ST. GEORGE — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Tuesday that the Saturday evening session of its biannual general conference would continue to be held in a move to “allow for more gospel topics to be taught and permit more general leaders to address the conference.”
In early June the church announced the Saturday evening sessions of its April and October-scheduled general conferences were being discontinued. These sessions were focused on specific groups in the church, namely men and woman respectively.
The reason the church’s First Presidency gave for why these sessions were being dropped was because technology made it possible for anyone who wants to watch or listen to the sessions of general conference to do so.
While this brought an end to the sessions focused on specific members within the church, the First Presidency said in its letter Tuesday that, “after additional study and prayer, we have felt impressed to continue to hold the Saturday evening session of general conference, albeit in a different format than in the past.”
The change begins with the next general conference in October and will lack any particular theme or focus as previous Saturday evening session had, the letter states.
“All members and friends of the Church are invited to view this session,” the letter reads. “It will not have a specific theme, nor will it be intended for any particular demographic or leadership group. Holding this session will allow for more gospel topics to be taught and permit more general leaders to address the conference.”
According to Church News, the Saturday evening sessions have been an official part of the general conference since the mid-1940s. Commonly known as the “priesthood session,” it was open to men only until the church began to broadcast the session over 10 years ago.
A Saturday evening session of the conference has also been held for the women of the church a week prior to the regular two-day church conference. However, this changed three years ago as the session for women and session for men began to be held on an alternate six-month basis during the conference proper.
The church also previously announced that the next conference will return to its traditional venue of the 20,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City; however, due to the lingering pandemic, the conference will remain closed to general admittance.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the general conference has been held in smaller venues and closed to the public as a precautionary measure.
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