Church cancels meetings, takes precautionary approach
In response to growing global concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, all meetings and activities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been temporarily canceled.
The announcement was made by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Church’s official website.
It stated that there are major changes for the Church’s general conferences, other large Latter-day Saint gatherings, and missionary work and training.
“The public will not be admitted to the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City for the Church’s April 2020 general conference,” read the public announcement.
It added that missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference.
“Other missionary training centers will continue to function as usual, but they will not receive any missionaries from regions where government officials are restricting activity.
“Stake and leadership conferences and other large gatherings will be postponed in Church Areas where illness caused by COVID-19 is a challenge—including Asia, Europe, and North America.”
The senior Church leaders wrote that, “We are deeply concerned about the global spreading of illness caused by COVID-19.”
“We have counseled with worldwide governmental, ecclesiastical, and medical leaders and have prayerfully considered the current circumstances.
“We want to be good global citizens and do what we can to control this contagious illness.
“We are most grateful for the many who are working tirelessly to address this health hazard. We pray for them and for all who may be suffering.”
To help control this problem, Church leaders “feel it wise to limit attendance at the upcoming April 2020 General Conference.”
The Church will conduct all five sessions of the 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.”
“We live in a remarkable age, “according to the letters.
“The Lord has blessed us with the technology and capacity to participate in and receive messages from Church leaders in all parts of the world. This special conference will commemorate the bicentennial of the First Vision and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days.”
In terms of the missionary work, Church leaders wrote in the letter that they believe the “temporary virtual training program will help to prepare missionaries for the field while minimizing risks related to communicable disease.
“Each missionary will receive specific information regarding the length of training, schedules, and other logistics as his or her starting date approaches. Once missionaries complete their online training, they will travel directly to their mission assignments.”
“Church leaders will continue to follow developments closely and make any needed further adjustments.
“We love our missionaries and their families and are grateful for their willingness to serve the Lord. We hope they will take advantage of this unique training experience to prepare for a wonderful period of Christlike service.”