SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a series of updates regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and the ways it will affect church members.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been carefully monitoring these developments and is taking steps in several areas to provide assistance, help missionaries be safe and effective, address concerns regarding member safety and plan for upcoming events. These steps are being taken to comply with best practices or direction provided by the public health organizations of various national governments.
General Conference Format Change
On Wednesday, Latter-day Saint church members were instructed not to gather at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City for the General Conference session in April.
"We plan to conduct all five sessions of that conference at the Conference Center. General authorities, general officers and their spouses, musicians, choirs, technicians, and others will participate as assigned. But, proceedings of the conference will be distributed throughout the world via technology only. The public will not be admitted in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, or in stake centers or meetinghouses in areas where contagion is a concern," a letter to Latter-day Saint church members said.
The Latter-day Saint church is also postponing its stake conferences, leadership conferences and other large gatherings in some areas, effective March 16.
According to another letter from the church's leaders to its members:
After considering the counsel of governmental, ecclesiastical, and medical leaders around the world and our own prayerful reflection, we will postpone stake and leadership conferences and other large gatherings in Church Areas where illness caused by COVID-19 is a challenge, including,
- Asia North
- Europe East
- All Areas in the United States and Canada
Large gatherings in other areas of the world may continue as usual unless directed otherwise by Area Presidencies, who counsel with their leaders.
The Latter-day Saint church is urging its missionaries to follow basic preventative health practices.
"Missionaries who remain in those countries where COVID-19 is of particular concern will take precautions to stay healthy, including staying in their apartments as much as possible, avoiding personal interaction with other people and teaching through phone calls or other technology. Mission Presidents are communicating with families to let them know of these precautions and keep them updated on local circumstances," a statement from the Latter-day Saint church said.
The Latter-day Saint church is reducing the number of missionaries in the following areas:
- Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission
- Italy Milan Mission
- Japan Fukuoka Mission
- Japan Kobe Mission
- Japan Nagoya Mission
- Japan Sapporo Mission
- Japan Tokyo North Mission
- Japan Tokyo South Mission
- Korea Busan Mission
- Korea Seoul Mission
- Korea Seoul South Mission
- Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
- Singapore Mission
- Thailand Bangkok Mission
Click here for further details on COVID-19's effects on members of the Latter-day Saint church.