last HUZZAH dinner at the Roof before my brother and sister-in-law move to Boston to take on Harvard Law.

Um HELLO gorgeous. No filter needed on the temple my friends.

Awww just a boy and his mother…too cute.

We needed a picture, so we thought “ask the missionaries, they can help you!” Yeah…they don’t take the best pictures. But we’re having fun, can’t you tell!
Friends I have one crazy week coming up. Working, internship, moving out of my apartment and cleaning it, having nowhere to put my stuff for six days, going to Boston, saying bye to Ben and Kim, moving into my new apartment, more work and more internship, plus a day to celebrate Randy Low. HOLY COW. I’ll get it all done, right?
The more important thing is, I have one incredible family who are so supportive. Lately I’ve been going and doing some news stories on schools, and seeing kids whose parents don’t care, or aren’t around, breaks my heart. I’m sure lucky. 
Happy Friday everyone!

Adventures in AZ

Well friends, one of my best friends in the whole wide world is married. Can you believe it!

Sarah and Matt are so perfect for each other, and I couldn’t be happier for them! I know they’re going to have a wonderful marriage, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them. Love you both!

Sarah and I have been friends since freshman year of college. She’s seen me laugh, cry, laugh until I cry, been there for me when good things happen and when bad things happen, she’s truly helped me become the person that I am. I’ll forever cherish our Fat Five memories, eating nutella together, crazy Sarah, dance parties, mega-bed, and a million other things that perfectly punctuate our friendship. I love you Sar bear! I’m so happy for you.

This is us. 

So Rachel, Hannah and I drove to Arizona to be there for the wedding. 
Our trip went like this: Driving, singing, eating, driving, sheep crossing the road, pictures at the boarder, Flagstaff loving, car dancing with strangers, driving, eating, sleeping, figuring out what songs mean, laughing, driving, looking oh, so lovely, beautiful houses in Mesa, heat, the wedding dinner (complete with jokes, a video of Matt dancing.. 
Sarah’s dad explaining the REAL story, and lots of love), sleeping in the most beautiful house in the world (Darcy is wonderful!), relaxing, heat, getting ready, present exchanges, the temple, the most BEAUTIFUL bride EVER, heat, Dutch Bros milkshakes (five times)…
tacos, more getting ready, the reception, dancing like crazy, Wop, delicious food…
missing Al and Lau, sparklers, love, goodbyes, driving, eating, laughing…

Elk in the middle of the hotel district
the Grand Canyon, driving, driving, driving, crying mental breakdowns, and finally getting  back home. 
All in all, it was an incredible weekend.