2020 a “Bicentennial Year,” with April Conference “Different from Any Previous Conference,” President Nelson Says

Contributed By Scott Taylor, Church News managing editor

  • 6 October 2019

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints concludes the 189th Semiannual General Conference on Sunday, October 6.

Article Highlights

  • 2020 is the bicentennial of the First Vision.
  • Read Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision in the Pearl of Great Price.

“In the next six months, I hope that every member and every family will prepare for a unique conference that will commemorate the very foundations of the restored gospel.” —President Russell M. Nelson

 

President Russell M. Nelson closed the October 2019 general conference with an invitation for Latter-day Saints to prepare for the subsequent April 2020 general conference, 200 years since Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

“The year 2020 will be designated as a bicentennial year. General conference next April will be different from any previous conference,” President Nelson announced at the end of the Sunday afternoon session.

“In the next six months, I hope that every member and every family will prepare for a unique conference that will commemorate the very foundations of the restored gospel.”

In previewing plans for the coming year, President Nelson recounted those “very foundations.”

“In the springtime of the year 2020, it will be exactly 200 years since Joseph Smith experienced the theophany that we know as the First Vision,” he said. “God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph, a 14-year-old youth. That event marked the onset of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness, precisely as foretold in the Holy Bible.”

Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichart's The First Vision (1934) depicts a key moment of the Restoration. Photo courtesy of Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

Del Parson’s depiction of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. in the Sacred Grove in Manchester, New York, when he received the First Vision.

He recited the succession of visits from heavenly messengers to Joseph—John the Baptist; the early Apostles Peter, James, and John; Moses; Elias; and Elijah. “Each brought divine authority to bless God’s children on the earth once again,” President Nelson said.

He continued, underscoring latter-day scripture, the restored keys and offices of the priesthood, and the organizations and callings of the Church—“all vital parts of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.”

President Nelson invited Church members to read Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price, noting that next year’s Come, Follow Me course of study is the Book of Mormon.

“You may wish to ponder important questions such as, ‘How would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?’ or ‘How have the events that followed the First Vision made a difference for me and my loved ones?’”

He suggested incorporating the new Book of Mormon Videos into individual and family study.

“Select your own questions,” President Nelson continued. “Design your own plan. Immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration. As you do, general conference next April will be not only memorable; it will be unforgettable.”

Joseph Smith’s First Vision stained glass in the Palmyra New York Temple. Photo by Willie Holdman.