Vai's View: Vai's View: Mission could open doors for young hoops phenom


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  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    May 23, 2012 6:19 a.m.

    I sincerely want to know why this same standard of "every young man should serve a mission" does not apply to Jimmer. Why?

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    May 22, 2012 3:01 p.m.

    @Mightymite, well most of us on these boards know you're not about to say anything positive about the church or its programs so we'll condider the source of that little nugget. And yes, a prophet of the Lord did reveal to us that "all" worthy males were to serve as missionaries. That being said, the greatest guy I ever met didn't serve a mission and I owe him a debt that I can never repay. Thanks, Dad.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    May 22, 2012 1:56 p.m.

    Vai, thank you for the article. Your beginning paragraphs on what you got from a mission were beautiful--I'll be sending them to my son in Mexico City. And I agree that the mission experience is incomparable and can be long lasting.

    But I was surprised at how strongly you downplayed the value of your experience at BYU. My experiences at BYU were so good and so important. Being an adult making decisions on my own, being given more responsibility than I had ever had before, hearing gospel truths woven in with secular topics, and having the association of other committed Mormons were all important in my spiritual development. If I understand what you're saying correctly, it makes me sad that you didn't take advantage of the tremendous spiritual opportunities at BYU, and only have vague memories of a few football games.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 22, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    @Y Grad/ Y Dad
    @fred Vanuaku

    He got back from the war around the age I was baptized. He had plenty of time to still serve a mission but he went to school and got married. There's nothing wrong with it, I just think it's an interesting contrast.

    But I suppose it's not my place to tell you how to have your religious beliefs, just don't go whining when the already 3:2 single LDS women:single LDS men ratio in Utah increases because guys pressured to go on missions decide against it and then feel ostracized from the church and leave. That'll be your problem (and the unfortunate problem of single LDS women who want temple marriages), not mine.

    "I'm sorry that your an ex-mormon... Like leaders of the church said if you find your self not worthy, than start repenting go see your Bishop and do what ever it takes for you to become worthy to server the Lord."

    I left the church because I didn't believe in it. At least you didn't insinuate that I just wanted to sin.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    May 22, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    I don't get where you people think Ainge has been any kind of ambassador for the Church. I grew up in Oregon not far from Ainge's family, attended BYU one of the years he was there, and followed his Boston career only because as a Laker fan, I can't stand the Celtics.

    Let me tell you, it wasn't until the waning years of his NBA career that he became active or involved in the Church, or even acknowledged being a part of it. Most of his life he set a less than stellare example, certainly not one I would want my sons to follow. As a young man, he was a punk. Don't believe me? Ask him.

    Steve Young? I hear just the opposite about him.

  • fred Vaenuku san mateo, ca
    May 21, 2012 11:54 p.m.

    @atl 134
    I sustain President Thomas S. Monson as a living Prophet of God, When he was a young man the war was going on. A lot of young men were drafted into War so thats understand able.............. Now in this generation it is a commandment by our Prophet that every worthy young men should serve. If you choose not too, your just denying blessings from your father in heaven. No money in the world can be bought for the two years a young men has serve. For those who gave up Millions of contract to go on Mission like Mckay Christanson baseball, Will Hopoate Rugby, this person who had a singing contract went on there mission also, and many more,,

    I'm sorry that your an ex-mormon I hope and pray that you might find your way back to the church. Some time we make excuses for our decision. Like leaders of the church said if you find your self not worthy, than start repenting go see your Bishop and do what ever it takes for you to become worthy to server the Lord.

    thank you @ Y GRAD/ Y DAD for your making that clear,

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    May 21, 2012 10:00 p.m.

    Come on kids, you are being disingenuous here. Our 70 and 80 year old apostles and prophets were missionary aged in a different age. The call for every young man to serve a mission doesn't go back that far. Also, as they served in time of war, most by draft and not by choice, the decision to move on with their lives was not inappropriate.

    Not so now.

    If President Monson feels no hypocrisy in reiterating the call for every worthy young man (and every young man to be worthy) to serve, I feel no hypocrisy in excusing the members of the greatest generation from service in the mission field.

    It really is clear: God has called through a living prophet for every worthy young man to serve. Those who have health issues can be exempted. This is not a matter of me standing in judgment so don't confuse the issue. We are painfully aware of young men who come home early or choose not to go at all. We love and encourage them. But we do not back down from direction given by the Lord through his living Prophet.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2012 1:35 p.m.

    Well, I didn't mean to comment twice, I had figured my first one had been rejected for reasons I wasn't entirely sure of so I tried again. Whoops.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2012 1:08 p.m.

    @fred Vaenuku
    "Going on a mission is showing the Lord that we love him, having faith in him, Obedience to our leaders, Willing to sacrifice our time to serve him, and many more......."

    "those who are healthy and able, Just admit your exercising your free agency by not wanting to serve. Remember the scriptures says. Many are called but few are chosen and why are they not chosen? because their hearts are in the things of the world.
    I could only think that this is how Lucifer was able to convince 1/3 of our brothers and sisters to follow him by reasons, persuasive, and compromise that its okay not to go. "

    So you think not going on a mission when healthy is the influence of the devil? Interesting... and this puts me in a weird position seeing as I'm an ex-mormon but I now find myself having to defend the prophet from your attack on him seeing as I think he's a kind, decent man, but you apparently have issues with him because he didn't serve a mission.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    @fred Vaenuka
    "I could only think that this is how Lucifer was able to convince 1/3 of our brothers and sisters to follow him by reasons, persuasive, and compromise that its okay not to go. "

    You do realize you currently have a Prophet who was perfectly medically capable of serving a mission but didn't, right?

  • RedBlood Happy Valley, UT
    May 21, 2012 7:28 a.m.

    Very interesting comments. When all is said and done, President Monson has recently reiterated that every worthy young man should serve a mission. Am I missing something? Lots of comments on either side of the fence. For those of us who are LDS, and especially those of us who have sons, let's not try to figure out a way to rationalize whether or not our boys should serve. Just stop doing that. Raise your boys, in all ways, to be prepared and worthy to go. Then, when it is time, their priesthood leaders will decide whether or not they are ready. Jabari is no different than any other young man. If he is worthy he ought to go - end of discussion. Following the prophet is following the prophet. No questions, no discussion. Follow the Prophet! Surely there may be exceptions. Let's just not try to focus on them and make it our place to create unofficial guidelines for what those exceptions may or may not be. That is someone else's responsibility.

  • Amy's Mom OREM, UTAH
    May 21, 2012 12:54 a.m.

    I love your columns! This one should be emailed to every Bishop and YM President!

  • fred Vaenuku san mateo, ca
    May 21, 2012 12:27 a.m.

    Vai I agree with you all the way! We choose to go on a mission because the Lord said..... Seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything shall be added unto you. Going on a mission is showing the Lord that we love him, having faith in him, Obedience to our leaders, Willing to sacrifice our time to serve him, and many more.......
    I could understand medical health reason but those who are healthy and able, Just admit your exercising your free agency by not wanting to serve. Remember the scriptures says. Many are called but few are chosen and why are they not chosen? because their hearts are in the things of the world.
    I could only think that this is how Lucifer was able to convince 1/3 of our brothers and sisters to follow him by reasons, persuasive, and compromise that its okay not to go.
    I'm grateful for Sister Parker for going on a mission and raising their kids in the church and the older son who went on a mission. Thank you Vai for not lowing your standard or giving in to pure pressure. Ofa Atu

  • Heater BALA CYNWYD, PA
    May 20, 2012 11:08 p.m.

    @ I'm LDS 2: Glad you liked the SI article but your belittling Vai's opinions in his column is somewhat disingenous. I didn't see you post anything on previous weeks' stories that Vai wrote of Marty Klein and Barbara Nielsen - two obscure people Vai heaped praise upon because of how they helped him in his youth. No, you wait for him to comment on public figure and in that process stakes a claim that his younger sister served with Jabari's mother and you're bent out of shape. Give me a break. I watch Vai on TV in Philly and no one in this market ever complains that Vai knows Andy Reid or has had nephews play for the Eagles. The hate emanating from Provo stinks to high heaven. Change your handle. It's unbecoming of someone who claims the LDS faith.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    May 20, 2012 11:07 p.m.

    The best nissionary tool I had on my mission was Donny and Marie. I got in more doors with them than anyway else. I think all that can should go but I am thinkful that Donny did not. His show at the time helped me teach more than anything else.

    Unless we are in someone elses shoes we can not judge but if you do go you will not regret it. Best and hardest two years of my life.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    May 20, 2012 10:44 p.m.

    Of course the decision to serve a mission is the decision and business only of the individual.

    As is the decision to keep the word of wisdom, not watch r-rated movies (and many pg-13), and remain morally pure. The Lord has spoken through his Prophet (even one who himself didn't serve). Its our choice to obey.

  • Straitpath PROVO, UT
    May 20, 2012 9:58 p.m.

    In this discussion I think of Donny Osmond and also of a young man from Springville, Herring?, who opted out of professional play in order to keep the Sabbath holy.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    May 20, 2012 9:28 p.m.


    You are spot on! Keep up the good work.

    The world of fame, fortune, and glory is always tempting.

    This life is not the reward. This life is the test. Let's help each other pass this test by choosing the right things.

    Everyone can make their own decision, but if you don't follow the Prophet then who are you going to follow?

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 20, 2012 7:30 p.m.

    The Mission and the Cost of the Mission has to apply differently to every individual, and has too be their choice. Mostly because they are the ones that have to live with the results.

    David Robinson is a shining exception but he is just that an exception. He came along at a time when there was a draft. Received a Free Education at one of the best Schools in the World, Went places, sat places, slept places,that people of his race could not do at that time and in some cases still cannot do. Some places you can order a meal but it will never come. Some places the last Room was just Rented. We lost your reservation and we are full. Robinson was also a Navy Officer who cut short his Career to play in the NBA. The Taxpayers that put Robinson through a very expensive school and paid him E-5 pay every month along the got vastly short changed in that deal. The NCAA makes an exception because it is a Service School and Treats it like a work study program.

    Robinson was watched by both Blacks and Whites to see how he would perform.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    May 20, 2012 5:19 p.m.

    Great article!

    The SI one, I mean.

    Vai's articles are OK, but I get tired of the incessant name-dropping. If you believe a tenth of what Vai writes, he is BFFs with every rich and famous person in the Church, the Wide World of Sports, and all of Polynesia combined!

    I, too, knew the Finau family. At least some of them. So? Enough name-dropping already.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    May 20, 2012 3:28 p.m.

    David Robinson

    - Naismith and Wooden Winner
    - 1st pick in the NBA Draft
    - Served in the Navy for two years
    - NBA Rookie of the Year
    - NBA MVP
    - 2-Time NBA Champion
    - Hall of Fame

    If he can do it, why not a missionary?

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 20, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    Guam Bomb: Thank you I see that so often and see and feel the bias so much. Hunter played in a band on a Cruise Ship, Monson gets a bi because of the War.

    However for the vast most part with some noted exception of highly successful converts, a Mission is almost a must.

    Perhaps that is a two way street.Population and where you are also have a lot to do with it. Some places almost everyone is an RM. Others the pickings among the faithful is slim. The cream always comes to the to and sometimes an RM expects things because they are an RM. Many are called and serve in many ways. I served 2 Stake Missions. One in Safford one in Vegas, I was a Temple Worker in Vegas. Now I do my Home Teaching and I attend, and that is all I want and can handle, and at times I wounder about even that.

    Then I remember that Paul was a Convert and it okay again. Or Ill listen to Monson, or Oaks and others preach truth and doctrine and its okay again.

    When your light is dim find a bright bulb.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    May 20, 2012 10:02 a.m.

    It's his choice as HCB63 said and everyone should stay out of it. Of course there will be pressure from the church indirectly and possibly from family and members. There will also be a great pressure to jump into the NBA (if chosen).

    Personally I think it would be a shame for him to go on a mission and risk an NBA opportunity. If he does it right he will be a famous strong example for members which is a lot more exposure than a mission for 2 years in another country for example. Also, when he's finished, he can go on a mission. He'll be an adult, confident, famous (big help here!), respected, and effective at converting.

  • HCB63 Orem, UT
    May 20, 2012 9:19 a.m.

    I have stated before in previous articles of this sort that it is absolutely NO ONE's business whether any LDS youth serves a mission or not. That decision is solely up to the individual, with the final decision being between him or herself and the Lord. That's it.

    If you are truly living the Gospel you will never judge a person for deciding not to serve; but treat them with the same love and compassion you would show to any other church member. If you fail to do that, then that is YOUR problem, and you need to be taking a good hard look at yourself rather than pointing fingers and whispering your disapprovals.

    This young man has enough pressure on him without having church members, basketball fans and [supposedly] responsible media leaning on him to serve a mission. Stay out of it. Plain and simple. Allow this talented young man to choose for himself. After all, one of the greatest tenants of the Gospel is that of Free Agency. Who are you to trod on that, then judge them if they choose contrary to your personal opinion?

  • Smidget Rexburg, ID
    May 20, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    I am the proud father of an adopted son, who is African American. If we doubled his height from 2, he will be 6'8". Now he is in Kindergarten and towers over is classmates. As parents, with older children as well, we have the philosophy of letting our children choose their interests and follow their passions. Our adopted son may not choose to be an athlete, but at this time is very interested and always has a some kind of ball either in his hands or at this feet. We have enough broken home items to attest to this fact. So, with the assumption that our son develops into one with athletic talent, drive, and opportunities -- I need Jabari Parker, who will likely be somewhere in the middle of an all-star NBA career, to a be both an example of a professional athlete who lives his religion and is an RM.

    Thank you Vai for a great article, that articulates our hopes and dreams for any LDS athlete.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    May 20, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    While I disagree with Vai's use of a public forum to pressure Jabari, I think what is missing for many here is many is the personal decision a young man needs to make about a mission and life's course. One should seek inspiration and ask the Lord to guide decisions on mission and career. If Jabari is making his statements based on fear that an NBA career will come ONLY if taking the most direct route (skipping both a college degree and a mission), then he indeed has a lot to learn about life and how we gain control by relinquishing it to a higher power. But it's not ours to judge and I leave that counsel to his parents, friends and teachers.

    As a side note, I'm completely astonished at all the comments and concern about his mission and none whatsoever about his not wanting to complete a 4 year degree. What a funny focus you all have...

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    May 20, 2012 7:19 a.m.

    I don't like this conversation with Jabari in a global public forum like this. If you want to say this kind of thing to him, Vai, do it when you have the chance to meet him face to face. Not even in a personal letter. And appeal to what he already does to serve others and how it brings balance to his life.

    I think he's a great and unique young man, but worry that basketball becomes too much the center of his life. If he were my son, I would counsel with him about the benefits of a 4 year college degree and a mission as well as being things that prepare him for life and for basketball. And when the basketball ends (especially if it ends prematurely), he will have an even better chance at success in things that matter in life.

    I would advise Jabari to read and think about Clayton Christensen's book on "How You Will Measure Your Life". I'm afraid many of our LDS sports stars have lost their luster as examples. Young and Ainge included.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    May 20, 2012 6:49 a.m.

    Sure every young kids (young men and ladies) should go on a mission but young kids are being advised daily by their parents, family, relatives, group leaders, teachers and their bishop. But you think Jabari Parker might feel very unconfortable being discuss like Vai and others saying of what Jabari should do? Go easy on this young kid.

  • Guam_Bomb BARRIGADA, GU
    May 20, 2012 5:25 a.m.

    A little disappointed that William Hopoate was left out of the discussion here. He is to Rugby League in Australia, what Jabari Walker is to Basketball in the US. He walked away from a very large contract in Australia after playing in Rugby leagues top league.(both are of Tongan ancestry by the way) Will be interesting to see how Hopoate fairs after two years.

  • Guam_Bomb BARRIGADA, GU
    May 20, 2012 4:06 a.m.

    The biggest factor in whether or not a young man serves a mission is his desire to serve. Have seen too many missionaries who are on a mission for the wrong reasons. Some just aren't ready to go at 19 and may need another year or two.Some don't go for other reasons. What is sad is when those who don't serve missions are often treated as second class members of the church. I would like to remind everyone that Howard W. Hunter and Thomas S. Monson, did not serve missions as young men. Nobody could argue that these men fell short of their potential as they served in the highest office in the church. I hope some future leaders of the church aren't shamed into inactivity because they decided not to serve a mission.

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 19, 2012 10:38 p.m.

    I am Pro Mission, my Daughter just put in her paperwork, she has some medical issues so may not get to go. I also believe its an individual choice. Somethings and some people are on a timeline and there is an urgency of need to get things done.

    A Mission is Not something you do because there is nothing better to do, or you can't find a job, or none of the princess in your Ward or Stake will Merry you unless you go on one. Guess what they are liable to Not Do after you get back. If you left with No Job Skills you come back with No Job Skills you are still going to be the bottom of the pile till you get an education. Which is why the Church stresses getting an Education.

    The two young men who knocked on my door 25 years ago, had a sure knowledge of the Truth and the Gospel, you know its true because you know its true. Later you might get to smart for you own good, but when your young fresh and in the field you vastly mostly know its true. This Cover did not make Hawaii.

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 19, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    I agree with Vai, a Mission can open many doors.

    I think a Mission can be served in many ways.

    People who go into the Service or Peace Corps, and keep the Commandments and the Standards of the Church and remain single and chaste, are in a way serving both their Country and a Mission. The biggest problem often being the not so faithful LDS People trying to lead them astray so they will feel better. I saw this 1st hand when I was in the Service in the 60's and early 70's and what I see living in Hawaii not much has changed. The Service people go to some of the Social Events at BYUH some looking for fine upstanding young women and men to merry. If you want to find a good person you go to a good place.

    A Mission is an Individual Choice must be that way and one size does not fit all. Pay attention to your own life. A fine young man in my Ward did not go on a Mission for Medical Reasons. He just got married and his young wife is in a Wheel Chair.

    A Mission does No Harm.

  • #1 Champ Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2012 10:20 p.m.

    I'm kinda happy that Jabari doesn't live in Utah, the pressure to go on a mission would be mounting

  • Swimmer Honeyville, UT
    May 19, 2012 9:44 p.m.

    Enjoyed all the comments. My son just completed one year on his mission. Had he not gone he would be competing at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials next month. He never wavered in his desire and commitment to serve. I agree with Vai, my son has had so many experiences on his mission that could never be duplicated anywhere else.

    He'll be fine when he returns and I don't think he will miss a beat. But it will take some time to get back in swim shape. 2016 in Brazil will be his time.

    I respectfully disagree with Danny Ainge. Every young man should serve a mission. But it's a matter of preparation. Some don't prepare themselves and either struggle with whether to go or struggle once they get out there. Missionary work is very hard work if done properly. I saw plenty that coasted. But I worked myself to exhaustion most days and really enjoyed my mission.

    I also agree with Vai that the mission prepares one for marriage, for school, employment and life and it does build in one a confidence that you can accomplish whatever you want to achieve. Good article Vai.

  • jawico Cedar City, UT
    May 19, 2012 9:20 p.m.

    Interesting how the Lord told his people not to kill yet Nephi did just that at the Lord's command. Who am I to say the Lord does or doesn't have a bigger plan for his boy Jabari? I hope he goes, but even if he doesn't I'm excited to cheer for him for years to come.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    May 19, 2012 9:05 p.m.

    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.

  • Chris from Rose Park PROVO, UT
    May 19, 2012 5:52 p.m.


    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.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    May 19, 2012 3:31 p.m.

    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.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    May 19, 2012 3:12 p.m.

    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.

  • dprichards Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2012 2:27 p.m.

    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.)

  • joanbeatri Danville, CA
    May 19, 2012 2:03 p.m.

    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.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 19, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    @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.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    May 19, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    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.

    May 19, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    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.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    May 19, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    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.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    May 19, 2012 10:06 a.m.

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

    May 19, 2012 9:45 a.m.


    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.

  • A_Zion_State_O'Mind FAIR OAKS, CA
    May 19, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    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.

  • TheHailstorm South Weber, UT
    May 19, 2012 7:57 a.m.

    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.

  • Coyoteghost Saint George, UT
    May 19, 2012 7:10 a.m.

    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.

  • ed in atl Duluth, GA
    May 19, 2012 6:35 a.m.

    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.

  • romorg PROVO, UT
    May 19, 2012 4:22 a.m.

    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.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    May 19, 2012 12:55 a.m.

    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.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    May 19, 2012 12:18 a.m.

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

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 18, 2012 9:58 p.m.

    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.