Jimmer and Whitney Fredette open up about life as Mormon couple in NBA

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    Jan. 15, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    When I was on my mission in Chicago about 30 years ago, we knocked on the door of a very kind gentleman who told us his daughter joined the LDS Church after watching Donny(no mission) and Marie on television and was now attending BYU. Need I say more?

    Jan. 15, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    When I was on my mission in Chicago about 30 years ago, we knocked on a door and a kindly gentleman answered. We told him who we were and told us he was familiar with the LDS Church.
    He told us his daughter joined the church after watching Donny (no mission) and Marie on television and was now attending BYU. Need I say more?

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    J-TX: I appreciate your comments, especially the last line. That sums up the whole issue very nicely.

    I detect a bit of a whining tone among others, implying "why should the rest of us be required to go on a mission and the superstars get a pass?" I think there is a misconception of what a mission is. Most who have served on a formal mission would deem it more as a PRIVILEGE than an obligation or sacrifice. If someone opts not to take advantage of that privilege, that is none of our business!

    And if you think that worthy LDS members in professional sports, or other limelight, are not doing missionary work, you are extremely naive. The likes of Steve Young, Danny Ainge, Dale Murphy, Vai Sikahema, Gifford Neilson have all been positive influences for the Church. and have directly or indirectly brought people to the Gospel.

    I don't think there is a single General Authority that would harshly judge Jimmer for not going on a mission, because they know he can do a lot of good for the Church from a PR perspective. So why should we judge him?

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Jan. 13, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    RE: Missions:

    I'm one of three brothers, all 6th gen LDS. With a convert mom and an often inactive dad, missions were never mentioned as a goal in our home. My dad and Grandpa did not go, though my great-grandpa served 3 5-year missions. But for a series of miracles in my life, I would not have served. But I did, and praise to the Father.

    Fast forward: I have 3 sons, all 7th gen LDS. #1 is his own person and decided (inexplicably to his parents) to get married shortly after High School to a recent convert girl. They were sealed in the temple 1 year later, and they are progressing. #2 will come home from his mission in May. #3 made some mistakes and did not qualify, given the 'raised bar'.

    We love them and they all understand that it would have been optimal to serve a mission, but, water under the bridge, most important is to do the things that will lead to the Temple, Eternal Marriage and a life of service in the Church.

    Have there been criticisms and lack of charity at times? Yes.

    Lack of charity is a sin. Not going on a mission is not a sin.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Jan. 13, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    "In 2011, Jimmer Fredette found himself in the spotlight (no pun intended) during his senior year as he led the BYU basketball team to the Sweet 16."

    No pun intended? There was no pun. Someone needs to go back and take a look at their writing 101 book....

  • kaysvillecougar KAYSVILLE, UT
    Jan. 12, 2014 11:17 p.m.

    Tons of respect for Whittney and Jimmer! You navigate a public life with a lot of class. I've always been a fan of the way you play the game, but I'm very impressed by your grace and humility - not easy or even revered qualities in the NBA. Much success in your life. I almost didn't write this, remembering Pres. Hinckley's words,"adulation is poison." I figure you'll be able to handle this little bit of adulation since you've done a pretty good job so far. Best of luck to both of you in the future. By the way, my favorite Jimmer memory was watching him stick it to "Willis" from UNLV after some much publicized running the mouth.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Jan. 11, 2014 11:58 p.m.

    @DanB Just because the circumstances were different does not make it a bad comparison. The point is, there were circumstances that said it wasn't right for either Pres. Monson or Jimmer to serve a mission. Makes no difference that the expectation wasn't there during Pres. Monson's time. That was also part of the circumstance.

    Also, let's not forget that another prophet, Pres. Howard W. Hunter did not serve a mission. Elder Featherstone is correct.

    Jimmer was gracious to answer the question. The real answer to such a question is "It's none of your business. That's strictly between me and the Lord."

    Why are people grumping about not having their own personal Apostle to give them counsel? Since when is jealousy and envy part of gospel living? That's pride and pettiness manifesting itself. Here's a way you can one-up Jimmer on that: Get your counsel personally from the Lord!

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Jan. 11, 2014 9:40 p.m.

    Re: DanB

    "Guess who else didn't go on a mission? Thomas S. Monson, and I don't see that many people criticizing him for not going. Worry about your own lives and quit judging others."

    Bad comparison. There was no expectation for "every worthy male" to serve a mission at that time, especially during World War II. Pres. Monson was a bishop at missionary age and did serve a mission a few years later (as a mission president in Canada in his early thirties).

    That is neither here nor there, I agree with you that there is no need to judge others. cheers.

    Jan. 11, 2014 6:19 p.m.

    We can all serve missions--a full time proselytizing mission isn't the only way. I, a common member with absolutely no notoriety, had the opportunity to associate with and be interviewed by Spencer W. Kimball because he was at the time the supervisor of our mission. One thing he made clear to us is that our missions didn't end with our release; they were to be lifelong. If I remember correctly, Steve Young didn't serve a full time mission either; but has filled a life-long one. There are other more everyday members who didn't but do--if readers catch my drift. It is strictly a matter between every member and the Lord. The encouragement for every worthy young man to do so is simply motivational in nature; not a commandment set in concrete.
    BTW: we had closer involvement with the general authorities when we were young than the youth & members in general do now. But we all can enjoy a close relationship with the Lord!

  • DanB Portland, OR
    Jan. 11, 2014 3:18 p.m.

    Guess who else didn't go on a mission? Thomas S. Monson, and I don't see that many people criticizing him for not going. Worry about your own lives and quit judging others.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 11, 2014 2:57 p.m.

    I think the reason why we see a disproportionatly large number of African-Americans in the NBA has to do with culture and socio-economic reality not biology.

    It is a culture of playing basketball from a young age. It is a culture of basketball being the only sport and sport being heavily emphasized. On the other hand, it is the socio-economic reality that people in inner cities can get basketball and football scholarships, but with crummy schools will only rarely get others.

    How many more Ben Carson's would Detroit Public Schools have turned out if it was a well run school district. I don't know, but as a DPS employee I will say they have lots of improvements to make, even if I will say things are getting better.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    If you hate Jimmer Fredette in anyway or for any reason, you just self-identified yourself as some one with issues.

    Always kind, always positive, always classy.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    Like when Kevin Love won that random "which player makes the most out of limited natural ability" "award" which he referred to as the white guy award.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2014 10:04 a.m.


    Some LDS fans probably would not be as kind to an average BYU male who decided not to serve a mission.

    I for one respect all young men who are striving to be good people and good athletes whether they serve a mission or not. A mission is not for everyone, but it is definitely a good choice for those who want to do it. For those who choose not to serve a mission, I'm sure you have other good and worthy goals that are worth pursuing and you are a loved child of God too.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    Jan. 11, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    I have to agree with Liberal Ted. The expectation to serve a mission is huge among the majority who are not part of the Mormon glitterati. And those "regular church members" who choose not to serve are often frowned upon and have to live under a cloud of suspicion. Also, the vast majority of "regular" Mormons never have the opportunity to receive personal counsel from a member of the Quorum of the 12, let alone receive personal phone calls from of them. So, good for Jimmer for living his life the way he chooses...and for being a person to whom the church pays particular attention.

  • Hey It's Me Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    @ Liberal Ted,

    You sound a bit bitter. Yes the church has encouraged every person who can serve to do a mission, however, we all know that the Lord has given us all different plans for our life. There are superstars that serve on missions (David Archeletta) and there are superstars who don't. Not your place to judge. I think Jimmer talks to a lot of people and his actions speak louder than words. He's a good guy, good example and a strong active member. There are many who are not superstars and they still decide not to go on missions. Take care of yourself and your life and don't compare to others and don't judge others. BE HAPPY.

  • Johnny, JRU Riverton, UT
    Jan. 11, 2014 2:22 a.m.

    Thomas S. Monson our dear Prophet didn't serve a mission in his youth. I met with Vaughan J. Featherstone in the church office buildings upon coming home sick from my mission. He asked me "Elder how do you feel about Missions?" I said I felt that I needed to serve a full time mission to achieve the Celestial kingdom. His reply... "Elder serving a mission is not on the check list to get into the celestial kingdom! But a temple marriage is. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and each of us are unique and as different as snow flakes. Our general rule is worthy young men *should* go. But the lord has given us all talents and gifts that should be used to help build his church upon this earth. And Elder I too did not serve a mission in my youth but things have worked out pretty good for me!" I think a few commenters should rethink the concept of a 2 year commitment and change it to a life time commitment based on true gospel principles.

  • Sore loser tampa, fl
    Jan. 11, 2014 1:57 a.m.

    Some fellers were doing some work on my kitchen during jimmers senior year. I had on my byu hat. The first thing that they talked about was jimmer.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Jan. 11, 2014 1:34 a.m.

    Here's my opinion. I served a two year mission. I thought it was difficult. Jimmer Fredette, on the other hand, to get to where he is, has spent an ENTIRE LIFETIME shooting, dribbling and all kinds of other horrible, tedious, redundant drills. All professional athletes do. In exchange, they get fame, wealth, and a pretty wife. Simply not worth to me. He wouldn't trade places with me, but I would never in my life trade places with him. Not on my worst day. Don't be so quick to judge. The man has paid his dues, just in a different way. I'm not saying the decision to forgo a mission was the right one. But, come on, the man has worked his rear end off. In a society where so many don't work at all at anything, that's got to count for something.

  • Stop The Nonsense El Paso, TX
    Jan. 10, 2014 10:53 p.m.

    I liked the question and answer about Jimmer not serving a mission. Though the reason has never really mattered to me, I had always been a little bit curious. I think it's pretty cool that he prayed about it and without a strong "yes" felt comfortable moving forward with his basketball career. No need to argue back and forth about it, in my opinion. The Lord (through a prophet) said that all worthy young men should serve missions, though there are exceptions. The Lord (through a prophet) also said "Thou shalt not kill," and we have seen some exceptions there as well (Nephi/Laban, etc.).

    It also doesn't surprise me that general authorities try to establish a relationship with Mormon public figures. And why wouldn't they? Who is in a better position to positively affect how people view our faith?

    Overall, great interview! Stay classy, Jimmer and Whitney!

  • Coolhead North Logan, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 10:51 p.m.

    Nice interview. I have no problem with those who talk about their very personal decision to forgo a mission and play sports. I have a big problem with athletes and fans who say that 'playing ball is their mission.' This is a common mis-statement, unless that is, the Missionary Department letter says 'The Football Field' or 'Basketball Court' as the area of service. It is a naive position to equate playing sports to trudging through mud in freezing rain, risking dysentery every day or having doors slammed in your face, all in the name of selfless, anonymous service. I appreciate the way that this issue was handled.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    Jan. 10, 2014 10:02 p.m.

    Ted, I agree with your comments about a mission. Question ? Would Jimmers's LDS fans be as kind to a average BYU male who decided not to serve a mission ?

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Jan. 10, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    The White Question was dumb, but the fact still is that NBA fans, coaches and players ARE obsessed with color. "White men can't jump". "You can't win with white players (used to be you can't win with more than one black player)". The comment was based on the obvious racism in hoops over time. So is it true? Are blacks superior basketball players?

    Well, the NBA is about winning. Period. The guys they draft are the best players they can find. The fact that the NBA is 80 or 90% black is evidence for black superiority.

    As a scientist, I ask the question: why? Oh, wait, we're not supposed to answer that, because WHY? is a racist question.

    Also, as a biologist, I realize that that there is only the human race, color is merely response to latitude and related to protection from the sun. So, then, what about African descent makes the difference? Fast twitch muscle? Body mass? Inner city playgrounds?

    Why not do a study? Because we don't really want to know.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Jan. 10, 2014 3:47 p.m.


    The Lord knows who you are. ;)

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    Liberal Ted:
    Calm down. I don't understand why you are letting the writers of this article and commentators rile you up so much. Jimmer chose not to go on a mission and no one in the article or comments judged him, good or bad for that decision. Would you prefer we take him over the coals for not going like the prophet instructed...no thanks, I have enough mistakes in my life to answer for I don't need to judge Jimmer, and that is why no one should Mormon or not. If you aren't a famous Mormon than the same concept applies, I'm not in any position to judge you...I have many close friends and men that I look up to who didn't serve, and many who did. I guess I'm not sure what you expect the Deseret news to say or do about it.

    Second, the white comment wasn't Utah valley humor or racist in any way. They are very pale and people have teased them about that before. Why make a mountain out of a mole hill?

    Good luck Jimmer and Whitney!

  • Mack2828 Ft Thomas, KY
    Jan. 10, 2014 2:56 p.m.

    I sometimes go through very hard times and alas no apostle has ever called to wish me well.
    Strange world we live in...I suppose becoming skilled at throwing a ball through a metal hoop has it's privileges.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    As I read this article, the one I have the most respect for is his Mother. What a wonderful, strong lady. She supports and loves her children unconditionally and that can be a challenging thing when their path in life leads them in a different direction than you would have preferred. So many Mormons don't understand that the undeniable, strong faith that non-believers have is as true and righteous to them as a Mormons belief is to themself. When someone, like Jimmer's Mom, not only respects but encourages her son to follow his path in life it is an example worth following for all.

  • Buzzards LEHI, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    Great interview, though I agree about the "way too white" question. That was goofy. Only one bit of advice for Jimmer. Don't go near the Lakers! We love you, but we despise the Lakers more, you would lose a lot of fans in a Lakers jersey.

  • Cougar Blue 1 Henderson , NV
    Jan. 10, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    I love the Jimmer's even more. Such a good guy with still a lot of talent. He has had some good games as of late. Hopefully he continues to get more playing time.

  • AzTim Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 10, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    Regardless of how good or how dumb the questions were, the Freddette's both did an EXCELLENT job in giving straight-up, honest and very interesting answers. I was fascinated to see how well they dealt with each question, as well as how well they are dealing with a very task of living in the public eye. Well done Jimmer and Whitney! Class acts both!

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    now I'm a dude. Thanks t702. I'm not sure what you mean by "making fun of them in a good way". How do you "make fun" of white people in a "good way"? Can you "make fun" of black people in a "good way"?

    I understand the interviewer was trying to use that good ol Utah County humor. The same humor and attitude that helps millions of Mormons stay active and never leave the church. In case you didn't catch it, that was sarcasm.

    Besides what is wrong with Mormons stepping back for a minute and re-read what they say and write? Maybe read it from a perspective of someone that doesn't live in the little bubble of Utah County.
    Either way, Jimmer was a fun college player to watch. He is a fun NBA player to watch. Even if many of his fans, like to jump to conclusions and point their righteous finger, before asking questions or putting some thought into why a person would write what they did.
    Raising a question or a point, shouldn't be a threat for "secured" people.

  • dan76 san antonio, TX
    Jan. 10, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    "Lastly, who cares if they're white? Why does our society have strong emotions about being white? It's okay to be white, brown, green, red, yellow, purple."

    Our society is just now adjusting to the concept of equality no matter the skin color. Therefore the strong emotions expressed by those in the obsession of skin color.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    I agree that the "white" question was really dumb!

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Jan. 10, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    Loved the article!

    @ Ted: "The part that bothers me, is when a Mormon becomes famous. Then suddenly it doesn't matter whether or not they serve a mission." Did you read the part that he prayed about his decision? It was his freaking decision between him and God.

    "Lastly, who cares if they're white? Why does our society have strong emotions about being white?" Really? Hey dude, the interviewer was jokingly making fun of them in a good way...but... since liberals/progressive are obsess with race, they see any mention of skin color as racist, unbelievable.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    So now I'm insecure according ute alumni. Like I said, I don't care what his decision was. I wasn't very clear. When the Deseret News writes articles like this, or when a famous Mormon is used for publicity, it seems that everything that non-famous members are required to do; do not seem to matter.

    So the message the article sends is confusing. Is it important or not? If it is important then did Jimmer receive a calling from Ballard? If it's not important, then why push so hard for every worthy young man to serve?

    Maybe that is a little more clear.

  • justired Fillmore, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    I enjoyed reading the interview. Well done. They can't avoid the spotlight, at least for a few more years. Kind of like the Utah woman who was Miss America quite some time ago.

    As to the white question, the comment that she hoped their kids could go out in the sun, shows that she understood the thrust of the question, as some pale people sun-burn very easily.

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    Life is a MISSION. The fact that someone goes or doesn't isn't really your business. Remember someone else that wanted to force behavior. He is on a mission to live a righteous life. I served and it was great, but it was only one little part of my life of trying to make right decisions. BTW, only insecure folks worry about someone or their own fame. Who really cares, famous or not does not matter to God.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Jan. 10, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    RE: Liberal Ted

    "Lastly, who cares if they're white? Why does our society have strong emotions about being white? It's okay to be white, brown, green, red, yellow, purple. We see white people and immediately the talk is how do we fix you from being white?"

    While I agree it was a silly question, it wasn't a question of being white (vs. Black, brown, etc.) but of being really white (i.e. pale). It was meant to be funny because both Jimmer and Whitney are quite pale.

  • oddman ,
    Jan. 10, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    Funny, but I've been a die hard fan even before he became a household name and I've never deviated from my fondness for him. I read all the naysayers and read their negative comments and think to myself, "Why do people waste their breath and time criticizing others." Funnier still, but I think we will hear a lot more about this amazing young man and his place among the NBA long time players. And that's the opinion of a seasoned duffer from Colorado.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    I respect peoples decisions about whether or not to serve a mission.

    The part that bothers me, is when a Mormon becomes famous. Then suddenly it doesn't matter whether or not they serve a mission. Because they're famous and are "serving" in a different way...for the 99% of us we are told that every worthy member should serve and set aside other pursuits until after.

    If that is what Jimmer was called to do, that's great....but, for the rest of us that don't get to have the spot light, marry the cheer leader, be the star of a team, have our education paid for, and get a pass on serving a mission.....life is much different. Maybe we should put the spot light back on those of us that aren't superstars.

    Lastly, who cares if they're white? Why does our society have strong emotions about being white? It's okay to be white, brown, green, red, yellow, purple. We see white people and immediately the talk is how do we fix you from being white?

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    you won't hear anything negative from me about your husband. both of you are class acts and are to be admired. hopefully someone in the nba is smart enough to pick him up and let him excel in a game that he has prepared most of his life for. the best thing is that both of you seem to be winning in the most important game, life. congratulations and thanks for the article.