Church discontinues evening conference sessions

Johnny Walker, left, sits with his father, Andy, during the priesthood session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The priesthood session and women’s session will be discontinued starting Oct. 2021. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on June 7 that the Saturday evening sessions of General Conference will be discontinued starting October 2021.

The Saturday evening sessions being discontinued include the priesthood holders’ session in April and the women’s session in October.

“This change is being made because all sessions of General Conference are now available to anyone who desires to watch or listen,” the press release said.

General Conferences have been occurring since the Church was first organized in 1830, but details of the event have changed over time.

According to Church News, the priesthood session did not become an official part of General Conference until 1944.

Annual Relief Society meetings started in 1986 and Young Women’s meetings in 1994. Both took place the weekend before General Conference. Those two meetings were replaced with one “general women’s session” in a change made in 2014.

In 2018, another change to conference was announced making the priesthood and women’s sessions alternate as the Saturday evening session; the priesthood session would be in April and the women’s session in October.

The announcement says the October session will be filmed in the Conference Center auditorium, but it will be closed to the public and streamed worldwide.

According to Church News, “the upcoming General Conference will be the first held in the Conference Center auditorium since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.”

Because of the pandemic, the April 2020 General Conference was in in a small studio in the Church Office Building. The October 2020 and April 2021 conferences originated from the Conference Center, but were filmed in the Conference Center Theater, not the auditorium.

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