Saving seats at Mormon church in Plain City leads to assault, arrest

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  • cherokee heart fresno, CA
    Nov. 19, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    I think this guy may have had a few screws loose

  • cherokee heart fresno, CA
    Nov. 19, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    I saw a fight at church also different town, you would think these guys would stop and think where they are, who is watching. were followers of Christs for petes sake. turn the other cheek and find a different chair, I had to do that lots of times.

  • MWillWA Port Orchard, WA
    July 16, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    Honestly, why all this talk about pews? Yes, there was some pew misconduct that shouldn't have happened. But the violence was not due to pew stealing. It was due to words. The fight escalated because they spoke rudely to each other.

    Watch your words even more than you watch where you sit.

  • sunnyrainy bellevue, wa
    July 10, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    " is not meet that I should command in all things..." NEVERTHELESS, because this is reality we're dealing with here, in the places in the world where this occurs (and, trust me, there are many places where it doesn't....usually not affluent), the Stake Presidents should issue a letter to be read about not saving seats -- EVER! (If family members are late, then they simply don't sit with their families that week. It's not the end of the world.)

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    Update to this story: Went to opening night of a movie couple days ago. Think Bro Dodge may have been there. Got there a little early, but theater still full. There were 4 of us, but couldn't find seats together. Daughter and grandson in one row, grand-daughter and I in row across the aisle. We noticed a complete row empty across the theater. I told my granddaughter to go get it, and we'd follow her. Met her halfway back after she was told by the people in the row behind the empty one that they were saved -- "They left their shoes there to save them". :-D REALLY???

  • Nita Harris Saratoga Springs, UT
    July 8, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    I remember a long time ago, back in South Africa, a general authority was visiting and I had invited my Mom, who was a member of the Church but had not attended for many years, to come with me to hear him speak. We arrived early, but the chapel was quite full since people arrived extra early that day not wanting to miss hearing from him. I looked around and spotted quite a few saved seats. I chose two seats in almost a whole row of saved seats. A few hot words were exchanged between me and the seat savers who, of course, said, "Sorry, those seats are taken," and me saying "Tough!" Not a good example for my Mom by both parties. Ever since then I have not been impressed, to put it mildly, by selfish seat savers. There are, of course, exceptions when the savers explain that they are saving seats for the disabled or such.

  • mancan HC, UT
    July 8, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    A couple years ago I noticed at Stake Conference that all the soft seats were saved even when I arrived almost an hour early- scriptures, coats, blankets etc. staking claims. Since I am a stake clerk I had to be there that early. The stake pres. also had noticed this and we decided to figure out what was happening. Turns out the claims were staked on Saturday evening. Before the next stake conference, when my home teacher asked if there was anything he could do for me, I handed him a blanket and asked him to place it on the fourth row, front and center at the end of the Saturday night session, so I could stroll in during the opening hymn Sunday and sprall out with the whole row to myself!

  • K Mchenry, IL
    July 7, 2013 11:26 p.m.

    In our parish, I'm not lds, we have baby baptisms on a particular mass time once a month during service. Sometimes a separate time outside of mass can be accommodated if there is a priest in the family who would like to do the honors. There are 3 or 4 mass times a person can go to avoid the crowd. There is no such thing as "your" pew. First communions, another big event drawing relatives, would never be done at the same mass time as a baptism. Same with confirmation.

    With the missionary age changes and the sudden influx of missionaries this problem will continue. There will be friends and family wanting to attend the farwell talk. Now you have missionaries going out at 18. These are not missionaries leaving the single ward, but the famlly wards. A little organization can clear up headaches.

    Our problems are first communions, Christmas, good Friday and Easter. But it's known in advance that those days are going to be hard to park and hard to find a seat. If I were visiting a ward and it were a zoo It would be off putting.

    July 7, 2013 10:14 p.m.

    Many wards have the first 2 middle rows empty because people prefer to sit on metal chairs in the overflow area.

    If there are no empty pews in the chapel, go sit in the comfortably soft, padded, individual "choir" seats behind the bishopric.

  • coalbaby Billings, MT
    July 7, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    I have had several thoughts on this article and the comments written. First-Come visit us in Montana, you can have a whole row to yourself. :) Second- I have thought many times that I wonder what kind of pressure/stress this gentleman must have been under to cause him to go over the edge over what we see as something so trivial? That doesn't make it right, but I can't help wondering what was going on in his life and the lives of those saving the seats, that made them unwilling to give a little. I hope that the wards of these people can put their arms around them and make them feel like they still belong. The only difference between this sin and those the rest of us are committing is that it is easily observed. Things like unkind thoughts, gossip, etc are not so easily seen nor do they usually make the newspaper.

  • georgiaonmymind1 Lawrenceville, GA
    July 6, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    It happens every Sunday here in Georgia! We go to church early as a family so our bench is already taken. Maybe we should work on getting to church early then all of the fuss can be avoided! I loathe Mormon standard time!

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    July 6, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    I can see where seating arrangements are potentially hurtful. My experience in church is that I arrive early, sit in the middle near the front and often both ends of the bench remain empty. That is hurtful to me. Does it mean I am not a desirable person?

  • snowman Provo, UT
    July 5, 2013 10:44 p.m.

    K: People can have their special events anytime they want, it's part of the meetings. A couple of weeks ago in my ward their were 3 baby blessings and yes their were lots of visitors that day. We had no problems

    July 5, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    President Hinckley October 2007 General Conference: Slow to anger.

    "I have chosen tonight to speak to the subject of anger. I realize that this is a little unusual, but I think it is timely."

    "So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way."

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    July 5, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    Duckhunter: I see people every week who are giving their all for the ward with early meetings and choir practice, setting up for meetings, interviews, etc,and then try to save a seat for the spouse left behind to get all the kids ready alone. I'm grateful for all they do and give for the rest of us. The least we can do is let them save a seat in the chapel, so their family can sit together at church, or close enough that the bishopric can see their family from the stand!

  • K Mchenry, IL
    July 5, 2013 2:33 a.m.

    Why were so many special things scheduled for that day? Must everyone come to such events? If they are family and friend events maybe they should take place after services as their own special event.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 4, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    Almost makes me want to go to a LDS church just so I can sit in people's personal seats.

    Nah. Not even as fun as that would be, would it get me to sit through one of their meetings.

  • Techgal44 Goodyear, AZ
    July 4, 2013 7:02 p.m.

    We traveled from Phoenix, AZ to Manti, UT to experience the Manti Pageant several years ago. I was amazed and dismayed to discover an abundance of black garbage bags and quilts draped over all of the chairs in the first fifteen rows of seating- even though we arrived nearly two hours early! No people around- just black garbage bags and quilts!
    We sat near the back, and still enjoyed the Pageant immensely. The Spirit was strong, even in the back!
    Did not have this problem at all at the Nauvoo Pageant. Didn't notice hardly any seat saving- and definitely no quilts or garbage bags over the chairs!

    July 4, 2013 6:24 p.m.

    I know a member who was arrested after returning to church with a gun to settle a score. That was in Portland. I guess "only in Oregon" do church members behave that way, since I haven't yet had that experience anywhere else. I've lived all over the country, and found all kinds of people in all places. You have a good experience in one place, and a bad experience in another, and all of a sudden you're an expert on comparative Mormon behavior, by geographic location, when all you're really doing is showing an ignorance about universal human nature and exposing your woefully limited observation. Or, the huge chip on your shoulder.

    Someone else suggested this happens more often than we realize, and another says how close we come to this kind of situation every week. Make me laugh. I've been a member for over 50 years, one who strives for 100% attendance, and I've never seen a fistfight, or anything close to it, over a seat. Just a couple of individual hotheads - not representative of any locale, and just as likely to happen anywhere in the world.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    July 4, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    I'm so glad I suffer from a nervous condition which drives me to sit in the back with no one behind me. No one ever seems upset that I took a folding metal chair in the overflow - and I get out fast after "amen". I highly recommend the approach.

  • LCinLaguna Laguna Beach, CA
    July 4, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    All our "prime" ward families take up the front seats too. Guests and regular ward members and visitors-- regardless of when they show up-- are in the overflow in the back. Its kind of annoying.

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    July 4, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    They were fighting over wooden seats? We had a Brothern (may of been from utah?) move into our small branch in Tenn. He did'nt like the way our Branch President ran the branch, so he attacked him. He looked at us, as not knowing anything about the church. A few of the guys held him back. The Branch President forgave him, and that was pretty much it. The Branch President had been a member there for at least two decades, he knew his business.

  • shadowfx rio rancho, NM
    July 4, 2013 6:35 a.m.

    Sad moment. Understand both points. We all like to have a comfortable seat at church. Many who have lived in the same ward and location for a very long time generally get comfortable and seat in the same place week after week and year after year.

    Special occasions at church are followed by usual attendance thus more seats are needed. Many plan out in advance when they attend the occasion especially when they have traveled a long distance. This was the case at church this day. Large amounts of people with little room to spare. People wanted to ensure they could be there for that particular occasion and for the person(s) involved.

    Hopefully, lessons can be learned. Church are for sinners and to help us be better. Heard several stories in my day about church. Many came from the less active I met while a missionary in UT SLC South mission many years ago.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    July 3, 2013 10:58 p.m.

    Back when my kids were babies I used to sit in the back with them. My babies had a problem with spitting up. The bench I was sitting on was a short bench (only room enough for about 4 people. I was sitting there with my two kids and a man from the ward sat down in the other spot. I asked him to move as I knew that the baby would spit up. He rto move and low and behold the baby started sptting up all over the mans suit. I looked at him and gave him I told you so look and he moved.

  • thumper300zx Lehi, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:47 p.m.

    Saving seats is no different that cutting in line. You arrived late, you have no claim to a good seat. Go to the back. Families are too exclusive. Even when there are seats, people hate sitting by each other. We often open the overflow even when it's not needed. Be more friendly, and nobody gets in a fight. It takes two fighters to get in a fight. Neither of these people have a good excuse. But let's start by not being like the person seen in a video on youtube "Don't cut the line".

  • Ted Saint George, UT
    July 3, 2013 6:49 p.m.

    I think the seat saving is just the tip of the iceberg for some arrogant church goers. Some (not all, mind you) even use their resume of calling status, genealogy status, job status, neighborhood status, vehicle status, and so on to govern how they conduct themselves at church. It's a sad thing to witness on Sunday, and other days too. Regardless of how long you have been going to church, there is so, so much to learn about Christlike attributes and how to use that knowledge on a daily basis. Obtaining and strengthening that knowledge should be the only reason that gets us to church and keeps us coming back. We all have so much to learn. On a side note, make it a habit to sit somewhere different each week in church. Mix it up a little, sit by someone different, get a different perspective.

  • dden45 Provo, Utah
    July 3, 2013 6:32 p.m.


    I know for a fact there are Mormons just like Dodge outside of the state of Utah. So you can keep your holier than thou attitude.

  • cedarpost Washington, Utah
    July 3, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    People who say the church flourishing despite these kind of things prove the church is true, say it just as a ''saying" they dont really believe it. Its funny you and byu track star REALLY think people believe the church overcoming these things prove it to be true. They say it just as a saying.

  • TaipeiModerate New Haven, CT
    July 3, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    I feel bad for Utah Mormons... it has got to be hard separating religion from ingrained cultural practice. People don't act like this outside of the state. Probably because most were converts and sat in the "wrong seat" a time or two when they first came to church.

  • Techgal44 Goodyear, AZ
    July 3, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    Where's the Youtube video of THIS??

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 3, 2013 4:28 p.m.

    I got say it:

    [Who Would Jesus Deck?]

    Perhaps we should proceed row by row in an orderly manner?

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    July 3, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    While I am not a fan of broad seat saving, the actions to assault someone has no excuse.

    Sadly, this feeds into any anti-Mormon sentiment that some people have about the church.

    If Mr Dodge had the ability to fight and drive a car into someone, he certainly had the ability to unfold a chair or stand.

    Now he will face jail time over a silly chair.

  • emp1 Provo, UT
    July 3, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    I don't know if this happens anywhere else, but here in Utah this has been the fashion for quite some time. We not only save seats in Church and proclaimed ourselves rightful owners of the pew, but we do it in the movie theater, at sport games, and right now if you go to downtown Provo you see one lonely person saving half a block for his entire genealogy so they can have front seat for the parade. Even the supposed peaceful and spiritual Christmas Concert is a stressful event in my Stake! One year I went one hour early and ended up seating in the back because the entire front was cover in coats, has never gone again.
    I'm so glad that most movie theaters do assigned seating nowadays, it is so nice not to be worry about someone being nasty to you. Maybe we should do assigned seating in Church!
    Seriously, this does not surprise me, it was meant to happen at some point. Sadly, it was done in a place where most people go to seek peace and comfort.

  • DHuber Palmyra, NY
    July 3, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    Try living in a ward with 20 pair of senior missionaries. They can save every seat in the chapel if there is a special meeting.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2013 1:30 p.m.

    How does a church have this issue of not enough seating anyway? Particularly one with no paid clergy and a strong incentive attachment to donating 10% of income.

  • Sophie 62 spring city, UT
    July 3, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    Anger management, anyone?
    I have a feeling this isn't Brother Dodge's first rodeo as far as losing his composure in such a ridiculous way.
    Can't say much for the other side,either, but trying to run over someone? Punching them? Over something this petty?
    Good grief!

    July 3, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    A guy gets upset because he wanted to sit in a saved seat, escalating his anger to the point of trying to run down one of the "seat savers". To my way of thinking, that kind of trumps, and renders irrelevant, whether it involved so called "Utah" or "Any where else" Mormons, who breached meeting house protocol, and that it happened to occur in an LDS church, or any place, for that matter. This guy has issues that hopefully the law and some counseling(anger management, anyone?) will address.

  • nursevicki66 Idaho Falls, ID
    July 3, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    Oh, my goodness really? A seat should not be that big of a deal. I will sit somewhere else.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    Use to tell my Seminary students to expect greater trials maintaining their testimonies within the church than any persecution from without.
    My father grew up in Plain City, a farming community at the time, and became inactive when one of the Bishopric threw a hymn book at this unruly Deacon and hit him. He remained inactive for some
    30 years.
    Decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to let anyone, deprive me of my testimony, despite who they were,what they did or what criticism they laid on me.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    July 3, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    Families coming together to celebrate a baby blessing and a missionary headed into the field. We don't begrudge seats being saved for families to be together at funerals as they mourn, why would it trouble anyone that families be together as they celebrate?

    Not hard to see why we are asked to go to Church each week. We all still have lots to work on.

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    I, as well as others, commented on out of Utah State Mormons being friendlier, different, etc. In thinking about it, it could possibly lie within us. When I was a late teenager and trying to decide where I wanted to be because I hated Utah, my mom told me no matter where I was, I would always find what I was looking for. I remember a trip to California when my family was young and my husband making the comment he hated it there because the people were so unfriendly and rude. This was after my kids and I were talking to people and loving hearing about their experiences. (Total opposite experience) My daughter and I were in New York (the most unfriendly city in the US?) for her 18th birthday. Never had a problem with the people there, they were very helpful and friendly. Maybe my mom was right and the acceptance lies within each of us. But you know the saying "The grass is always greener.........." I guess we do get what we're looking for. Thanks mom!

  • tesuji St. George, UT
    July 3, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    Ridiculous. Period.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    July 3, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    "In South Korea if two people get to a cab at the same time they have a set thing in their society where they actually rock, paper, scissors for it and the winner gets it without any conflict. "

    I really love this idea. I can just see it now in the chapel.

    guy1: Seats are being saved
    guy2: I'll rock, paper, scissor you for them.
    guy1: ok
    guy1: *loses*
    guy2: gets seat
    Seems like something Joseph Smith might've done. He was always fond of stick pulling.

  • ipr Spanish Fork, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    How sad that the Deseret News felt it necessary to mention brother Dodge's name, or even to report this event. I hope he will feel accepted enough to go back to church on Sunday.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    re: als Atheist earlier today

    Paging Hyacinth Bucket?

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    July 3, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    @SlopJo LOL!

    Hey! The accompanying picture is not of an LDS chapel. The hymn book color gives it away. I think that's a Lutheran chapel based on the red books.

    While saving 3 pews is audacious in my opinion (Sheriff quote from Trib), people are territorial with where they seat. Not limited to LDS, either, all churches are that way and classrooms are that way. One year while teaching summer school, as an experiment (and mostly to have fun) I convinced two students to sit somewhere else when they came to school the next day. Chaos ensued! It was hilarious.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    In other words, get to church early if you want a seat in the back.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    July 3, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    I would never pick a fight over a pew. Take the largest crust piece of sacrament bread I was about to eat, however, and it's ON!

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 3, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Its obvious from several commenters here that Utah Mormons are WAY different than Mormons in other states. One group must clearly be better than the other. Let's meet in the parking lot after church and settle this dispute. Shall we?

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    July 3, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    That is exactly why I don't go to Stake Conference either. In fact, later this month, L. Tom Perry is scheduled to speak in our stake, here in California. As much as I would like to see him, I am sure I will be unable to sit in the chapel, even if I came when the doors first open.

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    July 3, 2013 8:52 a.m.

    How neighborly and nice.
    This behavior doesn't belong in a gym, much less in a church building.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    July 3, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Only in Utah would such triviality be a top story.
    People, People!!

  • bodgerdlue Kearns, UT
    July 3, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    This is why my wife and I show up a half hour early. It can be pretty comical to watch the look on some of the "regulars" faces when they realize that "their" seats have been taken.

    That being said I do have some sympathy for those that save seats.

    One Sunday I had to attend Church by myself since my wife was pregnant and at home on bed rest. Our Aaronic Priesthood was thin that day so I was asked to help with the Sacrament. I left my scriptures in my seat and went up to sit with the deacons. After the meeting had started, I noticed a member of the ward enter and sit right where I had left my scriptures on a now completely filled row.

    After the Sacrament was over I walked back to where I had been sitting. The member looked at me as if I were asking him to move to the other side of the planet when I asked him if he would mind scooting over so that I could sit back down. Instead of pushing the issue further I picked my scriptures up, and since the chapel was now full went home.

  • PhoenixAZ phoenix, AZ
    July 3, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    People saving seats is the reason I do not go to Stake Conference anymore.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 3, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    @old cougar

    "And Duckhunter, no one "owns" a bench just because they often sit there. If you and your family want to sit on a certain bench, get your "behinds" there first and sit there."

    Uh....that's exactly what I said. Perhaps you need to go back and read it again? Comprehension helps when making a reply to someone.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 3, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    @uncle rico

    Don't be ridiculous. My point is really pretty simply, if you are willing to get to church early and actually sit in a pew then by all means that is your pew for the day and you should be able to have your family sit in it with you. My problem is with the people that come to church early for whatever reason and then simply deposit whatever item they happen to be carrying in a pew, or multiple items in multiple pews, then leave to go and do whatever. meanwhile people arrive and have nowhere to sit while that pew remains empty, other than sister Smiths diaper bag, until 1 minute before church starts, or in many cases AFTER church starts.

    It is simple common courtesy. Now I also think this guy should have just gone and sat somewhere else for the day, that is what I would have done, but that doesn't change the fact that someone saving a bunch of pews for people that cannot be bothered to come early enough to get one themselves is not being rude.

    It is just "we're more important than everyone else" behavior.

  • carhauler Spanish Fork, UT
    July 3, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    I am claustrophobic and go a little crazy if I have to sit between people, even my family, so I don't slide to the center as several people have suggested. I do stand and move to the aisle so no one has to climb over me.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    July 3, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    The reality is, this kind of thing happens more often than it seems. Mormons are very good about keeping up appearances, so you don't hear about it.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    July 3, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    When I read this story, and the comments trying to trivialize and justify a cultural preoccupation with trivial seating arrangements, I ask myself: What exactly am I missing by not believing in your religion?

  • Texas Ken Killeen, TX
    July 3, 2013 7:12 a.m.

    It is unfortunate an "active" member considers "his" pew more important than his brothers and sisters. Sad; a lost opportunity for "Brother" Dodge.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 3, 2013 6:41 a.m.

    I was teaching a Sunday School class 40 years ago when a couple of 13 year old boys started to rev up a bit. They'd been at each other for a long time and when on finally stood up and took a swing my first impulse was to let it go. So I did. About three minutes later with two bloody noses and very stained shirts the three of us walked down to the Bishops office.
    With this out of their system the two of them became pretty good friends for a long time. Sometimes things have to take their course. Don't lump all altercations into a barbaric reaction. I don't and never advocate violence but on this occasion it seemed like the right thing to do. And it was.

  • common sense in Idaho Pocatello, id
    July 3, 2013 6:33 a.m.

    This gives new meaning to the word "dodgeball." LOL

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 3, 2013 5:48 a.m.

    Congratulations, folks, you made the national news! Are you proud of yourselves?

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:23 p.m.

    This is very sad, and for reasons that are apparent. But with 20,000 plus units that meet in the world every weekend, statistically I am surprised it has not happened more often. Clearly this was bad case of a grumpy guy who needed a lesson in decorum.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:46 p.m.

    This is nothing until you have a fist fight which I witnessed in my BYU ward years ago in the actual chapel. It wasn't over a seat but probably some girl each was vying over. It was classic.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:30 p.m.

    There are two things that I can not understand.
    First, how old did they say these people are, 2?
    Second, all over a bench? Good grief.
    It must have been the back bench, no one would fight over the EMPTY front benches.
    I try not to ever save seats. The most amazing and wonderful people will come sit by you. Everyone is a new friend and another child of God.

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    July 2, 2013 10:24 p.m.

    Only in Utah.

  • BH Tremonton, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:22 p.m.

    It is very disappointing to me, when I hear judgmental criticism of Utah Mormons, from other Mormons. Last time I checked, there was only one who does not stand in need of the redeeming blood of the Savior.

    I have attended church in Utah, California, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and perhaps elsewhere that I cannot recall. I came and went from meetings in Florida without a single word spoken to me. I have had people in Utah tell me that I am in their bench. I have had people in Kentucky not say anything, but gave us funny looks for sitting in their bench. I have felt unwelcome in South Carolina and Kentucky, because the members considered us "outsiders, who would move along soon enough". I have seen coats, scriptures, purses, and such, spread out on benches in Indiana, to save seats for Stake Conference. I have seen irreverence everywhere.

    The article reports a very sad situation. And from what I have seen, the article could have reported it happening in any of these places. Too bad it happened at all. What is important now, is that forgiveness is asked for and given.

  • PAC Phoenix, AZ
    July 2, 2013 9:59 p.m.

    LOL I'm sorry, but that is just over the top.

    July 2, 2013 9:48 p.m.

    As a "Utah Mormon" who has lived in Georgia, Oklahoma, Washington, Wyoming, Vietnam and Germany, I agree that members of the LDS Church who live outside Utah are usually more friendly and accepting of visitors than are Utah Mormons.
    .....We arrived early at our Stake Conference Saturday Evening Meeting a few months ago and noticed many empty seats in the chapel BUT all of those "empty" seats had coats, purses, or other items saving the seats so we sat in the gymn (now called Cultural Hall).
    .....We arrive at our Sacrament Meeting early each week and are always able to sit in our preferred seat and I do NOT feel it is appropriate to save a seat for more than one person.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    July 2, 2013 9:18 p.m.

    Once visiting in Alabama we sat down and then some folks standing behind us said "Oh, you're in our seats." I replied, "Sorry, we are visitors. We will gladly move for you." "No need" they said and sat on the row in front of us. They just weren't expecting someone to be sitting where they usually did.

    As a youth one family across the street would send 2 children to reserve the entire row prior to Stake Conference. When the Stake President saw it, he said "Let these people sit down who are here now." That family came earlier and as a group after that.

    I say if you want to save seats---FINE, but save them in the BACK!!! Then when you are all together, move up if there is room. A new mother should be given a little leeway with a newborn, however. But a whole row for late-comers-----sorry, shouldn't happen.

    ALSO, it isn't worth fighting about. And the fight was OUTSIDE, not in the Church. Even so, what an embarrassment for Mr. Dodge, who now will live with this for a while. Hopefully good can come of it, in some way.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 2, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    I have to say I really do not get why either side took this to the level of a fight. I have to say personally I do not like needless holding to the same seats in the chapel, and I do not like it when people over save, although I can understand the reasons. My main take on this is that if you are saving seats but someone wants to sit in one, let them, even if some of your family members have to sit elsewhere it is not the end of the world. On the other hand if some is saving the seat that you normally use, just go sit somewhere else. It is not the end of the world.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 2, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    At least historically there were churches that sold pews. I am not sure there are any that do it now though.

    On the comment of ushers, I was wondering if people had a sense of how large churches usually are before they have ushers. I some how do not think the very small Evangelical Church around the corner from my house has ushers. Many churches that do have regular attendances of 1000 or more at a service.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    July 2, 2013 8:35 p.m.

    I recall Elder Neal A. Maxwell in conference some years ago talking about how society has come to have too much "carnal, in-your-face confrontedness" as he put it. I thought that was quite a descriptive way to put it. In light of Elder Maxwell's description and this sad story I need to remember to be a little more kind, a little more understnading, a little more considerate, try not to give or take offense and be much more forgiving. If I will do that I can make a difference.

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    July 2, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    To those who are bashing Utah Mormons -- aren't you being as condescending and judgmental of others as you accuse Utah Mormons of being?

    Physician, heal thyself. And take that beam out of your eye; you'll see better.

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    July 2, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    Seating at church is first-come, first served. Excepting funerals and handicapped spots the rule is if you can't be bothered to be there on time there is no reason you should have a seat held for you. It's not fair to everyone else.

    In this situation, both persons were at fault. It's unreasonable for the family to hold seats for people who are not there, especially since they were visitors to the ward.

    At the same time, Mr. Dodge shouldn't have pushed the matter and and should have kept his temper under control. Now he has to deal with criminal charges, and I bet the family members are all out for blood right now.

    I can understand the frustration of both parties, but seriously -- THIS IS CHURCH, CAN'T YOU PEOPLE EVEN GET ALONG THERE?

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    July 2, 2013 8:02 p.m.

    @George of the Jungle: Actually, it was Mack and Tosh --- little gophers, but I know what you mean.

    Granted, people should get to church on time, but sometimes something happens and it can be equally as Christlike to save a few seats -- though I would question saving a few benches.

    We usually sit on the same row week after week - a location which works well for us - I'm the organist and need to move back and forth between the organ and the row where we sit. But sometimes someone else is sitting there and so we find another place to sit and so far have been able to do so without throwing punches.

    Give brother Dodge some leniency here. Its difficult for many to be good church members and still be able to smile and be happy around other church members.

  • Kelliebelle66 West Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2013 7:41 p.m.

    My husband and I were talking today coincidentally about how our society has lately degenerated into a bunch of people who have no skills in conflict resolution. In South Korea if two people get to a cab at the same time they have a set thing in their society where they actually rock, paper, scissors for it and the winner gets it without any conflict. There is no rolling on the ground duking it out or running over people. There were several examples in this article he read about South Korea and other cultures of ways that have become set in society that people just do to avoid violent situations. I think we should sit down with our kids and do more teaching on how to deal with others or maybe even read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. But you'd think that people in church who have been taught to "love one another" and have charity for their fellow men would know not to be selfish and save seats or to react with violence to a selfish person who saves seats.

  • Antes Provo, UT
    July 2, 2013 7:32 p.m.

    I was once asked by my brother to save several seats for his family. Because it was a missionary farewell, the chapel and overflow were very crowded. There I was, telling several people the seats are saved and feeling bad about denying them a place to sit. Five minutes into the meeting, my brother's family still hadn't shown up and I'm really feeling sorry. Finally, I relented and let someone sit down, but then I worried about how my brother was going to feel when they showed and I hadn't held there seats. In the end, my brother and family never showed up. I don't save seats anymore.

  • Gram Cracker Price, UT
    July 2, 2013 7:16 p.m.

    Some people must sit on the ends of the pews, close to a door, for health reasons. They should come early enough to choose their seat. If someone comes later and wants to sit on that row, near the center, the people on the end should stand up to let the others in. That isn't difficult to do.

    If you want a certain seat, or several, come early and bring the others with you. The family that enters the church all together, and early, can choose to sit where ever they choose.

    Saving seats is inconsiderate.

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    Wildcat - you're right. Jazzledazzle - wrong. When I was younger and lived other places than Utah, I noticed a difference in the members and their attitude/fellowship. I agree Mormons aren't the majority, and I think that does make a difference. Example - while on a flight to California a gentleman asked if I was Mormon. I told him I had just moved there, and he invited me to attend meetings because he knew I didn't know anyone. Here, my grandchildren were just starting to go to church. YM and YW had activities, and when we would take them over would find out they were gone, had left an hour before regular time. No one contacted them. My daughter talked to a member of the bishopric about it and was told maybe they needed to come to church more and they'd know what was going on. True, she said, but isn't the church all about making those who don't go regularly and trying to become active, feel wanted? Because I'm not totally active, my active husband feels I don't know anyone involved with church. Maybe YOU should experience life outside of Utah.

  • catcrazed Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 2, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    I would have no way of knowing where people sat if I was visiting a ward. I would hope that people would be more considerate than to throw punches. As for saving seats, I also hate that practice. If people want to sit together, be sure to arrive early enough to do so. In my case, part of our family was a lot later than the rest of us, and they simply sat somewhere else. I am mortified at the behaviors exhibited by both parties.

  • Wildcat O-town, UT
    July 2, 2013 6:28 p.m.


    You are entitled to your opinion, but let me assure you that the Utah Mormon Culture is VERY different from the outside Utah Mormon Culture. Many Utah Mormons don't know what to do when something or somebody falls outside the usual circumstances. Because outside Utah Mormons are generally in the minority in their cities, they are used to different circumstances and are generally more respectful and tolerable of difference. I am sure every denomination has had a dust-up in the parking lot--nothing to get upset about.

    Your last comment of "Why are you here?", is disheartening and reinforces that a good deal of Utah Mormons are less tolerant than outside Mormons. It is disheartening especially from a church that was chased out of Missouri by a mob, you'd think we wouldn't return to mob mentality just because LDS are in the majority. I still remember Gordon B. Hinckley saying in a conference talk, "I hope no one ever says, if you don't like it here, move." Guess that one didn't sink in.

    Ironmomo--Great Comment! Gave me a big laugh. Seats at the Sermon on the Mount were at a premium!

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 2, 2013 6:23 p.m.

    Reader posted: "It does not say several rows of pews were being saved - it says A pew."

    No, the article says they sat in "a pew" and were saving "seats." The Deseret News does not tell us how many seats or rows were being saved.

    The Tribune specifically quotes Sheriff's Lt. Lowther as saying "three rows of seats" were being saved.

  • UteMiguel Go Utes, CA
    July 2, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    Jazzle, it doesn't say anything about anybody being less active.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    July 2, 2013 6:12 p.m.

    Thank goodness guns are not allowed at church.

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 6:06 p.m.

    I don't care if it's church or what it is, some people just feel they are privileged. I'm sure Brother Dodge is such a person, whether it's church, traffic, the drinking fountain or whatever. I remember being at church and a new ward member giving a talk and saying their first day in the ward he was approached after sacrament meeting and told where he had sat with his family was where Brother ***** sits. Had I been that brother that day, I would have been totally embarrassed, but whenever I go to church, there he is in his spot -- side pew which sits 4-5, just him and his wife. My grandson passes the sacrament and we save a seat for him so he can sit with us during the services, rather than play with his friends. Other families do the same, and some have 2 or 3 kids in that situation. Sometimes, there's a reason a seat is saved. I was at a funeral once, was the custodian and called out to attend to something. When I returned some woman was sitting ON my purse I had left. Wasn't even embarrassed when I asked her for it.

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 2, 2013 5:58 p.m.

    Reading all these comments I've come to understand that my ward isn't much different than most others.

    Seats obviously aren't worth fighting over. But rudeness is.....well....unChristlike.

    The issue that I have to kind of laugh at is all those who arrive AFTER the Sacrament.

    Don't they understand why they're there in the first place? Its like they think they may get SOME credit for showing up at all.

    You don't get "graded" just for being present.

    Someone else does that in the next life.

  • manaen Buena Park, CA
    July 2, 2013 5:49 p.m.

    Seats saved.
    Members? Not yet.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    July 2, 2013 5:46 p.m.

    There are people in my ward that sit in the same seats every Sunday. I am one of those. I don't consider it my seat but to sit there I get there early. There is an eldery lady who always sits by the door. It's common knowledge that she sits there for a reason and visitors are often asked to move. There are never any fights

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    July 2, 2013 5:45 p.m.

    This story is no longer a Utah story. I e-mailed the link to my son in Afghanistan. I wonder if CNN has picked it up yet?

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    July 2, 2013 5:08 p.m.


    You are so very right. I have lived out of Utah since 1972 and just moved back. I got so sick and tired of hearing all these "Utah" Mormon things I just about let some people have a tongue lashing.

    One time while serving on a High Council, my wife and I arrived early since we had not been there before and we were the first ones in the chapel. I took my place on the stand and my wife sat in a seat.....all alone in a empty Chapel. In a couple of minutes, a woman walked in and said to my wife, "Excuse me, but you are in my seat". My wife turned around and looked out over the near empty Chapel and excused herself and moved to another seat. By the way, this was not only NOT in Utah, but in a different country!

  • Tanner Manor DE BEQUE, CO
    July 2, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    I have seen people at church demand that someone move out of "their" seat. I have been asked to move from a seat before at a visiting ward. Last time I checked there is no assigned seating at Sacrament Meeting. I often say that it would be really funny if the Bishop or Branch President would play a little game of Fruit Basket before church begins, where everyone has to get up and move to another seat. We are supposed to be good examples to ALL those around us. Let's be good examples at all times, in all things, and in all places. I wonder what our Heavenly Father thought about this behavior! (Very disappointed, I'm sure).

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    OnlyinUtah - I disagree that it's OK to save seats for families who want to sit together. It's not right to limit seating for those who arrive on time...just to accommodate those who don't. I repeat -- saving seats is OK, as long as seat savers save the seats with their own "seater."

  • Bomar Roberts, ID
    July 2, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    I knew it was only a matter of time before the fights spilled out of the "wreck hall" and into the chapel. This is enough to send some looking for a new ward.

  • Gram Cracker Price, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:42 p.m.

    Saving seats for family members who will get to church a little later is very discourteous. People who lay out coats, scriptures, CHILDREN, diaper bags, etc., are thoughtless. If you expect to sit with someone, get there together. I go early to sit where I want, not to look around and see "saved" pews left and right. I have felt a bit hot myself at some people's disrespectful attitudes. It should not be allowed.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    Nothing wrong with families wanting to sit together and saving space for them. The problem is when someone decides they can sit anywhere... and refuse to move to an unoccupied pew.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 2, 2013 4:29 p.m.

    There are some who have assumed that this family was less active which by most indications is not the case. The article states that the family that saved the seats, "Normally doesn't attend this ward but was their for the blessing of the child". Hardly less active. Bro. Dodge comes in and sits down in an area that has been saved supposedly for other family members. It is quite possible that the area saved is an area Bro. Dodge sits in every single Sunday. It is HIS seat, wrongfully I must add. The other family basically tells him to move because they have saved it, he responds in kind. A sacrament meeting that should have been quite spiritual for the blessing of a child and the farewell of a missionary turns into a very contentous event.

    What should have been done? Basically Bro. Dodge should have just turned the other cheek and moved, ignoring the attitude completely of the other family. In the end both would have been better off. However, we are also looking at it in hindsite which is 20/20.

  • Dadof8 Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    Apparently reading comprehension for some is a struggle. The article said nothing about the family being less active. I think the writer was careful to say that the family "normally does not attend that ward". Interesting how people came to the conclusion the family was inactive rather than visiting.

  • Frizz Castle Dale, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 64:10)

    10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    July 2, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    Human nature has not changed
    Even Christ said something about it
    “ And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, “
    (Matt 23:6)

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    I already commented once, got a notice the comment was accepted, now I can't find it. So here it is again: Saving seats is fine -- as long as you save them with your "behind."

    And Duckhunter, no one "owns" a bench just because they often sit there. If you and your family want to sit on a certain bench, get your "behinds" there first and sit there.

    And to you who don't speak "facetious," no one seriously meant, as a rational argument, that the church must be true or the members would have ruined it by now. That comment is meant to be humorous and ironic. If you took that comment literally, you need to read more or get out more.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    Sit on the stand. The seats are far more comfy, and the view of the congregation is more entertaining.

  • Reader Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2013 4:01 p.m.

    It does not say several rows of pews were being saved - it says A pew. Sounds like immature behaviour all the way around, butnmore so in the case of Brother Dodge.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    July 2, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    To all those giving us "Utah Mormons" advice.

    Lay off already. We are all part of the gospel. You coming in and passing judgement, what does that say about you? I have lived in Utah my whole life except on my mission. I have done plenty of service projects, home teaching, and have never punched someone for taking my seat. I have made my fair share of mistakes in life too, just like any member from any other state. All this garbage of members coming outside of Utah and saying Utah Mormons are a different breed has no credibility. There are members of all types no matter where they come from. And if you don't like Utah, then why are you here?

  • BH Tremonton, UT
    July 2, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    Truthseeker asks; "I wonder if other denominations have this issue?"

    Many other denominations I have attended, make regular use of ushers. Those ushers assure there is no saving seats. No sitting on the end of an aisle. Rows fill up front to back.

    Those who have attended General Conference in the SLC Tabernacle will recall similar practices. In order to fill the building to capacity, ushers are used. Not only was every bench filled, from one end to the other, but the usher would tell you to move in closer . . . repeatedly. If you wanted to sit with your family, you better have been together as a group when you got in line. And you better be on time.

    No saving seats for the tardy in these circumstances.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    New church callings:



  • EJM Herriman, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    I gotta laugh.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    You know the old saying "I went to a fight and Church broke out!". Or is that Ward Basketball? Either way I so wish I was there to see it.

    Please tell me that while the fight was going on in the Chapel the Organist broke out Tia Carrere's version of Ball Room Blitz!

    Best D-News story EVER!

  • Sego Lilly Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    @Truthseeker While we're on the subject of seating in church, how about people moving toward the center instead of just stopping at the end?

    Can't agree with you more. I also see this happen at the temples way too much. If you need an end (aisle) seat wait for everyone else who will be in that row before sitting down. I personally hate to have strangers crawl over me to get to a seat and tell them to wait while I stand up to let them sit down.

  • annewandering oakley, idaho
    July 2, 2013 2:46 p.m.

    There is no outer darkness in the back of the chapel. Not even in the overflow section. Funny thing I have noticed is the very nicest ward members sit back there. Wonder why that is? I am going to start calling it the 'Saints' section.

  • Grandma 20 Allen, TX
    July 2, 2013 2:46 p.m.

    It all boils down to one word: PRIDE!!!

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 2, 2013 2:46 p.m.


    How does a church surviving the bad actions of a few members mean that it is true? Every church survives despite the bad actions of its members. Did you ever hear of the sexual scandal in the catholic church? They survived, so does that mean that they are true? And that involved things much worse than a couple of guys fighting.... It doesn't make it true.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:45 p.m.

    Perhaps this could be a new policy going forward - wait until after sacrament meeting and take care of business with your fists out in the parking lot!! Always nice to follow up a nice spiritual testimony meeting with a fist fight!!! I honestly know of people who seem to think they bought their row in the chapel for their family and anyone who dares take their seats is breaking some un-written rule. Crazy how some people think. Perhaps we could start selling season tickets for chapel seating going forward!!

  • Duh west jordan, ut
    July 2, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    Hey, a little MMA is just what we need, isn't it?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 2, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    BYU Track Star

    Haha. At least you have a good sense of humor! I like that comment, well said. I'm not mormon anymore though. Enjoy!

  • maam2mykids kansas city, MO
    July 2, 2013 2:33 p.m.

    There are lots of reasons you might save a seat for a person. They very well might have been in the building. Restroom stop, walking with children or someone older, meeting with a leader so they can be in the circle (if not from that area), or even on their way but got lost. Even if they were late, their baby being was being blessed, wouldn't it be polite to let the family all sit together? Especially if after the blessing everyone will be passing the baby around to get a chance to hold he/she. I usually give the benefit of the doubt. No need for violence. It is sad that it came to this, but maybe the individuals involved have other things going on in their life and they need a little understanding & love. I am sure there is more to this story.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Church finally got interesting.

  • FanofTHEgame Mapleton, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    You know I have an "area" of the chapel that I usually sit with my family. One day, we decided to sit on "the other side." You would have thought we had become Democrat or something (that was partially a joke). People were like "what are you doing over here." I've even had people who sit in "our pews" (we have a good size family) later apologize for sitting in our area. Frankly, I could care less where I sit in church as long as I'm sitting in church. I've seen the consequences (it sometimes takes time) when I'm not sitting in church. I mean miss a few weeks and I might be brawling as well. Can't we all just get along?

  • mountain man Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    Two wrongs don't make a right. Both parties were wrong for trying to enforce their position. Both parties had the responsibility to back down and take a chill pill. Obviously, in this case, neither party did.
    And of course, it makes the Utah ...likely the front page.
    in the future, if you find yourself really agitated about someone..please just remove yourself from the situation. that is the best solution. Walk out the door and go home. And stop by 7-11 on your way and get a big gulp. and a chocolate donut. Believe me, you'll be glad you did and you might even go back for a second donut! But don't. they are not good for you.
    Man cannot live by donuts alone..but by the word of God he can have eternal life. (there will be no dunford donuts in heaven)

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2013 2:09 p.m.

    When people are sitting at the end of an aisle and the center is vacant--it isn't clear whether they are saving the center seats for others or not. So, not only do people have to climb over others, they also have to ask the aisle occupiers if the center seats are being saved. Sometimes people are reluctant to do that, so they end up not coming into the chapel at all.

    Whether early or late--in church or a movie--I slide to the center (or towards the wall if sitting on the side) so that people can find seats without climbing over me.

    Now, I don't know Bro. Dodge but sometimes as we age we lose restraints on standards of courtesy and self-control.

    I would like to point out that at some events--such as funerals--seats are set aside for family members. I wonder if other denominations have this issue?

  • Jack Mo A go-go TACOMA, WA
    July 2, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    Whatever happened to "Love is Spoken Here"? (teardrop, teardrop). Here's the prescription: More Church, Less fistfights.

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2013 2:00 p.m.


    so if guests get lost and show up late to a chapel they had previously never been in before, let's make em sit in the back for what clearly is a once in a lifetime event?

    Good gravy, even the saints are confused about compassion and levity.

  • Xbalanque DC, VA
    July 2, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    Ha haha haha, ha haha hah. Man that is CRAZY! Definitely not funny or cool that the gentleman was hurt, and I hope he is okay. But wow, that's the biggest mountain out of a mole hill that I've seen in a while. It's so ironic I just can't believe it...

  • Russ Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    I have no problem with saving a seat, but if the meeting is starting let others sit down. There is usually plenty of space. But also remember that it takes two to tango and this was probably not just a one sided fight.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 2, 2013 1:31 p.m.

    I doubt they're going to see THAT inactive family at church again any time soon...

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    July 2, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    I always arrive early and I always sit in the Bishop's blind spot.
    We have about 150 attendance at church and there's room.
    People do get a little territorial about their normal row, but no one is that married to the pew to make an issue of it.
    Stake Conference is another matter. Choir families arrive early for practice and stake their claims in the soft seats. Then they stand around and make hand signals to the rest of the family as they arrive.
    A few times the leaders have announced around the 5 minute mark that people should give up their empty reserved seats and move to the middle. Most people comply to such a request.
    But some stake leaders either don't care or don't notice. Maybe that's why stake conference isn't as well-attended as it should be.

  • CodyCougar Madison, SD
    July 2, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    Utah Mormons, it's a good thing the church is true, or else the church would not survive them.

  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    July 2, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    Is this for real? I read this and for a moment was sure I had clicked into The Onion's website.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    July 2, 2013 1:15 p.m.


    Love your handle. Hopefully the next time when I'm attending block meetings in Sandy, I'll give you a wide berth seat wise if the need arises. In my own experience in SoCali, I graciously let Stormin Norman reclaim his abandoned seat. All was done in a Church voice. Thats where California Mormons differ from Utah Mormons.

  • UtahVET1 Sandy, Utah
    July 2, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    This story makes me sick, what were these people thinking?

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    unless your car is not big enough to hold your whole family at once and you have to make 2 trips, you arrive all together. You don't send a group to save seats. Saving seats is rude and disrespectful. If you want "good" seats, you arrive early. If you want your family to seat together, you arrive together and early.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    July 2, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    This isn't quite pertinent, but suggests that having seats is a fairly big issue. In our ward this past Sunday, there were many empty seats, but not to accommodate several people together because attendees were scattered throughout the rows. I saw people I didn't recognize, and it appeared to be five or more coming of them entering the chapel door. They saw the scarcity of seating for their group and exited. I thought they would come in another door, but they vanished. We all need to try to be considerate in how we take up seats so that there is an empty row or two for visitors or newcomers. I am sad that the people left, and perhaps didn't see the chapel as a welcoming place.

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    Admit it. Most of us are saying I wish my ward had been that exciting last week. Imagine how this story will be retold as the years pass on

  • DougP9 Orem, Utah
    July 2, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    In preparation for our move to Utah I was in Orem looking at homes and attending various Sacrament meetings to get a feel for the area. One Sunday I came early, sat down in a nearly empty chapel and soon sensed someone standing behind me. I turned and an older woman said rather tersely, "Your in my seat." I apologized and moved a few rows behind her. I laugh about it now. The place was nearly empty and she could have sat anywhere. I'm not judging her as I suppose we're all creatures of habit. I was, however, very grateful I wasn't a non member attending for the first time or a less active member returning to activity.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    July 2, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    Having read the article, it is not entirely clear if the people who were saving seats are people who live in the ward and only showed up for this event, or if they live in another ward. It really does not matter. My take is both sides are overreacting. I can see why someone would want to save a bunch of seats for family, but it clear is not important enough to make an issue of it.

    I do have to wonder if there might have been other reasons these people dislike each other.

  • Poqui Murray, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:37 p.m.

    Saving seats is rude. If you want to sit together, arrive together. I don't like it when I arrive at church 10 minutes early only to find all the "empty" benches saved. I arrive early to get a good seat, not to be pushed out into the overflow so that some family can stroll in late and all sit together.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 2, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    BYU Track Star
    the church's existance despite bad behavior of members does nothing to prove its truthfulness. You could say the same about any church. The catholics with the bishop scandals, ect. They are still a very large church, but it doesn't prove it is true.

    What a sad display of 2 supposed adults. How is it that some seats at church are this important? What a foolish and childish display. What a poor example to all of those who had to see it. Wow.

  • Just an Observer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    I really think more can be done in the Church to stress that the two Great Commandments are to love the Lord with all your heart/mind/might/strength/soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. BOTH sides needed to remember these things. It is indeed quite ridiculous for someone to come into someone else's chapel and think it's OK to displace quite a few others. At the same time, Bro. Dodge needed to turn the other cheek and pray later that the person saving seats would learn what living the Gospel is really about.

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    This almost happens in our Sacrament mtg. all the time. I've wondered if sometime, maybe the stake pres. or the Bishop could maybe give a kindly talk on manners.

    If you don't arrive on time to our mtg., you aren't likely to get a seat. Although there are plenty being "saved" for family members who walk in late.

    A couple of times I've walked in late, tried 2 or 3 different rows, no luck. I always just go up and sit behind the bishop. We share a grin.

  • Don't Feed the Trolls Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    How many of us are thinking of who the "Brother Dodge" would be in our ward...

  • sky2k1 Provo, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:15 p.m.

    I find it funny how many opinions are on here. On one hand you get people saying it's rude for people that show up on time can't get the seat they want, and then others say those who show up early and get their seats should sit in the middle instead of the seats they want on the isle.

    I can understand it's frustrating to not get a good seat, but sacrament meeting is also about worshiping as a family, so why do you get mad when people save seats for their family. You can argue people going to a farewell aren't exactly worshiping they way they should, but that's another argument of opinions for another time.

  • Ironmomo Ogden, Utah
    July 2, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    This kind of behavior has been going on ever since Christ walked the earth; when Demetrius got into it with Simon of Capernaum over saving seats at the Sermon on the Mount.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    While we're on the subject of seating in church, how about people moving toward the center instead of just stopping at the end?

    It is rude and inconsiderate to require people to step over those hugging the ends of the pews. However, i do think families with young children (who might need to leave during the meeting) have a legitimate reason to the aisle seats, as might disabled or elderly with mobility issues.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    July 2, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    I nearly had a similiar run in with another Stormin Norman type. I was running late to a Stake Conference general session. In the back of the overflow in the cultural hall, there were three seats by the aisle vacant. The woman further in didn't mention those seats were already taken. She was busy with her two young kids. About 10 minutes later the putative Husband comes back with two other kids demanding his seat back. I knew his type. There was no negoitiating with this guy. He was probably put out because he had to change his young son's diaper. I knew that look. I could say the speaker on the stand was talking about Loving one another, but that would be too ironic. I didn't feel it was worth getting into a fist fight over an uncomfortable metal chair. I'm sure he would have just on principle. I pity now his wife and his four kids and the one on the way. The gospel is true otherwise the members would have ruined it generations ago.

  • BH Tremonton, UT
    July 2, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    From personal experience, I know how frustrating it can be, when I show up for church on time, and cannot sit in the chapel, because families are saving seats for others who don't show up until some time later, often after the meeting has started. It seems so unfair. I can understand what may have motivated Bro. Dodge to sit in the open seats.

    That said, it is very unfortunate that the feelings in the parking lot, escalated to anger and violence. Too bad someone did not turn the other cheek, and walk away. This will not only have an effect on the two families involved, but on many in the ward. Hopefully apologies will be made, feelings will be mended, and all can grow.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    Blessed are the peace makers....

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    @ Moniker Lewinsky

    The article says that the member that sat in the seat was less active. So that is why I said "welcome back to the fold."

    Point being, it is not a good impression to fight with anyone over a seat, and if a less active member comes to church and has that experience, they are likely not coming back...

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    Looks like "church ball" spilled over into the chapel.

  • born in37 ST GEORGE, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    How sad. Why does this incident not surprise us? Because we are becoming a society of hot-heads who are void of maturity and character. Road Rage is another indication of how short the fuse really is on some folks. Quite often these are the school bullies who never grew up. It won't be long until we will not be able to make eye contact with anybody we don't know. Shame on them.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:44 a.m.


    If such a letter is sent from the 1st presidency let's hope it also tells people that going in the chapel and throwing your diaper bag in a pew when you arrive for your relief society presidency meeting, then having your family all stroll in 3 minutes before, or in many case 3 minute after, the meeting starts to take the bench is out of order as well. If you are going to come and sit in a pew then that is your pew. If you are just throwing your stuff in it to keep the people that actually show up on time out of it so your family can get it even if they are late is far more rude imo.

    I see it every single week.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    Ridiculous that this escalated to this degree but the truth is the rude bahvior bagan with the people trying to save all the pews.

    I go early to church every week and while I don't sit in the exact same pew every time I sit in more or less the same section of seats. My family usually comes later than I do and then sits with me. But I never try to take up multiple rows of seats for people that are not there yet. My take on it is that if people want a certain block of seats then they need to get there early and actually sit in them. Having one family memeber show up and sit in one row while throwing his sciptures down in another row, his suit coat in another row, a diaper bag in another and then heading out to talk in the hall is incredibly rude.

    My guess is this family had one guy trying to save a bunch of rows while the rest of the familt leisurely strolled in 1 minute before the meeting began. Meanwhile others that came early were denied seats.

    There's plenty of blame all around this situation.

  • Phillip M Hotchkiss Malta, Mt
    July 2, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    I thought fights were limited to the stake basketball game's.

  • joy Logan, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    Wrong "antodav". I raised my family in So. Calif. and it was common place to not be able to
    find a place to sit. In our area though saving seats were a NO NO and should be here as well.
    If the rest of the gang can't get there in time, oh well. Empty seat means it's available.
    There seems to be some Christ like attitude adjustments needed.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Well, you see, it's the "principle" of saving seats.... Funny if it weren't so sad. Need to hum a little of "School thy Feelings"... do we?

    I feel compassion and sadness for the bishop and other members who have to live with this event and find a way to deal with not only the event but the notoriety.

    I thought fights were saved for basketball games.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    July 2, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    I remember a short fist fight that broke out between two elderly ordinance workers, in front of the veil, after a session was over. This occurred approximately 35 years ago. We never figured-out what the issue was about. The two men were immediately released from their callings, by the temple president, naturally.
    It can get ugly, even in the house of The Lord.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    July 2, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    A fight in a Mormon chapel because there aren't enough seats to accommodate everyone…this could only happen in Utah. -___-

  • Ironmomo Ogden, Utah
    July 2, 2013 11:17 a.m.

    Let us oft speak kind words to each other
    At home or where’er we may be; get the heck off my bench.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    Imagination, attitude and perseverance. I can only what life would be like living around people like that. Which attitude needed to be adjusted? both, probably. I always Loved that car-tune, Chip and Dale. After you, no after you no I insist you first ect. Caricatures like these guys keeps life interesting.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    July 2, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    Someone wasn't paying attention at church. ;)

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    Of course if it were me, I would have used it as a good excuse to sit in the foyer and slip out early. Like.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    Jazzledazzle, they were there for a baby blessing; not to return "to the fold". Would that have made a difference?
    As far as seat saving goes, there's a fine line between doing somebody a solid and being a real jerk. People who arrive on time, whether it's to church or a movie, shouldn't be told repeatedly "taken" "taken" "taken" like some bad scene from Forrest Gump.
    Of course if it were me, I would have used it as a good excuse to sit in the foyer and slip out early.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    All this over a seat. Sadly I have heard of cases where people act like that is their bench, although I have never seen a fight result from it. Watch now we will have a letter from the First Presidency reminding members they do not own a seat at church and to be Christ like and let people sit where they want too. Good grief they people were visiting would it have hurt you to sit somewhere else for one Sunday Mr. Dodge?

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    What can you say but WOW. I thought I had heard and seen it all, but this takes the cake. Way to be an example of the Lord Mr. Dodge and welcoming a guest into your Sacrament meeting. Not sure the guest acted any better.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    July 2, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    Need a chorus of Love at Home.

    Really sad as it was over a seat on a bench? I know I get worked up for dumb things sometimes that when I look back think that was really stupid. Why did I do or feel that way. But would not go to this extreme. And it does take 2. The victim could have walked away the first time. Or called the police when confronted again. Sounds like other options could have been taken.

    Dodge may get some time in jail but worse is he has to go back and confront all in the members at Church. Would be interesting to hear the rest of the story in a few weeks. But guessing we will not and probably not any of our business but I would be curious.

    So will Dodge sit in his regular seat next week? Hummmmmm. Guessing no one else will even try.

  • Jazzledazzle Provo, UT
    July 2, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    Just when I thought I had seen/heard everything. Way to welcome the member back to the fold Mr. Dodge.

  • Richard Larson Galt, CA
    July 2, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    Fighting for the lord......