Twice a year 21,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather in this phenomenol building across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City,and in five different two hour meetings listen to speeches of instruction and faith from leaders whom we all sustain as prophets, apostles, and great leaders. Paco and I just returned from attending. The conferences look and sound similar time after time with a few variations. Sometimes the news announced makes the whole audience go, "Wow...ahhh...ohhh..." One time I was present here when President Hinkley playfully hit Elder Eyring with his cane in a comradrec way, and the place broke out in laughter sort of bordering on jolly. We sit way way up in the rafters for the most part, but a couple of times we've been very up close and personal. For most of the 120 conferences that I've been alive for, I've watched it on TV with family or friends. The thrill of being there for me is singing with 20,999 other people. It's grand beyond description for me. This year's conference was short on the over-zealous Bible thumpers who usually station themselves along the sidewalks and try to hurl insults. They must be tiring of coming. I wouldn't imagine they're targeting the right audience. A row of teenagers was sitting in front of us. One of the boys was stretched across someone else, and the girl of the group was writing all over his arm. Paco leaned up and said something like, "Did you come to listen or to play?" The girl next to Paco was texting off and on. REALLY PEOPLE???? REALLY????
My father told the story of running down this very aisle when he was around 5. His uncle was on the general Sunday School board and had taken him (my father was left fatherless at around 3, so lots of extended relatives raised him). The charming part of the story is that President Heber J. Grant stopped him and reprimanded him. Less formality in those days. Nowadays not too many prophets ever end up in the aisles like that.