What to expect at viewing, funeral for Mormon leader Thomas S. Monson

Note: You can watch the live stream of Thomas S. Monson’s funeral here.

Thousands of mourners will pay their last respects to LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson on Thursday, solemnly filing past the 90-year-old Mormon leader’s casket.

Church officials would not confirm specifics, but Monson, who died Jan. 2 at age 90 — one month shy of 10 years leading The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — was expected to be in an open casket, clad in the simple white tie and white shirt of Mormon temple attire as he lies in repose inside the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

Thursday’s public viewing, open to all ages, will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mourners will file silently by the casket, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said Wednesday, and no contact with the body will be allowed.

Monson’s viewing and funeral were expected to follow the same general patterns of other temple-worthy Mormons — though tens of thousands will attend in person and millions more will be watching around the globe.

The Conference Center’s 21,000 seats are expected to be filled Friday for the funeral, with overflow crowds inside the structure’s theater as well as the nearby Tabernacle and Assembly Hall.

The noon service will be broadcast live on the LDS.org and MormonNewsroom.org websites, as well as KSL-Channel 5, KUTV-Channel 2 and a number of other outlets.

The funeral is open to those ages 8 and older. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m., and attendees must be seated by 11:30 a.m.

Afterward, the funeral procession, which was changed slightly Friday, will travel south on West Temple, turn east onto South Temple, then north onto N Street up to the historic Salt Lake City Cemetery, where the late LDS leader will be buried in a private service.

Monson’s funeral service officially begins when his casket, having been closed previously in a private ceremony, is rolled onto the dais. His family likely will follow behind, and the meeting will proceed with reminiscences, eulogies, songs and sermons, bookmarked by opening and closing prayers.

Church officials did not identify speakers before the funeral, nor reveal what songs or hymns would be sung by individual performers or the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

However, if the funeral follows the pattern of that for Monson’s 97-year-old predecessor, Gordon B. Hinckley, the late president will be eulogized by soon-to-be LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson, 93.

Dallin H. Oaks, 85, a senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and second in line of succession behind Nelson for the faith’s presidency, also might speak.

Typically, children of the deceased prophet share their memories, joined by surviving members of the church’s First Presidency — in this case, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

There should be no shortage of tales to tell, including the myriad yarns Monson himself divulged during more than five decades of General Conference talks — remembrances, both touching and humorous, events and lessons from a long life that began in a Depression-era Salt Lake City family living in a low-income neighborhood.

Monson often spoke of the charitable example of his mother, who would feed passing transients and help struggling neighbors.

Later, as a Mormon bishop at age 22 and then called as an apostle at the tender age of 36, Monson often would quietly visit, pray with and aid the sick, grieving and widows.

Those instances, too, likely will be noted Friday.

During the October 2016 General Conference, one of the last ones he would preside over, a feeble Monson spoke of his 1964 visit to the New York World’s Fair, where he visited the Mormon Pavilion. He said he sat next to a younger man as the church’s “Man’s Search for Happiness” film was shown.

“We witnessed a touching depiction of the passing from this life of an elderly grandfather and of his glorious reunion with loved ones who had preceded him to the spirit world,” Monson recalled. “At the conclusion of this beautiful portrayal of our Heavenly Father’s plan for us, the crowd silently filed out, many visibly touched by the message of the film. The young visitor next to me did not arise. I asked if he had enjoyed the presentation. His emphatic response: ‘This is the truth!’ ”