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7 things to do between general conference sessions in downtown Salt Lake City

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April 2022 general conference will be held in the Conference Center at limited capacity.
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

September 2022 general conference is nearly here, and Latter-day Saints everywhere are looking forward to hearing inspired messages from Church leaders. With limited seating due to construction on Temple Square, many will be watching the event virtually from around the world. But if you’re one of the lucky few headed to downtown Salt Lake City to attend conference and aren’t sure what to do in between sessions, never fear. Whether you’re looking to to check out something new or just want to treat yourself for a minute, we have some suggestions that will fit the bill.

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Searching for something educational that will keep both kids and parents entertained? You might want to try out the Church History Museum, open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday during conference weekend. Exhibits highlight historical artifacts, art, films, interactive media, live demonstrations, and activities for children of all ages. Admission is free.

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A family interacts with touch screens at the Church History Museum.
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

In the mood for a little shopping this Saturday instead? Stop by the Deseret Book Flagship store in City Creek for 20% off your purchase this general conference weekend, plus free shipping over $99 if you’re shopping online. The Deseret Book flagship store in Salt Lake City also features an art and a home décor section unique to this location. And if you need a minute to rest, the store’s Sweet Retreat section offers freshly baked Crumbl cookies for the perfect pick-me-up.

In-store purchases at all Deseret Book stores, including the Flagship store downtown, also include a general conference packet that’s perfect for the whole family. The packet includes easy recipes, kids’ activities, pages for note taking, inspirational quotes, pre- and post-conference Family Home Evening lesson ideas, and uplifting articles. Additional conference packets can be purchased for $1 each. You can also look forward to watching daily conference prep videos featuring your favorite authors and artists on Deseret Book’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

If you happen to be downtown on Friday night, swing by the Flagship store for Family Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on September 30. Join your favorite authors for signings, participate in fun giveaways, and get 20% off your entire order while there.

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The Sweet Retreat section of the Deseret Book Flagship store.
Deseret Book

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Brush up on your Church history knowledge with a quick visit to the Beehive House this weekend. A lot has happened in this historic Church building: not only was it President Brigham Young’s primary residence from 1855 to 1877, but President Lorenzo Snow lived there from 1898 to 1901, and President Joseph F. Smith resided there from 1901 to 1918. It was also in the Beehive House that President Smith received a vision about the redemption of the dead now found in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Two rooms in the Beehive House have been refurbished in recent years to reflect the time when President Smith lived there. These rooms—a bedroom and an office—were added to the back of the building after Brigham Young’s death and were likely the location where President Smith received his vision of the spirit world.

The Beehive House is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 30-minute tours run every 15 minutes.

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An office in the Beehive House that has been refurbished to reflect President Joseph F. Smith's office from 1918.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

If you’d rather escape the crowds for a minute, you might want to check out the Brigham Young Historic Park, open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. The open-lawn park sits just across the street from the Church Office Building to the east on State Street and North Temple. According to Church News, the park was dedicated in 1995 by President Gordon B. Hinckley as “a refuge from the rush and hurry of the city … where the weary may sit and rest with the soft music of moving water” and “an oasis for contemplation and reflection.”

A waterwheel in the park is powered by City Creek, the water source that sustained the early Saints when they settled in the Salt Lake Valley. The creek had run underground since 1914, but designs for new parks in the 1990s brought it back to the surface again, Church News reported.

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The waterwheel in the Brigham Young Historic Park.
ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Want to get your feet wet with some family history? Give yourself the ultimate experience at the Family History Library, open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. At the library you can access millions of records, talk to experts, and discover your family history. And if it’s your first visit to the library, FamilySearch has some tips on what to keep in mind before you go, including looking at your family tree, creating a FamilySearch account, deciding what areas to focus on, and gathering information about your family. Check out these tips and more at FamilySearch.org.

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Sister Barbara Moon, left, gets help translating Swedish documents from Savannah Larson, Nordic research specialist, at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Walk the Grounds

The Assembly Hall and the Salt Lake Tabernacle will not be open for tours during conference weekend, but visitors are welcome to walk the grounds. And the architecture of these two buildings is certainly worth taking note of.

For instance, did you know the Assembly Hall was built in the late Victorian Gothic Revival style? In a piece interviewing historic sites curator Emily Utt, Church News reported that the Assembly Hall also inspired the design of two other sister buildings—the Provo Tabernacle, which is now the Provo City Center Temple, and a tabernacle in Coalville, Utah. Irregular pieces of stone that couldn’t be used for the Salt Lake Temple were instead used for the Assembly Hall and were brought together by expert stonemasons. And while most of the gothic spires are pointed, the second spire to the right of the north-facing door is flat because it was originally a chimney. Learn more about the Assembly Hall at Church News.

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The Assembly Hall has pointed spires except for one flat spire, second from the right of the door, where a chimney originally was located.
/Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

There are also fun facts to know about the exterior of the Tabernacle while you’re there. According to ChurchofJesusChrist.org, a bridge-builder named Henry Grow used a lattice trust design for the Tabernacle so the roof could span 150 feet without center supports. Additionally, the Tabernacle was built by hand and materials were local except for the glass, bolts, nails, and other metal parts which were imported.

Other quick stops to make while you’re visiting these two buildings include the seagull statue and the bell on Temple Square, which was originally donated by the British Saints for the Nauvoo Temple. You can learn about the history of the bell at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Did you know that amid the parking lots and sidewalks of Temple Square—just between the Church History Museum and the Family History Library on West Temple—sits an original pioneer-era log home? It’s one of just two surviving homes built by the early pioneers when they settled in the Salt Lake Valley. According to ChurchofJesusChrist.org, the building is “the oldest building on the broader campus of Temple Square,” and it has been restored and furnished with authentic pioneer artifacts. In warmer months, the grounds are used to grow plants common to that era.

Originally, the cabin was located in an adobe fort several blocks away from Temple Square. It has been moved several times since but has existed at its current location since 1985. So whether you’re stopping by the Church History Museum after conference or are hurrying home, you might want to keep an eye out for this historic building and take a quick peek inside.

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The Deuel cabin is an original pioneer-era log home just between the Church History Museum and the Family History Library.
Deseret News archives

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