SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 100,000 Mormons are set to gather in Salt Lake City starting Saturday for a conference hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Millions more participate in the semi-annual meeting through satellite, radio or Internet broadcast translated into more than 90 languages.
Mormons meet in April and October at the downtown conference center to hear words of inspiration and guidance for daily living from the faith's senior leaders.
Salt Lake City business owners are preparing now for a weekend that brings a frenzy to stores and a jolt to their sales.
Daniel Hernandez, the manager of Kneaders Bakery and Cafe at City Creek, told the Deseret News that nobody on staff at the restaurant takes off on conference days.
"We really have to step up our orders to make sure we have enough food on hand for the conference," Hernandez said.
Sergio Flores, the manager at the City Creek food court's Taste of Red Iguana, said that after the priesthood meeting lets out on Saturday at 8 p.m., the food court would get "crushed" by an influx of men coming from the conference in white shirts and ties.
In January, a feminist group launched a campaign asking church leaders to let women lead the opening and closing prayer at the conference as a symbol of gender equality. It's unknown if that will happen.
Women can hold many leadership positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but aren't allowed to be bishops or stake presidents.
At the last general conference in October, church officials announced a lowering of the minimum age for missionaries: from 21 to 19 for women; and from 19 to 18 for men.
Leaders of the church and outside scholars believe that decision could be a landmark leading to many more women serving missions.
The church says applications for new missions are up two-fold since the announcement. About half of all new applications have come from women. Previously, only 15 percent of missionaries were women.
The conference is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.