General Conference of the LDS Church (Mormon) is Modern Scripture

Held Twice Yearly, General Conference is Eagerly Anticipated by All Mormons

LDS Conference Auditorium
A view from the top balcony of the 21,000-plus capacity Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah during general conference weekend, 5 October 2014. Photo courtesy of © 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

What General Conference Means to LDS Members

General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is held twice yearly. The April Conference is always close to April 6, the day the modern Church was organized as well as what we believe is the actual date of Jesus Christ's birth. In October, it is generally held the first or second weekend.

Usually, Mormons shorten the actual name to just Conference. Although many conferences are held by Mormons each year, General Conference occurs on Temple Square and is a worldwide conference. There is nothing else like it.

Top leaders of the Church give members inspired counsel and guidance throughout Conference. Even though this is modern, it is considered scripture, especially scripture for now and the next six months.

Description of What Takes Place at General Conference

General Conference is held in the LDS Conference Center at Temple Square. Before it was built in 2000, it was held in the Mormon Tabernacle. This is where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir gets its name and it provides much of the music for Conference.

Currently, General Conference consists of five sessions, each lasts two hours. Morning sessions start at 10 a.m. Afternoon sessions begin at 2 p.m. The Priesthood session begins at 6 p.m. All the sessions follow Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

  • Saturday Morning Session
  • Saturday Afternoon Session
  • Priesthood Session
  • Sunday Morning Session
  • Sunday Afternoon Session

Although considered part of General Conference, the General Women's Meeting is held the prior Saturday night before Conference weekend. It is for all female members of record, ages eight and up.

The Priesthood Session is for all male priesthood holders, ages 12 and up. The session is geared toward instructing and training men on their priesthood responsibilities in the Church.

The Prophet and other top leaders give a series of instructional talks interspersed with music, provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other musical guests.

The Prophet and his two counselors that make up the First Presidency always speak. All Apostles also speak. Other speakers are assigned from both the male and female leaders of the worldwide Church.

What Else Takes Place During General Conference?

Besides uplifting talks and music, other things happen at Conference. Often there are announcements. Locations for new temples to be built are generally announced, as well as big changes in Church policy and procedure.

For example, when the missionary age was lowered for both men and women it was first announced during Conference.

When releases or deaths have occurred among top church leaders, their replacements are announced. The congregation is then asked to sustain them in their new callings by raising their right hands.

During the April Conference, Church statistics for the prior year are announced. This includes the number of members of record, number of missions, number of missionaries, etc.

How to Access General Conference

You can access Conference in numerous ways. You can physically attend it yourself. However, if that is not possible, you can listen to it on radio or view it on television, cable, satellite and the Internet. Later, you can download it and view it on almost any digital device of your choice.

It is also transmitted to many LDS meetinghouses located throughout the world. Check with a local Mormon congregation to see if this is an option for you.

General Conference is often transmitted in multiple languages, including ASL. After it is over, it can be digitally downloaded with subtitles in many languages. All talks and music can be read and accessed online.

The Purpose and Function of General Conference

Conference has a purpose, a serious one. It is designed so that modern Church leaders can relay the guidance and counsel of Heavenly Father to us in this modern day.

The world and our circumstances are changing. Although prior scripture is vital to our lives, we need to know what Heavenly Father wants us to know right now.

This does not mean scripture changes. All scripture is relevant and applicable to us. What it means is that Heavenly Father guides us in applying all His counsel to our modern Church and modern lives. Also, He helps us determine what is most important for us to focus on right now.

All Church members should study and review Conference instruction. It is the current word of the Lord to us, especially for the next six months.