Sunday, October 3, 2010

General Conference Sunday

If you live anywhere near downtown SLC, there are two weekends out of the year where you might as well stay home and not even try to go anywhere: General Conference weekend. Mormons emerge from the woodwork by the thousands to attend this seminar and be taught personally by true prophets of god. Thousands of them, like ants wearing their Sunday best, cover the ground. They come from north, south, east, and west. Many travel the globe. They wait in line for hours to be admitted into the presence of eternity.

General Conference has five sessions, four for the masses, and one for the priesthood (in Mormonism, men are actually referred to as "the priesthood"). The sessions are Saturday from 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon, and 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM. The priesthood session is Saturday evening. Then again on Sunday from 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon, and 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM.

Each time a session starts and ends, there are countless Mormons everywhere. First they flood into the conference center. Then, two hours later, they flood out. Everyone is only allowed to personally attend one session. That allows for as many people as possible to attend personally.

If I remember right, the conference center can hold 40,000 people. Multiply that by 5 and that is how many Mormons there are flooding the streets and sidewalks on this special weekend. That is 200,000 visitors! Thank god they only do it twice a year. Of course, there are actually more than that. Those who can't make it into the actual conference center can go to other places on Temple Square and watch in on a screen. Or you can sit on the grass and listen as it is broadcast over large speakers.

Naturally, the place is flooded with Mormon missionaries who all have booming testimonies that it's all true. If you can make it through this mass without being approached by one, then you're lucky. In fact, anytime you visit Temple Square, there will be hoards of missionaries that constantly approach you. They will ask you for referrals, even if you're not a member.

What would General Conference be without the protesters! They are on every corner with loudspeakers and signs that say stuff like, "Beware false prophets." I've always wondered if their campaigns ever actually convince anyone to leave. I doubt it. In fact, if you ask most members, it only means the church is that much more true because 'Satan is opposing them'. Mormons walk by, completely ignoring them. Occassionally, you will see someone try to debate one of them. Maybe I'll head downtown and take some video footage. If I decide to, I'll post it here. Right now it's just after 12:30 PM. The next session starts at 2:00. If I can get off my lazy ass, I'll head down there.

11:14 PM

I didn't go.

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