Much has happened in the last few days regarding temporary changes related to the COVID-19 virus. We have prepared for your reference this summary of changes that impact Latter-day Saints.
Updated March 25, 2020 at 7:21 p.m.
- In areas where Family Services are available, they offer emergency response teletherapy at the request of the bishop, branch president, or leaders from the ward council. Emergency response teletherapy is crisis counseling and is not therapy. Typically, this is a one-time, 10-20-minute contact. No payment, paperwork, or documentation is required.
- In the USA, local mental health crisis resources are available from SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs at 66746).
- General meetings. See announcement about general meetings and activities being suspended. All training meetings should be suspended. Gatherings of people of any age may not exceed 10 people. Ward and branch clerks don’t need to record sacrament meeting attendance in Leader and Clerk Resources (LCR) when Sunday meetings are not held. They should just leave it blank.
- Leadership meetings. For bishopric and presidency meetings, the use of technology and virtual meetings is encouraged.
- General conference. All are invited to watch via technology in many ways, now including on the Gospel Library app. No public attendance at the conference center or meetinghouses. See announcement and follow-up announcement.
- Funerals and weddings in meetinghouses. Maximum of 10 people attending, where allowed by governmental and health officials. Local leaders may determine when to proceed with or postpone weddings. Services may be transmitted digitally so that family members and other individuals can observe.
- Interviews for temple recommends and other matters. Ward and stake leaders will determine how to handle interviews. Technology could be used (phone call, video call, etc.), especially for people in high-risk categories. Many leaders are limiting it to essential interviews.
- Self-Reliance classes. If held, groups can have virtual meetings using technology.
- Seminary classes. If schools are closed, then daily and released-time seminary is not held. See announcement.
- Patriarchal blessings. Stake presidents and patriarchs should counsel together to determine what to do. There is no restriction on continuing to give blessings if the patriarch and the individuals are in good health. If there is a concern about the health of the patriarch or the individuals, then blessings may be postponed.
- Youth Activities. General youth activities are suspended, but local leaders may identity service or activities that can be done in small groups. Maximum of 10 people attending, where allowed by governmental and health officials.
- The sacrament is an ordinance that is administered under the keys of the bishop. The bishop must authorize a priesthood holder to administer the sacrament. See General Handbook, 18.9. The First Presidency requested that bishops counsel with their stake president to determine how to make the sacrament available to members at least once a month.
- Families are not authorized to hold a “sacrament meeting.” The bishop may authorize families to conduct the ordinance of the sacrament. That may be followed by a family gospel study time, but it is not a “sacrament meeting.” A family gospel study time may include prayers, hymns and songs, talks, Come, Follow Me discussion, etc.
- When authorized by the bishop, the sacrament may be administered by a single priesthood holder (a priest or a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood) in a member’s home. There is no need to gather multiple families.
- Ministering brothers should provide support to their assigned homes, especially when there is no priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the home.
- Sacrament prayers have been added to the Gospel Library app in the Scriptures collection for easy access.
- The sacrament is not typically administered the Sunday of general conference.
- Baptismal services continue to be held with a maximum of 10 people attending, where allowed by governmental and health officials. Local leaders may determine when to proceed with or postpone baptismal services.
- On a temporary basis, loved ones and family members may view the service remotely via technology.
- Newly baptized members should be confirmed at the baptismal service.
- The Aaronic Priesthood may then be conferred upon males following their baptism and confirmation.
- See announcement and notice.
- Feed Utah Food Drive scheduled for March 21 has been postponed.
- Utah Coalition Anti-pornography conference scheduled for March 28 has been canceled.
- RootsTech London conference planned for November 2020 will be postponed until autumn 2021. See announcement.
- Tabernacle Choir events and performances are cancelled. People can watch and listen to Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts, but not attend in person. See list of temporary changes.
- Messiah concert on Easter weekend (April 10-11) will not be live, but people can watch by internet stream.
- BYU and other Church schools. See announcement.
Church Buildings and Sites
- All public areas on Temple Square and surrounding buildings are closed to the public until further notice. This includes the Conference Center, Assembly Hall, Tabernacle, North Visitors’ Center, Family History Library, Church History Museum, Relief Society Building, Church Office Building, Beehive House, and Church History Library.
- The construction work on the Salt Lake Temple will continue as planned.
- At Welfare Square, operations will remain open, but public tours are temporarily discontinued going forward.
- All Church historic sites are closed. See announcement.
- See chart on missionaries returning, being released, or being reassigned.
- Returning missionaries will go through a 14-day period of self-isolation and then may be assigned to serve within their home country, based on local conditions. Guidelines on meeting missionaries at airports.
- All missionaries at the Church’s 10 MTCs worldwide are in the process of traveling to their missions or returning home to self-isolate. Missionaries who are being trained at home using technology should be set apart and begin their full-time discipleship and living mission policies. See announcement.
- Missionary recommendations continue to be received and missionaries continue to be called and assigned to missions.
- Missions provide guidance on providing dinners in member homes or delivering food to the missionary apartment.
- See announcements here and here and here and here.
- All temples are temporarily closed. See announcement.
- Temple staff will contact all patrons with an existing appointment to confirm cancellation. When temples resume activity, patrons should contact the temple to reschedule their living ordinances. Members with additional questions are invited to visit with their bishop or stake president.
- People may submit names for the prayer roll by emailing the names to the temple or leaving a message on the temple’s answering machine. The names will be collected when temples reopen.
- Patron housing is temporarily closed.
- Distribution centers may have reduced hours of operation. Members are encouraged to contact the store to learn about adjusted hours. See list of stores that are closed.
- Deseret Book stores remain open and they offer temporary curbside pickup for all Distribution Services and Deseret Book products.
- Deseret Industries stores are closed to the general public for shopping and donations.
- Home Storage Centers remain open, but members are encouraged to order home storage products through store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
- Welfare production facilities will continue to function, although some adjustments may be made to protect the health of staff and volunteers. Days and hours of operations may be adjusted.
- Ministering. Ministering brothers and sisters should provide support to their assigned homes to ensure all needs are met. Ministering brothers and sisters should respect the needs of older members or those who are especially vulnerable, and plan in-person visits accordingly. Maintain contact by phone or other use of technology. Ministering brothers and Aaronic Priesthood holders should be available to help provide the sacrament to homes when there is no priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the home.
- Administering to the sick. Every precaution should be made when making direct contact with people who may be infected or who are in a high-risk category. Follow local heath guidelines.
It is wonderfully comforting to experience the divinely inspired Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this time of pandemic distress so thoroughly organized and well prepared to lead and give direction and guidance to not only it’s disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to all God’s children throughout the earth. Such order is surely patterned after the order of heaven and brings Hope to the helpless and increased Faith that the hand of our Almighty God is at work among His children. I believe we are receiving a preview of those prophecies which have come down through the ages concerning the last dispensation and preparing for the second coming of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Listen to our living prophet, we carry the church in our hearts and sanctified homes and by obedience to the Lord’s commandments and our ability to rely upon the Holy Spirit of Truth and Light, seeking wisdom and knowledge by feasting upon the living word, service to our fellow mankind and endurance to the end.
Today I clicked on a link to see more about the CES system on the virus. It popped up just fine, but also popped up a thing to register for LDS365. I am already registered. I could not find a way to exit out.
I finally had to close the window and start over again. The second time it worked fine.
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This last Sunday after several Messenger conversations with our adult kids lead us to have our family Hangouts (Google version of Skype) Sunday meeting together. We each had the Sacrament separately in our homes then dialed in to have a family Sunday church service together.
We were in 5 locations in three states, everyone dressed for normal church and dialed in. We had prelude music supplied by Alexa playing from my purchased CD’s that is knows about. Sometimes we had to skip songs as it popped in the occasional Christmas performance.
We had a few assumed technical glitches and the grand kids had a tough time paying attention. Still it was clear they were listening and tuned to the fact that their grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles were all there. We had an assigned opening prayer and Song. We had announcements which were more funny than serious. We then discussed the current Come Follow Me lesson and our thoughts on the scriptures being covered. Then we had a Primary Song, scripture reading from a soon to be 8 year old, and we closed with another hymn and prayer.
It was one of the best Sunday services I have every attended. Everyone wants to do it again, everyone is excited about this time of misfortune, division and fears combined with the threat of a dangerous virus can still bring us all together.
We stayed online longer than planned just talking and enjoying each other. It was a wonderful day with my family and in some ways I do not look forward to going back to normal church which is sometimes more stressful for me than it should be.
It may be temporary but we are grateful for it even. in the midst of potential disaster in our collective health and our financial institutions.
In the coming weeks we will invite my siblings and their kids too. That will take us nearly coast to coast. I can thing of no better thing to do together thn worship together, teach each other, experience the gospel together, and hold each other up from a distance.
I am grateful for the Church and the inspiration of our leaders, guided by the Savior to prepare us with the new programs and Come Follow Me lessons.
Could you do a post on how to do distance meetings for baptisms, presidency meetings, etc. I know the church has used WebEx, and others Like Zoom, go to meeting, video chat, etc. How to set it up, equipment needed, a General on how to do this. My family will have 3 – 8 year olds getting baptized soon and family will want to come to support them, but groups are limited to 10. Tips on how to do these wonderful events using technology would really be helpful. Thanks!