"It is possible that we may hear a reaffirmation of the church's statement of neutrality on political candidates, or a brief comment on the ('I'm a Mormon') campaign," Brooks continued. "But I think it's unlikely that LDS Church leaders will address 'the Mormon Moment' over the pulpit. The LDS Church's PR department has taken 'the Mormon Moment' very much in stride, allowing church leaders to focus on the messages of peace, hope and reassurance that Mormons and other people of faith around the world are hungry to hear."
And that's just as it should be, according to Otterson.
"General conference is not really a conference at all, in the usual sense of the word," he wrote in his "On Faith" blog. "There will be no great debates, no huge policy changes to announce to the general membership. You can be certain that there will be no political addresses from the podium, and it's highly unlikely that anyone will mention even indirectly the two Latter-day Saints running for president of the United States."
What people come to conference for, Otterson said, "is altogether different."
"This is a time for listening and thinking," he wrote. "For several months (LDS Church leaders have been) pondering and praying about what message (they) should deliver to the worldwide membership. Leaders do not necessarily confer with each other. There is no coordination of messages. Each speaker, whether man or woman, looks for inspiration in choosing his or her subject, drawing on personal prayers and life experiences as well as their interactions with members as they travel the world."
Once those talks are presented, Otterson said, the relevance of general conference messages are manifest "in the lives of the members they touch."
"All will listen to the 20-plus addresses over the weekend for what seems most relevant to them," Otterson said. "Many will ponder and pray and find ways to help them be better parents, better husbands and wives, better sons and daughters, better neighbors, better followers of Jesus Christ."
Those are the kinds of messages Coppins, Brooks and Mikita said they will be looking for and expect to hear delivered during this conference — regardless of whether more people outside the church are paying attention because of "the Mormon Moment."
181st Semiannual LDS General Conference
What: The five sessions of the 181st semiannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Where: The LDS Conference Center, 52 W. North Temple St., Salt Lake City
When: Three Saturday sessions — at 10 a.m, 2 p.m. and the 6 p.m. priesthood meeting for males 12 and older; two Sunday sessions — at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Who: A total of more than 100,000 Church members, friends and invited guest are expected to attend in Salt Lake City, with millions more watching and listening at various locations around the world.
Tickets: Required to enter the Conference Center. Attendees will pass through a security check, with cameras, recording devices, weapons, food, backpacks, packages and large bags not allowed.
Overflow: In the Tabernacle, the North Visitors' Center on Temple Square and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for all sessions. For the priesthood and Sunday sessions, additional seating is available in the Conference Center Theater. The Assembly Hall will provide overflow seating for Spanish speakers for all five sessions. Tickets are not required for admission to overflow facilities.
Traffic: Conference-goers are encouraged to carpool or use public transportation to relieve downtown traffic and parking congestion. UTA service options can be found at www.rideuta.com/.
Parking: Public parking is not available at the Conference Center parking lot. Limited public parking is available at Regent Street Parking (119 S. Regent Street (50 East)), the Energy Solutions Arena parking lot (70 N. 300 West) and Eagle Gate Terrace (145 E. Social Hall Ave. (50 South)). Disability parking is located at the West Temple lot just north of North Temple. Conference attendees should avoid parking in front of homes in downtown residential areas. Cars parked on neighborhood streets may be ticketed or towed at the owner's expense.
Broadcast plans: A detailed broadcast schedule is available at www.bonneville.info, with information regarding audio and video streaming via the Internet at www.lds.org/broadcast/. With the exception of the priesthood session, conference sessions will be broadcast on BYU Television and locally on KSL-TV. For additional information on broadcast availability and rebroadcasts visit www.byutv.org.
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