On Saturday, March 26, 2016, in Salt Lake City in the U.S. State of Utah, the first of six sessions of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be broadcast live worldwide.
During these sessions, Latter-day Saints will receive messages from ecclesiastical leaders including the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities and general officers of the Church.
“Throughout my life, general conferences of the Church have been exhilarating spiritual events, and the Church itself has been a place to come to know the Lord,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in his address during the last October General Conference.
Reviewing last general conference session
In order to prepare for the upcoming April general conference, Mormons often prepare by reflecting on messages shared by speakers from last conference session.
The main topics last Conference included Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, faith, love, life and the family. These were identified using word clusters.
The topics in the word cluster were found by combining the English versions of the talks and running the text through word analysing software.
Word clusters are just one way that members review messages from last General Conference. Members and their friends also use picture quotes from the biannual events to serve as daily inspirational messages and re-read conference talks over the six months after, once they are posted online in their languages.
Connections to the Europe Area
While General Conference is broadcast from Salt Lake City – where the headquarters of the Church is located – many Church leaders spend time around the world visiting and assessing the needs of Church members.
During late October 2015, Sister Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, and Bonny L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, visited the United Kingdom, France, Belgium Germany Switzerland and Italy on their European tour. There they met and learned the joys and challenges of some of the women in the European Area.
“I’ve been really impressed with the diversity I’ve seen here and the love that exists between people” said Sister Burton while on the European tour. “If we could figure out how to tap that into the world, we would be so much better off.”
Other Church leaders have familial roots in the European region.
In January of 2016, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve, talked about how he has parents who are Scandinavian immigrants and cousins who still live in Finland and Sweden. Elder Renlund believes that a huge part of his character comes from his Nordic roots, passed down by his parents.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor of the First Presidency was born in Ostrava in today’s Czech Republic. His family fled from his home when he was a young boy. He talked about his experience of being a refugee in a video segment in January 2016.
The sessions of the 186th Annual General Conference will begin at the following times in Central European Time.
Sunday, March 27, 01:00: General Women's Session
Saturday, April 2, 18:00: Saturday Morning Session
Saturday, April 2, 22:00: Saturday Afternoon Session
Sunday, April 3, 02:00: Priesthood Session
Sunday, April 3, 18:00: Sunday Morning Session
Sunday, April 3, 22:00: Sunday Afternoon Session
General Conference can be watched live on lds.org and in meetinghouses throughout Europe.