PLEASANT GROVE -- City leaders seeking to reschedule Monday baseball and other activities that conflict with Mormon family night sound a lot like Chicago Cubs fans.

"We will have to wait until next year," Mayor Jim Danklef said. "In the future we will try not to schedule city activities on Monday nights."

Danklef says Pleasant Grove is too far into this year's recreational game plan to accommodate the request of eight LDS stake presidents, who asked the city to reschedule Monday events in this predominantly Mormon community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints has no meetings or activities on Monday so its members can spend that night with their families.

Pleasant Grove just spent $7,000 printing a brochure for its summer's recreation programs -- money the mayor says the city would be throwing away if it scrapped Monday gymnastics, softball, coach-pitch baseball and other city-sponsored activities.

Danklef and city rec officials heeded the request of regional LDS leaders and asked the Little League to reschedule its Monday baseball games. But the league balked at the suggestion, saying there are too many games and too few fields to scrap Monday play this year. But the mayor says league director Kyle Clement is amenable to adjusting next season's schedule.

Monday night football -- Little League, not the NFL -- is the next family night conflict the city will tackle, although Danklef acknowledges the city cannot legally enforce Monday night inactivity.

"We can't stop everything," he said. "That's where free agency comes in."

Even so, the mayor and council have plenty of backers in their attempts to end Monday play.

Brett Twiggs, for example, is not waiting until next year to pull his son from Pleasant Grove's Little League. "It's tough to pull kids out of a sport," he said. "But, as a parent, I want to be home on Monday night with my children doing something spiritual as a family."

Karen Evans of American Fork says religion should be a factor in elected officials' scheduling decisions. "If 90 percent of [residents] are LDS, city officials should respect their wishes."

But Dan Olsen, a former Pleasant Grove resident now living in Provo, cringes at efforts to foist LDS religious rules on everyone. "I have many good Mormon friends," he said. "But even some of them are tired of their leaders treating them like children and making all their decisions for them."

Donald Herrick, a former Pentecostal minister living in Pleasant Grove, says the LDS Church makes sure most things are closed Sundays. "Now they want everything shut down on Mondays. Where does it stop?" he asked.

Critics wonder how the mayor and council would respond if Seventh-day Adventists or Jewish adherents tried to scuttle Saturday play or Muslims sought to halt all city activities during the holy month of Ramadan.

Greg Enderson, pastor of the Timpanogos Christian Fellowship in Pleasant Grove, says that is unlikely.

"To use Ramadan or Yom Kippur in the context of Pleasant Grove is really a specious argument," said Enderson, who sees no problem with LDS leaders asking the city to curtail Monday events.

LDS leaders have not talked with Enderson or leaders of other faiths about their requests, although LDS Grove Creek Stake President Duane Atkinson says that door remains open.

Roughly 200 Little Leaguers play Monday games on two city diamonds at Pleasant Grove's Discovery Park. If the boys do not play Monday, city officials have asked LDS leaders to let them play at church ballparks to get more games in on other days of the week.

That is a possibility, Atkinson says, although that request would have to be approved by higher-ups in Salt Lake City. If the LDS hierarchy lets boys play Little League ball on church property, Atkinson concedes fans probably would have to mind their p's and q's -- including no smoking in the stands.

In exchange for the city's cooperation in avoiding conflicts with Monday's family night, LDS leaders are pledging more help with community events Tuesdays through Saturdays.

"If they can help us keep that one night free for the family, then we will try harder to support the city in their programs," said Atkinson, who presented the church leaders' request to Pleasant Grove officials two weeks ago.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus