SALT LAKE CITY—Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from around the world gather every six months to hear inspiring messages from the religion’s leaders. The next “General Conference” is slated for next weekend, but anxious members are getting a jump on the festivities by tailgating right inside the Conference Center parking lot located just across from Salt Lake City’s historic Temple Square.
The Hill family and the George family, who are neighbors, are tailgating the event a full week in advance. They pass the time “taking Jello shots” and blasting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s greatest hits through their minivan sound systems.
“What else do we do? We talk about our favorite plays from the last conference and speculate about what the prophet might throw at us next week,” Brother George said, sporting dark argyle socks with a well-worn pair of sandals. “President Nelson is the heart and soul of this team. I mean, retiring the Home Teaching program six months ago was just a masterstroke, real Hall of Fame type stuff. I’ve always been a fan of the Church, but it’s that kind of stuff that gets me off the couch and hollering at the TV. I love it.”
Brother Hill, who became a fan of the Church back in 2014 after reading and praying about The Book of Mormon, predicts that the next six-month season is going to be rewarding for fans worldwide. “We’ve got a great 15-man team put together this season who just seem to be reinventing the game. The coach has really been mixing things up lately and the team just executes exceptionally well,” he said, cracking open a caffeinated Root Beer from a well-stocked cooler. “If they get out there and give it their all, leave it all at the pulpit, playing it one talk at a time, I think we’re going to witness some really great stuff out there this weekend.”
But the Hills and Georges are far from the only people to be exhibiting behavior some more conservative members may consider unorthodox. Hundreds of individuals and families pack the Conference Center grounds and parking lots, waiting for the conference to begin. Many already half-dressed in their “Sunday best.”
One man, Brother Hanson, says he tailgates by day, but starting Monday night he’s planning on setting up camp, literally, outside the Conference Center entrance. “Rumor has it that this is going to be a historic conference,” he said, “and I want to make sure I get a good seat.”
When our TSP on-site reporter met Brother Hanson, he was basking over a propane grill, cooking funeral potatoes, wearing nothing but black slacks and the letters “CTR” painted on his chest. “Yeah, I guess you could call me a super-fan,” Hanson said. “Potatoes?”
General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints kicks off on Saturday, October 6, at 10 AM, MDT.
For those that need to be told, this article is satirical. Nobody is tailgating General Conference … yet.