BYU Bookstore starts selling Ponderize T-shirts after LDS church leader apologizes


    Ponderize T-Shirt in BYU Bookstore. (Photo: KJ Alletto)

    (KUTV) The day after an LDS church leader apologized for a venture that appeared to profit from his general conference talk challenging people to "ponderize" the scriptures, the Brigham Young University Bookstore put in an order for T-shirts with the made up slogan.

    A buyer at the BYU Bookstore, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told 2News the navy-colored shirts were ordered Tuesday and arrived Wednesday.

    University spokesperson Carri Jenkins, who had just learned about the shirts being sold on campus Thursday morning, confirmed the bookstore ordered a limited number of shirts from a longtime vendor not affiliated with the Durrant family.

    She had no further comment.

    This comes on the heels of a controversial website -- ponderize.us -- that advertised T-shirts and wristbands displaying a phrase used during conference by Devin Durrant, first counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency. The site was created by Durrant's son a week before general conference. Amid online criticism, the site was abruptly taken down Sunday night.

    "That's the reason we didn't have the shirts the day after," the buyer said, noting the bookstore typically waits at least a day to place shirt orders that feature phrases from conference talks. "We didn't think it was appropriate, the fact that the talk sounded like an infomercial."

    He said customers were already asking the bookstore for "ponderize" shirts on Monday.

    The new t-shirts are attracting a lot of attention. the buyer said, but they aren't flying off the shelves.

    "We've sold a few, but not very many," he said Thursday morning.

    Rod Johnson, a BYU Bookstore customer, bought two Ponderize shirts Thursday because he thought the whole debacle is "just funny."

    "I'm buying it for my girlfriend just as kind of like a gag," he said.

    RELATED: LDS church leader apologizes for 'ponderize' merchandise website

    Some on social media were perplexed that the t-shirts were even made considering the public outcry.

    Others didn't have an issue with the controversy and a number of independent Facebook groups, that aren't offering apparel for sale, have been created where people can share weekly scriptures.

    RELATED: Amid criticism, 'ponderize' apparel website removed after LDS general conference

    Making money off of religious slogans is nothing new.


    Vision Wear International, which created the shirts being sold in the bookstore, regularly creates merchandise around LDS church talks and quotes, said co-owner Kathleen Speckhard.

    The bookstore carries shirts with phrases like "Mormon. Know it, Love it, Live it." and "Lift where you are standing," a quote from Elder Dieter F. Uctdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency.

    "We have other conference-type quote T-shirts that the bookstore orders, and this is no different than one of those," Speckhard said.

    The Provo-based company had the idea for the shirts and showed it to the bookstore on Monday, the apparel arrived on Wednesday.

    The website, set up by Durrant's son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Valerie Durrant was removed late Sunday night after online criticism. Durrant issued an apology on the Ponderize Weekly Facebook page the next day.


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