Is This the First Time Youth Have Spoken at General Conference?

by | Apr. 04, 2020

On Saturday evening, Church members were surprised when two youth, Sister Laudy R. Kaouk and Brother Enzo S. Petelo, were announced as speakers during the special session of general conference. You may have asked, like us, if this was the first time a teenager has spoken in general conference. The answer? No.

Ironically, Matthew S. Holland, who was called on Saturday afternoon as a General Authority Seventy, spoke in conference 37 years ago as a 16-year-old. Prior to his call Saturday afternoon, Holland, son of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, was serving as a mission president in the Raleigh North Carolina Mission, but in April 1983, he was a young man who spoke to the membership of the Church about the influence parents and family have upon youth in the Church.

“Make your homes like heaven,” a young Matthew Holland said. “Let them be a place where sons and daughters can learn, grow, ask, and express themselves free of criticism and to an open ear and heart.”

His talk, titled “Muddy Feet and White Shirts,” can be read here.

Earlier instances of teenagers speaking in general conference include in October 1968, when a deacon, priest, and teacher each spoke in the priesthood session of that conference.

Most recently, a young woman named Alejandra Hernández spoke in April 1997.

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Lead Image: Courtesy of Church Newsroom. 
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Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones comes to LDS Living after writing for the Deseret News since 2014. She published more than 480 stories and served as Senior Web Producer prior to her departure from Deseret News. Jones is a passionate storyteller and loves having the opportunity to share stories that deserve to be told. She is the host of the All In podcast. 

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