General Conference through the Years

    “General Conference through the Years,” Ensign, April 2020

    General Conference through the Years

    Salt Lake Tabernacle

    Now in its 190th year, general conference is a long-standing tradition every April and October, but there have been some interesting changes over the years:

    • 1830

      Two months after the Church was organized, Joseph Smith presided over the first general conference in Fayette, New York. About 30 members and several others attended.

    • 1850

      The Deseret News published the first full report of conference because a young reporter, George D. Watt, had been able to transcribe the talks in shorthand.

    • 1867

      General conference lasted four days instead of the usual three because the congregation voted to stay an extra day.

    • 1924

      Microphones were first used at the pulpit in the Tabernacle. Previously, speakers had to rely on the strength of their voices to be heard.

    • 1949

      With cameras set up in the Tabernacle, conference was first broadcast on television.

    • 1962

      Talks were interpreted into other languages—German, Dutch, and Spanish—for the first time in the Tabernacle. Now talks are interpreted in over 90 languages!

    • 1967

      General conference was broadcast on TV in color. The men of the Tabernacle Choir wore light blue jackets, and the women wore salmon-colored blouses.

    • 1977

      Changing from three days and six general sessions, conference lasted two days and included five general sessions.

    • 2000

      The new Conference Center in Salt Lake City, seating 21,000 people, hosted its first general conference.