A few weeks ago I ventured into enemy territory. Sometimes medicine destined to heal you can leave a nasty aftertaste in your mouth. I trusted that my love and dedication to the Y and what it stands for would help me endure my harrowing experience at U of U.
I had to make some unusually thorough preparations before infiltrating the U of U campus and meeting my appointment there. I had to de-BYU myself; swap out my BYU tie, windbreaker, planner, and anything else bearing a BYU logo on it. I couldn’t give it all up, however; I kept my BYU pen with just the top protruding from my left breast shirt pocket next to my BYU phone, and my BYU watch remained securely strapped on my left wrist. It was my own stab at rebellion meant to satisfy my inner BYU psyche. I was living dangerously, secretly hoping that someone would call during my visit so that my BYU fight song ringtone would reverberate boldly across campus.
As I walked through the U of U student union building, my senses were overwhelmed with waves of red and large U’s posted everywhere. I could sense the sheer e-ville and hatred for everything that is good emanating from all directions. I didn’t know how long I could endure this mental torture- being surrounded by the icons of an academic archenemy. I would quickly meet my appointment there then immediately depart campus to avoid becoming emotionally stained and crushed by the experience. I would have to take an extra shower to wash off remaining traces of my campus visit.
My time at BYU, however, taught me to keep an open mind and heart, and the Savior commanded us to love our enemy, so I resolved to at least make an attempt to behave and understand. To my surprise, I learned that U of U students and leadership are just like us in many ways; sincere, well-intentioned, and driven individuals that I could relate to, just trying to find their place in our world and culture. The only difference is that they have decided to seek their fame and fortune in a secular, rather than a sacred, environment. The Mormon Third Eye view is that it doesn’t make a difference on who you are, but it can have an effect on who you become.
So… I don’t think I’ll have to wash off any U of U stench. Furthermore, I took the bold step of authoring this post in the U of U campus visitor’s parking lot, in the heart of enemy territory, just to prove that like the wildflower struggling to grow on the desert tundra, creativity can sprout even from inside University of Utah.