I’m gonna get sued for this, right?

In case you missed it, there was a kerfuffle a couple days ago concerning the use of the LDS church’s familiar “CTR” shield on packaging for condoms. Planned Parenthood of Utah (PPAU) issued the special run of condoms with a bright pink CTR shield for the Sunstone Symposium, currently underway in Salt Lake City. PPAU said they wanted to “use the idea of ‘choosing the right’ to spark open, honest conversations about sexual health and contraception.” PPAU spokeswoman Katrina Barker explained, “We felt like this was an audience that would appreciate it.”

While Sunstone participants may have appreciated the humor, the wider Mormon community missed it. After significant public uproar (and church lawyers indicating permission was never given to use the trademarked symbol), PPAU removed the condom photo from their Facebook page and decided against giving them out at the symposium.

I was honestly a little surprised at the vehement reactions from members. Tying “CTR” to condoms was clearly inappropriate and despicable in their view, but I was most amused when they justified why it was inappropriate…

Using the CTR shield violates trademark laws!

Well, yes, yes it does. Funny thing is… most of the time Mormons don’t care about copyright/trademark laws. If you’re really so indignant about people using the trademarked CTR symbol for free handouts, you must be furious when people actually do it for financial gain. Now’s the time to sic the Church on all those Etsy sellers despicably using the CTR shield in baptism invitation cards, homemade jewelry, adult t-shirts, mugs, vinyl decor, embroidery designs, cookies, laser-cut lights…

What about the CTR shields on all those freebie designs members share on the internet? Do Sugardoodle and Pinterest users need to worry about the legal consequences for using the church’s trademarked or copyrighted material?

Oh, here’s a fun exercise, find me a ward choir that hasn’t broken copyright laws by photocopying music without permission.

Ryan Gosling protects LDS young women from sexualized messages.

They are sexualizing a childhood symbol!

Ahem, “My body is a temple and you don’t have a recommend!” They could’ve labeled their condoms “temple recommends.” That sexual enough for you?

Why “prostitute a childhood symbol of faith” in using the CTR shield? Because the whole purpose behind the CTR symbol is to make you stop and think about what you are doing. It prompts you to examine the morality of your actions.

As far as CTR being only a childhood symbol, you might want to let all those teens and adults in your ward know. They’re wearing more CTR rings than any of your primary kids. How many young adults at BYU are wearing CTR rings, ostensibly to help them keep morally clean (which for them definitely has some sexual connotation)?[1]

Using a condom is NOT choosing the right!

I know a lot of married couples who would disagree.

Oh, wait… you mean premarital sex? Here’s the thing, Salt Lake City is having a BIG problem with sexually transmitted infections right now. Health officials point to the lack of comprehensive sex education in Utah as the major contributing factor, and politically conservative Mormon culture is blamed for the insistence on abstinence-only education.[2] So if Mormon culture is seen as contributing to a major public health crisis, and there is a 4-day symposium in town devoted to Mormon culture, can you understand why Planned Parenthood might connect addressing sexual health as a morally correct thing to do (CTR)?

Planned Parenthood associating itself with the Church is satanic!

Ah… there’s the rub. Planned Parenthood is not a popular organization in Utah (or any place dominated by political conservatives in the United States). Utah was one of several states attempting to cut federal funding to the organization. In spite of government investigations declaring otherwise, many people still believe Planned Parenthood profits from selling fetal tissue from abortions.

Free healthcare was Satan’s plan.

While the Church’s official stance on birth control and abortion is more lax than other Christian religions, churchmembers tend to ally themselves with the politically conservative pro-life (anti-abortion) camp. For many, Planned Parenthood is all about promiscuity and dead babies. Free contraceptives represent promiscuity. Promiscuity leads to dead babies.[3] Planned Parenthood is founded by the devil himself, an emblem of the “mother of harlots,” the “great and abominable church” itself, to put it mildly.

So if someone saw the “great and abominable church” exploiting innocent symbols of the “church of the Lamb of God” for their own evil purposes, how would they react? Well, pretty much as expected – like the world was coming to an end.


[1] At BYU, CTR rings were even incorporated into the dating scene. One roommate there informed me they were the Mormon version of Irish Claddagh rings – pointed one way meant taken, pointed another way meant single (never could keep straight which way was which). When we got engaged, my husband switched his CTR ring from his right ring-finger to his left. He did it partly to get used to wearing a ring on that hand, but also because a lot of guys we knew did it to signal engagement.

[2] A comprehensive sex ed bill was shot down in the Utah Legislature earlier this year.

[3] Assuming you aren’t using the free contraceptives, of course.