The Oregon Ducks were forced to apologize to their fanbase on Saturday after several members of the crowd were filmed chanting what Utah Gov. Spencer Cox called "religious bigotry." According to The Salt Lake Tribune, fans were caught chanting, "F- the Mormons" around the start of the second half of play.
"Religious bigotry alive and celebrated in Oregon," Cox posted to Twitter, including a retweet of the video that made the rounds. Others quickly chimed in and shared their disgust with the display. "Real classy chants from Oregon fans and Students. Why is it ok to chant this about members of this specific religion?"
Religious bigotry alive and celebrated in Oregon. https://t.co/l8BdsSJWu2— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) September 18, 2022
Oregon released an apology for the incident, denouncing the chant in the process. "The university apologizes for the despicable chants made by some University of Oregon fans at today's football game with Brigham Young University," Oregon's interim VP for Division of Student Life Kris Winter said. "There is no place for hate, bias or bigotry at the University of Oregon. These actions are simply unacceptable. We will investigate, and we call on our students and campus community to refuse to accept or tolerate this type of behavior."
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, USC was forced to do similar in 2021 after their fans chanted the same thing. USC also apologized, calling the chant "distasteful" and saying it "does not align with out Trojan values."
Brigham Young University is a private institution in Provo, Utah, founded by former Mormon leader Brigham Young and sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the LDS Church. While it is unlikely that the crowd had a legitimate gripe with the Mormon members of BYU's team, it has been a religion colored with controversy over the years.
The university's namesake is connected to several controversial topics, including armed conflict and the notion of "blood atonement." Young's influence during the Mormon Reformation added importance to the need for Polygamy, but it also led to the introduction of ideas like the Adam-God doctrine and blood atonement. The former defines Adam as God for the Mormons, who was once mortal and became "exalted" after arriving from another planet, later giving birth to Jesus. The church has since denounced this theory.
The most controversial is blood atonement, where Jesus' sacrifice on the cross isn't enough to redeem "eternal sin." So to be forgiven of those sins, including apostasy, theft, sex, and adultery, sinners had to sacrifice their lives in a method that sheds their blood. The church has also denounced this many times since its introduction.
Other controversies connected to Mormonism are the religion's treatment of race during its existence and some of its actions during the 1838 Mormon War. It was enough for Missouri to issue Executive Order 44, ordering members of the faith to leave the state or be killed. America seems to have always had a contentious relationship with the LDS Church, even if it is troubling to see it continue in the 2020s.