Conference Live!
March 2004

“Conference Live!” New Era, Mar. 2004, 27

Conference Live!

Every six months, normally on the first weekends in April and October, the Church prepares for one of its most important events—general conference. Every Church member knows the importance of conference. Twice a year, we have the opportunity to be taught by our living prophets and General Authorities. Their messages need to spread around the world as quickly and accurately as possible, so members gather in the Conference Center or in stake centers, in front of televisions, at computers, or around radios to listen and learn.

To make sure that general conference is broadcast to every place possible, every type of technology—from broadcasting to digital recording to printing—is put to use. Hundreds and hundreds of people, each working to make things run smoothly, devote a lot of time and effort to this one event.

We thought you might like to see a few things that take place behind the scenes that enable you to watch and listen to conference in your homes or in your meetinghouses. We’ll explain a few things that you might notice during the broadcast.

In many ways, small miracles happen with each broadcast of general conference. No matter where you watch conference or in what language you listen, the Spirit of the Lord accompanies the words of His servants and is carried in the music of the choirs to His people everywhere.

Conference Center Facts

  • The Conference Center is the largest religious indoor auditorium in the world.

  • There are 21,000 seats in the main auditorium.

  • The organ has 7,667 pipes.

  • The Conference Center complex measures 1.5 million square feet (139,350 sq m) and covers 10 acres (4 ha).

  • There are 50,000 miles (80,450 km) of wire in the building, enough to wrap around the equator twice.

  • It took a little less than 1,000 days to build. Ground was broken on 24 July 1997, and the Conference Center was dedicated on 8 October 2000.

General Young Women Meeting

Search, Pray, Believe

“And all things shall work together for your good” (D&C 90:24).

Saturday, 27 March 2004, in the Conference Center

All young women 12 to 18 years of age, their mothers, and Young Women leaders are invited.



8 p.m. Eastern

10 p.m. Eastern

7 p.m. Central

9 p.m. Central

6 p.m. Mountain

8 p.m. Mountain

5 p.m. Pacific

7 p.m. Pacific

Also broadcast on the Internet at www.lds.org/broadcast.

The KBYU-TV rebroadcast will begin at 8 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Photography by Matt Reier, Craig Dimond, Welden C. Andersen, Kelly Larsen, Christina Smith, and Jed Wells

Just before the meeting starts, President and Sister Hinckley enter from the side of the Conference Center stage. With great care, President Hinckley accompanies his wife to her seat and then takes his place between his counselors near the podium.

To show respect when the prophet enters, the audience stands.

When 15-year-old Amy Baadsgaard (left) of Spanish Fork, Utah, attended conference in person, she couldn’t help noticing this moment: “Even though I wasn’t paying attention, I could just sense it as soon as he walked in. Everyone was talking and trying to find their seats, but as soon as the prophet entered, everyone stood up, and it was completely silent.”

Kevin Cope (above), 15, enjoyed seeing conference in person, but he said, “The same spirit we felt in the Conference Center today, teens everywhere can feel. As long as they’re listening intently and trying to feel the Spirit, then they will.”

The stage of the Conference Center can be changed according to the event. For conference, the stage is set into tiers with chairs arranged for all the General Authorities and for the general presidencies of the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society.

Of course, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir takes its place under the new pipe organ, like the one in the Tabernacle on Temple Square just across the street.

To make the stage and podium look beautiful, flowers and greenery are grown and arranged by those who take care of the Temple Square gardens. The flowers surround the podium, and greenery is placed on the tiers behind the speakers. In addition, the Conference Center has a large foyer area where tables hold more bouquets of flowers.

The foyer of the Conference Center displays paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. The beauty of the materials and the arrangement of the furnishings creates a feeling of reverence that those who attend conference can enjoy.

Many visitors enjoy attending conference in the Conference Center. Although it is one of the largest meeting places in the world, still only a small fraction of those who wish to attend in person are able to. Tickets are issued by stake presidents at no cost so people will not have to wait hours in long lines. Those without tickets can wait for seats not taken by ticket holders. The atmosphere is happy and polite, with members dressed in their Sunday best, most often with their families. It is not unusual for members to meet old friends. Volunteers greet those coming to conference and help them find their seats.

The television cameras need to be in the prime locations in front and to the sides of speakers. But normal, bulky television cameras with cameramen would block the view of many. The television cameras used in the Conference Center are much less noticeable. They are small and operated by remote control. Banks of hundreds of lights are also all handled by remote from a control room at the back of the Conference Center.

Inside the Conference Center is a big television center with control rooms and recording rooms. From this station, the broadcast signal is sent to satellites that, in turn, send the signal around the world.

To assist the speakers in reading parts of their talks while still being able to look out at the audience, teleprompters (below, left) are provided. From the point of view of those watching the broadcast or those in the audience, the teleprompters appear to be clear sheets of glass held by stands. But speakers can easily see the words of their talks reflected onto the glass.

Making sure that people hear conference in their own languages takes elaborate preparation. Conference is translated into 58 languages by translators in soundproof booths, watching and listening to the speaker, and translating as the talk is being given. They have the help of language experts who can quickly explain unusual phrases or words. Their translation is recorded as well as broadcast, along with the video of the speaker.

The artist Jeremy Winborg explains his painting above:

While under communist rule, the Eastern European country of Albania had a government that rigidly enforced atheism. But in 1991, the regime was replaced, and religion was welcomed back into the country. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began sending missionaries to Albania.

Seven years later, I was called to the Albania Tirana Mission. In 1999, the translation of the Albanian Book of Mormon was finished. I had the opportunity, along with 30 other missionaries serving there, to hand deliver the first Albanian copies of the Book of Mormon to faithful members.

This painting portrays a young Albanian woman reading the Book of Mormon for the first time in her native language.