April 2023 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.
Visitors who have tickets are welcome to wander the exhibits in the Conference Center during conference weekend. And if they arrive early or are in the Conference Center in between sessions before exiting the building, they can also check out the third-floor observation deck and the rooftop gardens. The Conference Center film that plays in the main auditorium, as well as the Salt Lake Temple orientation film, will not be playing in the Conference Center during conference weekend, but they will be available for viewing during regular Conference Center hours.
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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.
In the mood for a little shopping during conference weekend instead? Stop by the Deseret Book Flagship store in City Creek on Family Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to receive 10 percent off your purchase (platinum members receive 20 percent off). The store will have extended hours on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 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 BYU Creamery Ice Cream for the perfect pick-me-up.
Or if you’re shopping online over conference weekend, receive the same discount—10 percent off your purchase, with platinum members receiving 20 percent off—plus free shipping if your purchase is over $79. Platinum members receive free shipping for orders over $59.
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, and uplifting articles. Additional conference packets can be purchased for $1 each.
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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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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, City Creek, which the pioneers used for irrigating crops when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, flows through the park. In 1995, the park was dedicated 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.”
Want to get your feet wet with some family history? Give yourself the ultimate experience at the Family History Library, open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday during general conference weekend. The Family History Library is closed on Sundays.
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.
Visit Temple Square
Visitors can go inside both the Assembly Hall and the Salt Lake Tabernacle during conference weekend, although tours will not be available. Visitors are also welcome to walk the grounds—and the architecture of these two buildings is certainly worth taking note of.
For instance, according to a Church News interview with Emily Utt, historic sites curator for the Church History Department, the Assembly Hall was built in the late Victorian Gothic Revival style. It 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.
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.
Pre-order the April 2023 General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition
The General Conference Addresses Journal Edition will have all the text of the April 2023 general conference addresses in one spiral-bound paperback. Extra-wide, lined margins give you space to record your impressions and to document the insights you receive. Create an enduring record to make the inspired teachings of general conference an ongoing part of your gospel learning.