Was mock baptism anti-LDS or anti-BYU?


The video of University of Utah football players doing a mock baptism has caused considerable controversy. Then again, it is BYU-Utah week, so controversy seems to be the norm.

The video, posted on YouTube on August 23, was addressed by Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on Wednesday with this statement: “We have addressed this issue with our players, and although it was poor judgment on their part, there was absolutely no malice or disrespect intended towards any particular religion or rite.”

I tend to agree with Whittingham. First, that it was in poor taste, a thoughtless, insensitive college move. But second, it wasn’t necessarily directed at BYU or even Mormons. It appears to be players messing around in the new football center, which opened in August. Utah has 27 LDS returned missionaries and 49 Utahns on the team. Alienating half your team by mocking its religion seems unlikely, even for college kids.

Numerous religions use baptism by immersion, so the stunt wasn’t necessarily aimed at Mormons. However, the players in the video were lucky. Sometimes mocking religious rites can become a gigantic deal.

Since the issue has been addressed by the coach, people should probably chalk the incident up to unthinking horseplay — that shouldn’t happen again — and move on.

[poll id=”276″][poll id=”277″][poll id=”278″]



  1. JD tractor

    Sorry Rock not buying this, only ute fans will. You are ignoring the fact that this surfaces during rivalry week, who cares when it’s filmed. We live in Utah, what other religion would they be mocking? I mean local DJ’sjust say, “culture” when talking about local issues and we all know they are talking about the LDS Church. And I can’t count all the “sacrament” tables at tailgate parties during rivalry week in Salt Lake mocking the LDS Church. Plus who doesn’t know that many faculty members and student groups take great delight degrading, mocking and demonizing the LDS church.

    No sir, don’t sweep this one under the carpet and give them a way out. This one is to obvious and you lose your journalisitc integrity by writing this arctile. No more lies. The players need to admit what they did and apologize to their LDS fans who get wrapped up in the rivalry, on both sides.

  2. Green Room

    Unfortunately, 90% of their team, coaches and fans could be LDS and it still wouldnt matter to the Utes. The program has always been placed above their religion. This LDS bashing happens quite often and I have never seen an LDS Ute fan, player or coach defend their religion it because they don’t have the courage to stand up and be counted in the face of adversity. I grew up in CA and didnt know anything about the rivalry until my first year in 88. Growing up Catholic and then LDS and then witnessing this behavior among Ute fans, coaches and players shocked me. I just assumed that once someone LDS became the head coach that this behavior would change but it didn’t. The only thing for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

  3. dvo74

    I’m surprised Rock,

    Usually, you put a lot more thought into these subjects. So you think these kids just hopped into the spa and said, “Hey guys, you know what would be hilarious? let’s make fun of numerous Protestant religions by doing mock baptisms”!

    Really Rock? How long have you been here?


  4. Richard Page

    I fully agree that no suspension would be in order. However, it is next to impossible to pretend that the “stunt” was not intended to be disrespectful to BYU and next to next to impossible to pretend that it was not disrespectful of the LDS Church.


    And that, folks, is (part of) why I left Utah and why I have no desire to return, even though I still have children and grandchildren there.

Leave a comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.