The Utah senator was educated at Brigham Young University, at the expense of church members around the world.


The Utah senator was educated at Brigham Young University, at the expense of church members around the world.

(Sarahbeth Maney | The New York Times) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks during a briefing with the Senate Budget Committee on the Democrats’ tax and budget legislation, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 30 2021.

Last week, Senator Mitt Romney introduced the Student Loan Accountability Act alongside other Republican senators. The bill aims to prevent the cancellation of student loans by President Joe Biden.

In the official statement, Romney states, “It makes no sense for the Biden administration to write off nearly $2 trillion in student loan debt.” According to the senator, canceling the student loan would be “unfair to those who have already paid off their loan or decided to pursue alternative educational paths”.

Romney’s remarks about student loan debt are riddled with hypocrisy, given that his education at Brigham Young University was largely funded by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All members are required to pay tithes to the LDS Church, but only a select few have access to subsidized education in church-sponsored schools.

Because BYU is a nonprofit affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a significant portion of the university’s operating costs are paid with tithes from church members. This includes sacred financial contributions from members of the global religious organization who currently live in poverty; many church members are in poverty, and this poverty continually creates challenges for those members.

When I started my studies at BYU, I – like many others – received a harsh lecture that crudely turns the parable of the widow’s mite into a story of guilt. The story, which comes from the Bible, depicts a faithful woman who “out of her poverty gave all she had, all her livelihood”. As students at BYU, we were told that our education was made possible by members like this widow in the New Testament.

With the midterm elections looming, I imagine this latest bill is an attempt to galvanize loyal Republican supporters, who select leaders against their own interests. What they don’t realize, however, is that Mitt Romney is a hypocrite who thinks it’s okay for others to pay for his education, but calls the student loan forgiveness “unfair.”

Arthur Diaz, Murray, served an LDS mission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Utah Valley University after leaving BYU. He was named a emerging leader in utah by the Multicultural Affairs Division in 2021.


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