General Conference: the intersection of faith and technology

Oct 1, 2021, 8:00 AM
Church leaders Congratulate President-elect Joe Biden...
President Russell M. Nelson, center, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, right, take their seats at the start of the Saturday morning session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world will be able to participate in General Conference this weekend. 

The intersection of faith and technology

General Conference was once a community event. Now, Church leaders recognize that community is much bigger than people living in Utah.

Expansion of the faith to different corners of the globe and technology have made that possible. 

“When you move to the 20th Century, technology changes it,” said Scott Esplin, dean of religious instruction at Brigham Young University.

He recalls his college days of waiting outside the tabernacle with hopes of getting a seat for Conference. 

“Those days are gone now. There are no barriers to participating in the meeting whatsoever,” said Esplin. 

Technology changes everything

Not only has the prevalence of technology altered the experience for Church members, it has also changed everything for Church leaders. 

Esplin says new ways of tuning in have forced updates to the format, the speakers, how long they talk, and what they discuss. 

“If I’m a speaker, I’m going to adjust my message differently knowing that I’m not just speaking to people live in the room at the time,” Esplin said. “That there’s someone else in a living room, in a house somewhere that’s listening.” 

That is now also true of people in different states, different countries, and on different continents. 

Latter-day Saints can tune in from anywhere and at a time convenient to them. As an example, while the Saturday evening session starts at 6:00 p.m. MDT, it will be 9:00 a.m. in Seoul, South Korea. 

“To watch it live, worldwide, for those saints is just wonderful,” said Esplin. 

One thing remains the same

Despite the changes, Esplin cites one constant: the spectacular spirit of General Conference. 

“Certainly things have changed in how we assemble together…and that will continue to change, but I think the constant is that God will pour out his spirit on the day we assemble together,” Esplin said. 

This weekend’s sessions of conference will be broadcast from the Conference Center, but in-person attendance will not be permitted. 

Esplin anticipates people will still want to attend General Conference in person when the pandemic restrictions end.

“There’s something electric…about being in the Conference Center for General Conference that I frankly miss,” said Esplin. 

He also expects conference will be different when the 21,000 seats of the Conference Center are filled again. 

Listen to General Conference on KSL Newsradio

KSL Newsradio will carry all sessions of General Conference live at 102.7 FM, 1160 AM, and the KSL Newsradio app.

Read more:

Today’s Top Stories


Groundbreaking dates for four temples in Latin America have been announced this week by the First P...
Mark Jones

Church announces open house dates for Saratoga Springs Temple

The open house dates for the Saratoga Springs Temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be from APril 15, 2023 to July 8, 2023, with the exception of Sundays.
9 days ago
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...
Mark Jackson

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Memphis NAACP pair to help mothers

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Memphis NAACP are partnering to launch "MyBaby4Me" to help new and expecting mothers.
10 days ago
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square announced three pilot programs Friday to help reach more peop...
Mark Jones

Choir announces three pilot programs to help reach more people

Three pilot programs were announced Friday by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square to help reach more people throughout the world.
12 days ago
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, voted to advance the Respect for Marriae Act on Wednesday while Sen. Mike L...
Simone Seikaly

Sens. Lee and Romney on different sides of advancing Respect for Marriage Act

The 67-32 vote allows the legislation to advance. If it were to pass, the RFMA would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and add safeguards for same-sex and interracial marriage.
14 days ago
A vote to advance the Respect for Marriage Act garnered enough bipartisan support to advance throug...

Same-sex marriage legislation clears key Senate hurdle

Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the legislation. A final vote could come as soon as this week.
14 days ago
Respect for Marriage Act...
Samantha Herrera

Church issues statement supporting Respect for Marriage Act

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Tuesday afternoon supporting the newest version of the Respect for Marriage Act.
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
General Conference: the intersection of faith and technology