Latest talks, news from Saturday’s sessions

Their 99-year-old prophet offered recorded remarks last fall and hints he may do the same this time.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Attendees take photos in front of the portrait of President Russell M. Nelson and his First Presidency counselors while awaiting the start of General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024, inside the Conference Center.

On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith and five colleagues gathered before a small congregation of 40 or so family members, friends and followers near Fayette, New York, and formed a new religion.

On Saturday, 194 years to the day since that initial meeting, Smith’s then-fledgling faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will convene yet another General Conference before a vast audience of thousands in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City and stream the services to millions more around the world.

Smith’s latest successor as prophet–president, Russell M. Nelson, may not attend the sessions in person. The 99-year-old leader, who took the church’s helm more than six years ago and has become the oldest ever to hold the top spot, hinted in a social media post Thursday that he may watch the two-day proceedings remotely and deliver — as he did last autumn while recuperating from a fall — his remarks in a recorded message.

If Nelson’s red velvet chair is empty, his right-hand man, 91-year-old apostle Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the three-member governing First Presidency and next in line to lead the global faith of 17-plus million members, would then be expected to step in and preside.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) People walk through the snow before General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Latter-day Saints around the world tune in via TV, radio and the internet to these twice-yearly gatherings to receive counsel and inspiration from their top leaders. These celebrations of sermons, songs, prayers and pronouncements are the highlight of the church’s calendar and become the topic of Sunday speeches and lessons until the next conference rolls around in six months.

Check back here for the latest updates on talks and announcements from Saturday’s three sessions.

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