In October 2010, President Dieter Uchtdorf delivered a sermon to priesthood holders entitled “Pride and the Priesthood.” Part of his talk included pride in “The Laboratory of Sports.” At the time he gave the talk, the BYU-University of Utah football game was approaching. Animosity between the two camps was moving toward its annual feverish pitch. His comments were not complimentary of the behavior and words of rival fans. His talk provided much fodder for sports talk radio hosts for several days. I’m still thinking about his words all these years later. Especially this week—the week of another Holy War. Here is part of what President Uchtdorf said:
“Perhaps there is no better laboratory to observe the sin of pride than the world of sports. I have always loved participating in and attending sporting events. But I confess there are times when the lack of civility in sports is embarrassing. How is it that normally kind and compassionate human beings can be so intolerant and filled with hatred toward an opposing team and its fans?
“I have watched sports fans vilify and demonize their rivals. They look for any flaw and magnify it. They justify their hatred with broad generalizations and apply them to everyone associated with the other team. When ill fortune afflicts their rival, they rejoice.“Brethren, unfortunately we see today too often the same kind of attitude and behavior spill over into the public discourse of politics, ethnicity, and religion.
“My dear brethren of the priesthood, my beloved fellow disciples of the gentle Christ, should we not hold ourselves to a higher standard? As priesthood bearers, we must realize that all of God’s children wear the same jersey. Our team is the brotherhood of man. This mortal life is our playing field. Our goal is to learn to love God and to extend that same love toward our fellowman. We are here to live according to His law and establish the kingdom of God. We are here to build, uplift, treat fairly, and encourage all of Heavenly Father’s children.”
The big game, the “Holy War” is Saturday. This 2010 sermon is a reminder to all who care to hear it. Utah man I am? Rise and shout? Game on. Dieter Uchtdorf was talking to the fans. Their interplay is the game within the game. How will it be played this year?
The text of the entire talk may be found by opening the following link: