For the first BYU-Idaho devotional of 2018, President Henry J. Eyring talked about personal honor and the Dress and Grooming Standards at BYU-Idaho.
With love (and heartwarming humor), President Eyring began with an honest and humorous confession of his own difficulty with a line in the Honor Code, "In fact, there's a line in BYU-Idaho's Dress and Grooming policy that actually gets to me a bit," he said. "It is this statement: ‘Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles...' Just what is that supposed to mean? To quote Curly, one of the Three Stooges, ‘I resemble that remark.'"
He then explained how keeping the dress and grooming standards as well as all of the standards of the university was not just about keeping the commitment we made by attending, it's about the spiritual need to be one with ourselves, with our fellow saints, and with God.
"Heavenly Father and the Savior invite us to be one with ourselves. In other words, they encourage us to be single-minded, by keeping our actions consistent with the sacred covenants we have made and the commandments we have promised to obey."
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, President Eyring elaborated on why it's important to follow the Honor Code.
"I think we can lose sight, and in fact I think our spiritual adversary wants us to lose sight, of the fact that these standards have been implemented for our good and there are blessings associated with them," President Eyring said. "It's important for us to recognize that yes, this is a matter of commitment, but I think it's valuable to recognize that where the Lord gives a commandment, there is always an associated blessing. In His economy, He rewards us in the long-term with more than we deserve."
In preparation for his address, President Eyring posted an excerpt from his father, Elder Henry B. Eyring's biography (which he co-wrote) called, "I Will Lead You Along" on the devotional discussion board. For experiences and lessons he learned with regards to maintaining standards, President Eyring refers in a few instances to experiences he had with and lessons he learned from the man. With justified pride, President Eyring expressed how happy he was to be Elder Eyring's son:
"It's a wonderful thing to be my father's son," President Eyring said in the interview. "Sometimes I do well enough that I'm mistaken for being him or at least being like him."
In the talk, President Eyring shared a story about falling prey to the temptation of becoming casual with standards. He served as the director of the BYU MBA program in the late 1990s. He said when he hosted guests he would wear a suit and tie. On other days he would dress more casually. That is, until BYU President Elder Merrill Bateman called him into his office one day and he didn't have time to go home to North Salt Lake City to change his clothes.
"My only option was to race to the nearby University Mall, where I bought a white shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes," he said. "I also bought this necktie, paying more than I wanted. I arrived in President Bateman's office barely on time, sweating. As you can imagine, that experience led me to raise my standards of dress, to be fully ready for service at all times."
President Eyring invited two students and a faculty member up to share their experiences with the Honor Code. He also issued a challenge to students: "My challenge is obvious: Let us be, in the words of Elder David A. Bednar, ‘quick to observe' and ‘prompt to watch and to obey,'" he said. "Let's rebel against fashion fads and other forms of dependency. "Let's claim the safety and charity that flows from modesty."
You can listen to the full devotional address below.