General Conference: Apostles Leading 3 of 5 Sessions in Ap..
General ConferenceGeneral Conference: Apostles Leading 3 of 5 Sessions in April 2024

Introduction

In an unprecedented move, apostles are taking the helm in conducting a significant portion of the April 2024 General Conference, following a similar pattern observed in the General Conference of 2023. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will lead three of the five sessions scheduled. This shift in leadership underscores a unique moment in the conference’s history, highlighting the pivotal role these apostles play within the Church’s leadership structure. Their involvement signals a departure from convention and sets the stage for potentially transformative proceedings during this important gathering of members worldwide. This landmark decision offers a glimpse into the evolving dynamics of leadership within the Church community.

Uncommon Conference Conductors History

It’s not common for anyone other than the president to lead conference sessions, but it’s occurred in both recent times and throughout history. President Russell M. Nelson has invited the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to preside over selected general sessions of the April 2024 General Conference – typically, it’s the role of a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to fulfill this responsibility.

However, during the general conference held on Saturday, April 6-7, three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will have conducted the majority of the sessions. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, acknowledged this shift at the start of the Saturday morning session, stating, “You’ll notice during this General conference that three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have been asked to conduct five sessions.”We are grateful for their assistance.”

Elder Gong’s General Conference Address

3 of 5 Sessions
Elder Gong’s General Conference Address

Four hours after the commencement of the Saturday afternoon session at the general conference, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, a respected member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, took the podium to greet the gathered attendees warmly. With the entire audience attentively seated behind him, he began to preside over the proceedings, setting the tone for an enriching session filled with spiritual insights.

Later in the evening, another distinguished member of the Twelve, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, assumed the role of conductor for the conference’s evening session. While it’s a rare occurrence for anyone other than the president or his counselors to lead a conference session, historical and recent events have shown it to be possible, showcasing the dynamic nature of these gatherings.

Historical Precedents: General Conference

In past instances, when a portion or all of the First Presidency was absent from General conference sessions, the First Presidency nominated someone to conduct the sessions. Typically, this has been the most senior apostle not serving in the First Presidency. But Saturday was different. Since the appointment of an apostle by Elder Stevenson in 2015, there have been more members of the Quorum with longer tenure as apostles. And the last time someone other than a president conducted a general conference was just two years ago. President Jean B. Bingham, then president of the Relief Society, conducted the Saturday evening session of the April 2022 General Conference, in which President Oaks delivered an introductory message.

President Nelson’s Inclusive Leadership

President Nelson’s inclusive approach isn’t limited to the present moment. Since assuming office in January 2018, he’s been keen on involving members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in responsibilities traditionally managed by the First Presidency. This inclusive stance extends to ministerial assignments and leadership roles within wards and stakes, showcasing his trust in their capabilities.

In September 2019, during a visit to São Paulo, Brazil, President Nelson expressed his deep affection for his brethren in the Quorum, likening their bond to that of brothers and sons. Throughout the day, during general conferences and beyond, President Nelson finds joy in witnessing his brethren actively engaged in Church work worldwide, akin to a father delightedly guiding his children on a fishing trip, reveling in their shared successes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the involvement of apostles in conducting the majority of sessions at the April 2024 General Conference marks a significant shift in tradition within the Church. This decision not only highlights the esteemed role of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles but also reflects a dynamic approach to leadership. As members worldwide participate in these sessions, they witness firsthand the dedication and guidance provided by these revered leaders. The impact of this change resonates beyond the General conference itself, shaping the ongoing narrative of leadership and governance within the Church community. Overall, this development underscores the adaptability and strength of the Church as it continues to evolve in meeting the spiritual needs of its members.

FAQs

  1. Why are apostles conducting the majority of sessions in the April 2024 general conference?

Ans:    Due to scheduling or other commitments, the First Presidency may have delegated the responsibility to members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

  1. Is it unusual for apostles to conduct general conference sessions?

Ans:    While it’s not the norm, it’s not unprecedented. Various factors can lead to apostles taking on this role, ensuring the smooth continuation of conference proceedings.

  1. Does this change the significance of the conference sessions?

Ans:    Not at all. Each session is carefully planned and carries the same spiritual weight, regardless of who is conducting it. The focus remains on the inspired messages shared.

  1. Will there be any differences in content or format with apostles conducting?

Ans:    The core messages and format of the General conference remain consistent. Apostles bring their unique perspectives, but the overarching purpose of delivering guidance and inspiration remains unchanged.

  1. How does the general membership feel about apostles leading conference sessions?

Ans:    Generally, members recognize the authority and guidance of the apostles and are supportive of their leadership roles, understanding that they are called to serve in various capacities within the Church, including conducting conferences.

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