Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from throughout the world gathered in Salt Lake City Friday for conference.
The 159th General Conference opens at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Tabernacle, where President Ezra Taft Benson and his counselors, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, will preside.The conference continues through Sunday, with the general priesthood session at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The weather will be running about true to form. Rain will threaten this weekend, but showers in the northern Utah valleys will be scattered and high temperatures should range between 55 and 60 degrees with lows about 40. William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service, said a storm front moving into the area is weaker than originally anticipated.
Alder said climatological records show that 56 percent of all general conference weekends during the past 101 years have been accompanied by inclement weather. However, when dividing April from October conferences, the wettest conditions are usually prevalent during April.
But this is not really unusual since April is, climatologically speaking, the wettest month of the year. Measurable precipitation has been received during 67 percent - or during 68 of 101 - April conferences. But dry, mild conditions have prevailed during the past four annual spring events.
An inch of snow, with .33 of an inch of moisture, fell Sunday, April 8, 1984. The wettest conference period on record was April 3-6, 1921, when 1.19 inches of moisture fell. A total of 12.9 inches of snow was recorded April 2-6, 1955; the snowiest single conference day was April 2, 1955, when 9.6 inches of snow fellin the Salt Lake area.
Normal high and low temperatures for this weekend in Salt Lake City are 57 and 34. The warmest April conference day was 82 degrees on April 5, 1949. The coldest April conference morning was April 4, 1955, when the temperature dropped to a chilly 20 degrees, Alder said.
LDS conference is now held on Saturday and Sunday, but years ago the conferences stretched over as many as four days.
Since 1888, all church conferences have been held at Temple Square, except when a major flu epidemic forced the cancellation of the fall 1957 conference. From 1849 to 1887 most annual and semiannual conferences of the church were held during April and October in the Salt Lake Valley. However, in 1950 the fall general conference was held in Salt Lake City on Sept. 6 and 7 so that church members could "travel in better weather."
The April 1877 conference was held in St. George, and general conferences were held in Logan, Provo and Coalville between 1885 and 1887.