LDS Duke basketball player Frank Jackson was featured this week by ESPN for his faith and his unique opportunity to break stereotypes about the Church through his sports career. Below is an excerpt. Jackson discusses the decision to leave Brigham Young University, play for Duke, and possibly give up his dream of serving a full-time LDS mission.
“It was a really hard decision,” Frank Jackson said. “Very hard.”
There were no ultimatums and no pressure. Everyone — coaches, parents, friends — said they would honor whatever decision he made.
But how do you decide between a lifelong dream and a lifelong dream?
Jackson opted not to. He decided he could do both.
The purpose of an LDS mission is not simply to proselytize but also to live by example. Jackson realized that while he wouldn’t immerse himself as Watanabe and his other friends will, he would have a pulpit and a platform that they don’t have. Every interview, every television appearance offers a chance to explain what being a Mormon is — and more, it’s a way to demystify the religion.