“General Conference through the Years,” Liahona, April 2020
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:
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.
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.
General conference lasted four days instead of the usual three because the congregation voted to stay an extra day.
Microphones were first used at the pulpit in the Tabernacle. Previously, speakers had to rely on the strength of their voices to be heard.
Using cameras in the Tabernacle, conference was first broadcast on television.
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!
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.
Changing from three days and six general sessions, conference lasted two days and included five general sessions.
The new Conference Center in Salt Lake City, seating 21,000 people, hosted its first general conference.