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Deseret Morning News: BYU newspaper yanks T-shirt ad

Some detect a desire to sin in 'I can't... I'm Mormon'

PROVO—Managers of the student newspaper at Brigham Young University pulled an advertisement after numerous complaints that it was too offensive for the conservative campus.

Chad Ramos, 'I Can't... I'm Mormon' T-shirt designer
Chad Ramos, who capitalizes on "Mormon speak" in order to sell T-shirts, is surprised—but not particularly disappointed—at the furor at BYU over his "I can't" T-shirts. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News)
The ad campaign began at the start of the month and sparked a big stir over a T-shirt with a simple phrase—"I Can't... I'm Mormon."

Students, professors and administrators felt the slogan implied wearers wished they could drink, smoke or have casual sex but were prevented only because they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One letter to the editor in the student paper was particularly sarcastic: "I can't, I'm Mormon, but if I wasn't, you know I'd be there 'cause it sounds sweet!"

Many also felt the female modeling the shirt in the ad struck an overly provocative pose.

Both objections surprised the shirt's creator, Utah Valley State College student Chad Ramos. He grew up in Las Vegas and said the phrase served him well when peers asked him to drink or smoke while he went to high school in an area with a large LDS population.

"I found if I told people I didn't drink, they didn't know how to react," he said, "but if I said, I can't, I'm Mormon, they said, 'Oh,' and boom, it was over."

One of the things I truly I adore about living in Utah is the occasional hilariously uptight reactions of LDS Church members to innocuous phenomena.

Best part: They don't even realize they're giving the T-shirt credence by their reactions.