Apr 4, 2011

Saturday Night is Alright for Hugs

I had a pretty good Saturday. It went better than I figured too, I have to admit that I was feeling a little anti-social and was not in the mood to go out in public. All I wanted to do was just hide out at my home.

I woke up early Saturday morning to play some racquetball, which is quickly becoming my new obsession. I don't think I sleep well the night before I defend my title. I wake up a ton of times during the night and sometimes I dream about it. Saturdays are fun to play since we usually have another fellow that plays with us so we then can play some vicious games of Cutthroat. I must really like to play since it overrode my feelings of being anti-social. We all played well, we each won a game.

I came home and went to Macey's (the local grocery store) and got some donuts and treats for General Conference. For those that don't know what General Conference is, it is a time when our Prophet and other Church leaders speak to us. These talks (they are like sermons) are filled with wonderful messages that are uplifting. We as a family eagerly listened while devouring our donuts. After the first session I went upstairs and showered and dressed.

The second session was just as good as the first one. But I had to leave about halfway through it since I was meeting some other men from our ward. A group of us decided to go down to Salt Lake City and attend the Priesthood Session. The Priesthood Session of General Conference is for all the men to attend. We met at the church here and a small group of us traveled down to Salt Lake. I was on the fence with this. I did want to go but I was just not in the mood. But I went anyway, it was better to go with a bunch of guys that I knew instead of going to the church by myself later that evening.

And I am so glad I went.

The trip down was fun with just a bunch of guys chatting and we made real good time. We arrived in Salt Lake an hour and a half before the meeting started. We thought we might have time to grab some chow but we ended up barely making it. It took us forever to find a parking spot! We drove around the Conference Center and we just couldn't find anything. We stopped at a stop sign when a young man came to our window and asked us if we were looking for a place to park. We said we were and he handed us a ticket to a private parking center just a half block away from Temple Square.

One of the things that I love to do is people watch and I was lucky enough to have my friend Kyle come along because he is the exact same way. We watched and talked about the tons of people that were at Temple Square. We all got out of the van (there was five of us, me, Jay, Kyle, Brian and Walt) and we walked to the Conference Center. Now we didn't have tickets to the Priesthood Session, we were just hoping to get some standby tickets. When we crossed the road over to Temple Square, Jay said we could either cut through Temple Square or walk around the protesters! Both Kyle and I excitedly said we would go through the protesters.

While we were driving around looking for a parking space we noticed a peculiar set of protesters. They held up signs with "Free Hugs" scrawled across them. We couldn't figure out who these people were and what they were up to. But we were about to find out why. As we got closer, Jay asked if we were going to get some hugs. But they weren't just going to give out hugs, they were also giving out high fives as well. We didn't have a problem with that.

I didn't know that this Free Hug thing was a normal event. This picture was taken last year at General Conference.

I just had to see what they were protesting. So I walked over and got a hug from a young lady. Before I hugged her I told her that I would hug her only if she told me why she was giving out free hugs. I was very surprised by her answer. Her and her family wanted to show us (those that are Latter Day Saints) that they supported us and that we shouldn't have to subject ourselves through all the hate and anger that the protesters were showing. They were not members of the Church but they loved living among us. That totally took us back. Most of the people that walked by ignored them and I felt bad that they were there to support us. I am so glad that I took the time to stop and visit with them. I thanked each one of them for their efforts. There was a mom with her four kids doing this.

We walked in and saw a huge line of men waiting for standby tickets. Seriously, this line was long! We found Alan (another member of our ward that we were supposed to meet up with) and we walked past the old Tabernacle when a lady pulled us aside to tell us a secret. She was one of the volunteer workers there and she told us that there was no way that this line would be able to get in. Which means we weren't going to be able to get in either since we were not even in line. She said we could watch the broadcast there at the old tabernacle or we could go to the Joseph Smith Theatre and watch it in comfortable seats and on a huge HD screen. We took her advice and went to the theatre and we were barely able to get seats.

The Priesthood Session began and it was amazing. It was fun to watch Conference on such a huge screen (it being bigger than my house!) and it was great to be with a packed house full of the Priesthood. The messages were fantastic and I was so glad that I went.

Afterwards we got back into our van and headed home. We stopped at Bountiful and grabbed some food at Carl's Jr. and then drove through the rain and snow back to Logan. I got back at about 10:30 or so. The car ride home was a lot of fun. I know Jay and Kyle since I serve with them in the Elders Quorum Presidency but I didn't know Alan, Walt and Brian all that well. It was great chatting with them and getting to know them better. This was a great activity and it definitely bonded us since we have a ton of inside jokes that no one but us will get.


  1. Inside jokes on those kinds of outings are always the best!

    How cool about the Free Hugs people! I am glad you stopped and that you gave them a reason to continue supporting us.

    It never ceases to amaze me that so called Christians could protest a gathering and celebration of the very Savior that they profess to believe in and follow. (Sigh)

  2. Awesome post.... sounds like it was quite a fun adventure!