The General Conference Odyssey

764 - Beginnings and Endings

The General Conference Odyssey is a group project by a number of Mormon bloggers. We decided to read all the talks1 from one session of every General Conference per week starting with the April 1971 session2 and continuing until we catch up.

Our first post went live on December 1, 2015. We’ve posted every single Tuesday since then. Every week, we all post our reviews of the talks from that week’s session along with links to the other folks blogging that week. 3 The only exception are current General Conferences, when we all take a break from reading the historical sessions to give our full attention to the current ones.

We call it the General Conference Odyssey because–assuming that future General Conferences maintain the 6-session format–we will not finish this task until 2029. Late in the summer of that year, we will finish re-reading the talks from the April 2029 General Conference before the October 2029 General Conference begins. If future General Conferences have more than 6 sessions, our odyssey will take longer. If they have less, then it will take shorter. In either case, however, an approximately 14-year blogging project seemed to merit the term “odyssey.”

The goal of all the participants is pretty simple. We say that we sustain the general authorities of the Church as prophets, seers, and revelators, so it makes sense to put our time and effort where our mouths are. Reading and then writing about these talks is one way of making sure that we have an eye on the watchmen on the tower.

It is also important, in a time where controversies and viewpoints abound, to keep track of the message that the leaders choose to reiterate. As Elder Eyring taught, “When the words of prophets seem repetitive, that should rivet our attention.” The only way to know which messages are being repeated, however, is to make sure that we’re paying attention to all of them.

Finally, we hope that in surveying a large number of talks over a long time period we will also be able to see trends or changes in emphasis that can help us better understand the Lord’s counsel through His prophets in response to a changing world. The Gospel doesn’t change, but the particular opportunities and dangers we should be most attuned to do change as the world does, and that is another good reason to pay close attention to the words of our prophets over an extended period of time.

This post serves as an introduction to the concept (which you’ve just read) in addition to a more detailed history, a FAQ, and a continuously updated index of all the blog posts in the General Conference Odyssey.

History

On October 25, 2015, J. Max Wilson shared a quote from a talk President Hinckley gave during the Saturday Morning session of the October 1981 General Conference: “Faith: The Essence of True Religion.” I was very struck by this quote, and I spent quite some time mulling it over and discussing my thoughts with friends and family. Eventually, I wrote a blog post for Times and Seasons detailing how I worked through incorporating the talk into my own beliefs. The post I wrote included this paragraph:

President Hinckley’s talk was given 34 years ago. I was a baby then, so of course I have no memory of this talk. I did not know that it existed until last week, when I read the excerpt. And I must confess a sense of shame as I read it for the first time and realized that this past year was the first year (since my mission) that I even tried to listen to all the sessions of General Conference. How many more talks have been given over my lifetime that I have never heard? Never read? Never considered? I say that I sustain the apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators, and yet I have nearly two centuries of their official talks given in General Conference and I have never even considered that I might want to go back and systematically read them to see what they had to say. I think it’s time I change that.

Not long after my post went live, J. Max sent me an email. He shared that he had been working through General Conference talks starting with his birth year. We got together with a few other bloggers we know (basically: the earliest participants in the General Conference Odyssey) and started talking about doing a group version of J. Max’s personal project. We settled on starting with April 1971 because it was the oldest easily available. We settled on a pace of one session per week because it seemed manageable over a long time-frame. I put together the schedule and a Google Doc we could use to coordinate and share links, and then suggested Dec 1 as the start date because: why wait? The holiday season is busy, but if we couldn’t make it through the first one I didn’t see any chance of making it through 14 years of them.

And so our first posts went live on Dec 1, 2015. At that time, we still didn’t have a name of the project.4 Michelle Linford said she liked the term “odyssey” that I’d used in my first blog post,5 however, and with no other contenders, the name stuck.

FAQ

Q. Who can join the General Conference Odyssey?

A. If you’d like to be included as a blogger in the General Conference Odyssey, please contact any of the current bloggers and ask. 6 In general, we’re looking for anyone who wants to read the General Conference talks for the same reason that we do: to better understand the words of Lord’s modern prophets.

Q. Who is in charge of the General Conference Odyssey?

A. The General Conference Odyssey is strictly a volunteer, team effort with no official leader or leadership. I do my best to facilitate by maintaining our schedule and sending encouraging emails and writing posts like this one, but anything else is decided by informal consensus.

Q. Why didn’t you answer my question yet?

A. Because we didn’t think of it. Go ahead and send it to any of the participants or just use this site’s contact form.

Index

Week 1 (Dec 1, 2015)

Covering the Saturday Morning session of the April 1971 General Conference.

Week 2 (Dec 8, 2015)

Covering the Saturday Afternoon session of the April 1971 General Conference.

Week 3 (Dec 15, 2015)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1971 General Conference.

Week 4 (Dec 22, 2015)

Covering the Sunday Morning session of the April 1971 General Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 5 (Dec 29, 2015)

Covering the Sunday Afternoon session of the April 1971 General Conference.

Week 6 (Jan 5, 2016)

Covering the Tuesday Morning session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 7 (Jan 12, 2016)

Covering the Tuesday Afternoon session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 8 (Jan 19, 2016)

Covering the Friday Morning session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 9 (Jan 26, 2016)

Covering the Friday Afternoon session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 10 (Feb 2, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Morning session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 11 (Feb 9, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Afternoon session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 12 (Feb 16, 2016)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 13 (Feb 23, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Morning session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 14 (Mar 1, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Afternoon session of the October 1971 General Conference.

Week 15 (Mar 8, 2016)

Covering the Thursday Morning session of the April 1972 General Conference.

Week 16 (Mar 15, 2016)

Covering the Thursday Afternoon session of the April 1972 General Conference.

Week 17 (Mar 22, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Morning session of the April 1972 General Conference.

Week 18 (Mar 29, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Afternoon session of the April 1972 General Conference.

Week 19 (Apr 12, 2016)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1972 General Conference.

Week 20 (Apr 19, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Morning session of the April 1972 General Conference.

Week 21 (Apr 26, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Afternoon session of the April 1972 General Conference.

Week 22 (May 3, 2016)

Covering the Friday Morning session of the October 1972 General Conference.

Week 23 (May 10, 2016)

Covering the Friday Afternoon session of the October 1972 General Conference.

Week 24 (May 17, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Morning session of the October 1972 General Conference.

Week 25 (May 24, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Afternoon session of the October 1972 General Conference.

Week 26 (May 31, 2016)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1972 General Conference.

Week 27 (Jun 7, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Morning session of the October 1972 General Conference.

Week 28 (Jun 14, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Afternoon session of the October 1972 General Conference.

Week 29 (Jun 21, 2016)

Covering the Friday Morning session of the April 1973 General Conference.

Week 30 (Jun 28, 2016)

Covering the Friday Afternoon session of the April 1973 General Conference.

Week 31 (Jul 5, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Morning session of the April 1973 General Conference.

Week 32 (Jul 12, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Afternoon session of the April 1973 General Conference.

Week 33 (Jul 19, 2016)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1973 General Conference.

Week 34 (Jul 26, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Morning session of the April 1973 General Conference.

Week 35 (Aug 2, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Afternoon session of the April 1973 General Conference.

Week 36 (Aug 9, 2016)

Covering the Friday Morning session of the October 1973 General Conference.

Week 37 (Aug 16, 2016)

Covering the Friday Afternoon session of the October 1973 General Conference.

Week 38 (Aug 23, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Morning session of the October 1973 General Conference.

Week 39 (Aug 30, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Afternoon session of the October 1973 General Conference.

Week 40 (Sep 6, 2016)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1973 General Conference.

Week 41 (Sep 13, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Morning session of the October 1973 General Conference.

Week 42 (Sep 20, 2016)

Covering the Sunday Afternoon session of the October 1973 General Conference.

Week 43 (Sep 27, 2016)

Covering the Friday Morning session of the April 1974 General Conference.

Week 44 (October 4, 2016)

Covering the entire October 2016 General Conference.

Week 45 (October 11, 2016)

Covering the Friday Afternoon session of the April 1974 General Conference.

Week 46 (October 18, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Morning session of the April 1974 General Conference

Week 47 (October 25, 2016)

Covering the Saturday Afternoon session of the April 1974 General Conference.

Week 48 (November 1, 2016)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1974 General Conference.

Week 49 (November 8, 2016)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1974 General Conference.

Week 50 (November 15, 2016)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1974 General Conference.

Week 51 (November 22, 2016)

Covering the Friday morning session of the October 1974 General Conference.

Week 52 (November 29, 2016)

Covering the Friday afternoon session of the October 1974 General Conference.

Week 53 (December 6, 2016)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1974 General Conference.

Week 54 (December 13, 2016)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1974 General Conference.

Week 55 (December 20, 2016)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1974 General Conference.

Week 56 (December 27, 2016)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the October 1974 General Conference.

Week 57 (January 3, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1974 General Conference.

Week 58 (January 10, 2017)

Covering the Friday morning session of the April 1975 General Conference.

Week 59 (January 17, 2017)

Covering the Friday afternoon session of the April 1975 General Conference.

Week 60 (January 24, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the April 1975 General Conference.

Week 61 (January 31, 2017)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the April 1975 General Conference.

Week 62 (February 7, 2017)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1975 General Conference.

Week 63 (February 14, 2017)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1975 General Conference.

Week 64 (February 21, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1975 General Conference.

Week 65 (February 28, 2017)

Covering the Friday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 66 (March 7, 2017)

Covering the Friday afternoon session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 67 (March 14, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 68 (March 21, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 69 (March 28, 2017)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 70 (April 4, 2017)

Covering all sessions of the April 2017 General Conference.

Week 71 (April 11, 2017)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 72 (April 18, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 73 (April 25, 2017)

Covering the General Welfare session of the October 1975 General Conference.

Week 74 (May 2, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 75 (May 9, 2017)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 76 (May 16, 2017)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 77 (May 23, 2017)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 78 (May 30, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 79 (June 6, 2017)

Covering the Tuesday morning session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 80 (June 13, 2017)

Covering the Tuesday afternoon session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 81 (June 20, 2017)

Covering the General Welfare session of the April 1976 General Conference.

Week 82 (June 27, 2017)

Covering the Friday morning session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 83 (July 4, 2017)

Covering the Friday afternoon session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 84 (July 11, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 85 (July 18, 2017)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 86 (July 25, 2017)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 87 (August 1, 2017)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 88 (August 8, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 89 (August 15, 2017)

Covering the General Welfare session of the October 1976 General Conference.

Week 90 (August 22, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the April 1977 General Conference.

Week 91 (August 29, 2017)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the April 1977 General Conference.

Week 92 (September 5, 2017)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1977 General Conference.

Week 93 (September 12, 2017)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1977 General Conference.

Week 94 (September 19, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1977 General Conference.

Week 95 (September 26, 2017)

Covering the General Welfare session of the April 1977 General Conference.

Week 96 (October 3, 2017)

Covering the entire current October 2017 General Conference.

Week 97 (October 10, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1977 General Conference.

Week 98 (October 17, 2017)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1977 General Conference.

Week 99 (October 24, 2017)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1977 General Conference.

Week 100 (October 31, 2017)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the October 1977 General Conference.

Week 101 (November 7, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1977 General Conference.

Week 102 (November 14, 2017)

Covering the Welfare Services session of the October 1977 General Conference.

Week 103 (November 21, 2017)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the April 1978 General Conference.

Week 104 (November 28, 2017)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the April 1978 General Conference.

Week 105 (December 5, 2017)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1978 General Conference.

Week 106 (December 12, 2017)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1978 General Conference.

Week 107 (December 19, 2017)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1978 General Conference.

Week 108 (December 26, 2017)

Covering the General Welfare session of the April 1978 General Conference.

Week 109 (January 2, 2018)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1978 General Conference.

Week 110 (January 9, 2018)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1978 General Conference.

Week 111 (January 16, 2018)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1978 General Conference.

Week 112 (January 23, 2018)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the October 1978 General Conference.

Week 113 (January 30, 2018)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1978 General Conference.

Week 114 (February 6, 2018)

Covering the General Welfare session of the October 1978 General Conference.

Week 115 (February 13, 2018)

Covering the Women’s session of the October 1978 General Conference.

Week 116 (February 20, 2018)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the April 1979 General Conference.

Week 117 (February 27, 2018)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the April 179 General Conference.

Week 118 (March 6, 2018)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1979 General Conference.

Week 119 (March 13, 2018)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1979 General Conference.

Week 120 (March 20, 2018)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1979 General Conference.

Week 121 (March 27, 2018)

Covering the General Welfare session of the April 1979 General Conference.

Week 122 (April 3, 2018)

Covering the entire current April 2018 General Conference.

Week 123 (April 10, 2018)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1979 General Conference.

Week 124 (April 17, 2018)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1979 General Conference.

Week 125 (April 24, 2018)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1979 General Conference.

Week 126 (May 1, 2018)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the October 1979 General Conference.

Week 127 (May 8, 2018)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1979 General Conference.

Week 128 (May 15, 2018)

Covering the General Welfare session of the October 1979 General Conference.

Week 129 (May 22, 2018)

Covering the Women’s session of the October 1979 General Conference.

Week 130 (May 29, 2018)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the April 1980 General Conference.

Week 131 (June 5, 2018)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the April 1980 General Conference.

Week 132 (June 12, 2018)

Covering the Priesthood session of the April 1980 General Conference.

Week 133 (June 19, 2018)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1980 General Conference.

Week 134 (June 26, 2018)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1980 General Conference.

Week 135 (July 3, 2018)

Covering the General Welfare session of the April 1980 General Conference.

Week 136 (July 10, 2018)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the October 1980 General Conference.

Week 137 (July 17, 2018)

Covering the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1980 General Conference.

Week 138 (July 24, 2018)

Covering the Priesthood session of the October 1980 General Conference.

Week 139 (July 31, 2018)

Covering the Sunday morning session of the October 1980 General Conference

Week 140 (August 7, 2018)

Covering the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1980 General Conference.

Week 141 (August 14, 2018)

Covering the Welfare session of the October 1980 General Conference.

Week 142 (August 21, 2018)

Covering the General Relief Society session of the October 1980 General Conference.

Week 143 (August 28, 2018)

Covering the Saturday morning session of the April 1981 General Conference.

43 thoughts on “The General Conference Odyssey”

  1. Plan to do this with you. One suggestion – I’ve done the 40 days 40 nights General Conference challenge before and loved it. One of the things that made it so easy to complete was the Facebook page that had a link to the talk of the day. That really helped keep me on track. Have your considered setting up something like that?

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