We were lucky enough to score a few tickets to Saturday afternoon’s session of General Conference. Lucky, because our bishop was only given 3 tickets to hand out and by the time we requested ours, he only had two left. But, he is a good man and found an extra ticket, so Max, Inigo and I made the trek to SLC to experience our first Conference Session. (Sadly, we couldn’t take Buttercup due to her school schedule. I’m hoping we can get tickets again this fall and we’ll take her along with us for that!)
Conference totally rocks!! It was such a blast being there. I think it was almost a sensory overload. There was so much to see, hear and smell.
Since this was our first time to go to General Conference, I thought I’d write down my perceptions/experiences of the afternoon:
First of all, we parked too far away. We thought the parking downtown would be heinous, so we thought we’d park at Trolley Square and ride the train to Temple Square. We left my sister’s house in Orem fairly early... something like 11:30 and drove to Salt Lake. We parked in the free area of Trolley Square and hoofed it over to 4th South where the train stop was. Wouldn’t you know it? The train was just leaving when we got there! If I had been able to run in my lousy shoes, we would have made it, but I couldn’t, so we had to sit 20 long minutes to wait for the next train. It made me glad that we had left Orem that early.
Once we arrived at Temple Square I was amazed at how many people there were… all dressed up and happy. We were warned about hecklers, but I didn’t see many and they weren’t really making a lot of noise. No one was paying any attention to them. If anything, there were more pan handlers there, wearing signs asking for money.
I also thought I’d see a lot of people I know, since Florin becomes a ghost town twice a year during Conference time. I believe 90% of our population migrates south every Conference weekend. But we only ran into T-Man, my cute next-door neighbor, who attended the Saturday morning session.
When we got to the Supernacle (aka Conference Center) we had a little extra time, so we stayed outside and took a couple pictures.
Don’t my boys look nice all dressed up in their suits?
There was a lady to my left who watched us take the pictures and asked us if we wanted a family picture... Max is goofy (we all know that) and said, “Actually, I’m not with them. I just met them on the street. But if you want to take our picture, that’s okay!”
I think she believed him. The look on her face was hilarious. So I kept it going, “Yeah. He looked nice, so we thought we’d bring him along.”
I think she realized we were kidding... at least she hoped we were ... and took our picture. When she handed the camera back, I said, “Well, it looks like he’s stuck with us now. I’ve got proof that he was here!”
Going into the Conference Center was hilarious! Of course we had to go through security... metal detectors as well as have our purses looked through. I have a fairly small purse and it was packed: my huge wallet, a water bottle, my camera, and my cell phone, as well as various pockets crammed full of lotions, hand sanitizers, lip glosses, etc. The poor security lady who had to search it was laughing as I opened each little pocket to show that I wasn’t bringing in any weapons... the line was backing up behind us.
We arrived just as the choir from BYU-Idaho was sitting down and warming up. Of course, it would have been nice to listen to The Choir – Mormon Tabernacle – but this choir did a GREAT job! (I even recognized a few people in it!)
Soon after, members of the Quorum of the 12 came in and sat down. First in was Boyd K. Packer who came in a wheelchair. You didn’t know he was in a wheelchair? Neither did I!
And did you know he was sitting down in a chair at the pulpit while he was giving his talk? It was very inspiring seeing him act with dignity, while he had to be helped to and from the pulpit. What a great man!
Of course, we all love Elder Bednar... not only was he president of BYU-Idaho for a long time, but he looks very much like my brother-in-law! :)
I love this picture. I love that L. Tom Perry is helping Elder Packer with his microphone. That these men have close relationships with each other is evident.
Here they are... almost ready to start.
Of course Inigo was most excited to see President Monson. We hoped he would look right up at our section, see my red-headed boy and wave, but of course we were too far away. But it was very special for him to see, again, his beloved Prophet.
Inigo made us laugh... after President Monson sat down and after we had settled back into our seats, Inigo said, “Mom, I’ve shaken the prophet’s hand before. And if you’ve shaken it once, you’ve shaken it a thousand times!”
I had to tell him I didn’t think it really worked that way. That each time you shake the Prophet’s hand it’s a very special experience and an experience that needs to be treasured.
“Oh yeah. You’re right. I’m pretty lucky, aren’t I?”
- I was amazed how many empty seats there were at the start of the session. Conference had actually started and people were still filing in. People kept coming in clear until the first speaker began. I didn’t know that “Mormon Standard Time” applied to Conference!"
- I was amazed at how noisy it was during the opening prayer. All the doors to the foyers were still open and it was LOUD!!!
- In our section, there were very few people around us who spoke English as their native language. The people right next to me were from Africa. I tried to have a conversation with them, but their English wasn’t good enough. The people behind us were from New Zealand and Fiji, next to Max were Spanish speakers, in front of us were Norwegians. It was a melting pot, but we were all brother’s and sister’s in Zion.
- (Don’t hate me for this) But having that many different nationalities means there were that many different hygiene habits. There were times during the session, when the air would start moving, and body odors totally overcame me.
- I loved actually being there. I really enjoy watching Conference every 6 months, but there’s nothing like being there. My mind didn’t wander. I didn’t get bored. I felt like I was just soaking it in. The two hours zoomed by!
- Who doesn’t love the congregational hymn? We all sing it at home (or the Stake Center) but singing in the Supernacle was AMAZING!!! Raising my voice in song along with 20,000+ other people sent chills down my spine. I will admit, I sang pretty loudly. I may have even cried while doing it. Maybe...
- I thought Inigo would get kind of bored, but we downloaded all the scripture picture books on my iPad and he read the entire Old Testament and started on the New Testament. He quit reading about 1/2 way through and just sat and listened. I’m pretty sure he knew that he was where he was supposed to be.
- Don’t hate me for this either, but I was a little sad that while the choir was singing the closing song, throngs of people stood up and left. I know they thought they’d beat the crowds by leaving early, but were they really missing the crowds? Did they forget what was waiting outside? I just think it’s rude to stand up and walk out before a meeting ends. There! I said it! Don’t hate me.
Once the session ended, we walked back to the train. Of course when it arrived it was standing room only, so we decided that it would be just as easy to walk back to the car. After all, it wasn’t that far away... right?
We walked from Temple Square to Trolley Square. It was a mere two miles. In bad shoes. Through scary neighborhoods. In scattered rain. In fairly windy conditions.
Bah! Who cares that we walked past a couple guys sitting on their porch smoking weed? Who cares that we walked past several crack houses? We were having fun!
Who cares that I grew a nickel sized blister on the bottom of my calloused, dry foot? WE WERE HAVING FUN!!!