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Hey Gramps,

My dream college is a non religious small college in Colorado. My parents are telling me that I will no longer belong to the Church if I don’t go to BYU. They say I may lead into temptation if I am not surrounded by peers who are in the Church.   Are they right? I love my religion but I want to go to a small school.





Hey Brendo,

This is actually a tough question. After all, we should obey our parents wishes and try to do as they ask. Obviously, if we are minors we don’t have a choice in the matter. If we are over the age of 18 but they are still signing the checks, we don’t have a choice in the matter either. To make things more complicated, even if we are well past the age of 18 and our parents no longer support us financially , it can still be difficult and challenging to do things that they might disagree with.

Compounding the difficulty of this question is that the topic is very subjective. Almost everyone reading this can safely say that adultery is wrong. Stealing is wrong. There is no black and white-both actions are just flat out wrong. However, not going to a religious school isn’t morally wrong. In fact, I know of many active, believing LDS who did not go to a religious school. On the other side, I do know of people who did go to a religious school who tragically, have left the faith. It’s not just an “LDS” problem. Many kids who went to Catholic/Evangelical colleges no longer practice their faiths and many Catholic/Evangelical kids who went to secular school still practice their faith.

The one thing that isn’t complicated is that your parents love you and want the best for you. They also know that as you “spread your wings” and encounter the world, they can no longer protect you against some negatives influences that the world has. They (understandably and correctly) want you to have a firm foundation before they set you off on your own path, and their desire for you to go to a religious school is totally understandable. Also, I touched on it in the first paragraph, but if your parents are paying for your college education and they demand you to go to a religious school, (their right, if they are paying for it), I’m honestly not sure what you can do, aside from adhere to their wishes or, get a job and pay for college yourself.

I want you to remember that just going to a secular college does not mean you have to cut all ties with your faith. If you go to a secular college they might have an LDS Student Association, or Institute or other LDS group activities that you can join. Also, I strongly encourage you to join the local ward near the college. If you told your parents that you were planning to do that, they might be more open to the idea of you going to a secular school.

Brendo, I’d like to conclude on a personal note. Ask Gramps is a team of writers, and we all have had different experiences in life, including college. For this writer, college was the greatest time of my life up to that point. I made lifelong friends who, after 15 years, I still talk to and make wonderful memories. It is my prayer that college, wherever you may go, is the same experience for you.










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