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General Conference Will Be Held Without A Public In-Person Audience

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The April 2020 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be held without an in-person audience. The public will not be admitted to the Conference Center for the five sessions.

The announcement included a change to how the broadcast will air in congregations across the world impacted by the coronavirus.

Every six months, more than 100,000 people attend General Conference sessions the first weekends of April and October, but Wednesday The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles decided to limit people in the Conference Center.

“Proceedings of the conference will be distributed throughout the world via technology only,” officials said in a statement.

General Conference will still be broadcast on KSL TV, KSL Newsradio, and their corresponding websites, as well as the KSL TV streaming app on mobile devices or Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV. Information about finding those apps can be found at ksltv.com/apps.

Most Latter-day Saints watch General Conference sessions at home with families or friends but some gather in Church buildings throughout the world. The Church said meetinghouses will remain closed for the conference.

“The public will not gather at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City or at stake centers or meetinghouses in areas where COVID-19 is active,” the statement read.

A letter was sent to the church membership, saying the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were “deeply concerned” about the global spread of coronavirus.

“To help control this problem, we feel it wise to limit attendance at the upcoming April 2020 General Conference,” church officials said.

All five sessions will still be held in the Conference Center, with a minimum amount of Church leaders and staff needed to air the broadcasts.

“General Authorities, general officers and their spouses, musicians, choirs, technicians, and others will participate as assigned. But, proceedings of the conference will be distributed throughout the world via technology only,” officials said.

In its statement, Church officials said the public will not be admitted to the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, nor in meetinghouses across the world where COVID-19 has been active.

Church Members React

Margaret Silk is a Latter-day Saint from Indiana, visiting mother and doing some genealogy work at the Family History Library.

“Precautions need to be taken, so, as the Brethren have said. I am happy that they have done that,” said Silk. “I support them with whatever they say they need to do.”

Alice DeMaggio is a Church member from Utah.

“I’m not surprised. I know our leadership takes precautions and I support them in that. I was previously a nurse, so, I think it’s very wise,” she said.

KSL spoke with full-time missionaries, Sister Sydny Short and her companion, Sister Dinah Carcamo, outside Temple Square.

“Usually, there are thousands and thousands of people here for General Conference,” said Sister Short. “Last October, we got to talk with so many people and now, there’ll be no one here.”

Clark Gable, also from Utah, has attended General Conference at the Conference Center. He said the messages from Church leaders would still make an impact.

“It’ll be great just that we have the instruction anyway. Just so they don’t cancel Conference, that’s the main thing,” he said.

History Of General Conference Changes

In the 20th century, there have been General Conference interruptions.

Church leaders postponed General Conference in 1919 because of the Spanish Flu pandemic.

They asked the public not to travel and there was no audience for General Conference in April of 1942 because of World War II. This Conference took place in the Assembly Hall.

Church leaders cancelled General Conference once in modern times. The Deseret News headline was in September of 1957. There was a worldwide Asian flu pandemic, therefore no meetings.

Conference looked very different starting in April of 2000 when Church leaders dedicated the Conference Center, that was just 20 years ago.

Here is something that might make you smile… a Conference photo from 1911, with a very different warning. The sign reads, “Beware of Pickpockets!”

‘Conference Like No Other’

Last October, President Russell M. Nelson said this April’s General Conference would be like no other. Despite the changes announced due to coronavirus concerns, Church leaders have urged Latter-day Saints to keep their enthusiasm for the 200th Anniversary of the First Vision Commemoration.

Church leaders said members will hear and see all that has been planned, so continue to look forward to it.

Leadership Session Changes

The Church had previously announced changes to the leadership sessions for General Authorities normally held in conjunction with General Conference.

“General Authorities serving outside of the United States and all Area Seventies are excused from attending the general conference in Salt Lake City,” a press release said.

Church members living outside the United States were also discouraged from traveling to the April conference.

Also announced Wednesday were changes for meetings of large gatherings in parts of the world more impacted by COVID-19. Stake and leadership conferences have been postponed in parts of Asia, Europe and all of North America.

We at KSL are also here for you. Please join us on KSL-TV, ksltv.com and on our KSL TV as we carry all five sessions of General Conference live Saturday, April 4th at 10am, 2pm and 6pm and Sunday, April 5th at 10am and 2pm.


Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL TV wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy

What We Know And Don’t Know About The Coronavirus

Four Common Coronavirus Questions Answered

The latest coronavirus stories from KSL TV can be found here.

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirus?

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

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