First Presidency announces venue change for April general conference in response to coronavirus

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 190th Annual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be broadcast from “a small auditorium on Temple Square,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced Thursday, March 19.

The First Presidency will preside and conduct the sessions, and only those who have been invited to speak or pray will attend. The music for the conference has been pre-recorded, the senior Church leaders wrote in a letter to Latter-day Saints.

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, enter together 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.
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, enter together 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. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

“As we have seen the many changes around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made adjustments to missionary service, temple work, and the ways in which we gather and worship.

“Recent days have brought new guidelines from experts around the world. After counseling as the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we have felt it wise to modify further the format of our April 2020 general conference.”

The historic conference will mark the only time in Church history a general conference has been shared with an exclusively remote congregation. It will also be the first time in two decades that general conference proceedings will not originate from the 21,000-seat Conference Center, the site of all general conferences since it opened in April 2000.

People enter the Conference Center for the Sunday morning session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.
People enter the Conference Center for the Sunday morning session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“By making these adjustments, we feel we can assist those who are working to slow the spread and impact of this pandemic,” wrote the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the letter. “We are grateful for them and continue to pray for them. We are touched by the many accounts we hear of ministering to those in need during these uncertain times. We pray for Heavenly Father’s choicest blessings upon you.”

The leaders promised a remarkable conference. “Messages of truth, hope, and inspiration will prevail as we commemorate the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and seek to hear Him.”