"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."

LDS Conferences

by William Rolfe Kerr

conference centerLatter-day Saints are counseled, as were the New Testament saints, to "meet together oft." Conferences are among the most frequent types of meeting. Because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is administered by a constantly changing core of lay leaders, teachers, and officers, there is perpetual need for instruction, inspiration, and renewal. The scriptures state: "And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given" (D&C 43:8). The word "edify" means to enlighten, lift, or elevate spiritually. By "union of feeling," the Prophet Joseph Smith taught the sisters of the Relief Society, "we obtain power with the heavens." Conferences contribute to building that union. In practice, Latter-day Saints often say to each other, "If you cannot come to receive, come to give." In conferences, as in other types of Church meetings, the "strong in the Spirit" may "take with him him that is weak" (D&C 84:106).

There are only general guidelines for conferences. For "it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit" (D&C 46:2).

Specific objectives, scheduling, and activities of conferences vary according to the group being served and may vary from one conference to another of the same group. Ward conferences are held annually to bring the stake leaders, ward leaders, and ward members together in local congregations to "review the status of individuals and organizations and to plan for improvement" (General Handbook of Instructions 2-4). Stake conferences are held twice annually, and are administered by stake, regional, and General Authorities. Youth, young adult, and singles conferences are held annually; typically these conferences focus on inspirational experiences and social interchange. Women's conferences and Church women's firesides are also held each year.

The growth of the Church has led to area and regional conferences, which may involve thousands of participants in designated geographic areas. These conferences are planned, organized, conducted, and addressed by General Authorities.

Two General Conferences are held each year, one in April (designated the "annual" conference) and the other in October (designated as a "semiannual" conference). These are the most far-reaching conferences of the Church and for many years have been held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. They provide opportunities to share the common bonds of fellowship in an environment charged with spirituality and in a setting different from the local meeting places of the Church. Prayers, music, addresses by General Authorities and others, shared expressions of faith, meeting new acquaintances, and renewal of self and commitments combine to enrich the lives of all who attend or who experience the conferences on radio or television.

The Savior petitioned: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:15). Conferences of the Church serve an important purpose in aiding the members to be shielded from the evils of worldly influence and nurtured in discipleship.

(See Daily Living home page; Activity in the Church home page; Meetings and Conferences home page)


General Handbook of Instructions. Salt Lake City, 1989.


Web LightPlanet

Related Links

Recommended Books


Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Conferences

Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

Image courtesy of whistlepunch