From: Bishop Paul Zimmerman
Subject: No more bloody Sundays
As many of you know, a man was arrested outside an LDS Church in Plain City, UT last Sunday after an argument over "seat saving" in the pews escalated to a fistfight in the parking lot and ended with another man being hit by a car.
While it was a familiar scenario to us--the meeting featured a missionary farewell AND a baby blessing--it drew the attention of the media as well as the curiosity of the non-Mormon community. In an email to all bishops in the Abbottsville Stake, President Knightly wrote:
"Because nonmembers lack our spiritual maturity, they cannot understand the fiery zeal we have for worshiping the Gospel. Consequently, when a common gentile sees us brawling in our church parking lot, he comes away with the wrong impression."This month's Sacrament Meeting lineup features some popular speakers, notably T. Ralph Sneed, renown expert on vacuum-packed cracked wheat, and also Wilbur Fielding, famous for his folksy pioneer stories and humorous vignettes about Family Home Evening.
In order to prevent an occurrence similar to the one in Plain City, I have employed the firm "Big Beefy Tongans" to secure the parking lot, and I've arranged for overflow parking at the Abbottsville Fairgrounds. The Aaronic Priesthood will run a shuttle service to and from the church. In addition, I ask all ward members to abide by the following new rules:
- No "seat saving." All pew space is first come, first serve.
- No concealed weaponry. This includes knives, brass knuckles, water balloons, rolling pins, paintball artillery, detached Spam lids, #2 cans of peaches, and super-soaker water pistols. While a ban on handguns would be in opposition to Gospel principles, the gun's safety MUST be engaged at all times.
- Ward members will remain in their seats with arms folded until the featured speaker has left the building.
Even with the above safeguards in place, the combination of a rock star speaker and a crowded roomful of his fans can create mass hysteria at any moment. It is important to be prepared. Sister Penelope Barton has attended multiple large-scale events featuring President Dieter Uchtdorf. She offers the following advice:
"Beforehand, obtain a map of the venue and familiarize yourself with the exits. Also, look for high places where you might climb in the event of a frenzy--the podium, a stack of folding chairs, the Cultural Hall stage curtains. If you're swept up in a stampede, move in the direction of the crowd. Latch onto those beside you and let them 'carry' you from the building. If you drop something, let it go, as bending down could result in your falling and being trampled. It you do fall, immediately roll into the fetal position."The bottom line is we have to come back to church next Sunday. Let's pray it's not our last.
If you would like to stop receiving these emails the situation might escalate into a fistfight.