SALT LAKE CITY -- A copy of the Book of Mormon used by Hyrum Smith in the Carthage jail in June 1844 is expected to draw crowds to the Church History Library here before and after General Conference sessions this weekend.
"There is a lot of interest in the book since Elder (Jeffrey R.) Holland held it up in the last General Conference," said Patrick Dunshee, manager of marketing and communications for the church's history department.
More than 100,000 church members, friends and invited guests are expected to attend the 180th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday and Sunday.
Dunshee said during his talk last April, Holland asked why Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother, Hyrum, would be willing to sacrifice their lives for a book they didn't know was true.
Dunshee said to this day there is a page turned down in the book by Hyrum as he marked his place before he was shot to death in that jail cell.
The Church History Library will host a "Treasures of the Collection" open house for the public from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.
"People love to come downtown during conference time to enjoy conference, to feel the spirit of the saints gathering together," Dunshee said. "There's really no better time to commune with the history of the church. That's why we are hosting this open house."
During this open house, more than 100 rare or unique historical items from the library archives will be on display, states information from the church.
Visitors may view seldom-seen books, photographs, manuscripts, minutes and journals relating to the history of the church.
Highlights of other items to be on display include a Joseph Smith History letter book from 1832; a Book of Mormon manuscript; a copy of the Wentworth Letter in which Joseph Smith first published the church's 13 articles of faith as it appeared in the church's publication Times and Seasons March 1, 1842; translations of Mormon scriptures in Czech, Croatian, Thai, Japanese and Welsh; and a copy of the Thatcher Ward Aaronic Priesthood minute book from 1910 with a signature by late church President Spencer W. Kimball, who was assistant secretary, along with a host of other Kimball memorabilia and photographs.
The library is at 15 E. North Temple on the northeast corner of North Temple and Main streets.
For more information, visit the Church History Library website at www.churchhistorylibrary.org or call 801-240-2272.
The open house is just one of several church-sponsored activities near Temple Square in Salt Lake City this weekend for visitors to investigate while they are in town for General Conference.
Both the Church History Museum and the Family History Library will be open regular hours and are expecting thousands of guests.
The Church History Museum now has a Presidents of the Church artifacts display that includes items used by all the church presidents.
Included in the collection is a pair of green sunglasses and an original Book of Mormon owned by Brigham Young.
There also is a large angel Moroni on display, a Salt Lake Tabernacle exhibit and an interactive display titled "Mi vida, mi historia," interpreted as "My life, my history," which features church history items from Latin America.
"Folks really love this," Dunshee said of the Latin American exhibit. "We have all kinds of groups visiting this."
The Museum of Church History and Art, at 45 N. West Temple St., is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Those who visit the Family History Library, 35 N. West Temple St., may work on their genealogical records as at any other time the facility is open. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Besides the many who will converge on Salt Lake City this weekend, millions more will watch or listen to conference proceedings via television, radio, satellite and Internet broadcasts, states a news release from the church.
Five sessions of the conference will be held Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are required to enter the Conference Center, where attendees will be required to pass through a security check. Cameras, recording devices, weapons, food, backpacks, packages and large bags will not be allowed.
Overflow seating will be available in the Tabernacle, the North Visitors' Center on Temple Square and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for all sessions.
Overflow seating also will be available in the Conference Center Theater for the 6 p.m. Saturday priesthood and Sunday sessions only, states church public relations materials.
Overflow seating for Spanish speakers will be provided in the Assembly Hall for all five sessions. Tickets are not required for admission to overflow facilities.
Conference attendees are invited to carpool or use public transportation to relieve downtown traffic congestion.
Limited public parking is available at Regent Street Parking, 119 S. Regent St. (50 East); at the Energy Solutions Arena lot, between 200 West and 300 West, and at the West Office Building, off 200 West just north of North Temple.
Disability parking is at the West Temple Overflow just north of North Temple. The entrance to this parking is accessible when traveling south on West 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.
General Conference, with the exception of the priesthood session, will be broadcast live on BYU Television and locally on KSL Channel 5.
For additional information on availability, rebroadcasts and live Internet streaming, visit www.byutv.org.