Dressed in their Sunday best, faithful families and individuals come to Salt Lake City to attend the general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, even if they can’t watch in the Conference Center.

Just one block away from the Conference Center, people sit on the grounds of Temple Square or in the open buildings to listen to conference from their devices.

Some Temple Square visitors come to the tabernacle to listen to general conference on their own devices.

Some Temple Square visitors come to the tabernacle to listen to general conference on their own devices. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

“We ​wanted ​to ​try ​and ​get ​into ​the ​Conference ​Center,” said Jonathan Smith, a patron listening to conference in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. “We ​found ​out ​when ​we ​got ​here ​that ​we ​couldn’t ​get ​into ​the ​Conference ​Center ​through ​the ​standby ​line ​that ​used ​to ​exist. ​So we (thought) ​we ​should ​watch ​on ​the ​grounds ​at ​the ​very ​least, ​because ​the ​conference ​center ​and ​the ​temple ​grounds ​both ​have ​just ​this ​really ​good ​spirit ​about ​them.”

The Salt Lake Temple has been under construction since 2019, when President Russell M. Nelson announced plans for its renovation.

Because of the construction, large areas of Temple Square have been blocked off. The changes have altered the way visitors watch conference. In the past, the Tabernacle would host a broadcast for those who couldn’t watch the conference live. While conference is no longer broadcast in the building, this hasn’t stopped patrons from gathering in open buildings and on the grounds to watch conference on their own.

I ​grew ​up ​in ​Utah, ​and ​I’ve ​come ​to ​the ​conference ​center ​multiple ​times … it’s ​my ​favorite ​way ​to ​experience ​conference andit’s ​always ​felt ​a ​little ​bit ​like ​Heaven ​to ​me,” said Kylie Pierce, another patron watching conference in the Assembly Hall. ​”One ​time ​when ​I ​was ​younger, ​I ​came ​to ​experience ​the ​spring ​session ​of ​conference ​in ​Temple ​Square …there ​was ​something ​about ​it ​that ​just ​felt ​like ​Heaven. ​The ​sun ​was ​shining. ​There ​were ​so ​many ​beautiful ​flowers. ​I ​could ​hear ​(the) choir ​singing. ​Everybody ​was ​with ​their ​families ​and ​they ​were ​so ​happy, and we ​were ​going ​to ​listen ​to ​the ​word ​of ​God ​through his ​disciples.

stained glass windows inside the assembly hall

The Assembly Hall on Temple Square was finished in 1882 and features stained windows with symbols from the late nineteenth century. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher


Seating at the Conference Center remains limited due to parking and accessibility concerns related to the construction areas on Temple Square. While visitors are not encouraged to gather on Temple Square to broadcast conference anymore, many still come to feel the Spirit on the grounds and enjoy self-guided tours of the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall.

“Hearing ​the ​choir ​sing ​in ​the ​Conference ​Center, ​it ​just ​fills ​you,” Pierce said. “​It ​fills ​you ​with ​such ​a ​powerful ​spirit. ​So ​I’ve ​committed ​to ​try ​and ​come almost ​every ​time, ​just ​becauseit ​just ​feels ​so ​much ​better ​than ​watching ​it ​at ​your ​house.”

Read some of the latest updates on the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple here.