For many students at BYU, general conference represents more than a weekend opportunity to listen to church leaders. Many also anticipate special conference traditions including things like getting together with friends and family, post-priesthood session ice-cream parties and ?conference bingo.?
One BYU junior, who wishes to remain anonymous, finds some conference traditions surprising and bizarre, although he said he could relate to ?conference bingo.? He said his wife played it as a child.
?It helps the kids pay attention,? he said. ?It?s a little odd but, hey, at least they?re watching it.?
Pace Barker from Scottsdale, Ariz. said conference makes him think of Legos and rubber band balls. He said his childhood conference traditions include memories of keeping his hands busy building and making toys rather than of family meals and the Prophet?s voice.
Overall, many BYU students said general conference provides an opportunity to gather with friends and family and engage in celebration and traditions just as they might for national holidays. Many return missionaries look forward to mission reunions around conference time.
Senior Abram Dickinson loves conference, although he has not been able to be with his family for the past several.
?I think it?s exciting that the whole family is watching,? Dickinson said.
Special meals also play a significant role in the conference traditions of BYU students.
Andrew Parker, from American Fork, loves to celebrate the Saturday morning of conference with a large breakfast at his bishop?s house. He said his entire priest quorum is invited to this event where the bishop?s wife makes a very large breakfast.
?The feast is complete with crepes with the white syrup, fresh fruit, bacon, juice?the works!? he said.
Parker said after the preparations they watch the Sunday morning session of conference while eating the delicious breakfast. He said that in addition to the great food, it was a privilege to watch the session with his whole quorum.
BYU freshman, Brittany Bartholomew, has a similar tradition, but hers always takes place at home. Between sessions her dad prepares the breakfast feast, consisting usually of omelets and waffles.
?The tradition is a lot of fun because it is a time for [the] family to spend time together, which is becoming a rare thing now that I?m in college,? Bartholomew said.
BYU students gather at different spots to watch conference, but many students said they usually watch it on cable television in the comforts of home. But other students said they enjoy watching Conference at church or on the Internet. Some said they listen to Conference on the radio, and others travel to the Conference Center to enjoy the experience live.
Junior Nadmid Namgur usually heads to the Conference Center to translate, but he said he values watching it on cable just as much. He said the quality one gets from conference at home is dependent on one?s company.
?I like it when we focus on the content instead of the talks? delivery or what the speakers were wearing,? Namgur said. ?When you share those things that you learned, you realize that the meeting was really amazing.?