Competitive sports can cause people to forget about gospel principles, according to Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Sports may bring out aggressive behavior or foul play.
Though it may seem appropriate to do so, Holland warned that sports participants should never check their religion at the door.
According to the teachings of many prophets and apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, sports offer the opportunity for gospel principles to be applied to the participants’ lives.
According to the Church handbook, activities should strengthen testimonies and foster personal growth. They also should provide opportunities to apply gospel principles and help participants develop friendships.
According to the Church, “These activities offer many opportunities for fellowshipping, activating, and sharing the gospel with others.”
Amber Smith, a sophomore studying accounting, explained how the gospel has helped her on the soccer field.
“We all have different talents, but are equal in the sight of God. This helps me to love the people I play against even though they may be better or worse than me,” Smith said.
The Church outlines good sportsmanship as thoughtfulness and concern for others, fair play, self-control, humility in victory and calmness and composure in defeat.
President Ezra Taft Benson expressed his ideas on the importance of sportsmanship in 1988.
“Sportsmanship is the spirituality in athletics, and we believe that the Church athletic program is a spiritual program,” Benson said. “If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t continue it, because our purpose is to build men and women of character and spirituality.”
Sportsmanship is revered by church leaders as competitors compete.