Only at BYU. The Deseret Morning News reports today that BYU student Nathan Langford was threatened with a police citation for singing between his classes.
A “self-proclaimed fantasy geek,” Langford dressed in a Hobbit-like cloak and often sang folk songs outside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on campus. But such outbursts of nonconformity are not appreciated at the Lord’s university.
“Officers confronted Langford in response to several reports of suspicious activity, said BYU Police Lt. Arnold Lemmon. Callers were concerned about the singer’s mental health.
“‘In today’s world, we can’t just blow off people saying there’s something going on here,’ he said. ‘For us the bottom line was his peers were concerned about his behavior.'”
This reminds me of chanson’s run-in with University Standards for her unusual hairstyle. One thing BYU students are good at is policing the actions and behavior of other students. In fact, they are encouraged to do so. Many of my friends have had to report to the standards office (read: Honor Code enforcement) because someone reported them for some sort of violation, whether substance-abuse-related or merely their not wearing socks (I’m not kidding). The sad thing is that often my friends were not guilty of these infractions, but someone reported them out of spite, apparently.
It’s not surprising that this kind of superficial judgmentalism thrives in a religion that cares about whether its bishops have facial hair or its fair young women have more than one hole in each ear. Apostle David Bednar went so far as to suggest that you could tell how faithful a girl is in following the prophet by her willingness to remove superfluous earrings. The scriptures tell us that God looks on the heart, but Mormonism looks on the beard and the skirt length.
As for poor Mr. Langford, he’s learned his lesson. He’s through singing: “Yeah, hello,” he said. “Like going against authority really isn’t my thing.” Of course not. If it were, he wouldn’t be at BYU