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.