The 188th Semiannual General Conference will be held in Salt Lake City from Oct. 6 through Oct. 7 of this year. Everyone's experience watching general conference is different, though, especially since members these days are scattered throughout the world. Here's what general conference is like for some of them:
Auckland, New Zealand
“As we approach next month’s general conference, we usually don’t watch it live (because of the time difference — Auckland is 18 hours ahead of Salt Lake City)," said Church member Mele Sapeta Kaufana. "In the United States, you watch it live during conference weekend; we in New Zealand watch it the next week.
“Members here can watch sessions online, but the most popular session to watch is the Sunday morning session the next Sunday morning at the stake center. Only a few members go to the stake center to watch the other sessions there, saying that they can view them online at home. Our thought is the members here should watch them together in the chapel so that we have the Spirit there. Our family can’t wait to hear the counsel of our leaders.”
“General conference weekends are a treat to the members of the Church here in India," said Elder Robert K. William, an Area Seventy in the Asia Area. "Because of the time difference, there are only a few in the membership that watch the whole conference live. For the others, they gather together the weekend following the conference and that becomes our general conference weekend.
“We usually begin viewing the conference on Saturday from 10 am in the morning and have an hour lunch break. Members bring their food and have a potluck lunch. They talk about the messages they have just heard and share their feelings. They then watch the remaining sessions with a break in between and conclude. The Sunday morning sessions are special, and we have more in attendance compared to the Saturday sessions. We follow the same pattern as Saturday. This weekend is an opportunity to listen to the prophet’s voice and rejoice in the messages. We are uplifted and strengthened.”
Harkers Island, North Carolina
“When I was little we always watched general conference on the island on what’s called the Old Road," stated Emily Hancock Nelson from the Harkers Island Ward in North Carolina. "My uncle had a satellite dish. Most of my (extended) family would be there and my Aunt Ella Dee always made chicken salad.
“I always loved to hear President Monson’s talks because he told the best stories.
“For Priesthood Session, the priesthood holders gather at the (Harkers Island Ward meetinghouse). Before conference they have a clam chowder dinner. It’s a ward tradition and the chowder is, of course, made with local clams. The Relief Society sisters would make the chowder at home in Crock-Pots then bring it to the church before conference.
“Now we watch the Sunday morning session at my parents’ home then enjoy brunch. In between sessions we visit with other relatives on the island then get back together for the afternoon session.
“We are looking forward to general conference this year to rest from our cares and troubles and to listen to the prophet.”