Unable to Gather in Meetinghouses, Conference Was Broadcast Nationally for the First Time Ever in These Countries


Watching  April 2020 general conference at home may have felt normal for many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but for others watching conference at home was not only unusual—it was the first time they had ever been able to do so. 

Many Latter-day Saints typically watch conference in their local meetinghouses, but COVID-19 restrictions disrupted this tradition. However, in some countries like the Philippines, Fiji, Nigeria, and Jamaica, local television and radio stations broadcast general conference for the first time ever.

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“This is the first time in the history of the Church in the Philippines to make such a historic arrangement, which will allow members to listen to gospel messages from global Church leaders and officers in the comforts of their homes,” an article on Church Newsroom Philippines read.

Television stations in multiple countries in the Pacific aired general conference including New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, and Kiribati, according to Church Newsroom Pacific.

In the past, Apimeleki Tuitubou had been tasked with delivering conference DVDs in his truck to remote units in Fiji. This year, the families all watched from their homes instead. He told Church Newsroom Pacific that he never dreamt conference would be nationally broadcast.

Watching from home gave Fijian Milli Naivedru the opportunity to invite her mother-in-law, who is not a member, to watch conference with her.

“We are so blessed to be watching the April 2020 General Conference from the comfort of our home. This conference is truly unforgettable and indeed a memorable one,” she wrote.  

West African Saints also went to local meetinghouses to watch general conference in the past. This year, the Saints in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria were able to tune in through television and radio stations.

“In Nigeria, religious broadcasts are generally limited to one hour, but an exception was made to fit the two-hour conference sessions,” according to Church Newsroom Ghana. “This transmission could potentially reach over 100 million people in Nigeria alone.”

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In Africa, Church leaders also piloted a low-bit-rate streaming resource that allowed those smartphones to use less data to watch general conference.

In President Russell M. Nelson’s “Opening Remarks” he said, “Little did I know, when I promised you at the October 2019 general conference that this April conference would be ‘memorable’ and ‘unforgettable,’ that speaking to a visible congregation of fewer than 10 people would make this conference so memorable and unforgettable for me! Yet the knowledge that you are participating by electronic transmission, and the choir’s beautiful rendition of ‘It Is Well with My Soul,’ bring great comfort to my soul.”

Lead image: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
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