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March 2005 : :


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LDS General Conference

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Jill Prichard

LDS General Conference

Photographer :: Jill Prichard

General conference
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathers for its 174th annual General Conference in Salt Lake City the first weekend of October.

The flock gathers
Thousands of people gather for the conference where church leaders present messages to the members.

Old hall
Families and Individuals gather in one of the overflow areas to watch conference.

Mark my word
This weekend is a time that most members use to ponder their teachings, beliefs, and the new instruction and guidance they receive from church officials.
Majestic pipes
The original meeting of LDS General Conference was held in this tabernacle that still sits on Temple Square, the headquarters of the church.
One voice
Missionaries from around the world serve for a period of 18-24 months in various places. These lady missionaries are from places such as the United States, Germany, South Africa, and various other places. Here they sing hymns as people hurry around to find friends, loved ones, and a seat.

They too shall be heard
Protestors come with their signs, banners, and hand outs that mock the LDS faith.
Messages of hope
Missionaries that serve on Temple Square take the time to share messages with people that are gathered for conference.

Queueing up
Waiting in line isnít one of the highlights to this spiritual weekend, but it is a necessary evil if one wants an opportunity to get in extra seats in the churchís conference center where the leaders are gathered.

Stairway to heaven
The conference center is an architectural masterpiece, in which the designers included a water fall that drops down the side of the building to remind the members of who is the "Living water."

A call to serve
Young men at the age of nineteen are able to serve 24-month missions for the church. Through a series of interviews to determine moral cleanliness and worthiness, men and women are sent away from their homes to places all over the world. Training is given to the missionaries ranging from three weeks to three months depending on if a new language has to be learned. During their service, they are paired with another missionary to live, eat, and work with 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. Contact with family and friends is limited to letter writing, e-mails for those who are in foreign countries, and two to three phone calls a year during their service.

In the shadows
Protestor sits outside the boundaries of Temple Square, and in the shadows of the Salt Lake Temple of the religion he has intolerance for.

Mormon mass
People swarm the grounds of Temple Square and downtown Salt Lake during one of two weekends a year the church holds General Conference.
General chat
A sister missionary takes time to discuss religious matters with a man. This missionary represents her native country of Australia, and has been sent to perform missionary labors on Temple Square. This historical Mecca for members of the LDS faith come to tour the grounds, visitor centers, and perform ordinances in the churchís most popular temple.

Higher standards
Missionaries are given personal grooming guidelines during their service. Black and white name tags are the notorious indicator that one is a clergy member of the LDS faith. Among name tags, missionaries are required to be in ìproselyte clothesî everyday, except for sleeping, and their one day off a week. Proselyting clothes are suits for the men, and dresses/skirts for the women.

Small wonders
Little ones are often exhausted after attending two hour sessions of the conference with their families. Families are central in the LDS faith and culture. Families gather every Monday evening to conduct, ìFamily Home Evening,î in which families have lessons, songs, activities, and treats.
Tailgate damnation
On the edge of the conference center is a truck that is full of protestors, their signs, and endless shouts of damnation.

Ponder the words
fhis man sits quietly reading a book while he waits in the tabernacle for the next session of conference to start. The historic tabernacle is used as an overflow area, but will close after this conference for updated repairs.

Judgment book
Scriptures hold the word of God, and the Mormons have plenty of scriptures. The church members study from the Holy Bible (King James Version), the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ in the Americas. It tells of ancient prophets who came from Jerusalem, the church that was established here, and Christís visit to these people after his death and resurrection. Latter-day Saints also believe in continued revelation which is what is contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. The Pearl of Great Price contains the translation of ancient hieroglyphics that the first latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith translated.
An eye single
A child sits in the yards of Temple Square during the semi-annual conference.

Light of the church
The church hosts more than conference, but also has the largest light display every Christmas season in state of Utah.

If you build it...
The conference center is where the leaders of the church gather to present their messages to the members in this world-wide church. The leaders of the church are a Prophet, his two counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The largest womenís organization also belongs to this religion. The Relief Society is run by the women of the church, in which they provide numerous services to needy members, and communities. The church is organized in the same manner that Christ established while alive on earth. This church was organized in 1832, and has developed to have the fastest growing membership. The church is broken down into stakes, and wards in which members of the church hold ìcallingsî to perform the duties of teaching lessons, collecting tithes, young men/women organizations, and running the wards. All church positions are run on a volunteer basis, and there are no paid clergy members.