Most members of the LDS Church look forward to the first weekend in April and October to hear from the Prophets, Apostles and other General Leaders of the Church. It also affords them a weekend off of normal Church activities. But this time around, the main attraction may not actually be in the Conference Center, but outside.
- We’re not Christian
- We worship Satan as Jesus’ brother
- Joseph Smith was a false Prophet
- The LDS Church is a cult…..
- And so on.
These folks tend to be loud and very confident in their convictions. They try to engage members as they enter Temple Square with either a conversation or a piece of literature. Returned Missionaries and Church zealots will sometimes engage them for the sport of it, but generally they are ignored.
This year may be different. We will add both new and returning, but unique groups to the mix.
- According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Atheists plan to march with ex-Mormons during General Conference. They are hoping that active, but atheist Church members will join them to “…come out or would like to be able to identify as their more authentic and true selves to let the world know that they are atheists; that they don’t have to try to maintain the facade of being LDS, when they’re not,” Dan Ellis, president of Atheists of Utah, said Wednesday. “Hopefully, it will be cathartic for people who are participating.” This march is in preparation for the American Atheist 40th Annual Convention to be held in Salt Lake April 17-20, Easter Weekend. I am sure they will get a crowd to join them but not clear how many will be active LDS members. I am certain many will say they are, but who knows?
- Again, according to Salt Lake Tribune, which I might add is not friend to the Church (but does employ the wonderful Peggy Fletcher Stack), 500 Mormon women to enter Temple Square to seek priesthood tickets . According to the article, the Ordain Women group, in spite of receiving a letter from the Church asking them not to try to attend the Priesthood session are going to march on Temple Square as they did last year and ask for tickets to the meeting. They even gone so far as hire off-duty Salt Lake Police to manage the crowd. According to the group, church security will not try to stop them. What happens next is anyone’s guess. TV cameras and now, journalists are not allowed on Temple Square.
So, a couple of questions:
- Do these two activities, well publicized, take away from General Conference and the messages we will hear?
- Will you be paying more attention to the activities outside Conference than inside?