News Story

General Conference Airs for the First Time on National TV in Papua New Guinea

Twice a year, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and interested friends gather to hear inspiring messages and music originating in Salt Lake City, Utah at the faith's semi-annual worldwide general conference.  Senior leaders of the Church and others share messages on gospel principles or address significant issues of the day, with speakers encouraging individuals and families in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ. 

In the past, Church members in many parts of the world, including in the South Pacific, have met the weekend after the faith's annual and semi-annual general conferences to view the sessions together. 

Since this is not an option due to COVID-19 concerns, the Church arranged to broadcast the 190th annual General Conference via television and radio in many areas, including Papua New Guinea.  


The response was positive. “It was such a blessing to be able to watch this from home. Thank you to all the leaders of the Church for making this possible,” said Irene Leggett, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papua New Guinea. Her sentiments were echoed by members throughout PNG who were able to watch the five sessions of the conference at home for the first time, including Ume Berebai who wrote, "It’s a blessing to view general conference on our national television broadcast.”  Rosa Tabel said, “What a blessing to hear the council of our leaders at the challenging times we face."  

Before the pandemic, with its restrictions on large group gatherings and temporary closure of church meetinghouses, it was a major sacrifice for many members in PNG to view the proceedings of general conference. Although the October 2019 announcement of a temple in PNG spread quickly through social media and word of mouth, many had to wait several weeks to watch, listen to, or read the messages given in general conference.

In the past, Church members in Papua New Guinea traveled to their stake center meetinghouses to watch conference via DVD.  With 81 congregations but only two stakes (diocese), traveling to watch conference involved long distances, sometimes several hours. Transportation was often expensive, requiring great sacrifice. Travel across PNG is sometimes dangerous, as it is common for gangs to roam the roads and rob travelers.

Port Moresby Stake (diocese) President Moasope Christian McCarthy said the televised conference was truly a blessing for Church members in Papua New Guinea. The Church members' Facebook page went viral with comments about the blessings of watching conference at home:

Andrew Arpa mentioned the feeling in his home during conference and expressed gratitude for a Prophet of God on the earth today: “I felt completely different when my family entered our home and thank our Heavenly Father for the Prophet to lead us with revelation.”  

Expressing surprise at being able to watch general conference for the first time in Papua New Guinea, church member Ikal Salaiau posted on social media, “Wow EMTV???? That is amazing, the Lord surely wants all His children to hear him. Great blessing.” 

Maxine Stephany Aihi' came away from the conference motivated. “Watching the general conference on EMTV makes me want to serve the Lord.”

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