Think Conference weekends in the 21st century are busy, with eight hours of televised general sessions and two hours of the Priesthood session?
You may recall that for much of the 20th century, General Conference sessions were held over three days: In April, Conference always included April 6, no matter what day of the week it was, plus Saturday and Sunday, even when that meant there was an “empty” day or two between conference sessions. If April 6th fell on the weekend, and also during October Conference, Friday was also a conference day. You may also know that we also held a Welfare Session for many years, and that the Relief Society also held a multi-day conference in the days leading up to the General Conference. And while you may not have been aware that smaller, private conference sessions were often held for, say, mission presidents or stake patriarchs, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that such sessions were held – they weren’t advertised publicly, because the group of invited officers was so small; private invitations were issued.
But maybe, like me, you will be startled to learn just how busy Conference week has been in the past, with meetings far beyond the ones we’re familiar with today. The week was so busy that special Conference bulletins were printed and distributed (and published in the Salt Lake newspapers) for the convenience of those who were invited to meetings in so many venues at so many hours that they needed to keep track of where they should be when. And that doesn’t even include unofficial, social gatherings, like the mission reunions that have been held at Conference time since well before the turn of the 20th century.
This post reproduces the “Official Conference Announcements” bulletin for October 1939, as representative of the exceedingly busy Conference weekends of past years:
The One Hundred and Tenth Semi-annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will convene in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday, October 6th, 1939, at 10:00 a.m., continuing with sessions on Saturday, October 7th and Sunday, October 8th. The General Priesthood meeting will be held Saturday evening, October 7th at 7:00 p.m. in the Tabernacle.
HEBER J. GRANT
J. REUBEN CLARK, JR.
DAVID O. MCKAY
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4 –
Relief Society Conference
An Opening Session will be held in the Assembly Hall on Wednesday, October 4th at 9:00 a.m. The Educational Department Meetings will be held in the Assembly Hall from 9:15 to 12:00 noon, and from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5 –
Relief Society Conference
The Family Relations Department will be held in the Auditorium, Fourth Floor, Bishop’s Building, on Thursday, October 5th at 8:30 a.m. These meetings will be open to Mission and Stake Class Leaders, Officers and Board Members.
The General and Stake Officers’ Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 5th, at 10:00 a.m. in the Assembly Hall. this will be limited to general Board Members, Mission and Stake Officers, Stake Board Members and Stake Representatives.
The General Session will be held in the Tabernacle on Thursday, October 5th at 2:00 p.m. all Officers, Relief Society workers and the public are invited to be in attendance.
LOUISE Y. ROBISON
AMY BROWN LYMAN
KATE M. BARKER
General Presidency of the Relief Society
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6 –
The first session of General Conference will convene Friday morning, October 6, at 10:00 a.m.
the second session of General Conference will convene Friday afternoon, October 67, at 2:00 p.m.
Church Welfare Plan Meetings
Agricultural meetings for all agriculture committees or other welfare workers to be held in the Bishop’s Building, Fourth Floor, Friday, October 6th at 4:15 p.m.
Meeting for storehouse managers, to be held at the Central Bishops’ Storehouse, 749 West 7th South, Friday, October 6th, at 4:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7 –
The third session of General Conference will convene Saturday morning, October 7, at 10:00 a.m.
The fourth session of General Conference will convene Saturday afternoon, October 7, at 2:00 p.m.
The Seventy’s and Stake Missionaries Conference will be held Saturday, October 7,l 1939, at 4:15 p.m. in Barrett Hall.
First Council of Seventy
General Priesthood Meeting
General Priesthood Conference will be held in the Tabernacle at 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening, October 7th.
Primary Association Conference Meeting
A special meeting for Primary Association workers and all interested will be held in the Assembly Hall, Tabernacle Block, Saturday evening, October 7th, commencing at 7:00 o’clock. The program will center around the theme, “The Mother-Teacher” and will include music, dramatization, and interesting talks. All are welcome.
ISABELLE S. ROSS
EDITH H. LAMBERT
Church Welfare Plan Meetings
Meeting for all regional chairmen, and vice chairmen, to be held in the rear room of the Assembly Hall, Saturday, October 7th at 7:00 a.m.
Special Welfare Meeting to be held in the Assembly Hall, Saturday, October 7th at 8:00 a.m.
Note: Conference visitors are cordially invited to visit the Central Bishops’ Store House operated under the L.D.S. Church Welfare Plan, located at 751 West 7th South Street. It can be reached by bus No. 15 or 16. Special guide service will be provided from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8 –
The fifth session of General Conference will convene Sunday morning, October 8, at 10:00 a.m.
The sixth session of General Conference will convene Sunday afternoon, October 8, at 2:00 p.m.
Aaronic Priesthood Convention
Stake Presidencies, Mission Presidents, High Councilors, Bishops and Counselors, Stake and Ward Clerks, Stake and Ward Supervisors and all interested in the development and progress of the Aaronic Priesthood are invited to attend the Aaronic Priesthood Convention in the Assembly Hall, Sunday at 8:00 a.m., October 8th. Plans for the extension of the Aaronic Priesthood program will be considered.
MARVIN O. ASHTON
JOSEPH L. WIRTHLIN
The Scandinavian Conference will be held Sunday, October 8th in the Assembly Hall at 4:30 p.m. speakers will be President Gustive O. Larson, President Olav Vogeler, President Peterson from the Danish Mission. Some of the General Authorities will also be speakers.
The German Conference will be held in the Assembly Hall, Sunday, October 8th at 12:15, immediately following the meeting in the Tabernacle. speakers will be President Budge of Logan, President Rees, recently returned from Germany, and one of the General Authorities.
The Dutch Conference will be held in the Pioneer Stake Hall, Sunday, October 8th at 4:15 p.m.
The Deaf Conference will be held in the Baptistry Room of the Tabernacle, Sunday, October 8th, at 12:00 noon, under the direction of the First Presidency. Elder Willard E. Barlow will preside.
Sunday School Stake superintendents and Secretaries Meeting
At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, October 8, 1939, in the Assembly Room on the 4th floor of the Bishop’s Building, a meeting of Sunday school Stake Superintendents and Secretaries will be held.
Semi-annual Sunday School Conference
Sunday evening, October 8, 1939, at 7 o’clock in the Salt Lake Tabernacle the semi-annual conference of the Deseret Sunday School Union will be held.
All ward and stake Sunday School officers and teachers are expected to be present and a cordial invitation is extended to the general public to attend.
Seats reserved for this session are for Stake Sunday School officers and Stake and General Authorities who are attending meetings so near to the time of the convening of this meeting that if they were not thus accommodated they could not attend.
GEORGE D. PYPER
GEORGE R. HILL
Deseret Sunday School Union Board
Salt Lake Temple
The Salt Lake Temple will close for general conference Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7, and will reopen for the usual ordinance work Monday, October 9.
STEPHEN L. CHIPMAN
NICHOLAS G. SMITH
GEORGE F. RICHARDS, JR.