Behind-the-Scene Efforts Ensure General Conference Messages Received Worldwide
Contributed By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer
- Thousands of hours are spent preparing, producing, and sharing general conference.
- Work goes on year-round for general conference.
- Many feel that working on conference is a sacred privilege that they enjoy doing by sharing their own talents.
“General conference is like scripture. The pattern of how God reveals His will to His children is manifest beautifully at conference as God’s servants deliver messages to those who have come prepared to receive them and be inspired.” —Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the Seventy
Staging an event the size of general conference is a major undertaking that requires careful planning, both temporally and spiritually. While speakers carefully prepare their messages, many volunteers and employees perform a variety of interesting tasks that help people across the world receive the word of God.
“We have to remember this is the Lord’s conference,” said Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “General conference is like scripture. The pattern of how God reveals His will to His children is manifest beautifully at conference as God’s servants deliver messages to those who have come prepared to receive them and be inspired.”
A large amount of resources go into preparing for general conference. Employees of the Church’s Publishing Services Department, for example, spend thousands of hours for an event that lasts only a few days. They ensure the messages are broadcast on television, radio, and the Internet to millions of members around the world. But even after conference is over, their work continues. In fact, the work for general conference goes on year round.
“My team started meeting regularly to prepare for October’s conference in May, shortly after we wrapped up publishing April’s conference in all languages,” said Audrey Livingston, lead digital media producer for general conference.
“I coordinate with the broadcast producer, social media producers, the LDS.org home page producer, and others to ensure that members are aware of and prepared for general conference,” she said. “General conference provides a great opportunity to receive revelation to personal questions, and we hope that members will prepare by thinking of questions they need answered.” Sister Livingston’s team prepared this video earlier this year:
As an example of how conference provides answers to questions, an article was published on LDS.org after the April 2015 general conference called “Answers to Personal Questions” that contains 12 common questions that were specifically addressed by conference speakers, such as “How do I keep my family strong in the gospel?” “How do I find peace?” and “How do I resolve my questions about the gospel?”
One of the video editing rooms at the Conference Center.
Digital producers also ensure that when the live broadcasts of general conference begin, people have a variety of ways they can connect and receive the inspired messages. “We stream live on the home page of LDS.org, as well as on YouTube, and the Mormon Channel website, apps, and Roku,” said Sister Livingston. “Some videos are published within hours of having been streamed live. Archive assets are published on the general conference section of LDS.org, the Gospel Library app, YouTube, Mormon Channel apps, Roku, iTunes, and as CDs and DVDs.”
According to statistics gathered by the Church from the April 2015 conference, there were over 4 million total video views of the live stream from 222 countries or territories throughout the six sessions of general conference. The general conference broadcast archives likewise receive a lot of traffic. They have been accessed over 5.5 million times within the last six months. (You can also watch general conference videos in the LDS Media Library on LDS.org.)
Video is the preferred format for the live general conference experience. But once the content is archived, the preferred way is reading and listening to messages.
It’s interesting to note the preferred ways people enjoy consuming general conference. The Church’s Publishing Service Department reports that video is the preferred format for the live general conference experience. But once the content is archived, the preferred way is reading and listening. For example, many members like to listen to conference talks on their commute, while exercising, or when working around the house.
During conference there are a number of ways to share content through social media as well. When sharing conference-related messages and testimonies on social media, members are encouraged to use the hashtag #LDSconf and individual hashtags for Church leaders. See this list of Church-related hashtag recommendations.
Some of the many options and devices that members can use to view conference messages.
“The Lord cares about this work,” said Sister Livingston. “I have seen miracles and tender mercies as we have prepared for general conference. Everything does not always go perfectly, but these messages are important to be relayed to the world, and we are grateful to be able to support them. I have personally felt enabled and supported in my role as I try to ensure all of my team members have what they need so that these messages can bring the Spirit to the lives of members around the world.”
For many employees of the Church, working on conference is a sacred privilege that they enjoy doing by sharing their own talents. “One thing that is inspiring to me is the dedication and passion that each of the team members brings to ensure that the delivery of the general conference messages is a success,” said Sister Livingston. “We all care deeply about general conference, and many sacrifices are made to ensure that it goes well.”
“It is a sacred duty to provide the messages of the Lord’s representatives to people across the globe,” said Elder Sitati. “If members will prepare themselves for conference and then come in a spirit of humility to learn, they will recognize the voice of the Lord and have a revelatory experience.”
Church members in India sustain Church leaders while viewing a general conference broadcast from their meetinghouse.