The Conference Center construction began in 1997 and was completed in 2000. The 1.4-million-square-foot building features multilevel floors, terrace views of the Salt Lake Temple, and a rooftop garden. It was built over an entire city block from the same granite deposits that were used to build the Salt Lake Temple in the 1800s. It was dedicated in 2000 by Gordon B. Hinckley, then President of the Church.
The primary purpose of the building is for Latter-day Saints and leaders from all over the globe to attend the semiannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During this conference they listen to the counsel of Church leaders under the guidance of the prophet and President of the Church.
This general conference happens during April and October each year, when thousands of people fill the 21,000-seat auditorium five times over the two-day conference to listen to Church leaders.
The main auditorium is one of the largest of its kind in the world—large enough to fit a Boeing 747 airplane. The unique balcony design, supported on only one side, eliminates the need for support columns and allows for each attendee to see the pulpit from any seat in the auditorium. Each conference address is translated into over 90 languages, many of which are interpreted in the Conference Center and broadcast around the world in real time. During general conference, music is provided by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, which is made up of 360 singers. The auditorium stage houses a Schoenstein organ, which has over 7,000 pipes—some of them among the largest organ pipes in existence. Behind the scenes of this event, hundreds of employees and volunteers work the lighting, sound, and cameras.
The Conference Center is also a performance home of the world-famous Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. This venue provides a home for the choir’s national broadcast of Music & the Spoken Wordnullduring the summer months and the annual PBS holiday special Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir. It is also a major venue for the Latin-inspired Luz de las Naciones (Light of the Nations) performance along with a host of other concerts and special engagements throughout the year.
Located within the Conference Center is the Conference Center Theater. This 850-seat theater is comparable to a Broadway theater with computer-controlled lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system. It is the site of Church productions such as Savior of the World and other family-oriented cultural productions and events.
The rooftop gardens are available through a guided tour. This provides a panoramic view of downtown Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Valley, and the Wasatch Mountain Range.
- A replica of sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s masterpiece, the Christus. Jesus Christ is central to Latter-day Saint beliefs.
- Seasonal broadcast (during the summer months) of Sunday morning’s Music & the Spoken Word featuring The Tabernacle Choir.
- Multiple exhibits showcasing artwork of Christ, His ministry, and His Resurrection as recorded in the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon. Artwork also depicts the lives and faith of those who have followed Him throughout time.
- Multiple exhibits in different areas of the Conference Center showcasing the history of the Saints in the Salt Lake area as well as the history of the Salt Lake Temple.
- In the Conference Center Theater—a 17-minute orientation film providing a welcome to Temple Square, including the construction of the Salt Lake Temple and an explanation of why temples are so important to Latter-day Saints as a place to worship God.
- In the main auditorium—a film, “Why We Gather,” that shares the history of the Conference Center and how it’s used today.
- In the east lobby and on the third floor—original photos, artifacts, and information about the Salt Lake Temple’s original construction.
- Throughout the Conference Center—bronze sculptures depicting key moments of Latter-day Saint history.
- The third-floor observation deck, which provides views of the north side of the Salt Lake Temple seismic renovation project. Included in this area is the Temple Model, a scaled-down cutout replica of the Salt Lake Temple.
- Free guided and self-guided tours for individuals, families, and large groups.
- The rooftop gardens, which host acres of native trees and grasses reflecting the meadowlands of Utah. The roof also includes a stunning view of the Salt Lake Temple seismic renovation project.
- Elevators, escalators, and stairs are available for every walking level.
- Spanish and Mandarin translations of the films are available.