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SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time in its history, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will broadcast the priesthood session of its general conference live on television and online.
The LDS Church said the priesthood session of the 183rd Semiannual General Conference session for men and boys would be broadcasted on BYUtv, as well as online on LDS.org and the Mormon Channel. The change came, the church said in a press release, in an effort to "make general conference proceedings more accessible to members around the globe."
"Having the option will be nice, although it's nice to get together with all the brethren and enjoy the conference," said Layton resident Miguel Alvear.
In the past, the session was only broadcast live from the Conference Center in Downtown Salt Lake via satellite to LDS stake centers and the Tabernacle on Temple Square.
"The content of the priesthood meeting has been available online for many years immediately following the conclusion of the priesthood session and in the Ensign and Liahona magazines in the weeks following general conference," LDS Church Spokesperson Ruth Todd said. "Broadcasting the priesthood session over the Internet and on BYUtv is simply another step in reaching a worldwide audience in a way that makes sense in a global church."
Tuesday, the church also released a letter dated Sept. 19 in response to a letter from the organization Ordain Women requesting 150 tickets to October's priesthood session.
"It is the hope of the Church that the Priesthood session will strengthen the men and young men including fathers and sons, and give them the opportunity to gather and receive instruction related to priesthood duties and responsibilities, much the same way parallel meetings are held for sisters, such as the general Relief Society meeting. It's for these reasons that tickets for the Priesthood session are reserved for men and young men and we are unable to honor your request for tickets or admission," the LDS Church stated.
Members of the "Ordain Women" organization, a group of Latter-day Saints committed to the idea of women receiving the priesthood, believe they played a role in the decision to broadcast the session.
April Young Bennett said "Ordain Women" is trying to work within the faith to change the status quo.
"We feel like our prayers have been answered in that there's another way to be more inclusive of women and to allow them to participate more fully in the church, and we really appreciate that," Bennett said.
Bennett said members of her group plan to join the standby line for the priesthood session, still hoping to get into the Conference Center or overflow inside the Tabernacle.