Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

Next weekend marks The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 183rd Semiannual General Conference.

What began as a small gathering of Saints in the 1800s has grown to a worldwide event, broadcast to the church's 14 million members.

This conference season, the LDS Church has announced that the priesthood session will be available over live broadcast television and in real time online for the first time.

Here's a list of trivia about the origins and growth of the semiannual event.

Conference orgins
Tom Smart, Deseret News

The LDS Church's first conference was held on June 9, 1830, in Fayette, N.Y., with 27 members.

Of the event, Joseph Smith wrote, “Much exhortation and instruction was given, and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner. … Such scenes as these were calculated to inspire our hearts with joy unspeakable.”

Source: History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 84

Scheduling hiccups

While conferences were called as needed in the early days of the LDS Church, general conference has been held semiannually every year since 1848.

It has only been cancelled or delayed twice — once in April 1919, when it was postponed until June due to an influenza outbreak, and then in 1957, when conference was cancelled because of an Asian flu epidemic.

Source: By Common Consent

Where has it been held?
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Since 1848, the semiannual conference has been held in Salt Lake with few exceptions. In April 1877, the conference was in St. George, Utah, and a few years later it was held three times in Provo, Utah, during 1886 and 1887.

Starting in October 1867, the conferences were held in Tabernacle on Temple Square. In 2000, to accommodate more attendees, the conference was moved to the new Conference Center, which can seat about 21,000 people.

Source: "The history of general conference," The Daily Universe

What's talked about?
Connor Boyack

This wordle graphic posted by Larry Richman on LDS Media Talks reflects the number of times words were mentioned in the most recent April 2013 conference. The larger the word, the more it was mentioned.

Audience boom
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

While the first conference had only 27 attendees, general conference's audience has now ballooned to the millions.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend October 2013's conference at the Conference Center.

In addition, the broadcast and online streams are accessed from more than 200 countries across the world, according to Cody Craynor, an LDS Church spokesman.

Broadcast firsts
Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society All rights reserved.

Because the tabernacle could not accommodate all those who wanted to attend, local radio broadcast conference for the first time on Oct. 3, 1924. In 1949, the first televised session of conference followed suit. The first online broadcast to appear on the LDS Church's website happened in 2009.

Source: "The history of general conference," The Daily Universe

Conference changes
Deseret News Archives

Until 1977, general conference was a three-day, seven-session affair. The April conference was always held on April 6 and surrounding days and consisted of six general sessions in addition to a Priesthood session and an annual Welfare session.

In April 1977, the First Presidency
that conference would be shortened to two days and would be held on the first Saturday and Sunday of the respective month.

Going digital

Live video streams of the conference are available on BYUtv,, YouTube and Facebook. offers social media resources, including shareable images, that help members invite others to watch, as well.

Translation efforts
Jason Olson, Deseret News

This October, conference will be translated into 93 languages, according to Cody Craynor, an LDS Church spokesman. Translations of conference first began more than 50 years ago, in 1961 when it was translated into German, Dutch, Samoan and Spanish.

To learn more about the history of translating general conference for a worldwide audience click here.

Tweeting conference

More than 28,000 tweets appeared on Twitter with the hashtag #LDSConf during the April 2013 conference, according to LDS Media Talk. The hashtag even appeared on the screen during broadcasts and online streams.

You can join the conversation this conference by following @LDSconf and tweeting the #LDSconf hashtag with your thoughts and feelings about speakers' comments.

Conference archives
LDS Church

If you miss conference and want to catch up, have no fear. The LDS Church archives conference audio and video in 70 languages and text in 50 langagues. Audio and video archives are available in English as far back as 1971.

Source: Mormon Newsroom Facebook page