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See a Timeline of How General Conference Has Been Relayed ‘by Some Miraculous Power’ 

Conference timeline
Timeline of how the Church has relayed general conference through the years. Graphic courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2020 Deseret News Publishing Company.

View a high-quality PDF of the timeline.

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Rachel Sterzer Gibson, Church News

Conference timeline
Portrait of Apostle Orson Pratt. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library. 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

On a Sunday afternoon on December 28, 1873, — two years before Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone — Apostle Orson Pratt stood in the First Ward School House and delivered a discourse.

He noted that any sound produced by man could not, generally speaking, reach more than 30 miles from where it originated. “Which is a very small space indeed,” he said. And yet, the sounding of the trump “will be heard by all people, nations, kindreds and tongues in the four quarters of our globe. I do not know that the sound will be so much louder than some we have heard, but it will be carried by some miraculous power so that all people will hear it” (Journal of Discourses, 16:328).
Considering that today’s general conference proceedings are available instantaneously on a variety of platforms and in many languages, Pratt’s words seem prophetic. A blog post on the Church History blog from September 10, 2019, by Christine R. Marin, Church history audiovisual specialist, takes a look at how the Church has relayed the words of the apostles and prophets so they could be heard “in the four quarters of the globe” through the years.

Conferences were called by the First Presidency as needed, as revealed to Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio, March 8, 1831, “It always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:2).
The 50th annual conference in April 1880 became the earliest official Church-produced report of conference.
Shortly after President Russell M. Nelson was born, general conference was broadcast by radio for the first time on October 3, 1924.
The earliest-dated sound recording of conference is April 5, 1936. Speakers included President David O. McKay, President J. Reuben Clark and President Heber J. Grant.

General Conference Today

Due to concerns with the global spread of illness caused by COVID-19, the public will not be admitted to the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and proceedings will not be broadcast to meetinghouses or stake centers where the spread of COVID-19 is of concern. However, Church members will still have unprecedented access to the proceedings through digital technology.

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