General Conference Reaches a Global Audience

%28Photo+by+Brent+Uberty%29

Brent Uberty

(Photo by Brent Uberty)

(Photo by Brent Uberty)
(Photo by Brent Uberty)

 
Countless eyes and ears will be focused on speakers and events at the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which will be held in Salt Lake City, Oct. 4 to 5.
Broadcast in 95 languages and touching all corners of the globe, the LDS General Conference will host several sessions addressing the members of the LDS religion and anyone else who wishes to listen.
The Conference Center will be filled to its 21,000 person capacity during the two days of the event. The conference annually becomes a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
Many travel from across the globe to be physically present in Salt Lake while the leadership of the LDS Church addresses its followers.
Sean Peck, assistant director of student affairs for the U’s LDS Institute of Religion, said the intended audiences for General Conference are not just members of the church.
“The messages the leaders of the Church pour out from their hearts can be felt and understood by people of all religions,” Peck said. “There is something in Conference for everyone.”
Peck said the Institute is ready for what members colloquially refer to as “Conference weekend.” Although Conference will not be broadcast at the institute, students are encouraged to participate in the event.
As students enter the institute building, they are met with four metal wire trees in front of a large board. The board invites students to hang favorite quotes and stories that come out of this General Conference on the wire trees.
General Conference is separated into four general sessions, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Each session is approximately two hours in length.
A third session also happens on Saturday that specifically addresses men, although women have access to the speeches given during this session when they are published online and in print (on the Church’s website, lds.org, and in the Church’s magazine, The Ensign). Similarly, a session addressed specifically to women happened last weekend, Sept. 27.
Charles Schwab, a professor at the Institute, said the separation of gender is not meant to be about exclusion.
“The topics that are presented to the women are ones that directly affect them and that they will find meaningful and personal,” Schwab said. “The Church tries to ensure that each one of its members gets the most fulfilling experience out of Conference weekend.”
Schwab said he would describe the experience of attending conference as memorable and personal.
“I have attended several conferences,” Schwab added. “At each one of them the feeling is absolutely great. To be there and watch the speeches is a personal, intimate experience. At home it is easy to get distracted, but being in the room with the speakers allows your focus to be entirely on the message.”
With recent technological developments, people are now able to access Conference online as well, through radio, television, computer or smartphone.
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