After ‘exercising patience,’ Jehovah’s Witnesses return to Ogden for their big convention

First in-person gathering since the pandemic will take place at Dee Events Center.

(Jeremy Harmon | The Salt Lake Tribune) Thousands attend the Jehovah's Witnesses' 2003 convention at the Dee Events Center in Ogden. Two decades later, attendance is expected to top 4,000 this weekend and next.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention is returning to Ogden after three years of pandemic-related virtual gatherings.

Sessions will be held at Weber State University’s Dee Events Center, where members have assembled annually for 40 years before 2020.

A Spanish-language convention, which began Friday, continues through Sunday, with an English version to follow June 30-July 2. More than 4,000 participants are expected each weekend. Sessions are free and open to the public.

Saturday at noon on both weekends, a large group baptism will take place for those who have completed a Bible study program and committed to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness. A pool will be set up on the floor of the Dee Events Center for the religious rite.

This year’s national convention theme is “Exercise Patience” — in accordance with the return to in-person conventions and Bible studies.

“If you never interact with a human, you don’t really need patience,” Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesperson Robert Hendriks said. “Being able to get back together is really the way to build yourself up, spiritually and emotionally.”