Students fill the Marriott Center to capacity for President Russell M. Nelson’s devotional address

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President Russell M. Nelson waves to BYU faculty and students in attendance at the devotional Tuesday, Sept. 17. (Addie Blacker)

Written by Colton Anderson and Mickey Randle

The BYU campus was set abuzz Tuesday, Sept. 10, when the announcement was made that President Russell M. Nelson, prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would be addressing BYU students and faculty in a devotional address. The Tuesday, Sept. 17 devotional was the first given by a prophet since President Thomas S. Monson spoke at BYU nearly eight years ago in November 2011.

BYU students lined up as early as 7 a.m. in hopes of getting a good seat at President Nelson’s devotional. The line wrapped all the way around the Marriott Center as a light rain drizzled down. 

BYU student McCall Bledsoe was one of the students lined up around the Marriott Center early in the morning and was lucky enough to be waiting under a covered awning.

“I was scared that the whole county was going to be here and that we wouldn’t get spot and … I really want to hear what the prophet has to say,” she said.

Some students played games in groups. Some said they had missed morning classes to wait in line for the devotional. 

Annabelle Sorensen, a student attending the devotional with several of her cousins who were positioned near the front of the line, said, “If there’s anything I’ve been taught in my life, it’s to throw down some sacrifice for the prophet. … I just texted my boss and told her I wasn’t coming in today.”

Sorenson and her cousins are regulars at BYU devotionals, and though the University prohibited camping out, they said they had arrived at the Marriott Center the night before the devotional was to take place.

“BYU sports have recently been very disappointing, so we figured this would be a little more exciting,” said Benjamin Sorenson as he ducked under an umbrella.

The line of students around the Marriott Center was let inside at 9 a.m. By 10:30 a.m., just over half an hour before the devotional was scheduled to begin, the Marriott Center was filled to capacity.

This story will be updated with continuing coverage of the devotional.

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