Do Mormons Believe God was Once a Man?
Among the questions that have rarely been addressed by the professors of religion, but which we hunger for answers, are these:
- Where did God come from?
- If God has always existed, but we only just came into existence a few thousand years ago as a race, what did He do before creating us?
- What will God do after His work with us on earth is complete?
- What does He do today?
- Does he just create beings to worship him? Or is there a loftier purpose?
Many people in the Christian faith’s reject the idea that God was once a man because they largely believe in a trinity concept wherein Jesus and the Father are the same being. Yet they believe Jesus was born into this world so obviously He was a man. All of Christianity believes God was once a man! The difference with the LDS faith is we do not believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be the same being, but separate beings who are one in purpose. That is what the Bible teaches. This article will explain our beliefs about the origin of God the Father. Follow this link for more information on the Godhead being separate beings.
To begin, we first need to understand God’s purpose in what his work is all about. What motivates Him? Among the scriptures that members of the LDS faith quote most is this passage in the book of Moses. Specifically verse 39. In this experience as Moses converses with the Lord, the Lord has just told him about the vastness of creation and Moses asks to see it all. The Lord answers with a declaration of why he does what he does.
36 And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.
37 And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.
38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
It is God’s purpose to create and exalt his creations. He wants them to have immortal bodies and enjoy the blessings of eternal life in His presence. He created us for this purpose and he labors to achieve this objective, within the bounds of eternal law.
In order to better understand why we are here on earth, we need to understand that we were created by God prior to life in this mortal realm, and there existed as his spirit children. There are a number of scriptures which illustrate this.
God is the father of our spirits.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
In Job 38:1-7 the Lord asks Job where he was when the foundations of the earth were laid “and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” We were there. We are the children of God as Paul explained in Romans 8:16-17.
The disciples understood the doctrine of a pre-mortal life and here asked Jesus if one individual had done something there to warrant being born blind. The Savior doesn’t correct any false understanding of the notion of living before mortal birth, but instead declares the man innocent of sin before being born.
1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
This one very clearly illustrates that Jeremiah lived prior to this life and was in God’s presence.
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Purpose of Life
If you will look back up at verses 24 and 25, you will see that the purpose of this life is to be tested to see if we will keep the commandments. In our pre-mortal state, we did not have a physical body, but our Heavenly Father did (Jesus did not until he came to earth to be born and then resurrected). We wanted to be like our Heavenly Father and enjoy the blessings that a perfect immortal body would afford us. We, as children of God, wanted to be like our loving Father (and naturally a Mother as well though she is not discussed openly in scripture).
Paul taught in Hebrews 9:23 that things on Earth are created after the pattern of heavenly things. We also know that the word “God” as used in Genesis 1:1 is the Hebrew word Elohim and the -im on the end makes it a plural word. There are a couple ways to comprehend what this means, but one is that we don’t just have a Father in Heaven. Whenever did a child exist who had a father but not a mother? God has declared us His children and we are. In Genesis 1:26-27 we see this borne out when the Lord declares, “let US make man in OUR image…after our likeness…male and female created he them.” Who is the “us” and “our” if not a Heavenly Mother to pattern Eve after?
Our purpose in coming to earth was two-fold.
First to gain a body so that it would someday be resurrected and glorified and we would physically become like our Heavenly Parents.
Second, to be tested to see if we would obey the Lord’s commandments and be able to return to His presence.
Successfully passing the test of life does not mean one is saved by works. The prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon said it best when he declared:
2 Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
We know that it is only through the grace and mercy of God, wrought by the blood of Christ through his atonement, that we can have hope to be saved in the kingdom of God. We also know that declaring a belief in God without actually keeping the commandments, will not be sufficient to bring us into heaven. As Jesus declared,
Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
There is much that could be said here about the spirit world and preparation for judgment. To save space in this post, I will direct the reader to another article I recently posted which explains our beliefs in the kingdoms of glory that await us (Do Mormons believe everyone else is going to hell?). As Jesus said,
John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
If you will read the article just referenced, you will see the scriptural case for what we term “degrees of glory.” In short, Paul makes the case that in the resurrection there are varying degrees of resurrected bodies, some as glorious as the sun, some likened to the moon, and others like the stars “for one star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Cor. 15:40-42). He also speaks of being caught up to the third heaven in 2 Cor. 12:2. We believe these kingdoms of glory are what Jesus referred to as the “many mansions,” or places where we would be comfortable living for eternity, according to the light and truth we were willing to follow in this life. The highest degree of glory is termed the Celestial kingdom and it is the place where God dwells.
Are we God’s Children?
So now to get to the heart of the matter. Does the reader accept that we are God’s children and that we have Heavenly Parents? If not, why do we call God our Heavenly Father? How can we have a Father without a Mother? What do children do but learn and grow and move toward becoming parents? What greater joy is there for a parent in seeing their children succeed in life, marry, and produce grandchildren for them to love and nurture as part of their family. Does it diminish the parent or grandparent to see the child or grandchild attain the title of “adult”? No. Parents build an inheritance for their children and try to prepare a better world for them to inhabit. This was taught by Paul in Romans 8:16-17.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
What does it mean to be an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ? What does it mean that glory will be revealed in us? Again Paul responds in Philippians 3:13-14.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
What is Paul saying? Put the past behind you and push on toward our final objective. The prize to which we seek is to become perfect through Christ and arrive at the stature of a spiritual adult and attain the calling of God. To be an heir of God and inherit all things. To acquire the power of creation. This does not diminish God, it exalts Him. Recall that his work and his glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Immortality is living forever with a resurrected body. Eternal life is God’s life. It is to become “like” God, but never replace Him. He experiences joy in watching his children create, just as kindly parents experience joy watching their children create. He wants us to have what he has. This is what John the Revelator taught when he said in Revelation 1:5-6:
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
What does it mean to be a king and priest unto God through Christ? It means to have our sins washed away through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, grow from grace to grace, line upon line, in this life and the next, until we become as perfect in our attributes as God himself, and he is then comfortable bestowing upon us powers and kingdoms to rule over in the same way He Himself would, with love and perfection.
When the Psalmist wrote ”I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalms 82:6), the Lord later confirmed in John 10 when the Jews took up stones to kill him.
34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
In other words, “if the word of God calls you gods and children of the most High, why would you call me a blasphemer for saying I am the Son of God?”
To me, this is a comforting doctrine. It explains our grand purpose in life, the reason for which God created us, and gives us hope that by living by God’s word, we may in fact become like God, not to diminish Him, but to further exalt and honor Him. To reject this concept wholesale means that one would have to provide an alternate set of explanations to all the questions that could be asked. Where did God come from? What did he do before creating us? What will he do after the millennium? What did Paul mean by explaining there are 3 different types of bodies in the resurrection? How was Jeremiah ordained a prophet before he was born unless he lived prior to birth? And what does it really mean to be a child of God?
God the Father was Once a Man
With this foundation laid, the LDS doctrine is that God the Father was also once a spirit child of loving Heavenly parents who placed him in a mortal realm to be tested and tried and eventually exalted. He lived a mortal life on an earth just like this experience we are having. He was exalted to be a God and our Father is the only God whom we worship. It doesn’t take away from God that there are other Gods throughout the eternities. God the Father is the object of our adoration and love and we worship none other. We desire to be like Him. Jesus said:
John 5:19 “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
What did Jesus do? He came down to earth, took upon himself a body, experienced death, was resurrected, and has received eternal glory.”
Don’t take my word for it
In my life I have heard no compelling argument to explain these scriptures away in any logical fashion contrary to what I have expressed here. On the other hand, I have a witness by the Holy Ghost that these things are true and I know that anyone who opens their heart and asks God with sincerity and real intent, can come to know these things are true as well. The key is, asking God with sincerity and intent to act on the knowledge. Let God tell you if it’s true. You don’t need my testimony or someone trying to explain these things away. Joseph Smith received his call to be prophet simply because he followed the counsel given in James 1:4-5.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
I do know these things are true and that anyone who asks God with an open heart to know if these things are true, can in fact come to the same knowledge that you are a literal child of God, he loves you, he created you in his image, he created this world for you, he sent his Son to die for you, that you might return and live with him forever. I will love and praise my Heavenly Father and his Son forever for what they have done for me.
Miscellaneous Quotes from LDS Prophets
“We are destined and foreordained to become like God, and unless we do become like Him we will never be permitted to dwell with Him. When we become like Him you will find that we will be presented before Him in the form in which we were created, male and female.”
Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 276, June 12, 1898
“The fact that we receive the Holy Ghost is proof that the Spirit in warring with the flesh has overcome, and by continuing in this state of victory over our sinful bodies we become the sons and daughters of God, Christ having made us free, and whoever the Son makes free is free indeed. Having fought the good fight we then shall be prepared to lay our bodies down to rest to await the morning of the resurrection when they will come forth and be reunited with the spirits, the faithful, as it is said, receiving crowns, glory, immortality and eternal lives, even a fullness with the Father, when Jesus shall present His work to the Father, saying, “Father, here is the work thou gavest me to do.” Then will they become gods, even the sons of God; then will they become eternal fathers, eternal mothers, eternal sons and eternal daughters; being eternal in their organization, they go from glory to glory, from power to power; they will never cease to increase and to multiply, worlds without end. When they receive their crowns, their dominions, they then will be prepared to frame earths like unto ours and to people them in the same manner as we have been brought forth by our parents, by our Father and God.”
- , Journal of Discourses 18:259
“As man now is, God once was-even the babe of Bethlehem, advancing to childhood-thence to boyhood, manhood, then to the Godhead. This, then, is the “mark of the prize of mans high calling in Christ Jesus.” We are the offspring of God, begotten by Him in the spirit world, where we partook of His nature as children here partake of the likeness of their parents. Our trials and sufferings give us experience, and establish within us principles of godliness.”
-Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses 26:368, January 10, 1886
“It is for the exaltation of man to a state of superior intelligence and Godhead that the mediation and atonement of Jesus Christ is instituted; and that noble being, man, made in the image of God, is rendered capable not only of being a son of man, but also a son of God, through adoption, and is rendered capable of becoming a God, possessing the power, the majesty, the exaltation and the position of a God.”
-John Taylor, The Mediation and the Atonement-John Taylor, p. 140-141
“If I improve upon what the Lord has given me, and continue to improve, I shall become like those who have gone before me; I shall be exalted in the celestial kingdom and be filled to overflowing with all the power I can wield; and all the keys of knowledge I can manage will be committed unto me. What do we want more? I shall be just like every other man-have all that I can, in my capacity, comprehend and manage.”
-Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:276, August 28, 1852
“You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation.”
-Joseph Smith, Jr., Times and Seasons August 15, 1844
Most people don’t know much about LDS church founder Joseph Smith. He had an incredible life of persecution from the time he was 14 and had what we call the “First Vision” to the time he was murdered by a mob in Carthadge, IL.
For the unfamiliar reader, the First Vision was the experience Joseph had during his time of religious confusion (you may read Joseph’s account here). There was a time when many religions were vying for converts and it created much confusion to young Joseph. He came across the scripture in James 1:5 which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Joseph was moved upon by this scripture and decided to take God up on his promise. He went into the woods near his home and while he prayed to inquire of God which of all the churches he should join, God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in a vision and instructed him that he should join none of the churches of that day saying “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” Joseph was told he would do a great work on the earth to restore the true gospel of Jesus Christ in it’s purity. He was called to be God’s chosen prophet on earth just as Moses and other ancient prophets had been called and spoke with God “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exo. 33:11).
Just weeks before Joseph’s death, the well respected Josiah Quincy traveled from Boston to pay him a visit in Nauvoo, IL. Of that trip, Mr. Quincy wrote this:
“It is by no means improbable that some future textbook, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. And the reply, absurd as it doubtless seems to most men now living, may be an obvious commonplace to their descendants. History deals in surprises and paradoxes quite as startling as this. The man who established a religion in this age of free debate, who was and is today accepted by hundreds of thousands as a direct emissary from the Most High,–such a rare human being is not to be disposed of by pelting his memory with unsavory epithets.”
In Joseph’s last days before the martyrdom, he evidently had this dream which I had never heard of till I saw this touching video someone produced. Joseph Smith was an amazing man, called of God to serve as his mouthpiece on earth. He sealed his testimony with his blood, living true to the end in that faith that God revealed to him.
The really fast answer is, we don’t. However, this is a big question for a lot of people who have read these verses at the end of the Bible.
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The part people don’t understand and misinterpret about these verses is that John, the author of the book of Revelation, was alone on the isle of Patmos when he wrote and completed this visionary work. The Bible as we know it today with 66 books wasn’t put together for hundreds of years. Those verses aren’t referring to the Bible, that it cannot have words added or taken from it, but that nothing should be added to John’s revelation or taken from it. It was meant by God to survive intact without change so that those in the last days would have the benefit of studying and knowing what had been prophesied.
Further evidence of this understanding comes from the writings of Moses in Deuteronomy 4:2 which says:
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
If the interpretation of Revelation was as some in the world declare it, they would seal the heavens and prevent any further words from God from being given to us. However, if that interpretation were correct, then Moses’ words would have shut off all communication from the heavens as well. Where would Isaiah have fit in or Ezekiel and all the other prophets? Such is not the case. God calls prophets and speaks to them, using them as his mouthpiece on earth to guide his wayward children.
From the Book of Mormon, one ancient prophet was commanded to write these words from the Lord.:
2 Nephi 29:3-11
3 And because my words shall hiss forth-many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
4 But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
5 O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.
6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
As further evidence of this, consider that at the time the 10 tribes of Israel were taken captive by the Assyrians and then later escaped and were lost to our knowledge, it was during a time when there were many prophets among the Israelites. Who would dare say the words of the prophets that were with the 10 tribes were invalid just because they are not in the Bible we hold today? There are even several writings of prophets mentioned by name in the Bible which we do not have today (ex. 1 Chron 29:29).
Lastly, in the Book of Revelation it speaks of 2 witnesses that God will give power to, to prophesy at the battle of Armageddon. Are these not prophets who will utter the word of God in great power? Will they not declare the word of the Lord just as surely as Moses or Isaiah or Peter or Paul? When their writings are written will not people regard it as modern day revelation worthy of canonization? I think so.
Mormons don’t exclusively use the Book of Mormon. We use the Bible for its testament of God’s dealings in the ancient world and the Book of Mormon for its testament of God’s dealings in the ancient Americas, the Doctrine and Covenants as modern day revelation, and the Pearl of Great Price which was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith. We regard all scripture as valuable for our profit and learning.
In the LDS church, we believe in modern revelation. We believe that God wants to speak with us today and has called a prophet again on the earth to show that he loves all of his children, the same today as he did anciently. If there were times in the past when God’s children needed inspiration from God, we certainly can’t argue we don’t need that today. From Joseph Smith’s first vision of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, to Thomas S. Monson today, God has called prophets to guide and direct his affairs on earth.
The Mormon family is as diverse as any family unit one might come across, and is found in virtually every society, class and race of people across the globe. Mormon families are not immune to the challenges of life, including financial uncertainties, health problems, divorce, the myriad worthwhile distractions competing for our time, or the barrage of unwholesome outside influences constantly looking for attention. Notwithstanding these many challenges, there are certain themes and principles common to most Mormon households, and include activities such as prayer, learning, worship, developing relationships, and service to God’s children.
First, prayer allows us to commune directly with our Heavenly Father, and Church leaders encourage Church members to pray daily as individuals and as families in order to receive direction from God. The old adage that “families who pray together, stay together” rings true here.
Second, from the Church’s beginning in 1830, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been encouraged to obtain both spiritual and secular knowledge, and to develop their God-given talents. Mormon families and individuals are encouraged to study the scriptures daily in order to learn God’s word. Furthermore, modern prophets such as President Gordon B. Hinckley have encouraged Church members to “go on to college or whatever school, vocational school, whatever your choice is, but take advantage of every opportunity that you have because the Lord has laid upon you a mandate through revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning not only spiritual learning but secular learning,” and to “read the word of God in sacred books of scripture. Read from the great literature of the ages. Read what is being said in our day and time and what will be said in the future.”
Third, worship is central to the Mormon family. Mormon families worship God together in a variety of ways to include attending church meetings on Sundays and performing sacred ordinances in the Holy Temple. The act of worshiping together as a family serves to strengthen the family and draws them closer to God.
Fourth, Mormons believe that familial relationships developed during our time on earth will continue after this life, and that a family can be together throughout eternity. This doctrine helps to guide our thoughts, words and actions when it comes to how we treat family members and gives us hope that death is not the end. We have been instructed to set aside Monday night (or another if that won’t work) to have what we call Family Home Evening, where the family can spend time together singing, praying, discussing the gospel, doing fun activities, and in general just building bonds.
Fifth, as Mormon families look to the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, they try to follow His example by serving God’s children. Family members are asked to consecrate both time and resources to help others in need, and by so doing, the family not only serves their fellow men but also God. Further, modern day apostle, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, has taught that “as we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.”
The bottom line is that there are no perfect Mormon families, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23). Nevertheless, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives great hope to both individuals and families that we may have eternal life. And, when families follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, principles such as prayer, learning, worship, developing relationships, and service to God’s children become important components of family life.
Each April and October, the LDS Church has a worldwide conference broadcast to buildings and homes throughout the world. At these conferences, the leaders of the church, men and women, address the body of the church with talks they have prepared after fasting and prayer to know what the Lord would have them address to the members of the church. Sometimes in a conference, themes will appear as multiple talks might address a certain subject, however, there are always a wide variety of topics discussed since the conference lasts 12 hours. The presentation begins with a General Young Women’s conference a week before the main general membership conference. On that Saturday night, the broadcast is directed only to the women. A week later, the general conference starts on Saturday morning and afternoon, each with a 2 hour session. That night there is a Priesthood session for only the men making a total of 6 hours that day. On Sunday, another morning and afternoon session are held of 2 hours each.
When I was a child growing up in Pennsylvania, I typically dreaded conference because we would drive to the chapel where they would haul out a radio and set it on a table by the pulpit and we would sit as silently as possible for each session we attended and listen to audio broadcasts of things I didn’t understand. As I got to be a teen, sometime in that time frame we got a satellite dish at our chapel and were able to watch conference broadcasts live on video. That was a big improvement and much more interesting. Today, living in Utah, I can just watch most of conference at home with my family. The church doesn’t broadcast the Saturday night women’s and men’s sessions on TV to provide an opportunity for those groups to get together and feel the companionship of their fellow saints while they gather for conference in a local chapel.
If you would like to browse a General Conference page, check one out here on the LDS church website.
If you would like to just see a “highlight” reel, the church prepared one here which I think is the first time. It’s about 18 minutes long and just shows short clips from talks in conference given by the men we sustain as prophets of God, that is those men called as Apostles of Jesus Christ, the longest serving of which is appointed as the President of the Church on earth and the Lord’s prophet just as a modern day Moses. Today, that man is Thomas S. Monson and I know him to be a prophet of God.