Jabari Parker, Mormon athletes and missions discussed in New York Times article

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  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Nov. 6, 2014 4:28 p.m.

    What has Jabari done, to show he's an active Mormon?

  • FAYM Fruit Heights, UT
    Oct. 3, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    I did not serve a mission. I was ready and prepared, but at my stage in life when I was 19, it was something that was not in the cards. I have held many positions of service in the church, married in and attend the temple, have been married to my sweetheart over 30 years, have raised two wonderful daughters... And I believe that every member is a missionary.

    I personally have no control now over a decision I made when I was 19, but I don't regret it a bit.

    Maybe more people should be worried about how they live their lives, than judging how others choose to live theirs. Too many Mormons are more interested in forcing the sheep mentality on other members, which has a negative impact on many of them. We should not run them off if they don't fit with our plans for their eternal salvation. Let's have them strive to grow up to be good fathers and mothers. IMHO.

  • Gabsterm Springville, UT
    July 1, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    Who knows, Maybe the NBA is his mission

  • Socal Coug San Diego, CA
    June 30, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    People need to stop with the "He can be a missionary through playing his sport and being an example."
    Couldn't he do that after he got back??

  • Socal Coug San Diego, CA
    June 30, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    This is a topic I will probably never understand. If every worthy young man should serve a mission, why would there be exceptions? Because he's GOOD at what he does? Why is that different than being a young entrepreneur or computer science expert?
    I understand that physical abilities deteriorate after 30, so you have to strike while the iron is hot.
    I understand that taking a 'time out' from your sport and possibly future profession would be considered a sacrifice (giving up--or delaying-- one thing for something else).
    But this all needs to be said more simple: Would you rather serve the Lord on a mission or.... (insert 'more important' thing here).

  • ReadMineFirst Ft. Collins, CO
    June 29, 2014 9:08 p.m.

    Brother Parker has made his choice and I believe that he will be an outstanding example, mentor and missionary to the world. In the interviews that I have watched he is humble and polite. Let your light shine, Br. Parker! Oh, and get those rebounds! Go Bucks!

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    June 29, 2014 10:39 a.m.


    Many people assumed he would go on a mission and did not respect his decision not to serve a mission. He may also choose not to pay tithing. I hope you'll respect that decision as well. After all, his Father is not LDS but his mother is. Now that Jabari is an adult, he is free to make his own decisions.

  • McMurphy St George, Utah
    June 29, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    With Parker going into the NBA the Church gets 10% of many millions of dollars and Parker can still go on a mission later in life.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    June 28, 2014 10:18 p.m.

    Let's see, Jabari forgo his mission and opt for the NBA which will pay him handsomely in millions, which in turn benefits the Church quite nicely with a hefty dose of tithes, offerings, missionary fund, perpetual education fund, etc, which will then help support hundreds, if not thousands more of other young people from around the world who wants to serve but are unable to support themselves. On top of that, the publicity he'll receive will benefit the missionary work quite nicely if he continues to stay humble and true to the values he espouses as an honorable Christian young man. I'm sure in the eyes of the Lord that's more than a valuable contribution to his work. And who can say that he won't ever go on a mission later in his life? He'll probably be a bishop, stake president, or a general authority some day. Who knows? Heck, he may even be a Relief Society president! (Just being sarcastic here!)

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    June 28, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    Steve Young did not serve a mission. After his NFL career he's served in many ways. More recently, he came out in support of LGBT and has been very supportive of gay rights.

    Jabari will have his time to make a positive impact on the world, but he obviously decided he doesn't want to serve a mission now.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    June 28, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    My guess is his bishop and other leaders he may have met with, refrained from saying if he should or should not serve. I would guess they had him work out the results on fiances, future employment options and other such things if he entered the NBA now, if he waited to finnish college, if he went on a mission and then went back to college and then to the NBA, or any other possible options.

    There are lots of facts I do not get a sense we know. Like the economic situation of Parker's family. Also, having seen pro-sports figures be big draws for missionary firesides, a way to get people out to at least listen to things that they might otherwise ignore, there is a definate plus to having a figure like Parker.

    This is more so because he is African-American. On my mission we had a hard time getting African-Americans to even pause to listen to us. While Parker as a misisonary would help in this regards, him as a nationally known Mormon African-American basketball player will also help, and more broadly while not maybe as personally.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    June 28, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    For what it is wroth, the admonition for all worthy men to serve missions was first issued by President Kimball in the early 1970s. Such an admonition did not exist in the 1940s, so we cannot compare Preasident Monson's actions to those of more recent figures.

    That said, the decision to serve a mission or not is an individual one, and I will not take it upon myself to know what the right decisions for any individual is. In the case of sports there is a very narrow window in which people can be involved in professional sports, and leaving for 2 years is very disruptive to careers.

    I firmly believe Parker can do at least as much for LDS outreach as a well followed NBA player as he could as a missionary. Although, because I like thinking outside the box, I still wonder if there is any chance that Parker could still serve a mission. I know there was at least one pro-futbol player in Argentina who took a leave from his team to serve a mission.

  • FanOfTheSith Vernal, UT
    June 27, 2014 10:24 p.m.

    Whether he goes or not, Parker is free to make up his mind and that's how it should be.

  • Kaladin Northern, CO
    June 27, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    Good luck with your career Jabari! Ignore the naysayers.
    I agree with BraveSirRobin - I never taught others their religion was wrong on my mission. I just went and taught people that wanted to listed about our church. That was all I was ever counseled to do by my leaders as well. There are great people in every religion. The fact that I believe my church is true doesn't mean I think they are in the wrong. Our church teaches that those in other religions will have an opportunity to receive the fulness of the Gospel at some point. With those in other religions, I am glad they believe in God.

  • PapaLinusAZ Gilbert, AZ
    June 27, 2014 2:05 p.m.

    Question: How many of us 'just know' that we would LOVE to have this decision to make? Everyone thinks they would love it, but my guess is that notion is like iron pyrite - sure looks like gold until take a closer look.

    Anyone would be torn by this decision, struggle to do the right thing - set aside the natural man or woman. It could lead one to a sense of discomfort the spans the rest of a person's life, unsure as to whether or not he/she did the right thing.

    Another man's path is always greener, the sun shines brighter on the other side. And if you don't believe that, I have some 'gold' you might be interested in buying.

  • PapaLinusAZ Gilbert, AZ
    June 27, 2014 1:56 p.m.

    I left Utah for Arizona 20 years ago and have to say that I do not miss these types of discussions AT ALL. If there is one thing Christ's example teaches us is that everyone should be treated as an individual.

    So now I'm going to do what drives me crazy when others do it: Pick at Angela's words: "every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission." So tell me, Angela, does the term 'prepare to serve a mission' strictly mean SERVE a mission as a single person, or just prepare so you are worthy if/when other aspects of one’s life 'line up' – he/she is worthy to accept the call?

    I don't know the answer - don't pretend to know the answer. I served a mission and couldn't be happier that I did. Others serve and are bitter, and I'm not just talking about the fellow from Jonestown TX. The point is, it's personal matter between you and the Lord.

    Only Parker knows if he made this decision because he didn't want to sacrifice 2 years of his basketball career, or because he loves money more than God.

  • Dave Duncan Orem, UT
    June 27, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Angela was reminding us of the words of two very wise men. I fail to see any way that it can be construed as "criticism". It is good to be reminded.

    I hope Jabari does well in his career, and even more so, in his life. Serving a mission is a transformative experience. I am sorry that he will miss out on that experience at this point in his life. There are some very important points being made, here, that this doesn't mean he's a bad person, and it doesn't mean he can't serve the Lord, and his fellowman, in many constructive ways in the future.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    June 27, 2014 7:25 a.m.

    Danny Ainge later became an LDS bishop after his NBA career. Steve Young has said he and his wife want to serve a mission together. A mission is a privilege and the growth experienced during that two years is priceless. Parker is a rare talent and taking that talent to the NBA is the right thing for him so long as he is able to stay grounded with his faith with all the money and glamor of being a high draft pick.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 27, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    A Mission is "NOT" a Saving Ordinance.

    Every young man should prepare and be worthy to serve, but that does not mean that every young man (or women) should or will be prepared to serve a formal mission in their youth. Perhaps their time comes later in life or not at all.

    It must also be understood that there are indeed many ways to serve a "Mission" and many high profile athletes and entertainers have been counseled by Apostles and Prophets not to go and to just keep doing what they are doing.

    This is a personal decision between any individual, his church leaders and the Lord. It is very presumptuous for anyone to be dogmatic and judgmental in this regard. The old adage, "Mind your own business", applies.

    We all knew a few missionaries, who never should have wasted the Lord's time and/or their parents treasure. The most effective missionaries are those who serve after serious contemplation and prayer. Those who miss the mark are those who only go because of a misunderstood "mandate" and social pressure.

    Jabari Parker is an outstanding missionary, every day of his life

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 27, 2014 5:13 a.m.

    I'm not seeing any response to "Jimmer" and his decision not to go. Does going to BYU exempt you from criticism.
    Leave Jabari alone. He'll be just fine.

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    June 26, 2014 7:24 p.m.

    I suppose there are mission and then there are missions. Don't you think that Steve Young or others named represented themselves and their church in such high profile professions?
    It's not my business and not anyone else's.

  • Reasonable thinker PAC Country, CA
    June 26, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    Give it a rest everyone. This is not national news and should have been a private matter for Jabari. He can be just as good a person in the NBA as he can on a mission. He will have a chance later in life to serve if he so chooses.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 26, 2014 5:21 p.m.

    Re: ". . . every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission."

    Just as Jabari is doing.

    He's at peace. His Church leaders are at peace. Who are we to disturb that peace and second-guess the all-knowing source of it?

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    June 26, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    @independent - how do you know what his local leaders told him to do? You don't know they probably told him not to serve any more than another person on these boards knows that his bishop told him he had to serve.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    June 26, 2014 4:51 p.m.


    If you were telling people that their religion was wrong and yours was right, you didn't do your mission correctly. Personally, I taught people about my religion, refrained from stepping on theirs, and told them to figure it out for themselves.

  • IndependentUtahn Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 26, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    Judgmental much, Angela08? He met with his local leaders, who probably encouraged him to play ball. But I guess you know better than they do. Are you suggesting he pass up the NBA? Because it's his priesthood duty? What about all the young men who can't go due to health issues, past mistakes, etc.? What about all the sisters serving since the age requirement change? I'm sure one will be happy to take his place and be grateful for the opportunity. Steve Young didn't serve - do you feel he's lost his soul?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 26, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    The Church has over 80,000 fulltime missionaries serving. The work isn't hurting any and one more isn't going to make a difference. An opportunity like the NBA or the NFL doesn't come along every day.

  • tp51vrl Hyrum, UT
    June 26, 2014 4:28 p.m.

    One thing I have come to learn is this. One can reach the Celestial Kingdom if they do not serve a mission. However, one cannot without the ordinances of the temple. We should prepare young people for the temple. In addition, where possible, every young man should prepare for a mission. There are circumstances when individuals like Jabari Parker, Danny Ainge and Jonny Miller will do and have done much good in furthering the work because of their circumstances and professional opportunities. For the rest of us like me, a mission was the best thing in my lfe!

  • Sports Are Great Salt Lake City, UT
    June 26, 2014 4:05 p.m.

    @ute alumni,

    While I disagree with the criticism from Angela, I equally disagree with "President Monson didn't serve a mission at 19" as if that impacts anything. It doesn't. My guess is there are numerous things that the brethren have either done or not done in their lives - and of which they'd hope others do differently. What the prophets tell us to do is infinitely more important than what they may have done or not done decades earlier.

  • kranny utah, UT
    June 26, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    Missions and service come in different forms, not always clad in a white shirt and tie.

  • Justmythoughts Provo, UT
    June 26, 2014 3:47 p.m.

    I don't fault Jabari for choosing not to serve a mission. It is a personal thing, lets not judge others. How many of us would have made the same decision...? I also served a mission and was glad that I did. It was a great experience for me.

  • El Chango Supremo Rexburg, ID
    June 26, 2014 3:43 p.m.

    ute alumni, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment.

    It's Jabari's decision & we should leave him alone about it. There is a thing in the church called stewardship... None of those commenting on this story have the proper stewardship to counsel Jabari on his spiritual decisions!

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    June 26, 2014 3:28 p.m.

    the word is prepare....just where did Pres. Monson serve his mission at 19? i think people ought to worry about themselves. and yes i did serve a mission

  • Angela08 Rochdale, MA
    June 26, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    “I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord” (President Thomas S. Monson, As We Meet Together Again, October 2010).

    For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?