Pew dispute leads to words, blows at Utah Mormon chapel
Plain City • For churchgoers, a baby blessing and missionary farewell they will never forget.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A dispute over saved pews at a Mormon baby blessing and missionary "farewell" service ended with one churchgoer offering the right, and perhaps the left fist of fellowship to another.

Weber County sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther said deputies were called to the Meadows Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Plain City about 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning. They found one man with a bloody face and the other in the bishop's office, waiting to be arrested.

"There was a pretty big congregation there that day and apparently a family member of someone being blessed felt he had reserved three rows of seats," Lowther said.

However, a 51-year-old man — described by deputies as a 6-foot-2, 250-pound regular at the ward — sat down where he usually did, which happened to be within the reserved area.

Confronted by the first man, whose family reportedly did not regularly attend at Meadows Ward, the second man refused to move. Words were exchanged and then the sacrament meeting — Mormons' weekly worship service — began and things quieted down, for a while.

"After the sacrament meeting, more words were exchanged, and there was a confrontation between the individuals out in the parking lot and the 51-year-old man ended up punching the victim," Lowther said on Tuesday.

But the story didn't end there.

Lowther said the victim went back inside to clean off the blood on his face then he went back outside.

"That's where the stories kind of differ, but the suspect apparently was driving away and [allegedly] swerved toward the victim, who jumped up onto the hood, he said, to lessen the impact with the car," Lowther said. "The suspect exited his vehicle and again confronted the victim, but other churchgoers restrained him."

The suspect, who was being held in the bishop's office when deputies arrived, was booked into Weber County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims