(Archive Story) Anti-Mormon Protest Disturbs Campus


    Senior Reporter

    A man raised a wooden cross, and his voice, to approximately 350 “brainwashed” students between the Harold B. Lee Library and the Harris Fine Arts Center Thursday.

    “You guys don’t know Jesus Christ!” Michael Woroniecki shouted. “You are Mormon scumbags.”

    Woroniecki, his wife and six children handed out pamphlets while holding banners and a wooden cross. The disturbance began at 10:45 a.m. and continued for approximately 25 minutes until University officials handcuffed Woroniecki and sent the students to class.

    “This was an intent to disrupt our campus,” said R.J. Snow, academic advancement vice president. “All he wants to do is create a scene, and he certainly did that with his negative message.”

    Some students spontaneously began singing “We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet,” followed by “Love One Another” and “Called to Serve.” To which Woroniecki responded, “Sing your idolatrous songs! You might as well be singing about Elton John. Jesus isn’t listening to you.”

    Alison Akin, a musical dance theater major from Yakima, Wash., stepped forward and asked students to let him speak.

    “Don’t judge him!” Akin yelled. “We’re above this. He has a right to think what he wants.”

    Woroniecki agreed.

    “On a campus where you say you believe in Jesus Christ, you won’t listen to me speak about him,” the Oregon resident said as he was being handcuffed. “Here are the fruits of your beliefs.”

    Woroniecki’s wife, who wished to be identified as her husband’s spouse, said, “We’re just here to preach about Jesus Christ. We wanted to come to a place where we could reach lots of students.”

    The Woroniecki’s six children silently handed out the pamphlets.

    “We just do what our dad tells us so we can teach about Jesus Christ,” said one of the daughters as she struggled to keep her banner balanced.

    One sign said, “Your mouth talks of Christ, your life espouses you as of the world.”

    “No you are not saved. Just another typical American hypocrite,” read another flag.

    Woroniecki described his listeners as “marshmallows,” saying that their faces looked as white as “milk.” He then addressed the women as “contemporary witches.”

    “Get out there and be a witch,” Woroniecki sarcastically preached. “Go and be a 20th century career woman and forget about your families.”

    In the pamphlet, “The Witch and the Wimp,” Woroniecki outlines the role women should have.

    “As man was created to dominate, God reveals that woman was created to be his helpmeet,” he writes. “Thus the role of woman is derived, not from culture, but from the sin of Eve at the creation of the world.”

    One student recognized the family from its protesting outside general conference last weekend with the same pamphlets.

    “It’s a matter of being against counterfeit beliefs, not necessarily your religion,” Woroniecki’s wife said. Her husband made more specific remarks about the LDS Church.

    “Brigham Young is in hell, right along with the pope and Billy Graham,” Woroniecki said. “BYU is the farm capital of the world for finding husbands and wives, but why won’t you pay attention to Jesus Christ?”

    Woroniecki accused the students as being the ones that crucified Jesus Christ.

    “The nature of the Roman soldiers is coming out in you right now,” he said. “Say it together now, ‘Crucify him!'”

    The family’s message wasn’t new to many students.

    “I went on a mission and I’ve heard all this before,” said Deanna Hadfield, a junior music education major from Denver, Colo. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him, though … for him to get up there is gutsy.”

    Woroniecki’s courage was unappreciated by many.

    “I got a sick feeling inside watching him,” said Kasey Walker, a freshman from Orem, studying business. “It was cool to sing hymns together. And I suppose he could have shared his views at the proper place and time, but this wasn’t it.”

    BYU has allowed people to speak in the past.

    “We’ve had demonstrations before, but they follow the proper procedures,” said Snow. “The ones we allow are orderly, and this one was disorderly.”

    In order to get permission to speak on campus, an organization must have someone on campus sponsor it and then obtain a permit.

    “It is unfortunate that he wasn’t more cooperative,” said Alton Wade, vice president of Student Life. “People can get permission through the proper channels, but these people took it upon themselves to have authorization.”

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