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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Factoids of LDS General Conference

General Conference is broadcast twice a year- the first week in April as well as in October. It can be watched on KSL, or online (I've posted that link below). In a nutshell, it is a time when the General Authorities of the LDS church gather together and share their thoughts on Gospel principles and offer instruction to those in attendance.

*June 1830 was the first ever General Conference. There were about 30 members of the church in attendance, plus some visitors.

*April 2000 General Conference: President Hinckley "read a 1924 journal entry from James E. Talmage in which Elder Talmage wrote of what he saw as the future of communication for the Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]. He described a 'great pavilion' which he envisioned would seat twenty thousand people or more and would be equipped with amplifiers and connected to a broadcasting system capable of reaching throughout the inter-mountain region" (LDS Living Magazine March/April 2008).

*The year Pres. Hinckley gave that particular General Conference address ("To All the World in Testimony") was the year the LDS Conference Center opened its doors to 21,000 guests. The Conference Center not only broadcasts 'throughout the inter-mountain region' but also worldwide.

*130 people make up the technical crew involved in filming and broadcasting General Conference from the LDS Conference Center every 6 months. When one conference session concludes, preparations for the next immediately begin.

*Conference is available via Internet, Cable, Satellite, Radio, down loadable MP3 files, The Ensign, CDs and videos.

*1968 Conference was translated from English to 11 other languages

*1981 Conference was translated into 17 other languages

*1997 Conference was translated into 30+ languages

*2004 Conference was translated into 66 languages (Arabic joined the list for the first time in 12 years!)

*2008 Conference will be translated into 91 different languages (woot woot!)

The great thing about Conference is that anyone can participate. The blessings received by listening to the counsel of the speakers is not limited to any one religion. It is amazing to have modern-day revelation given to us on this earth. Times are changing and becoming more difficult, so it is increasingly important to have General Authorities offer guidance regarding relevant trials and hardships we are bound to face today.

I am grateful for General Conference, especially since I can watch it on TV in Utah. When I lived in Maine, my family went to my mom's office to listen to a delayed recording on the Internet. We all piled up blankets and pillows on her office floor and tried to stay awake while listening to the broadcast. Glad those days are over!

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