Bryce Harper posing nude for ESPN is NOT a billboard for Christ

Latter-day Saint professional athlete Bryce Harper, 22, is an all-star baseball player for the Washington Nationals.  Along with Jimmer Fredette and Jabari Parker, he has been one of the Mormon role models to capture the heart of America with their spark and religious convictions.


Sadly, Bryce Harper chose to be involved in ESPN’s Body Issue in which famous athletes pose nude, showing off their sculpted Roman-like physiques.  I thought about this before writing, but I came to a simple conclusion.

If you’re going to be a role model for Christ and His church you better not defile it.

He wasn’t always like this, though. In 2013 Deseret News highlighted the Bryce Harper I looked up to: “Bryce Harper: MLB slugger has high standards on and off the field”

Baseball player Bryce Harper smiles during a news conference where the Washington Nationals introduced him as their first overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, at Nationals Park in Washington Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010. Harper  agreed to a $9.9 million, five-year deal with the baseball club last week. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Here are a couple quotes from the Deseret News article showing how Harper felt 2 years ago:

“I feel I can be a walking Book of Mormon and help people on the baseball field and off it.”

“Like I said, my body is a temple and I’m not going to put anything in it that will affect me or the way I play because I want to give everything I can for this team and this city every single day.”

2 years after making comments of being a “walking Book of Mormon” and stating his body is a temple he posed nude for a sports magazine.

Bryce Harper4

There are a few reasons this disturbs me.

1. With all the trouble and constant reminder to stay away from Pornography Harper participates in this type of destructive media.  I don’t care whether you’re male or female you are representing Christ. Posing nude for the world to see defiles self-worth and encourages lust.

2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ focuses on uplifting others, not glorifying yourself. I don’t know all his reasons for posing naked in front of the world, but Harper tweeted this:

A dream come true…Hard work does pay off! Can’t thank @espnmag enough for the opportunity! Baseball players do work out!

He continued in an interview with ESPN “I can squat 405. I’m proud of that — that’s one of my favorites.”

3. He’s giving young men an unrealistic body image to keep up with. “I wish my abs were a little bit better. God gave me a great body, but I think my abs could be better than they are.” Instead of reminding us to eat healthy and happy he talks about how he eats 8 eggs a day and fish and meat. His attention seems to be focused on getting ripped, hot, and sexy.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” -1 Corinthians 3:16

As society’s standards continue to fall we must stand for truth and make sure not to crumble with it. We need more role models who are men and women of God who consistently stand for righteousness. We need people who use the limelight for good, shedding light on truth and morals and standards that are dwindling away. That IS a billboard for Christ. And THAT is what our young people need to see.

26 thoughts on “Bryce Harper posing nude for ESPN is NOT a billboard for Christ

  1. How sad. it breaks my heart that so many turn away from the Lord when money or fame is involved. I”m sorry he lost his way. I hope other young men who really are billboards for the Lord and the Church will step up and show our youth that you don’t have to do what that person did. Keep praying for our brothers and sisters to not fall away from grace.


    • What part of this is “turning away from the Lord”? And you’ve decided he has lost his way? Careful with the judgement.


      • Well you know, umm taking off your clothes and your garments justifies TURNING AWAY FROM THE LORD!! Okay? You might not like it being said, but you know what? Not everyone is like you.


  2. Let’s not jump to conclusions about this. Poor judgement, yes. We are here to learn right from wrong, and often it is wrong choices where the learning comes from. He is young. Pointing a finger leaves three fingers pointing back. Certainly not the unpardonable sin!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a very judgmental article. You don’t know him and just because he said he is proud at an accomplishment he is worshiping his body? With this type of article all you are trying to do is get clicks. You said it yourself, “we need more people doing good and shedding the light on morals and standards.” Yet you chose to shed light on this and not something more uplifting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think he’s being judgmental at all. He’s merely observing that someone who is a member of the Church is displaying their body in an offensive way to God. And yeah, that is pornography. If you’re going to be a member and take covenants upon you, represent them well.


  5. Being raised by an artist, our bookshelf contained art books regarding the human form. Those books frequently contained nudity. My mom would frequently draw nudes and raised me with an admiration and respect for the human form as a beautiful piece of art. Non-sexualized nudity can, in my opinion, be a celebration of the human form. I also think that ESPN fits the bill. If he was posing in playgirl, a sexualized calendar, or a publication whose main focus was sexualizing the human form, I might take issue. I don’t see a problem with what he is doing.

    Nudity and pornography are not ubiquitous as some might think.


    • Nudity in art is a work of man. I don’t recall in scripture anyone getting permission from God to uncover what He declared is to be covered. We may not understand the why’s and wherefores on many things. Unweaving the threads of morality starts with the small, and ends up with what we have today. If that line (and many other seemingly minor issues) had never been crossed, immorality may not have escalated as we see it today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always took God’s giving of Adam and Eve skins for their own benefit. They didn’t know they were naked until the adversary pointed it out and they became ashamed of the bodies God had given them. He formed them nude. They were in the garden for some period of time, nude.


      • They were not ashamed of their nakedness to each other. It was public display, and that only after learning the difference between good and evil.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. He may wish he’d never posed, God has a way of humbling/teaching the proud and haughty. Just saying. Blessings come through obedience. The world is watching this man because of his membership in the church; where much is given, much is expected.


  7. I’m really tired of Mormons constantly judging other Mormons! It’s his life. He has to stand in front of the Savior on Judgement Day. The only person who should be concerned is his Bishop. Shame on YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Pornography and The Vitruvian Man | Ornery Mormon

  9. Would Jesus or the Prophets pose nude for public display? As Saints we learn our conduct from the Holy One. We take upon us the name of Christ through sacred covenants and pledge to remember and represent him at all times, in all ways and in all places. Posing nude for public display is disrespecting the body, which is in the image of God and is the temple of the Holy Ghost.

    No one can judge the eternal reward of another. However, we can and must judge the actions of others so as to be able to discern good and evil in the exercise of our moral agency.

    Moroni 7:25-16:

    For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
    16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

    Posing nude for public display persuades no one to believe in Christ nor invites to do good. Rather, it focuses our thoughts on the flesh and the natural man. In other words, it clouds our vision and leads to darkness and seeking the praise of the world. He may choose as he likes; as for me, I choose to strive to keep my eye single to the glory of God and not of myself.


  10. It’s a matter of modesty and no I don’t just mean covering up. Modesty is the “quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities.” Too many think of this definition (including Church publications): “behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency”. But that’s not what God asked.

    From “If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves.”


  11. He may not have been exercising the best judgement in this case, but geez! I find this “conversation” pretty harsh and offensive. To call into question the integrity of a person’s faith based on a magazine photoshoot and interview is rediculous. Furthermore, to bring up the fact that he’s proud of his weightlifting stats or has an odd diet has absolutely nothing to do with faith.

    No, this isn’t a shining example of modesty, but seriously, who cares?! I don’t think his personal choices should be subject to this kind of discussion. We all have better things to do with our time.

    Honestly I wish I hadn’t even been drawn into this topic. I enjoy this blog, but I had no idea any of this happened until I read the post. And now I wish I hadn’t read it. This whole discussion is anything but uplifting.


  12. Galatians 6:1-10, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”


  13. I think what is being said is – Is this the type of attention we as Latter Day Saints, want? How many people are going to judge the Church by this photo? In my experiences, the entire Church gets judged by members personal actions. Would we be having this discussion if Bryce had shorts on? I know that’s not the point of the ESPN article/photo layout, but, I believe he could have stood up for his/our beliefs a little better.
    .Wasn’t there an article not too long ago, about an LDS Olympic athlete who challenged the designers on her photo shoot? She refused to wear the immodest dress/outfit they supplied. They ended up getting her a more appropriate dress, allowing her to uphold her moral standard.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I wouldn’t have know about the pictures were it not for this article! Perhaps next time concentrate on something less judgemental!


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