In keeping with similar protocols at large venues around the nation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced changes to its security rules for the upcoming general conference sessions.
Members of the event services for the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City held a press conference Friday morning to announce new limitations on what can be brought into the center during sessions of general conference.
According to David Miles, director of event services at church headquarters, those attending general conference sessions next weekend cannot bring in suitcases, shopping bags, large bags and backpacks. Security personnel will not store these items for patrons. Any weapon of any kind, even with a concealed carry permit, is also not allowed.
Attendees can bring small bags and purses, umbrellas and clear water bottles into the sessions. Metal or opaque water bottles will not be allowed. These restrictions will now be in place for all large events at the Conference Center and at the Tabernacle on Temple Square.
North Temple Street will also be temporarily closed between West Temple and Main Street two hours prior to and immediately after each session, allowing pedestrians to cross the street in crosswalks and other designated locations within the closed area. North Temple will reopen each day about two hours after general conference sessions end.
Charles Andersen, managing director for headquarters facilities, said this uptick in security is not in reaction to any threats or incidents at the Conference Center.
“The changes are not tied to new threats, it’s just in keeping with our changing society,” he said. “Our goal is to allow members to focus on the messages of this event.”
Roughly 60,000 people stream through those center doors during the three Saturday sessions of conference, and another 40,000 attend the Sunday sessions. It takes 1,200 support staff and volunteers to make the process as seamless as possible.
“We have to make sure we do everything in our power to make it safe for those attending,” Miles said. We’re seeing what is effective in other large venues, so we’re trying to stay current.”
Miles explained that the Conference Center will also be closed to the public starting Monday, in order to give center security teams the time to be thorough in clearing the building before General Conference.