SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Board of Education for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has approved updates to the Church Educational System’s (CES) honor code to create consistency across its educational institutions.

Through a press release, the church states changes have been made to the Student Ecclesiastical Endorsements, Honor Code, and Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations for the Church Educational System.

The updates will be officially released and implemented on August 30, 2023, and will be the same in all of the Church’s educational institutions. The Church runs four educational institutions including BYU Provo, BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii, and Ensign College. The church reports the changes are principle-based and will help provide consistency across CES Institutions.

BYU–Pathway Worldwide and Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, which also fall under the umbrella of CES, will continue to match the local Church dress and grooming standards where classes are held.

“These changes will help everyone associated with CES further embrace the distinct purpose associated with CES institutions of higher education and to more fully accomplish our mission to develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the Church, and their communities,” said Elder Clark G. Gilbert, the CES Commissioner of Education. “Our goal is that all students and employees feel the love of the Savior, experience the growth from applying gospel principles, and more fully realize the joy associated with being part of a covenant-keeping community.”

The church reports updates in the following areas:

Student Ecclesiastical Endorsements

These are questions asked by a student’s local church leadership pertaining to the student’s worthiness to attend a CES institution.

These endorsement interviews will no longer have questions pertaining to Honor Code compliance but instead will emphasize the student’s willingness to “strive” to be more like Jesus Christ while strengthening their personal relationship with Him.

They will not ask questions pertaining to students’ moral cleanliness and ask if students are sexually chaste.

The Church reports these changes better align with the ecclesiastical, or spiritual, responsibilities of priesthood leaders in helping students in their efforts to grow spiritually and meet ecclesiastical standards.

The press release states that the enforcement of the Honor Code adopted at each school will now be administered through the institution themselves, not local leaders.

Honor Code

The Honor Code has been the same for all CES Institutions for many years.

The Honor Code is a set of guidelines students and employees of CES Institutions voluntarily agree to while attending or working there.

The changes emphasize its role in accomplishing the religious mission of CES and also add language that clarifies the stance on same-sex relationships.

“Live a chaste and virtuous life, including abstaining from sexual relations outside marriage between a man and a woman. Living a chaste and virtuous life also includes abstaining from same-sex romantic behavior,” the Church’s press release states.

Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations

While these are part of the Honor Code, there are separate and more specific guidelines for dress and grooming.

Students are urged to consider the Church’s publication For The Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices when making decisions for dress and grooming.

It further clarifies, “Dressing in a way that would cover the temple garment is a good guideline, whether or not one has been endowed,” the press release states.

The most notable change to this section is that students at all CES institutions can now wear shorts, provided those shorts are “in keeping with the principles and expectations given.”

The specific Dress and Grooming Expectations were listed as follows:

-Be modest in fit and style. Dressing in a way that would cover the temple garment is a good guideline, whether or not one has been endowed. Accommodation may be made for athletic participation.
-Be neat and clean. Sloppy, overly casual, ragged, or extreme clothing is not acceptable.
-Hair should be clean, neat, modest, and avoid extremes in styles and colors.
-Men’s hair should be neatly trimmed. Men should be clean shaven. If worn, mustaches should be neatly trimmed.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

While dress and grooming should align with the principles above, the application is not limited to expectations only, the press release states.

The church reports CES conducted student focus groups at BYU Provo, BYU Idaho, and Ensign College to get input from students during the development of these changes. The Church newsroom has a FAQ page dedicated to these changes.