Comments about ‘Vai's View: Vai's View: Mission could open doors for young hoops phenom’

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Published: Friday, May 18 2012 8:00 p.m. MDT

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Somewhere in Time, UT

Vai, I read the SI article and it is excellent. So is your article in response. I hope there's a chance that Jabari will read it.

Agua Dulce, TX

Jabari Parker needs to do something to break the comparison between him and LeBum James.

Sandy, UT

Good article Vai. I have to disagree with one point though. A mission was not so challenging that 99% of others could not cope or handle it. Many people just coast through missions without realizing the opportunities before them. In some ways a mission is easier than real life because it is so structured and removes a lot of the individual decision making required as a responsible adult in the world. I'm not trying to take anything away from a mission - it's the best thing I've ever done - but it's not as hard as many make it out to be.


I grew up in Provo and went to BYU. Both of my parents taught at BYU. My dad and all of my brothers went on missions. Every man I knew was faithful in the church...it was all I knew.

I had faith that the church was true and always knew that I would go on a mission. I honored my priesthood and lived my life to be worthy of a mission. There was just one problem, I didn't KNOW the church was true. How could I go on a mission and profess to know anything of the divinity of Christ or the truthfulness of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon? To do so would be deceitful and contrary to the basic moral that I was raised with...honesty.

I chose not to go. I think there are a lot of young men that feel just as I did. How can such a person go on a mission? Perhaps that is what Danny Ainge is referring to in his comment about missions. Perhaps more Mormons should contemplate the morality of encouraging young men to profess something is true when they have no such knowledge.

ed in atl
Duluth, GA

My daughter came home from her mission in October. Her brother left for his mission in November. He would not have gone without her serving the Lord. Her mission changed & example was the encouragement for him to go at 21. Her mission changed my life for the better.

Saint George, UT

If I were in a position to recommend that every father, mother, Bishop, Stake President in the LDS Church keep a copy of this article in the back of their Book of Mormon, I would do it. Especially for that forseen, or unforseen, time when the answer to that question becomes very relevant.

I would hope that every recruiter, every faculty member, every coach, every ardent fan pushing BYU athletics will do the same.

South Weber, UT

Always good to open the sports page for as good moral lecture. What started out as a comment on young Mr. Basketball ended up with that pesky old free agency slant by Vai hammering his points home.


Great article as always & very inspirational. Thank you for your comments on the mission thing. I loved my mission but I have 2 sons, who for medical reasons can not serve. As a church we need to not judge why someone did not serve. it's personal between the person & the Lord. I love that I share a faith with folks such as the Skihema's & the Parker's & the Romney's not perfect just trying to do the best we can & humbly do our part.



Awesome article! Agree with everything you said. Every LDS young man should prepare, and be ready to serve. Those of us who did almost universally cherish the experience and blessing of serving a mission. That service can truly change one's life.

We also need to withhold judgement, and still respect, love, and value those who choose not to, for whatever reason. My Brother in law from SLC went directly into the military out of high school, and has since served as a Bishop among other callings.


Not such a goog article. This kid has enough pressure on him without someone harping about a mission. Let him be a kid.

Spanish Fork, UT

Great job, Vai. I tend to agree a "bit" with Danny Ainge. My father in law was a clinical psychologist at BYU counselling students. He once told Elder Hinckley that he counseled some young men NOT to serve missions. Elder Hinckley agreed that some young men were simply not ready or capable in a spiritual and mental sense. That said, those cases are relatively rare.

If a young man has a testimony of the Gospel of Christ, regardless of how strong it is, he will have the chance to get out of his little world of self-serving and have the greatest chance with the greatest reward to serve someone else virtually 24/7 for two years. And for young women, 18 great months.

Yes, a great many of us fail to do all we can do when serving, but value has nonetheless been given and received.

Ten years after ending his career in the NBA vs. ten years after serving a mission, Jabari Parker is more than likely going to have more overwhelmingly wonderful memories of his mission and the people whose lives he's forever changed for the better.


I think a mission is very personal and while everyone's experience is different, I think it should be strongly recommended as should any opportunity for service.

Growing up in Utah with moderately active parents I had enough of a testimony to get me on a mission, but not enough to keep me there. With rereading the Book of Mormon in two days and a great deal of passionate prayer my mission turned into a wonderful experience and growth opportunity for me and I will always be grateful to those who helped me get there.

Steve C. Warren

For me, serving a mission was the right thing to do. However, I agree with Danny Ainge that a mission is not for everyone, including those who may be prepared and worthy. President Monson and several members of the Twelve did not serve missions, and I think they turned out just fine.

Also, I think it's a bad idea to pressure young men to serve. When someone who is pressured into serving fails to complete his mission, it can have a major negative impact on his life. Moreover, pressuring young people to go doesn't seem to be working as there are fewer full-time missionaries now than in the 1990s. Maybe it would be best if we simply stop talking about whether this young man should serve.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Steve C. Warren
"Moreover, pressuring young people to go doesn't seem to be working as there are fewer full-time missionaries now than in the 1990s."

Also too much pressure can lead young men out of the church since some might end up feeling shunned if they don't serve. There was some article a month or two ago here that noted that Utah LDS singles was something like a 3:2 women ratio.

Danville, CA

Our Sports Illustrated arrived in the mail yesterday. Often our copy ends up in the trash... sometimes immediately. Not this one! I rushed out to buy more copes, but it's not on the stands yet. Someone who recommended that every bishop get and keep a copy in his office was right on.

Salt Lake City, UT

Vai, I agree with most of what you write in your column. And normally I scoff at the "He'll accomplish more for the church continuing to play than going on a mission" argument. However, I think in this case it's a pretty sure bet that he'll be one of the first to do just that. Think of how many young men - mostly urban, many minorities, etc. - would look up to Jabari as potentially the next KD or LJ. His Twitter account alone will likely reach millions.

In fact, as a hardcore BYU fan, I'm okay with him going to play for Calipari or Krzyzewski. The wider his reach and the higher he rises, the bigger impact he can have. With all due respect, we're talking about something potentially much bigger than reaching a couple of pro bowls returning punts. (I do love you, Vai.)

Bountiful, UT

You would think there would be more unity on the topic of young men serving missions. After all, it was a prophet who revealed the Lord's will on this matter. But, apparently, some know better. By the way, the clarification regarding every young man's duty came from President Kimball. Before his declaration, many worthy young men were denied missionary opportunities due to military draft restrictions.


What some call encouragement, others call pressure. Everyone should be encouraged, no one should be pressured, but let's not be too hasty to judge anyone's motives on either side of the experience.
A mission is a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful experience for those that go. We need to love one another regardless of past choices. We all make choices that might not be what the Lord would want. Some choices are just more publicly known than others.

Chris from Rose Park


Think of how great an example, to those same people ("most urban, many minorities, etc"), it would be for Jabari to serve a mission and then dominate the NBA. Two years away would not necessarily make him lose his basketball talent (a similar situation to Sid Going who dominated rugby). Those people would see, from a top athlete's actions, there are some things more important that sports and being cool. They could also see that sports, coolness, and being religious are not mutually exclusive. With that said, I do believe it is his choice to make with God.

What I love about Vai's articles his that he writes from his heart and gives his perspective and at the same time it's easy to see how much he cares for people. He definitely wishes Jabari well and hopes for him to have the best life possible. I love these articles that he writes and on this one, I agree completely.

Idaho Falls, ID

I tend to agree with Ainge on this one. A mission isn't for everyone, and a lot of kids who do go end up coming home early and feeling shame for a long time. Having said that, not "knowing" the Church is true is NOT a good excuse. That is a cop-out in my opinion. I would venture that more than 75% of these teenagers embarking on a mission don't "know for sure" whether the Church is true or not, but they have that little seed of faith that will develop and grow beginning with the MTC and throughout their missions.

All young men should prepare to go on a mission. I think Jabari would no doubt benefit from a mission. But if he chose not to, I wouldn't judge him or blame him one bit. Both Ainge and Young have been terrific ambassadors to the Church. Would they (and vicariously the Church) have had as much exposure on the public stage if they had served a mission? Who knows.

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