"I Can't, I'm Mormon…" t-shirt unleashes controversy

The woman in the ad is grinning — grinning a lot — as she models a t-shirt that reads: “I Can’t…I’m Mormon.”

This Mormon Mona Lisa with a mythic smile never reveals precisely what she can’t do. Perhaps she can’t smoke or drink or vote for Democrats. Perhaps she can’t sip a Starbucks or buy a Megabucks ticket or sneak out during Family Home Evening.

But the woman is young and pretty. Real pretty. So students at Brigham Young University are convinced the woman would be doing something really, really inappropriate. If she weren’t a Mormon, of course.

So after protests, BYU’s campus newspaper has decided to stop running advertisements for the “I Can’t, I’m Mormon” apparel.

To read a well-written story by the church-owned (Salt Lake) Deseret News, click here.

Updated: October 27, 2009 — 1:41 pm

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  1. “I can’t…..take a joke or laugh at myself or my religious culture…”

    Just remember, the decision to pull the ads was made by a student run board, not the BYU administration or the church itself.

    Unfortunately, there are some in the church who take themselves too seriously, as I suspect is the case with any church.

  2. And for the records, I used that phrase more than once during high school…and probably should have used it more than I did! ;)

  3. I’m not sure you’d get much traction if the shirts had said, “I can’t . . . I’m Episcopal.” About the only thing that would cover would be attending church in the middle of the week and wearing fabrics made of artificial fibers. And using the NIV version of the Bible . . .

  4. I’m not sure if I understand the furor over this shirt, is it because “you don’t” or is it because a pretty girl marketed the shirt or lastly, is it because you don’t feel obligated to a choice? I’m confused!

  5. I visited Times Square and 42d Street in the mid-1980s before they cleaned and Disneyfied the place. And someone offered to help me make an illegal business transaction, and I sputtered: “I can’t. I’m a good Southern Baptist.”

  6. Not sure you’d call it a “furor” at all, Perplexed. Living where it’s happening, I can tell you it’s not that big of a story. I hadn’t heard about it until Frank posted it and I live 25 miles from Provo.

    Truth is, I think of a lot of things as “I won’t….I’m Mormon” rather than “I can’t….”

    Frank, your remark reminds me of a trip to Seattle with Mike Shaw and a group of freshman from HHS. I was walking down Pike’s Place Market arm in arm with two girls that I’m sure you would remember. An older guy approached and asked for pretty much the same as you were offered. I quickly turned the girls around, as they didn’t catch what he had said. When I told them, I had to keep them both from running after the pervert and beating the *(&*#^@ out of him. Talk about two ticked off girls. If they would have gotten a hold of him, I’m pretty sure he would’ve been saying, “I can’t….” for at least a few weeks! ;)

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