ST. GEORGE — Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveling to Salt Lake City for the general conference this weekend will encounter new security measures at the Conference Center.
The church announced last Friday that new measures are being taken to “improve security and enhance the patron experience” at the Conference Center, where the church’s 188th Semiannual General Conference will be held.
“We’re taking all precautions necessary for a large venue,” said Charles Andersen, managing director of the church’s headquarters facilities. “This is very typical of any large venue, whether it’s a stadium or an arena.”
Among the new changes are no longer allowing people to enter the Conference Center with large bags, food and drink and metal water containers. Instead, officials will allow purses and small handbags, umbrellas and clear water bottles. Larger items will no longer be allowed to be stored on church property during the conference.
“We have a team of 700 volunteer … service missionaries who are tasked with searching every bag,” said David Miles, director of events and support services for the church. “We’re just trying to stay with these small items. Every purse, every bag will be opened and checked by our security team, and so this expedites that process.”
The church’s general conference is expected to draw 60,000 people Saturday and 40,000 people Sunday. Given those numbers, having the volunteers go through large bags would slow down the process of moving people through, Miles said.
“We’re trying to keep everybody as safe as possible and move them through as quickly as possible,” he said.
The added security measures aren’t the result of for information or potential threat, Miles said, rather, it’s the result of becoming consistent with security practices employed at other large venues around the county.
Overall security changes
- The Conference Center is closed to the public between now and general conference weekend.
- Water bottles must be clear. Metal containers are not allowed inside the Conference Center.
- Attendees can bring small bags and umbrellas with them inside the building. Large bags are not allowed.
- Any personal items such as large purses, backpacks, shopping bags, suitcases and food items will no longer be stored on church property.
- The North Temple road will be closed between the West Temple road and Main Street two hours before each session, allowing pedestrians to cross the street in crosswalks and other designated locations within the restricted area. The street will be blocked off with movable barriers.
- The North Temple road will reopen with limited access during each session and each day approximately two hours after general conference sessions end.
- People are encouraged to walk through Temple Square and the church plaza to get to the Conference Center.
- Conference goers are encouraged to arrive early to provide adequate time to attend the event.
The church’s general conference is held annually in April and October. It is broadcast from the Conference Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City to the faith’s 16 million-plus membership across the globe via television, radio and the internet.
The conference allows church members to hear messages from the leadership of the church who speak to various religious subjects such as faith, revelation, forgiveness and so on.
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