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Honor Code Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for Student Ecclesiastical Endorsements, the CES Honor Code, and Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations

The Church Board of Education of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced updates to the Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement, the Honor Code, and Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations for the Church Educational System (CES). These changes were made to help students draw closer to Jesus Christ and strengthen the overall student experience. These adjustments will:

  1. adopt a principle-based approach, while retaining a set of common expectations;
  2. simplify and unify dress and grooming principles and expectations across CES campuses;
  3. better align the ecclesiastical endorsement interview with the ecclesiastical responsibilities of Church leaders.

The following are questions and answers about these updates.

How will the changes to the Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement questions contribute to the accomplishment of the mission of CES?

The Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement has historically emphasized the CES Honor Code and dress and grooming policies. This change better aligns the topics addressed by Church leaders in their interviews with their core ecclesiastical responsibilities. Thus, as an ecclesiastical interview, it will focus on a student’s efforts to grow spiritually and meet ecclesiastical expectations, which is an important part of accomplishing the religious mission of CES institutions. The administration of internal university policies, including the Honor Code and Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations, will now more fully reside with the CES institutions.

Why do the Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement questions differ from temple recommend questions?

There is a difference in the standard of worthiness to receive saving ordinances in the house of the Lord and being eligible to attend a CES institution as a student. The questions for temple recommend interviews and ecclesiastical endorsements are appropriate for their different purposes.

The Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement includes some questions about “striving.” What is the intent of this language?

CES recognizes that students are striving to deepen their faith and testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Recognizing that we sometimes fall short of perfectly realizing these aspirations, and in order to encourage continued growth, students are invited to strive toward certain ideals while upholding foundational standards of conduct. As has happened prior to these changes, this allows ecclesiastical leaders to work with students who are trying but may sometimes struggle. It does not mean Church leaders should ignore clear violations of ecclesiastical standards, but it does allow them room to counsel with and help individuals progress.

What are the updates to the CES Honor Code?

The CES Honor Code has been and will continue to be consistent across CES campuses. Current adjustments emphasize the role of the Honor Code in accomplishing the religious mission of CES institutions. The underlying principles and expectations have not changed.

Can you explain the changes to the Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations? 

Previously, dress and grooming expectations varied across CES institutions. The new Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations identify an important set of foundational principles while retaining a set of common expectations to assist with the application of these principles. They also provide consistency between campuses.

Does the simplification of expectations and the inclusion of principles mean that other prior standards no longer apply?

In many cases, the prior expectations are still applicable. The Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations emphasize standards representative of Jesus Christ and CES and encourage modesty, cleanliness, neatness, and restraint. Students across CES campuses are expected to dress in ways that align with the dress and grooming principles.

Are there specific changes in dress and grooming now?

Yes. For example, students on each campus will be allowed to wear shorts, provided those shorts are in keeping with the principles and expectations given. As noted above, dress and grooming decisions should align with the Dress and Grooming Principles and Expectations, and application of these principles is not limited to the expectations listed. We are striving to create a culture that is consistent with the distinct religious purpose of CES institutions.

What is meant by men’s hair being “neatly trimmed?”

As stated in the Dress and Grooming Expectations, hair should be “neat, modest, and avoid extremes.” The intent of this standard for men is that hair should be cut short and neatly trimmed.

Is there a change in the expectations for LGBTQ students?

There are no changes to the LGBTQ policies. CES is deeply committed to helping all our students, including our LGBTQ students, feel both the love and covenant expectations of the Savior. Same-sex romantic behavior has been and continues to be contrary to the principles included in the CES Honor Code. LGBTQ students are a welcomed and valued part of the campus community and share a common identity with every student as sons and daughters of God. All students will continue to be encouraged to live their gospel and university/college commitments.

Can members of CES campus communities who identify as LGBTQ or have same-sex attraction be disciplined for behavior like going on a date, holding hands or kissing?

Same-sex romantic behavior is not compatible with the principles included in the CES Honor Code. As in years past, each situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis to help each student feel the love of the Savior and to encourage them to live their gospel covenants and university/college commitments.

Did students provide input on these updates?

Yes. CES conducted focus groups at Brigham Young University, BYU–Idaho, and Ensign College to review, discuss, and gather input from students in the development of these changes. The input of these randomly selected students was significant in developing and refining these updates. Students were enthusiastic about these adjustments and expressed their feelings that a focus on the Savior, combined with an emphasis on principles and expectations, would elevate dress, grooming, and behavior as students become more intentional and take increased ownership for dress and grooming decisions.

What is the timeline for implementation?

These updates will take effect on August 30, 2023.