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Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014

SUU coach Ed Lamb is not a Mormon but serves anyway

By Trent Toone, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 19 5:00 a.m. MDT

 Southern Utah football coach Ed Lamb, right front, leaves an LDS meetinghouse with his players Brady Measom, Justin Brown, James Cowser and Josh Kariya (behind Lamb).

Southern Utah football coach Ed Lamb, right front, leaves an LDS meetinghouse with his players Brady Measom, Justin Brown, James Cowser and Josh Kariya (behind Lamb).

(Provided by Ed Lamb)

Editor's note: This week, the Deseret News takes an in-depth look at how football coaches balance the demands of their profession with commitments to their faith.

Monday: Justin Anderson, Nicholls State

Tuesday: Ed Lamb, Southern Utah University

Wednesday: Steve Kaufusi, BYU

Thursday: Coaches and callings — serving in the LDS Church

Friday: Coaches and Christianity

Southern Utah University head football coach Ed Lamb regularly attends meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his family. He finds truth in the teachings of the gospel and has accepted various opportunities to serve. He said the church has been hugely influential in his life.

Yet Lamb is not a Mormon. He's been investigating the church since 1992 when he played at Ricks College.

"Most of the time, I don't even correct people who make the assumption," Lamb said in a recent interview with the Deseret News. "Over time, I've been exposed to the culture and have tremendous respect for the religion. This has been a real example for good in my life. The morals and beliefs are highly congruent with how I would want to live and how I want my family to live their lives."

If not for baptism, Lamb would call himself a Mormon. Although he was raised and baptized in a different Christian faith, Lamb has played or coached with many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for most of his adult life. Lamb also married a Latter-day Saint, and two of his daughters are members. Two younger children will likely be baptized when they turn 8 years old.

During his association with the church, Lamb has served in Scouting as well as in other capacities. Being a college football coach has granted him a little extra credibility with young people, and they have listened to him. Overall, church service has helped him to be a better coach. He also believes that LDS values are similar to athletic values, Lamb said.

"It has given me the tools to speak to players and helps me deal with all the different individual backgrounds," Lamb said. "The gospel also helps me put losses in perspective by understanding we are not perfect. This life is a process toward perfection. It's not just game-to-game or season-to-season, it's a lifetime pursuit."

Lamb has two Mormons on his staff, including offensive coordinator/associate head coach Gary Crowton and strength and conditioning coach Dan Bennion. Bennion currently serves as a bishop in the Cedar City area. While there are team meetings on Sunday evenings, Lamb does his best to accommodate the religious beliefs of each member of his staff and team.

In good-natured fun, family members and LDS friends occasionally ask when Lamb will get baptized, but the coach just smiles and says he's going at his pace, Lamb said.

"There is no question in my mind the LDS Church is a major source for good, and it has been a blessing to be around it," Lamb said. "But at this point, I am really comfortable with my relationship with God, my role as a human being and the opportunity to be an influence on the people around me.

"I also know my mother-in-law will enjoy seeing me show up in the Mormon Times."

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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1. fani
wj, UT,
Aug. 19, 2014

Great article! Thanks for sharing

2. Jamescmeyer
Midwest City, USA, OK,
Aug. 19, 2014

This isn't an uncommon situation missionaries face, and is easily one of the most challenging. Naturally someone seeking to be like Christ and to further the Father's work would want to know "why?" We can't see what's in other people's minds or hearts, but we still try to understand these things when we associate with others, and being unable to do so in a circumstance like this is always disappointing.

When one is in a position in which receiving baptism would effectively change or limit nothing in their social or physical life, yet makes all the difference of eternity hereafter... I wonder "why?" Logically it doesn't make sense; nothing to lose and everything to gain. What else factors into a decision like this?

3. fowersjl
Farmington, Utah,
Aug. 19, 2014

My former Mission President, Charles Didier, was once a perpetual investigator. But he only resisted for about seven years. Once baptized he gave it his all...after his calling as our Mission Pres. he was called to the Quorum of Seventy, and with his ability to speak multiple languages fluently was a great asset to the Church. Hope this good coach will follow suit.

4. maclouie
Falconer, NY,
Aug. 19, 2014

Just for the fun of throwing my opinion out there.... my opinion is if people do not join the Church in this life, they won't join the Church of the Lamb of God in the next. The only hope is that those who learn about the Gospel in this life is they are baptized in this life. Those that never heard the word while in mortality are the only ones that may desire to join. It's not that the Lord wont give them the option to "join" in the next life, it's just they won't because it's their character. I took 3 years. Brother Lamb obviously will take longer (maybe). Others have. I've known some that have died and never joined (and I don't believe will) and others I've known for 30+ years and they won't be baptized but they come to Church and serve. I don't get it. It's like wanting to live together but not tie the knot. It must be a character thing and that character thing is not a God-like characteristic.

5. Tutanikai
Murray, UT,
Aug. 19, 2014

Interesting story, but I take exception to your description of his calling to Scouting as "small." To begin with, it's hugely important in the lives of young men, and secondly, we are constantly reminded that no calling is "small." You might want to reconsider your language.