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Watching Conference on VHS + More Earliest Conference Memories from Readers

From the Tabernacle Choir’s beautiful renditions of cherished hymns to the dazzling floral arrangements and inspired messages from prophets and apostles, what’s not to love about general conference? Since its beginning, general conference has undergone many changes and many firsts—like the first time it was only two days long or the first time it was held in the tabernacle—that have made it look different over the years. However, its powerful, revelatory spirit remains. We asked our readers what their earliest memories of general conference were and loved the responses so much that we had to share a few. Are any of these memories similar to yours? 

“In the UK we used to watch VHS tapes of general conference a few weeks after conference. Sometimes we also had the conference edition of the Ensign, so we could read along with the talks.”— Julie Tann 

“We lived in Red Bluff, California, and could only listen to general conference on our old wooden radio on a replay at night on KSL. I can remember the first time I was just turning 8, so that would be April 1965. It would start at midnight! My mother would stay up all night. I fell asleep!” —Earl Brundage

“Not my earliest memory, but one of my favorite and clearest early memories was going to general priesthood meeting with my dad and listening to President Spencer W. Kimball talk about not killing little birds and having respect for the natural world.” — Kevin Williams

“I remember as a very young child watching conference on TV and being so in love with President David O McKay. His white hair, his voice, his smile—I just knew he loved me.” —Mary S. Garbutt

“An early memory of general conference was when we still did fast Sunday on conference weekend. My mom would always have a roast in the oven. Torture! It smelled so wonderful!”— Barb Reno Cook 

 “I was 10 and I sat right in the middle of the Tabernacle and listened to David O. McKay. It was Easter and I felt like I was in heaven.”— Jeannette Hagar

 “I was little. Dad and I got to the Tabernacle late. Only seats were with general authorities. They sat off to the side of the podium at that time. Met President David O McKay.”— Lynnette Weeks

 “Missing the first one when joining the Church at 16. I cried for days. I made sure after that I would not miss again. In 48 years of being a member, I have missed three that I know of.”— Shelly Homan Billington 

 “Being woken up by mom, sitting down at the kitchen table with the family gathered to watch a static TV broadcast of President Gordon B. Hinckley.”— C FA Newpo

“I was about 12 years old and we were converts of about two or three years. That was 40 years ago. My parents got cable and a bunch of members from the ward came over.”— Shelli Clow

“We lived in New Mexico and conference was only broadcast on TV on Sunday morning. My mom dressed us for church and we would go to our friend’s house to watch. After conference we would play games. I loved when President Kimball would speak. His gravelly voice is still so comforting to me.” —Cathy Hammer Fletcher

“I remember listening to the Saturday sessions on the radio with my dad. I remember one year we painted the living room together while we listened. I did not always understand what was said but I liked how I felt when I listened. I loved listening to Hugh B. Brown and LeGrand Richards speak because of how I felt when they spoke. I didn’t know it then, but I recognize it now, and today I feel that listening to the apostles speak and feeling the Spirit really helped me strengthen my testimony of the Restoration of the Church and of the priesthood. I learned that kids don’t have to always understand the talks to grow and learn in the gospel.”— Elizabeth Kullberg

“Mine was the April 1981 session in the old Tabernacle. We arrived late and stood in line. My wife and I were the last two allowed into the session. As we were being ushered to seats, another usher came and said there was room for one more brother up front. My wife nudged me forward. The usher took me down front to the third row, right in front of the podium. I had just been baptized in January. President Kimball spoke and it was amazing. What a testimony-building experience.”— Don Bouchard

 “Flowers at general conference...beauty...”— Blynn Jeppson

“My mom traveling from Idaho to perform with the singing mothers for one of the sessions. Black skirt, white blouse, hair done up in a French twist.” —Vicki Silvis 

“Working in the yard and garden with my dad and brothers during the Saturday morning welfare session. Listening to President Kimball promote self-reliance through gardening and taking pride in your home and yard took on a very personal meaning.”— Brian Holmes 

“Sometime in the summer of 1996 I got to borrow the VHS tape of the October 1995 conference. Watching it real time for the first time for me was in the MTC in October 1998.”— Ágó Bogár 

*Quotes have been edited for clarity.

Lead image from Wikimedia Commons
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