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Latter-day Saint young single adult conference filling up, with some events sold out

Jul 27, 2023, 3:51 PM

Attendees at a devotional for young adults at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on May 15, 20...

Attendees at a devotional for young adults at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on May 15, 2022. (Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

(Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The concert for the Utah Area Young Single Adult Conference has already sold out, but tickets to other events remain available for young single adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who want to participate in the conference next month.

The concert, which will be held on Aug. 5 and features OneRepublic, Tori Kelly and Jordan Smith, was moved from the Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo to the Delta Center to “better accommodate attendees,” according to the event’s Instagram page. The 5K Fun Run in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 12 also already sold out.

Tickets for the other events including the dance on Aug. 11, Gather Together Conference at the Salt Palace on Aug. 19 and devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Aug. 20 are still available until July 31 or until they sell out. The price for tickets to the conference decreased to $25 when there were no longer spots available for the concert.

This is the first time the Utah area, containing congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah and some in neighboring states, has held an area-wide conference for young single adults.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, president of the Utah area, said they are using the word “epic” to describe the upcoming conference — and they want the event to be fun — but organizers and church leaders are also hoping to use the event to increase the faith of members who attend.

“We’re trying to help them to focus their lives and and make better connections — with one another, and with the Savior and our Heavenly Father,” he said.

He said the conference has been planned by young single adult members, and over 40 people have been helping on various committees to pull the activities together. Elder Pearson said it has been fun to watch them take charge and shape and develop the events.

The Gather Together Conference and devotional at the end of the conference, Elder Pearson said, are specifically designed to be inspirational and testimony building.

The Saturday event will feature short inspirational messages from church leaders and other noteworthy Latter-day Saints like author Brandon Sanderson, Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson, artist Kate Lee and executive producer of “The Chosen,” Brad Pelo. There will also be concerts, live bands, a service project, tours of a tabernacle replica, sports, dinner and speed dating.

“I think the young single adults will really be inspired and motivated and it’ll just be a great event,” Elder Pearson said.

Elder Pearson, a general authority seventy, said when he served in Australia and New Zealand, church leaders would hold country-wide young single adult conferences regularly. But despite, and maybe because of, the large number of young single adults in Utah, a large conference has never been held. He said these conferences strengthen faith, build connections and are fun.

He said this Utah conference will be one of the largest gatherings of young single adults the church has ever held.

“This is really going to be a historic event — the first-time-ever opportunity to try to gather large numbers of young single adults to to an event like this,” Elder Pearson said.

He said the goal of the event is to bolster faith and create connection, both with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and with other people who have similar beliefs. The theme of the conference is “come together in Christ.”

“Everything we do in the church is focused on a single objective and that is to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to help us develop a closer relationship with him. And so that is naturally the theme and the focus of this conference as well. … We want to help our young single adults understand the importance of developing a relationship with the Savior and focusing their life on him,” Elder Pearson said.

He said they are learning a lot about marketing an event like this, and it is difficult to communicate to everyone, so they focused on the corridor between Utah County and Salt Lake County — and thousands of people are registering.

“We’ll absolutely pack all of the venues and then some,” he said.

Elder Pearson said there is a lot more capacity at the Salt Palace and most people will be able to get a ticket for that event. He said they can accommodate between 30,000 and 40,000 people at just that event.

The devotional and the “Christ Daily” talks at the Gather Together Conference will be broadcast live on the conference website for those who do not get tickets.

A devotional in May 2022 with President Russell M. Nelson and his wife designed for young single adults had almost 40,000 people in attendance, Elder Pearson said. The Conference Center holds 21,000 and attendees could also watch from other areas around Temple Square. Elder Pearson said this was the first time they tried to get as many young single adults in one place as possible.

“We want our young single adults to understand that they really belong to just a really large vast group of believers who have shared values,” Elder Pearson said.

He said they are working to counteract a feeling of disconnection and isolation that many are feeling due to social media and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elder Pearson said social media has an ability to skew reality; young single adults who “live” on social media can still feel like they live in a world dominated by nonbelievers. This conference can give those people a real experience where they can see they are not alone in their beliefs.

He said they hope to hold conferences in other years with some degree of regularity, whether it is yearly or every other year, but he said the church may focus on other areas of Utah for some of the conferences.

Elder Pearson said they are still evaluating the feasibility of inviting the over 300,000 young single adult members in Utah to events and how to find venues to accommodate so many people.

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Latter-day Saint young single adult conference filling up, with some events sold out