If you are familiar at all with the LDS (Latter Day Saint) church, chances are pretty good that you have heard the term “conference” before. It’s often talked about by members of the church. It is used in sentences like, “Next week is conference.” or “I can’t do anything that day, it’s conference,” or even “I don’t have church today, it’s conference.” Well, yesterday and today is “conference.” So, I have written this post as a general introduction to exactly what conference is and why it is so important to the LDS church.
Conference, more correctly called General Conference, is a twice a year event that includes all the members of the Mormon church. It takes place in Salt Lake City in a building, called the Conference Center, that was made for this purpose. It holds over 21,000 people. There are six sessions of General Conference. Four of them are for every body. One of them is directed at the men and teenage boys of the church, and one is directed at the women or teenage girls. The conferences consist of spiritually uplifting talks from the leaders of the church and songs, usually sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but sometimes by other choirs, such as the BYU choir.
|The Conference Center|
General Conference is held the first weekend in October and April. There is a session at 10 am and 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The first General Conference was held in 1831.
Conference sessions serve many purposes. They are a time for the leaders of the church to give instruction, to remind the members of what’s important, and as a time to give announcements, such as the huge announcement at the last conference that the missionary age would be lowered. The speakers talk about things like faith, children, missionary service, Jesus Christ, seeing other’s true potential, the Atonement, loving your neighbor, death, and many more things. It’s kind of like a motivational speaker, on steroids. To read or listen to past Conference talks from the October 2012, click here.
Mathew 24:14 states that the gospel will be preached unto all the world. I believe that this prophesy is fulfilled every time General Conference happens. The Conference is broadcast all over the world. Anyone with an internet connection can access the sessions of Conference either live or after they happen. At the last Conference, which was in October, over 100,000 people attended a session of conference. It was viewed in 197 countries. It was translated into 94 languages. People gathered in church buildings and in their homes to hear what the leaders of the church had to say to the world.
In the bible, it often talks about Prophets. The Lord prepared men to be Prophets to the people. The Prophet’s job was to guide and warn the people. They are there for the sake of the people. The LDS church believes that the Lord still prepares men to be Prophets. He still sends men to warn and guide His children. I believe that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s Prophet today. He speaks at General Conference. I know every time I hear him that he is a prophet of the Lord, sent to be a mouth piece of the Lord. The Prophet will be speaking today, at the 10 am session. For more about why we need Prophets, click here. Some of the other speakers are members of what is called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When Christ was on the Earth, He organized the church with the help of 12 apostles. The LDS church also has 12 Apostles. To learn more about who those men are, click here.
If you would like to watch a session of General Conference, you can do so from your own home. The are broadcast live at this website and can be downloaded or streamed after the conference is over as well. I strongly encourage everyone to take some time and check it out. Even if you don’t believe or belong to the Mormon church, I promise that if you listen to Conference, your life will be blessed for it.
Interested in learning more? Here is a highlights clip from the last General Conference.
If you have questions about the church, you can find most of the answers at lds.org. I would be
happy ecstatic to answer any questions that I can. You can email those questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out the program that I am involved in with a few other Mormon bloggers here.