Comments about ‘An unlikely Mormon: Former U. basketball star shares conversion story’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

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Cinci Man

This is an amazing story. Mitch is an amazing man. Cindy is an amazing woman. The kids are amazing kids. The Spirit is an amazing force. Congratulations on your eternal family! And thanks for sharing your tender, though challenging road, with us. "Sweet is the peace the gospel brings."

Orem, UT

Tears. Touching story. The Lord knows who we are. We don't always.

Salt Lake City, UT

Great Story! Thanks so much for sharing it.

I am so glad to see how people can change for the better. We are all in this together.

President Uchtdorf said it best, We all are on the same team and wear the same jersey.

I am a UTE, but I know so many BYU fans who are haters of the U. Or haters of other schools as well. It is so shallow and hypocritical to hate anyone.

Yes, I know a ton of haters at Utah as well. But, most of them don't wear their religion on their sleeve!

We all need to learn to work together to make life great.

Haters on both sides please stop hating. The world is full of problems. It is time to rise above the world!!!

Good work Mitch. Love the story. Great job to your wife and family for hanging in there.

Chris Degn
Salt Lake City, UT

The last little paragraph says it all. A man with priorities. Good stuff!

Cedar Hills, UT

My 2 brothers and I were playing the back 9 at Glendale in the late 90's one evening. We had a Smith "single" to join us. Turned out to be Mitch who was in town in the off season. We had a fun round and it was interesting to pick his brain a bit about Ute bball. He was as crazy good as they come around the boards.

I had no idea that he was a convert to the church. Great story.

Thanks for sharing Mitch and Cindy.

Morgan, UT

The Lords work continues...

Cougar Passion
Salt Lake City, UT

I'd like to make a couple of disparate points. One is that Elder Holland is right about the Lord putting people in the right situations. I am convinced my wife would not have joined the Church for many years if she had not first lived in a small branch with a concentration of high-quality members as opposed to seeing the spectrum that exists in most wards.

The second point is in response to "Red". It is not my point to start a fight here, but this is worth noting. I did not grow up in Utah and, despite being a passionate BYU fan, actively cheered for Utah any time they didn't play BYU, even when they were in the NCAA Championship game under Rick Majerus. But my perspective changed dramatically when I moved to Utah. Now if I wear BYU apparel, I am routinely bothered specifically by fellow LDS who are Utah fans--the non-LDS have the sense to not worry about it, it seems. It seems a very strange thing to me that Mormons would bother other Mormons about supporting the school that has Church leadership as the Board of Trustees.

Peoria, AZ

For the first ten years of my life, I lived next door to the Smith family. Reading this story makes my heart beat fast, and my eyes fill with tears! Our family was the only LDS family in the cul-de-sac of seven families when we moved in, and while it was difficult to have neighbors that disliked us simply because of our religion, my parents were such a powerful influence for good. In our home, our convictions became stronger and our love for our Savior became deeper. Including Mitch's family, four of those families today are now very active members of the church and are among some of the finest people I know. I don't remember the last time I saw Mitch, but over the years I've heard bits and pieces of this story, much to my delight. Mitch's story reminds me that as devoted members of the church, the "seeds" that we plant along our life's journey, are never EVER wasted! What a beautiful story and officially one of my most favorite conversion stories ever.

SomewhereIn, UT

Wow. Thanks for sharing that truly inspirational story of conversion. Powerful.

Salt Lake City, UT

Mitch sells himself short. Our family has known Mitch since his first days in Utah. When he came to Utah he was polite,kind,and without ego. It was easy to see that his parents had raised him well. I think that upbringing, and particularly his humble nature, prepared him to accept the gospel at a later time.

Mitch and Cindy, you're the best.


Great article...brought tears to my eyes as well. I'm a lifelong BYU fan and have to admit, don't cheer for the Utes much in anything. But as a member of the Church, I'll cheer for anyone (even in red) that is willing to listen to the Gospel--and ultimately the Spirit. Thanks for sharing.
To "Red":
Nice jab. Unfortunately there are fans of both schools that are not sympathetic in any way to the other. When you state, "...I know a ton of haters at Utah as well. But, most of them don't wear their religion on their sleeve!" You are right. Instead many of them spend an inordinate amount of time and energy making fun of; disrespecting; and, tearing down the Mormon religion.

The phrase "wear _____ on their sleeve" means to wear or display something openly. This is exactly what the Church teaches is to be open and deliberate in our beliefs, morals, and actions. Ironically, this was a factor in Mitch Smith's conversion over the years. The members were deliberate and open.


I remember hearing Lynn Archibald being asked who he would rather have on his team, Mitch or Mike Smith (BYU's star player). Without hesistation and a wry smile he stated Mitch. Very inspiring and well written article. I have fond memories of the Mitch and Mike Smith rivalry. I also remember how devastated Mitch was on a TV interview when Archibald was fired after his senior season. Mitch had to have been the scrappiest player to play in a Utah uniform.


thanks for sharing.Made my day

Universal Truth
Salt Lake City, UT

In response to Redweek: This was a great article, and it sounds like Mitch Smith was and is a great guy. But I would be shocked beyond belief if a coach were to say that he would prefer a player on an opposing team to the one on his team.

Billings, MT

The Archibalds moved into our neighborhood when Lynn joined the staff at the U of U and I became friends with one of his sons. I had the chance to be in their home on numerous occasions. Lynn truly was one of the classiest men I've ever known. He was always positive, always made you feel like you were the only person in the room, and his zest for life was infectious. This is a great article which shows the positive influence he had on Mitch and others. I love the last line. Lynn was a good coach, but he was a great man, and builder of great men.

Salt Lake City, UT

That was my point. I'm fine with everyone "wearing" their religion on their sleeve. I encourage it!

Just stop being a hater!

Herbert Gravy
Salinas, CA

May God bless all of you wonderful people.



I agree with you 100%...stop the hate. Your previous comment about knowing many BYU fans that are shallow and hypocritical haters was unnecessary and makes it out that you hate BYU just as much as any other hater...else you wouldn't have mentioned that at all, since this article has nothing to do with the BYU/Utah rivalry. It's a great article about conversion to the gospel. And I'm not hating, don't accuse me of it either.

Riverton, UT

My experience with Mitch was as my childhood best friend(almost like a brother). He and his family taught me to play sports and I grew up being rather tough, being a girl amongst all these boys in the neighborhood. My family joined the Church when I was 7, I don't think I was treated any different after that but I know the families that were members in our neighborhood it did cause problems. I know when I had my first car accident - it was Mitch's Dad who helped me and was always their to encourage me. Mitch and I grew apart in our teens, but once I knew he went to Utah, I knew their might be a chance for him to be converted and out of his family I felt he was the one that could be touched the most. I always kept an eye out of where he was hoping he would join the church. I am glad he found Cindy and she was SOOO PATIENT with him, I know I never was! It is amazing how the Lord touches someone and their family to bring them to his fold. The Lord moves in mysterious ways!


Thanks for the inspirational story showing that some non-LDS have good experiences at the University of Utah.

I am one of the active members of the LDS Church who do NOT like BYU sports fans who give me the opinion that any active Mormon should be a fan of BYU football or basketball teams. Most of my former ward were BYU fans. My current ward has about equal number of BYU and Utah fans and there is a friendly rivalry without any openly hate filled comments.

Many missionary companions were rabid BYU fans and they increased my personal dislike of BYU football and basketball. It is sad that another newspaper encourages hostility between the fans with "Holy War" comments whenever Utah and BYU play football against each other.

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