LDS Church’s General Conference will be virtual for the third straight time

With no crowd present, April gathering will be livestreamed across the globe.

(File photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Top Latter-day Saint leaders, including church President Russell M. Nelson, seated in the middle on the front row, await for General Conference to start Oct. 3, 2020, from the Conference Center Theater in downtown Salt Lake City.

For the third straight time, General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be all-virtual because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, the Utah-based faith announced, as expected, that April’s gathering will follow the pattern set in October, with church leaders speaking from a nearly empty Conference Center Theater in downtown Salt Lake City.

Only the speakers for each session (and their spouses) will be present. In the fall, they were socially distanced and wore masks. The music will be prerecorded.

Last April, the all-virtual conference took place in a small auditorium in the nearby Church Office Building.

Normally, sessions are conducted in the main hall of Conference Center, with some 20,000 church members in attendance. As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and administered in the coming months, conference could return to its usual home in October. Senior church leaders over age 70, including 96-year-old President Russell M. Nelson, received his first dose Monday.

“As a worldwide organization,” the governing First Presidency has stated, “we have an obligation to be good citizens and to act with caution as it relates to such a unique setting as General Conference, which traditionally brings thousands of visitors to Salt Lake City from around the globe.”

All sessions of the April conference will be broadcast on KSL-Channel 5 and BYUtv, and streamed live across the globe on broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Sessions will also be available via the Gospel Library, the Latter-day Saints Channel, radio, satellite and other digital outlets.