News Release

Mormons gather for worldwide conference

The time has come once again for members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to listen to the voices of modern prophets and apostles. The 183rd Annual General Conference of the Church will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, 2013.

The conference will originate from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. All Europeans interested in participating in the conference via internet on or satellite transmission to local meetinghouses are encouraged to do so.

General conferences are conducted twice yearly and offer the 14 million-plus members of the Church an opportunity to receive guidance and hear spiritual messages from Church leaders. Much like the church in New Testament days, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by prophets and apostles.

Though the conference takes place thousands of miles away from European members of the Church, many members say the conference is both important and special.

“The Spirit of the Lord is the same in every part of the world, even if the speakers are far away,” Massimo Draghi, a member of the Church’s congregation in Rimini, Italy said. “General conference is important because the world and society are constantly changing and we need to know the Lord’s will.”

Daryl Watson, who oversees several congregations around Dundee, Scotland, said European faithful have become accustomed to participating in general conference via various technologies.

“(Members) no longer think of the speakers as being ‘far away,’” Watson said. “In essence, the messages communicated are for each follower of Christ here and now, no matter their global location.”

Chris Cooke directs a congregation in London and expressed a similar sentiment.

“The simple fact is that people the world over are all children of God,” Cooke said. “His gospel is applicable to each person as much as the other. Are we not all the same?”

Church leaders will speak to conference participants about various spiritual topics, ranging from family life to morality, faith and scripture study. All talks have a central message of encouraging Church members to follow and draw closer to Jesus Christ.

“In general conference, the (prophets and apostles) tell us what things are especially important at this point in time,” Paul Baumann, a member of the congregation in Hanau, Germany said. “These things are meaningful to everybody. God loves all of us and he wants every single one of us to be happy, so he gives us the chance to listen to a living prophet’s voice.”

Ricardo Santana, a member in the Lisbon, Portugal area, said it is a special experience for all faithful to participate in General Conference in their own countries.

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“General conference is a special meeting because all members of the Church throughout the world can assemble and simultaneously listen to the words of the living prophets,” Santana said. “It’s as if we are all united in the same location, yet able to feel the same spirit.”

In addition to spiritual messages, music emphasizing gospel themes is provided by the well-known Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Church members say music is often one of their favorite parts of general conference and that it adds to the spirit of the meeting.

“The hymns sung by the choir are absolutely inspiring and are my favorite part of the conference,” Luis Melo, a member in the Algarve, Portugal area, said. “They help me feel the spirit and prepare to absorb the messages from the general authorities.”

The conference will be broadcast to over 7,400 church buildings in 102 countries, while also simultaneously being translated into 94 languages.

Following the conference, recordings and transcriptions of the talks will be available for continued use and learning. Many Mormons across the globe use general conference talks throughout the year for personal growth, as well as use in family and church settings.

“I really enjoy listening to talks while I’m walking in the forest, thanks to my mp3 player,” Draghi said. “I can listen and enjoy (the talks) whenever I want. It has now become a six-month-long conference.”


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