Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I work in Chicago, and live in a northwest suburb of the City. So I’ve been following from afar the young basketball phenom Jabari Parker. It has been fun to read all the articles about the humble, serious-minded young man, excellent student, tight-knit family, with off the charts basketball skills. And oh yes, he’s black. And Mormon. Living on the south side of Chicago. He’s just an impressive, grounded young man. (And his mom Lola is hell on wheels!)

So I open my mailbox today and he’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It’s a really nice article. But one of the big angles is whether he will serve a mission, or play a year of college ball and then be off to the NBA.

This issue is mentioned in the article, but then there’s a sidebar talking about this choice faced by Mormon athletes: to serve or not to serve? The article talked about athletes who served, such as Chad Lewis, and those who didn’t, such as Steve Young or Danny Ainge.

On the one hand, a Manti Te’o deciding to return to Notre Dame has about a million times more influence for the good of the Church than some random missionary knocking doors somewhere. On the other hand, boys are socialized from their earliest days to go and serve, and it is a rite of passage that many sorely want to experience.

I have an opinion on this question, but I’ll hold it, at least for now. I want to hear what you think. If you were in Jabari’s substantial shoes, what call would you make? Mission or stay on the basketball path?


  1. BarefootMike says:

    I hope he goes to one year of college at a place like Kentucky and then enters his name for the draft. I think he do more good in the NBA then proselyting.

  2. Let’s talk about what is best for HIM. I think a mission, for sure.

  3. Kristine says:

    How many times is SI going to write that article? Sheesh.

  4. I don’t agree at all that a mission would be better for HIM. I think college, then the NBA, would be way better for HIM. He can go on a mission any time.

  5. Kristine says:

    Maybe he can just record some “I’m a Mormon” spots and call it good :)

  6. Manti Te’o: Is he being at Notre Dame really that big of a benefit to the church? Only if they win…

  7. malleyfam says:

    I don’t know if this answer will annoy anyone, but, maybe he should counsel with the Lord, his parents, his bishop, make a decision, and then ask the Lord if it’s right. I can think of good reasons for going and good reasons for staying. By the way, I have family who lives in Chicago area suburbs, I used to visit every year as a child, love that area.

  8. I’ve never understood the logic of not encouraging athletes to go on missions. What about the pre-mish kid who has a scholarship to an academic program? Or the kid who’s building a business or an NPO? Or the kid who was looking forward to being in a community musical production? There are a lot of good things that a lot of 19-year-old Mormon boys are doing. When the call is extended to every worthy young man, who gets to decide that what they’re doing is more important or just as important as serving a mission? How high profile do they have to be? How broad does their influence have to be before we decide that they’re justified in not accepting that calling?

  9. We have had this situation recently in Australia. Will Hopoate is a professional Rugby league player who turned down a 1.5 million contract to serve a mission. He is serving in Brisbane where he is very well known. This is his I’m a Mormon video where he explains his decision.

  10. larryco_ says:

    “I don’t know if this answer will annoy anyone…” Yes, malleyfam, I find it annoying when someone comes up with the right answer before I do. (insert smiley face here).

  11. Why so either/or? Who are the LDS athletes whose athletic future was derailed by a mission?

  12. Doing a search at the SI site on “Ainge,” I found a link to the “To Serve or Not to Serve?” piece. I would put up a URL link, but BCC rejects my comments when I do that.

  13. >Who are the LDS athletes whose athletic future was derailed by a mission?

    Many outside of the United States.

  14. If it were me I would go. I regret not having served a mission. However he will have to decide for himself and I hope neither dollar signs or Church pressure makes him decide one way or the other. There are pros and cons and “once in a lifetime” status on both decisions. Even though one can be a senior missionary; one must have a spouse and I would hardly say it is the same experience.

  15. This would be a tough call for him to make. I’d be supportive of any decision he would make. I must say though, that I have encountered a number of men who didn’t serve missions because they either couldn’t or wouldn’t go at the time. They later regret it an will not forgive themselves for it. It is really sad to see how unnecessarily hard these men are on themselves.

  16. It’s a little known (non)fact that Jack Dempsey had submitted papers to be called on a missionary and was called to be Spencer Kimball’s companion in Missouri, but Doc Kearns talked him out of it, said “Preaching makes a fighter’s legs weak.” But it all turned out well. After Dempsey broke Jess Willard’s nose, ribs, and punched out his teeth to win the heavyweight championship, he called a couple of Elders sitting at ringside to give Willard a blessing. This so touched the Toledo crowd that missionary calendars were full for weeks, and two sportswriters were baptized.

  17. Jabari’s decision is not the same as the decision facing an academic superstar or theater major or whatever. A superstar high school student with a 4.0+ GPA and aspirations of becoming a neuroscientist who gets into Harvard and then leaves for two years is not going to come back dumber or less able to have a good 4 year run, followed by a PhD program. But for an athlete of that caliber, losing 2 years puts him behind his peers exponentially. And given the insane amount of competition to be a pro-level athlete, that is a massive disadvantage.

    I’m not saying that he should or shouldn’t go–personally, I’m torn by it and am very glad I’m not the one having to make that decision. But I don’t think the cost-benefit analysis for someone like Jabari is at all comparable to the decision that the rest of us had to make when we turned 19 or 21. It’s a totally, totally different kind of decision.

  18. I will confess right off that I have some pretty strong feelings about this (explanation coming). During my undergraduate years following my mission, I got to know a freshman from Iowa who had been raised in the Church by parents (in particular his father) who taught him that he was too smart, too talented, and too special to serve a mission like many of the other young men his age, and that his calling was to go become a famous doctor or scientist. The son dutifully adopted this principle. He went on to get one of those well-known post-undergraduate fellowships and did some research during his undergraduate years that I am reliably informed was quite impressive. Predictably, he did not serve a mission.

    How different is this from the situation facing Jabari Parker? Do we feel differently because this is sports? Because Jabari’s talents will most likely be much more highly compensated that my acquaintance’s? More public and famous? I doubt many of us would defend this guy’s conduct (or for that matter, the way his parents raised him), but because it is sports and there is a lot of money and fame on the line, this is different? A few stray anecdotes aside, how much “missionary work” do these famous Mormon athletes actually accomplish on the field/court? I am not sure the answer even turns on the number of converts made, since one of the chief benefits of a mission comes from the growth experiences for the missionary himself or herself, an atmosphere that will not be replicated in college or the NBA.

    I should be clear that I think there are plenty of good (IMO) reasons for a young man or woman not to serve a mission (physical/mental/emotional disabilities, financially or otherwise supporting his/her family, not “worthy,” lack of testimony), but let’s not kid ourselves about some of us being “too special” to serve.

    Again, my feelings are strong because of my own history. I nearly lost my relationship with my family and my chance to finish my college education at a school I loved when I decided to go on my mission. My patriarchal blessing basically told me the Lord was OK if I decided not to go. I was very fortunate and blessed that it did not ultimately come to that, but even if it had, my decision to go on a mission would still have been the right one, even if it was certainly not an easy one.

    I really do wish the best for Jabari, whether or not he goes. It is his decision and only he knows what factors he needs to consider, but I would rather he not make it according to some folk theories being peddled to stroke our tribal ego. And if you are reading this Jabari, COME TO DUKE! We already had an RM on the team back in the early 2000s (Matt Christensen, son of Clayton Christensen) and he won a national championship.

  19. Of course you pray about it…. I can’t imagine not having served. My college team went to the final 4 in what would have been my senior year…but I cannot imagine having missed my mission for that.

  20. it's a series of tubes says:

    Go. Has the admonition that “every worthy young man should serve a mission” been revised to “every worthy young man should serve a mission, unless you have the opportunity to make a lot of money, or you have a talent that might make you famous, or you have a career opportunity that won’t wait, or whatever”? Serving a mission is a responsibility that comes with accepting the priesthood.

    The Lord doesn’t need any particular person to build his kingdom – it will get along just fine with or without them. But each particular person might not get along too well, depending on what they choose. Why not seek to fulfil your priesthood responsibilities first, and trust that the Lord will cause things to turn out in a way that is ultimately best for you, in his wisdom?

  21. Meldrum the Less says:

    The mission question is secondary. With any kind of luck they might send him to some eastern European country to preach and where he can get better at hoops. Or maybe to some jungle eating herbs that mysteriously make him grow another 6 inches. Or some other unpredictable benefit.

    The real question: Should he play for BYU or go to a top notch school and get the kind of preparation he will need to make it in the NBA? Perhaps a conversation with Jimmer following his stupendous first season would be helpful.

    We had a promising young black athlete grow up in our ward several years ago who had college potential in both basketball and football. One night at church I was suckered into guarding him for 5 seconds while someone else went for a drink of water and he instanteously dunked on me. He was a beast! He went to BYU to play football on scholarship. He lasted about 3 months before we learned that he would spend the rest of the year in the Utah county jail for selling cocaine. I doubt he ever used it. Cause non-users make the best pushers and it was so prevalent in his high school and his family really were on the ropes economically; I guess he thought he could just continue on with business as usual in happy valley. No mission obviously and not in church at this point.

    I hate it when the media sets up these young people to fail with false or at best yet unproven expectations. Many do make serious mistakes (like the rest of us) and the news of it sells. I pray this young man in Chicago beats the odds.

  22. Thanks for posting this Kevin, a really touching story. My mission was an invaluable experience for me and I badly needed it but after hearing what this kid is like…. I’ll give the cliche answer that he should do what God tells him personally.

  23. Meldrum the Less says:

    I have a question about this topic that is not directly related to young Bro. Parker. It is about a young man, blessed with many talents, I have worked with in scouting and other activities.

    This brilliant 19 year old has a desire to serve a LDS mission but it is not high. He is currently in the singles ward with a straight A average as a junior at one of the top universities here, while also being one of their top distance runners. Due mostly to sheer determination, he does not exactly have the greyhound physique. (More like a Rottie). The college football coach asked him to try out for that team and he famously replied: “I have better things to do with my head than hit others with it.”

    He is cautiously interested in non-LDS girls on the running team but does not date. In the singles ward he is aloof, without a calling and has only a few close friends. He is quite active and gregarious in organizing events for science clubs. He really doesn’t want to go on splits with the local missionaries because it appears to him to be a waste of time. (I want to say if you can’t see your way to spending 2 hours with the missionaries what business do you have spending 2 years doing it?)

    He has two serious problems of which I am aware. He was raised by hippie parents in about the most non-authoritarian family you can image and he does not follow directions well. He was not raised in a mini-MTC home as recommended by sister Julie Beck. Not even close. However, when left to his own devices he does great. He is an excellent tutor and teacher to those sincerely interesting in learning. He quietly tolerates but does not suffer fools lightly which by default fools are 95% of those around him. His character, like steel, is extremely strong but inflexible. He prefers to be alone for at least half of the time. He is fierce and his silent towering rage can be frightening, especially when he perceives unfairness or when defending the weak against bullies. But normally his strongest passions are directed into the world of scientific ideas. Not the ideal missionary material.

    The other problem is that his parents are against him going on a mission. His father ranges from moderately opposed to ambivalent and is passive aggressive about it. His mother is openly and strongly against it. Of course he has long ignored his parents and does not take them seriously. (He does what he must to keep the cash flowing his direction.) His father says that a mission is far cheaper year-for-year than college (not really- the lad is on scholarship) and I take that as willingness to foot the bill. His two Bishops (singles and home ward) really don’t seem to know what to do with him. He has given them no reason to “raise the bar” over him but neither are they giving him any encouragement. Frankly, I think they are either perplexed or maybe even afraid of him. For whatever reason, I have been sought out for advice.

    I have reflexively encouraged him to get his papers submitted and go before the end of summer. He is working on them. But I am concerned that he won’t fit into missionary life, he wasn’t raised for it. They won’t be able to break him in the MTC. (Maybe two years in the Israeli army.) Church leaders and parents are probably in the same general category in his mind. He listens closely and thinks critically about everything he hears. He definitely won’t put up with zealous zone leaders borrowing power from their position and pulling rank on him. He won’t tolerate a lax companion sleeping in or goofing off. He reads continually and I doubt he can restrict his powerful intense mind to the few books allowed. (Even as a deacon I wondered if he would try passing the sacrament with his nose in one).

    I would celebrate his success as a missionary. I would not judge his refusal to go or his quitting shortly after beginning. He would not hesitate to come home if he decides it is not for him. That would please his mother, his professors, the running coach and besides he cares little about what others think of him. But if he goes and doesn’t adapt, I fear he will become a monster the likes of which they are ill-prepared to face. I doubt he would ever physically hurt another person, but he is intimidating and strong. One of my friends who has also worked with him as a youth thinks the LDS mission experience has become so “lily-livered” that they need missionaries like him and offer that as the best reason for him to go. But one intense missionary is not going to change the mission.

    It is times like this I wonder if our one-size-fits-all approach to the laudable endeavor of having young people put something back into the community or church is really the best. I want to have faith that the matter is in the hands of the Lord. I am also thinking there is something else out there that better suits the talents and weaknesses of this young man than a traditional LDS mission. Maybe the Peace Corp: have him help set up a science and engineering school in Sudan, I would be more comfortable with him doing that.

    Any insights or comments?

  24. john willis says:

    I don’t know how many of you saw the movie Hoop Dreams that came out a couple of years ago , it is a documentary about black high school basketball players in Chicago who never quite make the big time.

    After reading the SI article I am confident that whatever Jabari does in regards to a mission his story will have a happier ending than the kids in Hoop Dreams.

  25. “A few stray anecdotes aside, how much “missionary work” do these famous Mormon athletes actually accomplish on the field/court?”

    This is all totally subjective, of course, but I happen to think that having an active mormon be one of the top couple of picks in the NBA Draft and then a front-line NBA star would be more valuable to the church than having him be 1/55,000th of full-time missionary force for two years.

    Shoot, you don’t have to look farther than this SI article as an example. Tens of thousands of people (or more, with the online capability) just read a full-length, positive profile about a believing, well-adjusted black mormon teenager in an inner-city who is also a sports superstar. You don’t think that’s going to help the church’s image with other blacks, or other teenagers, or other sports fans, or others who are a combination of those things?

    Again, I don’t think this necessarily means he shouldn’t go. Like most of you, I obviously think a mission would be a massive positive for Jabari’s personal and spiritual growth. But I don’t think it’s accurate to try lumping all “go or don’t go ” mission decisions into one simplistic boat. By going, Jabari would lose out in a way that a would-be doctor/lawyer/actor/whatever just wouldn’t. It’s a totally different decision. And I also don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that famous , believing mormons don’t have a positive impact on the church. Part of missionary work is convincing people to give us a chance; having role-models that they already look up to who are also Mormons is one of the easiest ways to convince them that we’re not weird wack-jobs, thereby opening doors that would otherwise be closed. If Jabari is really as good as they say, and he really became a star of an NBA team, and he remained an active member throughout…of course that would have a massively positive impact on the church’s image. How would it not?

  26. casteluzzo says:

    Maybe he can be set apart for a missionary prior to his NBA service, kind of like the actors in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Then we could kill two birds with one stone.

  27. #23 Mini-MTC home? Whatever did she mean? It sounds horrible… (Though we always have FHE, family scripture study, family prayer if that’s what she means…)
    He sounds like an interesting young man, and I don’t think it is fair to blame his parents… He sounds a lot like me (just replace the sport with music as extra-curricular, and I wasn’t raised by hippies), and even more like my ‘unbreakable’ daughter (and I’m no hippy either).
    I think the needing time alone would be the most serious problem over the the longer term.
    I don’t think the one size fits all model is good. When put side by side with all the comments about loopy MPs a few posts ago, the prognosis doesn’t look good. I could never have tolerated crazy rules, mad ideas, not being allowed to read, and never getting time to myself… (Not to mention having to wear a skirt all the time – not a problem he’ll have.)
    Good thing it was never expected of me.
    Maybe the SP or Bishop can put in as frank a description as you have given, and he could be excused… or sent somewhere special, to a special MP who’ll make the most of his good points… but that combination seems to be as rare, as rare as…

  28. #13- Names?

  29. If Jabari truly holds to the sentiment attributed to him in the SI article:

    The backpack that Jabari Parker takes everywhere contains all the expected items: a pair of Nikes, socks with the NBA logo, basketball shorts, T-shirts, Icy Hot gel, a couple of rolls of athletic prewrap, and an iPod loaded with rap and R&B. But there’s also a paperback copy of The Book of Mormon. Jabari belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “Basketball is what I do,” he says. “It’s not who I am.”

    …then it’s pretty clear he’ll make the right decision. Meaning whatever God calls him to do. God gave him a gift, as He does to each of us. From the parable of the talents we learn that we are expected to invest and build upon those talents. But it is up to each of us to figure out what exactly that means. We see into the glass darkly until suddenly we don’t. It seems to me Jabari will find his answer and it might surprise the world.

    There appears to be an underlying assumption in many of the comments here that if he goes off on a mission he will lose out on a material opportunity when he returns. It strikes me that doing what God wants will be most valuable to Jabari in this life and there’s no reason that can’t include being drafted to an NBA team and performing at the top of the game after serving a mission. In the oath and covenant of the priesthood we read:

    for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

    If I were Jabari I would look to figure out what kind of instrument God wanted me to be and be the best at it possible. I’m not implying he should serve. I’m implying he should figure out God’s will and go do it.

  30. Meldrum the Less says:

    # 27 Kai

    How old is your daughter? Of marriageable age (>15)? Maybe we could get them together and solve the problem. :)
    (Maybe not, two people like that might not get along until they mature).

    I agree with all of your concerns, Even the skirt issue is not ruled out: he has some Scottish blood and I wouldn’t put it past him wearing a kilt just to demonstrate his independence. I bet there are no rules at the current time in most missions that specificly state missionaries can not wear kilts except maybe in the Scotland mission.

    I see the wisdom of a typical Bishop who might have worked with the young man in various capacities as they grew up in the ward writing something on their mission application. This breaks down if there are feuds in the ward and Bishops sincerely don’t like some young men from “bad” families. The problem is that the unique young man I describe above is planning to leave from the singles ward, I suspect purposely to avoid his home ward. I left out that he got kicked out of primary a lot and eventually permanently. He didn’t attend Wed. night young men’s very much except camping trips. He loved early morning seminary and he took charge of making sure the sacrament was done properly for about 5 years. His parents are despised and do not get along with the ward leadership as might be imagined.

    The singles ward Bishop hardly knows anything about him. So the good old boys in Salt lake would be going on “revelation in a vaccuum” which J.Golden Kimball admitted was bulls#&!!. I am thinking of seeing if I can get him to let me write part of his personal statement and put it as sort of an attachment and maybe tone it down (in comparison to that above) so as not to be offensive to him. The very presense of an unsolicited “scoutmasters evaluation” on a missionary application would be unusual enough to attract attention and maybe decrease the Golden Kimball variable.

    Does anyone familiar with the workings in the missionary department know if something like this might have a negative impact and make him more likely to get a loopy mission president or be sent somewhere “safe” where he really would be wasting his time?

  31. Meldrum,

    You ask good questions — I have no answers — however, can we differentiate between the way things are supposed to be and the way they actually are? A man called on a mission is an adult, and he goes freely. He chooses to accept a call, and to magnify a call. He has a mission president who generally presides, but the missionary himself is largely self-directing. He magnifies his calling. All of this is the way it is supposed to be, and the way it was long ago, and may still be in some places.

    A missionary is not a Church employee — he is not an agent or officer of the Church or even of the mission president — he is not a tool to be used and aimed and directed — he is not a piece on a chessboard to be moved around by someone else — a mission president is a help to a fellow-servant, not a colonel to a private.

    If your friend goes into a mission where the colonel-private culture prevails, rather than the fellow-servant culture, then he might be in for difficulty. He could still be successful if he had his own very strong personal testimony of his calling.

  32. be sent somewhere “safe” where he really would be wasting his time?

    ..Does the climate prevent you from loving or does the mission president do that? I understand certain policies or locales might be more or less desirable or difficult…but if there are people around…even just your companion…you can still love and serve. I don’t see that as a waste.

  33. Meldrum the Less says:

    #31 & 32 I do hope and pray you are right.

  34. I think it’s very corporate to look at missionary work as PR, even if we choose to do some PR some of the time. Missions have the capacity to make men, beyond their place as a rite of passage or their worth as a membership numbers builder. The gospel is about sacrifice humbly and willingly offered and that’s where all the power is. In that light obedience has its finest hour and we’re all better for it when someone so chooses, whether they are a famously talented basketball player or a simple boy with simple skills who’s scared of leaving home but lays that on the altar. For each of them, the sacrifice is significant and meaningful. Each makes the world a better place, far more than the work of the famous or talented do with their notoriety. Small and simple things.

  35. When I told my YW leaders that I wanted to serve a mission they constantly reminded me that a mission could be rearing my children or something else I can’t remember. Maybe Jabari can just title his college or NBA experience as his “mission”. Isn’t that what Glady’s Knight did with her choir?

  36. I don’t think that passes muster. Otherwise we could title anything we want as having served a mission. If he wants to serve a mission he should serve a mission, otherwise he should just live with the fact that he didn’t.

  37. I believe each person needs to make whatever choice he or she feels is right, through careful thought and prayer and discussion, while also believing that the default ought to be to serve a mission unless individual circumstances make a different choice better for that individual and for the kingdom of God.

    “Every member a missionary” is a statement about daily activities, actions and attitude, imo – not a command for every member to serve a traditional, full-time mission. I think that is obvious, given the way the Church discourages lots of people from serving such a formal mission.

    I have a 20-year-old son who might or might not serve a full-time mission, due to his own unique circumstances – and I will support him fully in whichever choice he makes, knowing he is making it thoughtfully and prayerfully. It’s his choice, and he only has to answer to God for it – not to me or any other mortal. It doesn’t matter one bit which choice I might make for him – since I’m not going to make that choice for him.

  38. #30 Too young (just out of primary).
    A shame the Bishop is so partisan. And I can’t begin to fathom that a child would be excluded from primary! We had/have some difficult children there, but put an additional adult into the class where necessary (usually one of the primary presidency)… Would the singles ward bishop be willing to speak with you? Or the SP (if the same stake)? Otherwise fasting and praying about his assignment is probably the only thing left… It’s great you’re so concerned for him.
    It’s his choice to go, and where to go from, in the end though. I really hope he benefits.

  39. Meldrum the Less says:

    The reason he was kicked out of primary wasn’t so much the usual rowdy behavior although he did plenty of that. The reason we were told, he was “destroying the testimonies of all the other children.” I was teaching primary , other classes, part of the time. He would constantly challenge teachers with hard questions. He was smart but extremely literal. What did the cheetah’s eat on Noah’s ark? I remember once they asked why Jesus taught in parables. He said to confuse people so they didn’t have to repent and proceeded to quote a couple of verses that a literal interpretation would support his conclusion. It was obvious he had read the scriptures and had his own independent and unconventional interpretations far beyond his age. For a while he toted around a thick unabridged copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species, I think more to irritate people than a great interest in the book.

    A few years later, he was so bored with the sharing time that he stood up and shouted “You have nothing to teach us. I challenge you to teach me one thing.” Those stupid women sat there quivering like scared ducks. Because he spoke the truth, in their case and they knew it. By the time he was 10 or 11 he would argue and twist the typical not well informed iron rod type into knots and that was when he was asked not to attend primary. As a teenager he brought science books to read and ignored boring teachers at church and apparently at school. The early morning seminary teacher was like manna from heaven. I’m guessing it was not so much what she taught, she was not a doctrinal heavy weight able to “win” arguments with the likes of him. But more that she listened and was honest enough to say “I don’t know” coupled with how much she sincerely cared for her students. (Tasty food every morning).

    It only really takes one compassionate teacher to change a young person’s life.

    When you say it is his choice, that about sums it up. When I think about it, the thing I am worried about is that wild horses will not keep this young man from doing what he wants to do. If he wants to go he will. I probably should be more worried about his companions, zone leaders and mission president. God help them.

  40. #39 “It only really takes one compassionate teacher to change a young person’s life.”

    Agreed. I love that he carried around Darwin.

  41. “He can go on a mission any time.”

    No, actually he can’t.

  42. Didn’t Shawn Bradly serve a mission? Might have been better for him if he didn’t.

    I’ll be happy for him no matter what he decides to do. I ended up losing a lot of academic and professional opportunities when I served my mission, and I didn’t end up getting a lot of them back. No matter what he decides to do, he can still be an instrument of the Lord and help the church. it’s not like Steve Young is persona non grata or anything at BYU,..

    But don’t go to Duke.

  43. Too close a question to answer easily. I have a hard time understanding why anyone here thinks they know what he should do.

  44. I don’t think anyone was saying they know what he should do. It reads to me as if by and large most people think he should pray about it and make his decision based on personal factors and personal revelation. Sounds like good advice to me.

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