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General Conference (Mormonism)
General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the most important regular meeting of that religion. It is held twice annually, on the weekends containing the first Sundays in April and in October. The April meeting is known as the Annual General Conference, and includes annual statistical and financial reports not included in the October meeting,which is called the Semiannual General Conference. Both conferences in a given year are identified by the number of years since the Church was founded in 1830; thus the April 2005 meeting was the 175th Annual General Conference, and the October 2005 meeting will be the 175th Semiannual General Conference.
Each conference consists of five two-hour sessions, convened in Salt Lake City, Utah since 1848, and in the LDS Conference Center of that city since its completion in 2000. General Sessions commence at 10 am and 2 pm (Mountain Time) on Saturday and on Sunday. At 6 pm on Saturday a Priesthood session is held with men holding the priesthood of the church in good standing permitted to attend. General sessions are open to all Church members and guests holding tickets, usually for only one session.
Normally a Counselor in the First Presidency conducts each session, alternating between the two Counselors. He introduces the various speakers, which during the course of a Conference generally include all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and a selection of others. Virtually every General Authority of the Church is present, though outside the First Presidency and Twelve (all of whom speak if able) only few speak. Non-General Authority speakers may include female officers of auxiliary organizations.
If the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is present, he is said to "preside" at the Conference whether or not he personally conducts a session. At a Saturday General Session, a Counselor presents all the General Authorities for the formal sustaining vote of the membership, and it is usually at this time that any changes among the General Authorities, officers, or auxiliaries are announced. Normally, except for the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, only the names of the General Authorities, Area Authorities, and auxiliaries presidencies who are being released or called to serve are announced. The person conducting then asks all of those who are in favor of sustaining the current leadership, or of the calling of a new leader, to raise their right hand in a "vote". The person conducting then asks that if any are opposed raiser their hand.
At the first General Conference after the death of a Church President and the calling of his successor, the session at which the sustaining vote takes place is called a Solemn Assembly, and the process of the sustaining vote is unusually detailed and prolonged. Instead of calling for the sustaining vote of all members together, at a Solemn Assembly each quorum of the Priesthood is asked individually to sustain the new Prophet and President of the church from the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, The Quorums of Seventy, Melchizedek Priesthood holders, Aaronic Priesthood holders, Relief Society members, all members of the Young Women organziation, and then all Members (even if they had previously voted) full text of process.
The LDS General Conference usually airs on the local LDS-owned media outlets KSL channel 5 and KSL 1160 AM. The conference usually prempts regularly-scheduled programming. Alternate outlets include internet webcast via lds.org, syndicated television, Dish Network, DirecTV, and C-band satellite broadcast, though generally these do not include the priesthood session.
World Conference in the Community of Christ
World Conference is the name given to the bi-annual meeting of delegates of the Community of Christ. Originally called General Conferences and held semiannually, or as need arises, they have the same origin as the semi-annual General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
Like the two denominations, the two conferences have evolved separately. Voting at General Conferences of the LDS church is purely symbollic and unanimous. The World Conference, by contrast, is the highest legislative body in the church and is empowered to act for the entire church. Delegates to the conference are elected by Mission Centre conferences. Motions are often debated vigorously and the results are sometimes controversial. World Conferences are traditionally held at Community of Christ World Headquarters, with the legislative and main worship services held in the Auditorium.
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