Vai's View: I'm not checking my religion at BYU-Utah rivalry's door

Published: Friday, Sept. 14 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

It's no secret that it's our common history, proximity and LDS membership that pervades the BYU-Utah game. Which is why it seemed so fitting that last Sunday, as I watched via satellite Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of Twelve, speaking to young single adults in a worldwide televised fireside from the Dixie State College campus in St. George, he happened to share an illuminating story.

A young man playing basketball at a Utah university transferred to an out-of-state school for more playing time. He became a star at his new school and, later, he returned to face his old school at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. Sadly, what happened to him was almost predictable.

"The vitriolic abuse that poured out of the stands on the head of this young man that night, a Latter-day Saint, returned missionary, newlywed, who paid his tithing, served in the elders quorum, gave charitable service to the youth in his community, and waited excitedly for a new baby to come to him and his wife" should not have happened to anyone, Elder Holland remarked.

"But here is the worst part. The coach of this visiting team, something of a legend in the profession, turned to him and said, 'What is going on here? You are the hometown boy who made good. These are your people. These are your friends. … Aren't most of these people members of your church?"

Rebuked for their boorish behavior, one young fan responded, "We pay good money to see these games. We can act the way we want. We check our religion at the door."

Elder Holland then taught: "Lesson number one for the establishment of Zion in the 21st century: You never 'check your religion at the door.' Not ever. My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be ?— it isn't discipleship at all."

If it's not too late, at my age, I'm more interested in being a disciple than a partisan fan.

And while I'm guilty of doing it before, I'm not checking my religion at the door.

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