General conference by the numbers: 12 facts you might not know

When was general conference first broadcast on the radio? When was it first available on the internet? How many languages is general conference translated into? Find answers to these questions and more below.

• First general conference was held June 9, 1830, in Fayette, New York, in the Peter Whitmer home. 27 people attended.

First general conference radio broadcast: 1923

• First general conference television transmission: 1949

• Conference messages first translated into different languages: 1962

• First satellite transmission of conference: 1975

Crowds gather for General Conference in April of 1911. Note the sign above the entrance to Temple Square "Beware of Pickpockets" The old Deseret News building is seen across the street. Deseret News Archives
Crowds gather for General Conference in April of 1911. Note the sign above the entrance to Temple Square “Beware of Pickpockets” The old Deseret News building is seen across the street. Deseret News Archives Credit: Deseret News Archives, Deseret News Archives

• First time conference was available on the internet: 1999

• First sessions of general conference held in the Conference Center: April 2000

• Church employee and volunteer hours dedicated to general conference before, during and after: 91,000

• General conference addresses now are shared in 98 languages

• Each conference session today is 1 hour, 58 minutes, 56 seconds long

The topics for conference addresses are rarely assigned.

At a Logan, Utah, stake conference in 1953, Elder Matthew Cowley of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles prophesied: “One day there will be channels under the control of the Church whereby they can direct this message, this witness, unto any nation they desire, and it can be carried through the channels of the air in the very language of the people to whom the message is addressed.”

President David O. McKay said there are six purposes of general conferences

  1. To inform the membership of general conditions.
  2. To commend true merit.
  3. To express gratitude for divine guidance.
  4. To give instruction ‘in principles, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel.’
  5. To proclaim the Restoration.
  6. To admonish and inspire to continue in greater activity (in Conference Report, Oct. 1954, 7).