The LDS Church encourages all members to watch a two-day conference broadcast worldwide from the Salt Lake City Conference Center every six months. Flyers, announcements and web campaigns remind church members to make watching General Conference a priority.
Some services at BYU close to facilitate conference-watching, but others stay open. BYU departments that remain open during Saturday sessions of General Conference meetings provide services to visitors and students as per instruction from higher authorities.
“We’re a business,” said Gordon Brown, sales manager for the BYU Bookstore. “There are things they can only get here.”
BYU experiences an influx of visitors for General Conference, and the BYU Bookstore remains open to provide a positive experience for such visitors, Brown said. Church-owned Deseret Book also stays open throughout conference.
The university administration supports the BYU Bookstore remaining open during Saturday sessions of General Conference. “When we’re asked to close for conference we will do it,” Brown said.
Lynda Shipley, manager of BYU’s Testing Center, which is also open during General Conference, agreed that the decision lies with the administration, but she said pushing Saturday’s tests to Friday or Monday would create overcrowding problems.
“There is no one forced to take a test during conference,” she said. “It’s a service to those who want to take it that day.”
Roger Layton, communications manager for BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library, said it wouldn’t make sense to close the library for each Saturday session of conference. “So few staff are here … it would take more people to clear the building than to remain open,” he said.
Students from other universities and colleges use the BYU library regularly, Layton said. “We don’t know if they’re members or not; it’s not an issue to us,” he said. “We assume people will be doing what they should be doing, but we don’t kick people out.”
Although they remain open for General Conference, student services on campus are closed each Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. for devotionals and forums, sponsored by the university, at the administration’s request.