In the wake of the recent physical altercation over seating at a worship service in a Plain City LDS ward, Mormons everywhere have now been put on notice: Those days of showing up late to church are long gone, bub.
Apparently, at a recent crowded church service involving both a baby blessing and a missionary farewell, an incident of seat-saving escalated to the point where someone was quite literally washed in the blood. And the rest of us are left wondering, "So whatever happened to 'Turn the other cheek'?"
Now, before all you defenders of the faith start accusing me of some sort of anti-Mormonry here, let me head that one off at the pass. I've willingly -- happily -- partaken of the Latter-day Kool-Aid. Heaven help me, but I am a believing, active member of the predominant local religion. I've held numerous church positions, dedicated two years of my life to full-time missionary service, and currently attend ALL of my meetings -- even the questionable ones like "teacher in-service" and "stake priesthood leadership." I assure you, I find great and abiding spiritual strength in my religion of choice.
However, I also find great and abiding humor therein.
Look, a fight breaks out at a hockey game, no big deal. A fight breaks out in a bar, you half expect it. But a fight breaks out at a religious service honoring a deity whose nickname is "The Prince of Peace"? Please. I don't care who you are, trading punches over seating at a religious service is funny, funny stuff.
Sadly, this new reality is really going to hit me where I live. Mostly because I'm one of those perennial latecomers -- you know, the ones who sit on the hard chairs in the overflow seating of the "cultural hall." (Indeed, I can't even have a spiritual experience these days without a basketball standard and unlit scoreboard nearby.)
Oh, sure. I'd love to sit on one of the nice, padded benches up front, but frankly I'm unwilling to invest the additional time in such a quest. I already spend three stinkin' hours at church each Sunday -- the last thing I want to do is make it three hours and 10 minutes by showing up early enough to get one of the good seats.
In fact, I regularly try to shave a little time off that three-hour block by intentionally showing up fashionably late to sacrament meeting -- well after the opening prayer, but just before the administering of the communal bread and water.
And that's the key: Getting there just before they shut up the chapel for the administering of the bread and water. Why? Because if you get there after that, you've got to wait out in the foyer until after they finish that portion of the meeting. And then, when you're finally admitted into the chapel THAT late in the game, it just looks like you're not even trying.
Seat-saving? At church? I suspect that whole Judeo-Christian/Muslim conflict probably goes back to long before the jihads, long before the Crusades, to an incident where someone was saving a seat for someone -- possibly Elijah.
Bottom line? I'm putting all the members of the Farmington 21st Ward on notice: I don't know if any baby blessings are scheduled for mid-August, but my youngest daughter comes home from her LDS mission then, and when she offers her homecoming report I expect you all to be on your best behavior.
Or, at the very least, take it on over to the Burger King parking lot.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @Saalman.