“Mormonism in Pictures” is a photo essay feature from Mormonnewsroom.org depicting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members around the world. Today we feature photos from the Church's 183rd Annual General Conference, which took place last Saturday and Sunday in Salt Lake City.
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' semiannual general conferences are global events. Every April and October, thousands from around the world attend in the Church's Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City; millions more watch or listen via Internet, satellite or radio.
The Conference Center, completed in 2000, seats more than 21,000 attendees for each general conference session.
For Mormons, general conferences are opportunities to be taught by Church leaders about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. On Sunday afternoon, President Thomas S. Monson (pictured above) taught Latter-day Saints to be "tolerant of as well as kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards."
General conferences also feature leadership changes. On Saturday afternoon, the First Presidency announced a new Young Women general presidency (pictured above): Carol Louise Foley McConkie, Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson and Evelyn Neill Foote Marriott. (See our news release for more information about these women.)
The First Presidency also announced eight new members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy. The new general authorities come from Zimbabwe, Australia, Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, California and Utah. (See our news release for more information about these men.)
At general conferences, Mormons sustain Church leaders by raising their right hands as leaders' names are read. This act, which took place Saturday afternoon, is symbolic of Mormons' desires to support, help and pray for their leaders.
The 360-member Mormon Tabernacle Choir provides music for most general conference sessions. The choir's April 2013 general conference pieces can be viewed at the Mormon Channel.
Each general conference session features a rest hymn, where the congregation stands and sings together. For Latter-day Saints, music is an integral part of worship (see Doctrine and Covenants 25:12).
General conferences are interpreted into more than 90 languages. The Conference Center features 58 interpretation booths, each of which is equipped with a desk and a monitor relaying images from the Conference Center auditorium. (Learn more about general conference interpretation technology.)
A family sits on Temple Square during the Sunday afternoon session. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke Saturday about the "transcendent importance of the family" for Mormons.
A woman rests with her baby on the grass near the Tabernacle on Temple Square. President Packer also taught that Mormons "find safety and security for ourselves and our children in honoring the covenants we have made in living up to the ordinary acts of obedience required of the followers of Christ."
A father holds his daughter on Temple Square on Saturday afternoon. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking Saturday afternoon, encouraged listeners to "center your home and your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the source of true peace in this life."
Conference goers line the sidewalk outside of Temple Square Saturday to sing Church hymns. In a previous general conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that, for Mormons, "sacred music has a unique capacity to communicate our feelings of love for the Lord."
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets fellow general authorities prior to the start of the Sunday afternoon session. In his general conference address Saturday morning, Elder Ballard encouraged listeners "to do the things that the Savior would do if He were ministering among us today."
President Thomas S. Monson arrives for the Sunday afternoon session. President Monson counseled Latter-day Saints to be "good citizens of the nations in which you live and good neighbors in your communities, reaching out to those of other faiths as well as to our own."
President Monson greets Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles following the Sunday afternoon session, as Elder Richard G. Scott, middle, looks on. Earlier Sunday, President Monson taught that a "knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks exits general conference with his wife, Kristen. In his general conference address, Elder Oaks encouraged listeners to give greater heed to the words of Jesus Christ. "Jesus’s teachings were not meant to be theoretical," Elder Oaks said. "Always they were to be acted upon."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland exits general conference with his wife, Patricia. Elder Holland reminded Latter-day Saints to be "kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer mortal men and women." Jesus, he said, embodies the perfection members should seek to emulate as best they can.
President Monson exits general conference with his daughter, Ann M. Dibb. President Monson concluded general conference by reminding Latter-day Saints that "the Savior brought to this earth a message of love and goodwill to all men and women. May we ever follow His example."