Watching General Conference

Over the past few years, we have been watching General Conference at home. I know this is old hat in Utah and some other regions, but it’s a relatively recent innovation in the nether regions, enabled by the internet, satellite television, or certain cable providers. For families with children, General Conference in the home is a huge blessing, though sometimes I feel a bit of nostalgia for the old days.

When we lived in Delaware, the chapel was quite a drive from our house, and we decided to turn General Conference into a family outing. The whole family went to the chapel, but my wife and I alternated between watching General Conference and staffing the nursery. Between sessions, we had a pot luck lunch with other families in the ward.

In recent years, I have known families who continue to attend General Conference in the chapel, even though they could watch at home. (Is it the big screen in the chapel?) Others like to attend the Sunday morning session. Despite my intermittant nostalgia for Delaware, I now prefer to lounge around the house for the entire weekend.

If only we could get Priesthood session in the home …

10 comments for “Watching General Conference

  1. I know that my father and older brothers do not long for the old days in the 1970s, when we lived in Washington, D.C., priesthood session was held at 7pm mountain time, and they had to sit in the chapel and listen to a radio feed from 9-11pm.

  2. Wrong Costanza. The broadcasts were from 10:00 to midnight. It was sheer hell. Of course, I haven’t been back a priesthood session since 1987 and any other sessions since 1997, so you can see it wasn’t just the radio thing I didn’t like.

  3. I just got back from the stake center. The session started with 4 people huddled together in the center of an empty chapel. It seemed a little depressing.

    I acknowledge the advantages of watching conference in the home, but I see downsides too.
    For one there are a lot of distractions at home. It is easier to fall asleep, in my opinion. I also wonder how the informality of homes affects the way the messages are recieved. Do we dress up at home when we watch conference? Is that important? It could go either way–we don’t suggest that family scripture study or famly prayer would be enhanced by dressing up.

    Most of all I wonder what the atomization of conference watching does to missionary work. Do the investigators go to members homes and, if so, is that an advantage? If not what are their impressions of empty chapels?

  4. I grew up in DC, too, Costanza. Before they started installing satelite dishes, we used to listen to the sessions at the stake center. My understanding (which may be wrong) is that it was hooked up through the speaker system from a telephone line. I can recognize all the senior apostles by voice, but none of the younger apostles.

    Now that I’m just listening to the audio over the internet again, I may be able to learn to recognize them by voice again.

  5. You’re right DKL, now that you mention it the connection was through a phone line rather than a radio. That seems so bizarre now!

  6. Jed,

    In cases where most members stay at home to watch, the missionaries do generally try to have them watch some of conference with members at home. That’s probably much better for fellowship than going to the chapel, anyway.

  7. To be completely honest, I listened to the session this morning online while I cleaned the bathroom. I used to get dressed up and go to the chapel to watch conference even on Saturdays (it was often just me and the missionaries in attendance) but that much effort feels like a waste of time to me now. If I couldn’t listen at home and multi-task at the same time I’d just read the talks later.

  8. While living in Japan, I became converted to reading General Conference. Of course I watch it here, but I always get much more out of the print edition.

  9. I really like reading the talks, too. I’m just a print media person. I prefer that to all other ways of absorbing information. So I usually wait for the Ensign, but I like to get impressions and thoughts from you guys online, too. I’ll be reading all your comments with care, but I won’t actually read the talks you’re commenting on until later.

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