On February 7, the following editorial was published in BYU'S Daily Universe under the editorials:
I can’t walk across campus without hearing Jimmer Fredette’s name a dozen times. His name comes up everywhere: in class, at work, during lunch … really, people? Cut it out with the Jimmer worship. Last time I checked, idol worship was very much frowned upon in the scriptures.
Don’t you have a life to live? Then quit wasting it in front of the TV or in lines at the Marriott Center.
At the very least, stop trying to convert those of us who don’t follow BYU sports and don’t care that baseball and badminton are two different things. Pushing basketball on us isn’t going to make us like it any better.
I’m not blaming Jimmer for all this; was it Nephi’s fault in the Book of Mormon when his brothers worshiped him? As far as I’m concerned, Jimmer is perfectly free to live his dreams. If he reaches his goals and lives his dreams, more power to him. I would like the same courtesy from his fans: let me live my own dreams in peace, even if they don’t include ever sitting in the Marriott Center screaming my brains out.
Apple Valley, Calif.
Upon its publication, Peralta's facebook page was bombarded by intentionally humorous comments about the worship of Jimmer Fredette. Her supposed "friends" had a field day -- over six hundred comments were posted, ranging from pretty cute and funny to almost sacreligious...
-- "I hear the missionaries are knocking on doors offering to share the Good Word of Jimmer."
-- "One time the BYU basketball team was walking on the beach and they looked back and only saw one set of footprints!"
-- "Wow. Glad I finally finished reading this thread. Now I can brush my teeth, pray to Jimmer and go to bed."
-- "Michelle now knows the wrath that comes when saying the name of Jimmer in vain."
-- "I for one am going to try and befriend Michelle. It is what Jimmer would do."
-- "WWJD = What Would Jimmer Do?"
-- "I just made a grilled cheese sandwich with the image of Jimmer burned into the bread."
-- "His mother has a tattoo that reads 'Jimmer.' "
-- "Just look into his eyes and he will have your soul … you will have been Jimmered."
-- "Good news everyone! My wife and I are expecting a baby boy! We are gonna name him Jimmer!"
A new facebook page was created. See it here Even after Peralta deleted her facebook, people continue to post similar comments on pages such as these.
Okay. Now here's what I say...
First of all, in regards to whether or not I agree with Peralta's idol-worship claim, I think she does have a point. The notion of "idol-worship" was kind of a passing comment. From how I read it, I don't think she is accusing Jimmer fans of actually worshiping him. It sounds to me like she's simply trying to let us know that there is such a thing as going overboard. Sounds to me like she just believes sports in general are a waste of time. The idol thing was a snide comment -- a zing, if you will. A bold statement made to get her point across.
With that in mind, I can see where she's coming from. This is a lot like the big BYU-vs.-UofU rivalry. Sometimes people can take it too far. I can agree, waiting seven hours in line for a basketball game is a little extreme. The war paint, the obsessions, even the facebook responses to this editorial -- all can be a bit over the top. I think of what Spencer W. Kimball said about how we can find ourselves putting the things of the world before God. It could be anything: cars, money, sports teams, pop stars...
So yeah, there is such thing as too much. And for some, that can be offensive and embarrassing.
However, praising Jimmer Fredette is not a sin. Showing support for your team is not idol-worship. I would not go so far as to say that BYU basketball fans are in any way "worshiping" Jimmer Fredette. Matter of fact, I can see a lot of positive things happening to BYU because we have such a great player. It puts BYU on the map, and Jimmer now has an opportunity to set a good example for both his school and his beliefs. We should support him in any way possible to help him achieve that goal. But besides all that moral justification, isn't it just okay to enjoy a ball game once in a while? The games are not inherently evil. They're not interfering with Sabbath Day worship, they're far from the sleaze and audacity that can be found in other media and entertainment. This University is supported by the church. Those on BYU sports teams are benefactors from church proceeds just like everyone else. Obviously the Lord is okay with sports, recreation, and maybe even a little friendly competition. True, too much of anything can be bad for you, but I truly believe Peralta's problem is a matter of preference, not moral standards. Just because you don't like sports, Michelle, does not mean others shouldn't like sports, either.
While I don't necessarily side with Michelle Peralta in regards to the Jimmer-craze here at BYU, I don't side with all the Jimmer-fans who have since then made a mockery of someone else's opinions. To crack a joke or two is different than posting six hundred unwanted messages on a person's facebook wall, some of which are particularly biting and hurtful towards Peralta and her viewpoints. It seems as though Jimmer fans have declared war on Mrs. Peralta, when it's not fair for them to do so. In my opinion, Peralta addressed her side of the story in a conservative way using conventional methods. To post something on a blog, to write an editorial, to even post a note about it on facebook... these are all very respectful ways to state an opinion. I believe responders should use the same respectful approach when casting a rebuttal. Posting jeering comments on a woman's facebook page is -- in my opinion -- not a respectful or sincere approach to stating an opinion. I would bet that the "friends" on facebook who commented so ruthlessly were not trying to respectfully state their opposing views. They were making Michelle's views into a joke. On her own facebook wall. Not cool, Jimmer-fans, not cool. As members of the church, I would think BYU students would know when they crossed the line. And they crossed it six-hundred facebook posts ago. There's a difference between stating an opinion and simply lashing out.
I have heard arguments against Peralta about how she should have seen this coming. She should have known her editorial would make waves. If she can't take it, she shouldn't dish it out. I can agree to an extent. I think she expected -- even WANTED -- to get the attention and be heard -- she does use some strong language in her letter. However, just because she should have anticipated an inappropriate response does not mean she deserves one. Everyone has their own opinion, and whether or not you agree is your own business.
Aren't Jimmer fans just attacking an idea? I mean, very few comments have directly attacked Michelle Peralta as a person. True, but it is of my belief that if you attack a person's ideals, values, and standards, you are attacking the person. We, as Mormons, should know that! How much crap do we get about our doctrines and standards? How many jokes do we see that make fun of Mormons? How does it make us feel, knowing our values that we hold so sacred are being joked about all over the world? You'd think we'd learn by now that making a mockery of another's beliefs is NOT OKAY. It is hurtful and scarring. I'm sure Peralta will never be as quick to make her opinions public again, which is a shame, because her opinion does matter. Whether or not you meant it, Jimmer fans, you have hurt another human being. Sure, she said some strong words, but it is your decision to get offended, your choice to take her comments with a grain of salt or not. It's your choice to take it personally. I come to find myself asking, "What would Jesus do in a situation like this?" I'm sure Jesus would -- like Peralta -- strongly express his values in a conventional matter amidst the face of adversity. What I don't see him doing is backbiting and making a mockery out of someone else's views just for kicks. And what I DEFINITELY don't see him doing is making near-blasphemous comments about Jimmer worship. So who, here, is more Christlike, you wonder? Someone with a valid point who strongly states her opinion in an editorial, or someone who posts sacreligious comments on a person's wall because it would make a funny joke?
I have talked about this long enough. I hope everyone understands what it was I'm trying to say. Peralta may not have been right, but the Jimmer-fans should have responded differently. 'Nuff said.
|By the Way, Mr. Fredette is THIS CLOSE to making the Hot Guy Hall of Fame.|