It is with some nostalgia that I learned that the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that beginning this October, the Saturday evening sessions of General Conference will be canceled. This means the Saturday evening session for women (in October) and priesthood holders (in April) will no longer be scheduled.
In addition, the October 2021 General Conference will once again be closed to the public.
For me, General Conference is my twice-yearly pick-me-up, and I relish the talks from our church leaders. I hate to lose this Saturday night addition. Not only will I miss the chance to hear the additional talks, but also the family traditions around those events.
I have many photos of the men and boys in our family dressed up in a line, smiling and ready for the priesthood meeting together. Our tradition was to gather for banana splits after and talk about the messages. The women in our family liked to meet for dinner before the Women’s meeting.
For us, the Saturday night session was part of our world, yet, though changes in the way the Church administers the kingdom may sometimes disrupt our way of doing things, may seem to trample our flower beds, I trust the vibrancy and revelation that moves us forward and points us toward more profound ways to seek the Lord.
Two friends expressed their thoughts on this. Jeffrey Thayne from Washington state, who runs the LDS Philosopher blog said, “I’ll be very disappointed to have fewer conference messages from the First Presidency, but I am very grateful for modern day revelation and the willingness of our leaders to revisit traditions and simplify where needed. I am excited to see what they have in store for us.”
Cassandra Hedelius, a “retired” lawyer while she takes care of three children under four said, “I love old traditions, and I always loved the conference sessions focused on women, but I don’t mind this change. The Prophet and other general leaders speak to us so frequently now, in Face-to-Face broadcasts, and special invitations like #GiveThanks, and topical broadcasts like the recent focus on youth and children that I don’t think we’ll feel at all deprived.”