Thursday, December 12 2013, 12:03 PM MST
Web Exclusive: Bronco Mendenhall's Religious Life
BYU's Bronco Mendenhall discusses his religious life in the LDS Church and how it plays out on the football field.
SHAUNA LAKE: I want to touch on what you said earlier about this being kind of the stewardship of the religion. It's not just football as you mentioned. Do you enjoy that responsibility or is it a little forced sometimes?
BRONCO MENDENHALL: Yeah it's a topic that many take sides on and think it's just football. They do, unless they were in the job and seeing what it really is. And so I at one point thought that until I became the coach and saw what it really is and...
SHAUNA LAKE: And tell us, what is that?
BRONCO MENDENHALL: So really it's a very simple dynamic. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints owns and sponsors BYU, Brigham Young University. The most visible part of BYU is the football program. So in the last two years through an exclusive ESPN contract and on BYU TV, well the ESPN component only there are only seven other teams that have been seen more by the world than BYU Football that play this game. You add BYU TV to that as well, there are very few and so a lot of people, their first or their main exposure to the church is through sports. And if that's the case then I feel like, and I hope that the way we play or how we play or who we are is distinguishable through that experience. That's what I hope. And if it's not then I don't think I've done a very good job. What I also know is the credibility of the message whether it's right or wrong is often determined by an outcome of a game. And people pay attention when you play well and they then usually ask questions like who is a Mormon and what's that like and why are these guys married and why do they speak all these languages and what are missions; but if those questions are generated through a game then that's a pretty good thing. And if I were to just cut through all of that and answer on very simple terms, I would have stopped long ago if it wasn't for that reason to do the job. It's not worth it to me for all these other things, without that part. Not here at BYU and not here in Provo. Maybe elsewhere, but that's probably the compelling reason that Holly and I have chosen to stay and stick with it here is because of that. And it sometimes is not easy. And a lot of times not fun, but we feel good about it.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)