The 165th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will convene in the Tabernacle on Saturday. Many members continue to come from across the globe to attend the conference - in person - even though it is carried by satellite broadcasts to much of the world.
Vivienne Player, 58, of South Africa is one of the more distant visitors coming to conference for the first time this weekend, traveling more than 9,000 miles from her home outside of Johannesburg. Player, wife of professional golfer Gary Player, joined the LDS Church last December.Vivienne Player is planning to attend all four general sessions.
"It's a joy each time I come back," she said of her many visits to Salt Lake City.
Contacted by telephone earlier this week in North Carolina where her husband is playing in a tournament, she said he'd even be coming too were it not for the tournament.
Player said her husband, a 41-year veteran of pro golf, has a very high opinion of the LDS Church.
"He's very pro-church and very much behind me," she said.
The Player family has also been associated with Billy Casper, an LDS golfer, for many years.
The Players' daughter, Amanda Leigh, dated a Latter-day Saint in high school. He invited her to attend a church meeting, and she was eventually taught by the missionaries and joined the church in December 1991. Then Amanda got her mother to attend church, which led to her baptism about 10 months ago. (Amanda is currently serving a full-time church mission in New Jersey.)
Vivienne Player plans on visiting the Museum of Church History and Art's new exhibit and doing some genealogical research while in Salt Lake City.
According to the church's hosting office, hundreds of other members from foreign countries are expected to attend the conference.
Some members come from abroad for special conference duties. For example, Wisit Kha-nak-ham, Seksan Siriphan and his wife, Sasithan Siriphan, have traveled more than 8,000 miles to attend conference and serve as interpreters for the sessions.
There will also be many other foreign language interpreters and more than 220 volunteer ushers at the sessions.
Besides the Tabernacle, seating is available in the Assembly Hall, the Legacy Theater of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the Temple Square North Visitors Center.
Music for the Saturday morning session will be provided by the Mormon Youth Chorus, with Robert C. Bowden directing and Bonnie Goodliffe at the organ. A combined choir from the Cottonwood Utah Region will supply the music for the Saturday afternoon session, with Jay Campbell directing and Linda Margetts at the organ.
The 325-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir will sing during the two Sunday sessions. Donald Ripplinger and Craig Jessop will direct this world-famous choir, while Clay Christensen and John Longhurst will be at the organ.
Church landscape architect Peter Lassig expects thousands of flowers to be blooming on Temple Square and the adjacent Church Office Building plaza this weekend. Petunias, impatiens, begonias, chrysanthemums and ornamental grass are among the flowers.
The Salt Lake weather for Saturday is expected to be partly cloudy, with showers likely.
Conference sessions will be televised live locally on KSL-TV, Channel 5, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. KSL Radio (AM 1160) will also air the four sessions live and will rebroadcast them from midnight to 4 a.m. on Sunday and Monday.
Regular updates on the 165th Semiannual Conference of the church will be on Crossroads and the Deseret News World Wide Web page at http://www.desnews.com or http://18.104.22.168 .