Observing a tradition as old as the Restoration itself, Latter-day Saints are convening this weekend, April 4-5, on Temple Square - or tuning in via radio or television - for the 162nd Annual General Conference.
Sessions are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. MST Saturday and 10 a.m and 2 p.m. MDT Sunday, with a general priesthood session scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. Leaders and members of the Church from throughout the United States and from other countries with established stakes have gathered for the conference.All sessions of the conference are being televised via satellite. More than 3,000 meetinghouses throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the West Indies and the Dominican Republic are equipped with satellite receivers.
In addition, more than 800 cable television systems in the United States are receiving via satellite all but the priesthood session. Some commercial radio and TV stations carry the conference as a public service.
Church units or members in North America and Hawaii with proper TV satellite reception capabilities are receiving the conference broadcasts via the satellite in the following languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Cambodian, Haitian, Hmong, Korean, Laotion, Mandarin, Navajo, Portuguese, Samoan, Tongan and Vietnamese. Selected sessions will be carried in Cantonese and Creole.
The first transmission of the Sunday morning session of the conference is being made to Church-owned downlinks in Frankfurt, Germany; Huddersfield, England; and Versailles, France. Church units in areas of the world where the satellite and other transmissions are not available will receive videotapes of conference sessions. European languages are translated and made available through the Friedrichsdorf, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Torcy, France distribution centers.
Non-English speaking Church leaders and members from various parts of the world, seated in the Tabernacle, Church Office Building, North Visitors Center and local ward meetinghouses are able to listen to conference proceedings in their own language through interpreters stationed in the lower level of the Tabernacle. The listeners are provided special headsets.
From three to five translator-interpreters are on hand for one or more conference sessions for each of the following languages: Bulgarian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Haitian, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Navajo, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Serbo-croation, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tahitian, Thai, Tongan and Vietnamese.
Conference proceedings are conveyed via sign language to a gathering of the hearing-impaired in the Church Office Building auditorium. All TV broadcasts of general conference are close-captioned for the hearing-impaired.
Church landscape architect Peter Lassig said the thousands of flower plantings blooming on Temple Square and the adjacent Church Office Building plaza include tulips, poppies, pansies, forget-me-nots, violets, primroses, hyacinths, daffodils, crocus, scilla, wallflowers, chionodoxa, arabis, and aubrieta. Also in bloom, he noted, are the magnolia trees. New this year is the Young Women "values garden" located at the entrance to the Lion House.
The 325-voice Tabernacle Choir, directed by Jerold D. Ottley and Don Ripplinger with John Longhurst and Richard Elliott at the organ, is scheduled to sing during the Sunday sessions of conference. The Mormon Youth Chorus is providing the music for the Saturday morning session, with Robert C. Bowden directing and Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts at the organ. Saturday afternoon's session features the Relief Society Choir from the Brigham City Utah Region, directed by Evelyn M. Harris, with Clay Christiansen at the organ. The Saturday evening priesthood session features an Aaronic Priesthood Choir from the Orem Utah Region. Stanley Zenk will direct, with John Longhurst accompanying on the organ.