By Brody Levesque & David Badash | PROVO -- A confidential survey targeted at Brigham Young University students affiliated with an unofficial group of LGBT students, faculty and guests has received criticism for a series of missteps in asking a question about a respondent's s sexual orientation.
The online survey, sent out at the direct behest of the the second-highest governing body in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (LDS/Mormons) known as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was created to screen students for a focus group designed to better understand Millennial’s attitudes about “same-sex attraction,” a source within the church hierarchy told LGBTQ Nation Monday.
The email requesting students’ participation in the survey was sent out last week by Michael Colemere, Managing Director, Communication Services for the LDS church, and according to the source, also noted that officials from Brigham Young University, which has a student population of about 34,000, and wholly owned and operated by the Mormon Church was unaware of.
The online survey asked basic questions, and requested respondents rate on a scale of 1-5 if they are “not intimidated by people [they are] unfamiliar with,” if they “enjoy participating in new situations,” are “open to new ideas and experiences,” are “comfortable expressing [their] opinion to others,” and if they “often set the trends in [their] social circle.” The survey also asks the students to rate their “stance on social and moral issues” on a 1-5 scale, from “Traditional / conservative” to “Progressive / liberal.”
The problem arose with the wording of Question Eight, which initially asked for a student's sexual orientation based on the premise that the student was heterosexual but had "same-sex attractions."
I am heterosexual, but I struggle with same-sex attraction.
I am heterosexual and do not struggle with same-sex attraction.
Other, please specify:
The New Civil Rights blog had published an article revealing the survey's existence Friday with the original wording but by Monday, the question had been changed three times, the final version according to an email from a church spokesperson; "reworded to better convey the intent of the question."
Do you experience same-sex attraction?
"The “other” option includes a space for a respondent to provide any context or explanation they wish, " wrote Eric Hawkins, LDS spokesperson.
Hawkins also added that the survey "is part of the Church’s broader research to understand the attitudes and opinions of Millennials."