Monday, March 30, 2009

LDS Conference

This weekend starts the 179th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. So many people aren't really sure what this is and even more have no clue that it exists. I'll take the time to explain what it is.

Thomas S. Monson at General ConferenceFirst some orginizational structure to help explain the conference. At the head of the Church is the Prophet (Thomas S. Monson). He is part of the First Presidency and has two counselors (Henry B. Eyering & Deiter F. Uchdorf). Under them is the quarum of 12 apostles. All of these reside in Salt Lake City, but they spend a lot of their time all over the world. The next tier is the Seventies and there are currently 8 quarums of the Seventy. These are assigned to geographical areas and reside in these areas. The 4th tier in leadership is the Stake Presidents and the Fifth Tier is the Bishops.

Ok, now that we've given some background on the structure of the church leadership we can talk about conference. The main purpose is for the general membership to hear from the Prophet, Apostles and Seventies. The Prophet and all the Apostles speak at every conference. A smattering of Seventies are thrown in to fill out the schedule. After fastig and prayer they prepare talks on current issues, old issues and church direction. There are five, 2 hour sessions of conference. Saturday: Morning, Afternoon & the Priesthood session. Sunday: Morning (geared for non-members) & Afternoon. Incidentally the Relief Society (Women's organization) holds a primer meeting a week before conference.

Conference can be seen at all Stake Centers and some church buildings via satellite. Many local cable companies carry the conference on their public access channels. The BYU channel, available through most digital cable and satellite services, also broadcasts conference.

in my family we have a tradition of going to the church to watch conference and having a picnic between sessions. Even though we can watch it at home I do prefer watching at the building.

It is interesting to note that as the church has grown that technology has grown to keep up with it. When members began to be so spread out that they wouldn't get to conference, magazines sent through international mail brought the conference. When the church was large enough that a significant portion of members would not be able hear it, radio began to be in wide use. When there was a significant number of people who would never see the leadership speak, TV began to be in widespread use. When there began to be a significant portion of members that lived outside the US, satellite transmission became available. Now the entire church can watch the conference at the same time all accross the globe. I am impressed whenever I think about it.

Be one.