Well that didn’t take long. In a letter that ruins our plans to march on Temple Square and demand entry into the banned-from-the-public Conference Center this General Conference, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the upcoming April conference will no longer be held in the large assembly space.
The move is understandable, as the presence of the novel coronavirus has expanded dramatically in the United States in the past week alone, and among the most at-risk populations are the septua-, octa-, and nonagenerian set, a group conveniently concentrated within the general authorities and officers of the Church. Coupled with U.S. government guidance that discourages gatherings of more than 10 people, and you can see where this is going. It’s a non-starter.
A letter from the First Presidency explains that conference will still be held, but the broadcast will emanate from “a small auditorium on Temple Square,” which sounds about as bunker-like as you can get. We’re hoping this is that same space, that faux living room of sorts, from which other regional broadcasts occur.
The Brethren note that the only individuals who will be present at any point will be the First Presidency and those invited to speak or pray in each session. The visual of all of them (presumably) sitting six feet apart should be interesting.
But what of the music! Apparently, the music has been prerecorded. Whether this means the Tabernacle Choir knocked out a backup recording before coronavirus got real or it just means a random rebroadcast of other content, we do not know.
Interestingly, letter still states that this will remain a special conference focused on the Restoration, but now with a loss of venue, we’re quite curious if the much-ballyhooed Saturday evening session—which supplanted both the Priesthood Session and Women’s Meeting as a special one-off focusing on the Restoration—will occur in any capacity as planned.
Next week, expect to find out that President Nelson has gone full YouTuber, and Conference will be broadcast from his sweet personal studio used primarily for Twitch streams and device unboxings.