Mormons travel from all over the world for LDS Church’s General Conference in SLC

Posted at 7:52 PM, Apr 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-02 23:16:04-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' General Conference this weekend in Salt Lake City, and the event draws followers from all over the state, the country, and even the globe.

"I'm from Brazil," said Christiano Combra. "This is the second time I've made it. I always take so much away from the Conference."

Combra and his wife are alternating sessions so that the other can watch their baby at the hotel. He said he heard a number of messages, but one stood out.

"You need to be more humble with others and to have forgiveness in your heart," Combra said.

Others heard similar messages, and more.

"I came away with more than I expected," said Gayle and Lynn Blamires. "The talks of humility and the opportunities to come closer to the Savior are what stood out to us."

The morning session had a number of topics of discussion, but many wondered if certain themes would emerge. In light of recent terror attacks in Belgium, some had hoped to hear about the safety of missionaries abroad.

A clear message on the topic was never brought forth, but others hoping to have church leaders discuss the faith's policy on children of same-sex couples, heard things that attracted their interest.

Though same-sex parents weren't specifically spoken about, Elder Neil Andersen did speak to children from diverse backgrounds.

"My plea today is for the hundreds of thousands of children that do not come from these picture perfect families, the tens of thousands who embrace the gospel without a mother or a father, to come into church," Elder Anderson said.

A male-only session, generally called the Priesthood session, was held Saturday night. While the meeting usually runs from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., this time it concluded around 7:30 p.m.

An LDS Church spokeswoman said the sessions are not always two hours, and in this case the length of the meeting was due to shorter talks from speakers and a shorter message from LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson.

Another unusual event transpired during the Saturday afternoon session, as there was a rare vote of opposition during the process of sustaining the leadership of the LDS Church. While dissenting voices were few in number, the process generally proceeds with unanimous assent during the twice-yearly conferences.

The LDS Church also named new leaders, including a new Primary General Presidency and several new General Authorities and Area Seventies, during the Saturday session.

Sessions of the conference will continue Sunday.