Latter-day Saints prepare for weekend’s Annual General Conference
Photo supplied, Intellectual Reserves
Even with the ebb and flow of a global pandemic, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leaders have been busier than ever.
Members of the church are readying for this weekend’s General Conference, which will be held, in person, at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City for the first time in two years. The number of people allowed to attend are reduced because of parking constraints and construction at the Salt Lake Temple. Approximately 10,000 will be allowed in each session. Tickets have been distributed to local church leaders for distribution.
April’s Annual General Conference begins Thursday with leadership meetings and ends with the general sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
There will be five sessions this weekend, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Saturday sessions begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. MDT with a Women’s session at 6 p.m. for female members ages 12 and up. The Sunday sessions start at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
It’s been a busy six months for the church leading up to conference. The most obvious is the weekly groundbreakings, open houses and dedications of temples throughout the world. Because of the pandemic, most of these have been held with only a handful of members attending.
Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo
Of particular note is the renovations of the legacy St. George and Salt Lake City temples. The St. George temple is close to completion and Salt Lake has approximately two more years of construction. That includes temple square, the temple and the church office building plaza remodel.
Here are some of the more important and interesting things that have happened within the LDS Church since October:
- The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square resumed live broadcasts.
- The Genesis Group, organized for Black members of the church celebrated its 50th anniversary.
- The Light the World Giving Machines collected $6 million in gift donations this past Christmas.
- The General Handbook of the Church was completed in English and is available online.
- The church published a new pamphlet discussing ways to understanding between Muslims and Latter-day Saints.
- Original handwritten Book of Mormon manuscript, pieced together for reading and display.
- 175th anniversary of the Mormon Battalion celebrated at the Mormon Battalion museum in San Diego, California.
- Missionaries and volunteers were taken out of Ethiopia, Ukraine and Russia due to civil unrest and relocated to other missions.
- The Relief Society celebrated 180 years of service and fulfilling its motto — Charity Never Faileth.
As the pandemic has started easing, the First Presidency announced that temples, depending on area regulations, can start entering Phase 4 of reopening. Phase 4 means temples will be back to regular operations. Most temples worldwide are in Phase 3, by appointment only.
Leaders of the church have travelled around the world with notable stops for Elder David Bednar in Dubai, where a temple has been announced. He also visited Jordan and other areas in the middle-east.
President M. Russell Ballard and Elders Jeffrey R. Holland and Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles took a weeklong trip to the United Kingdom where the three had served missions in their early years.
Courtesy Intellectual Reserves
From Asia to South America and from Samoa to the refugee camps in the middle east, church leaders have visited, ministered and blessed the people throughout the world.
For this conference, as in others, President Russell M. Nelson is inviting the world to listen to conference and the Christ-centered messages that will fortify and uplift those who listen during the hard times both now and in the future.
While there are many of those who have passed away since October, several prominent members of the LDS community passed away including Sister Donna Packer, wife of the late President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
As for the missionary effort of the church, the Missionary Training Centers have reopened and two new missions have been created.
Helping Hands and Latter-day Saint Charities have also been busy caring for those affected by typhoons, hurricanes, tornados, volcanoes and those who have been made refugees of war and conflicts throughout the world. That also includes monetary donations totaling millions of dollars along with food, water, medical supplies and other life-saving commodities.
Full-time missionaries this year were robbed in Mexico and another full-time missionary was shot while playing basketball inside a church in Alabama.
For those who would like to listen to conference, all sessions will be streamed live on the live events page of http://ChurchofJesusChrist.org. You can also watch and listen on the General Conference YouTube channel, Gospel Library app, and other radio, television, satellite and digital channels. For a detailed list of live and on-demand viewing options, see Ways to Watch on the church’s website.