Summarized by Donna Williams
After 132 years, General Conference is leaving the Tabernacle
Salt Lake Tribune 1Oct99 N1
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune
This weekend's conference will be the last to be held in the historic
Tabernacle on Temple Square. Next April, The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints will move its semiannual conferences to the new
Conference Center, a newly built 21,000-seat hall just north of
Famous as the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, its "able to hear
a pen drop" acoustics, and its world reknowned pipe organ, the
Tabernacle has been the site of all but five Church conferences since
its opening 132 years ago. During the years of 1886-87, when the LDS
Church was in severe disagreement with the U.S. government over
polygamy, two conferences were held in Logan, two in Provo and one in
Coalville. The October 1919 conference was postponed because of a
deadly worldwide influenza epidemic. During World War II, conferences
were open only to General Authorities and stake presidencies.
Among the memorable events of its history listed by the author:
Every Mormon church president from Brigham Young to Gordon Hinckley
has preached from the Tabernacle's pulpits, and the funeral of every
church president except founder Joseph Smith and his grandson, Joseph
F. Smith, has been held there.
Over the years, many young men first heard their missionary
assignments as they were read in the Tabernacle during conference.
Seven U.S. presidents have spoken in the Tabernacle including
Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
The Utah Symphony held concerts there for years and many well-known
musicians including opera star Bevery Sills, pianist Artur
Rubenstein, violinists Jascha Heifetz and Isaac Stern, and conductors
Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein have performed there.
Daily organ recitals began in 1915; "Music and the Spoken Word,"
short "sermonettes" along with music the by Mormon Tabernacle Choir
were begun in 1929. The first radio broadcast of a church conference
was in 1924, the first television broadcast in 1949 and the first
satellite broadcast in 1980.