The Interpreter Foundation’s first independently-generated conference, “Science and Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth, and Man,” begins its public event at 8:30 AM tomorrow (Saturday) morning in the Utah Valley Convention Center in downtown Provo. (The conference will not, please note, be held on the BYU campus nor on the campus of Utah Valley University.) The address is 220 West Center Street, in Provo.
I admit to some nervousness.
Not about the contents of the program. We have a first-rate group of participants, and I expect that they will have much of interest to say.
No, I’m nervous about the audience.
We had to cut pre-registration off at 600. That’s the capacity of the room. However, and especially since the conference is free to the public, we really have no idea how many people will actually show up. It could be 150, or it could be 700. Having invested nothing, I’m sure that some will wake up on Saturday saying, “Meh. I just don’t feel like it today.”
Particularly since we’ll be streaming the conference, recording it, and, eventually, publishing its proceedings.
My advice is that those who have registered show up by 8:00 or 8:15 AM. (The parking situation around the Convention Center is not ideal. There’s plenty of parking in the immediate vicinity, but the Convention Center itself has remarkably little parking.)
I also advise those who haven’t registered but who want to attend to show up early, as well. If, just before the conference opens at 8:30 AM, there are still empty seats in the room, we will open seating up even to non-registrants. (We plan, if need be, to have a line for non-registered people seeking admission. Shortly before 8:30, people in that line, if there is one, will be allowed to enter the conference room, in order of their place in the line, to the extent that seats are available.)
This is all an experiment. It’s our first conference, and we’re not professional conference organizers. We’re bumbling academics. So we hope for the patience and charity of those who come tomorrow. In exchange, we fully expect them to have a very stimulating experience.