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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 16Mar02
By Rosemary Pollock
Download to My Handheld!

Olympics Make LDS Church Members Confront Sports on Sunday

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Edward Sommers, is one of thousands who have joined together with other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in volunteering his time to the Salt Lake Winter Olympic games. Balancing a desire to give service with a commitment to keep the Sabbath day holy is a dilemma that is not new to Latter-day Saints. Strict Sabbath observance, especially when it comes to sports, has always been a concern.

"All of us are balancing our responsibilities to serve and work," said Church spokesman, Dale Bills, who spent the first Sunday of the winter Olympics working from home. "We've worked it out for one another so everyone gets a Sunday break." The Salt Lake Olympic committee, with nearly 20,000 volunteers committed to working all 17 days of the games, said it had no problem with no-shows on its first Sunday.

It wasn't an issue for Mormon Olympian bobsledder, Gea Johnson, who has never had a problem competing on the Sunday. "I've always looked at it that this was something I was blessed to do," Johnson said. "And I feel the Lord would want me to do it."

Utah Jazz owner and Church member, Larry H. Miller, refuses to attend NBA games on Sundays. Instead, he chooses to watch them on TV at home. Many youth athletes and their families have been faced with this same question, to play or not to play?

Sunday playoff games and league schedules found Riverside, Calif. Nathan Matson, an eight-year-old soccer player, facing a big out-of-town tournament on Sunday. "I was so mad," Nathan said. "I really wanted to be there." The good news is that the league juggled its schedule and for the first time, no games are being scheduled for Sunday, including the critical playoff game.

League President Bob Stiles, who coached a fourth-grade team last year, said his team had the best record during the regular season but lost the championship game when its best player, Jake Tarabilda, didn't play because he was Mormon. Consequently, Sunday games left teams not playing at full strength. "It really wasn't a hard decision at all for the board to make the change," Stiles said.


Mormons Abandon Sabbath for Games
Los Angeles Times (AP) 16Feb02 D4
By Hannah Wolfson: Associated Press Writer

Religion and sports collide
Riverside CA Press-Enterprise 12Feb02 S2


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