SALT LAKE CITY — In light of the potential spread of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not allow members of the public to attend the upcoming general conference in April.
The church announced the decision Wednesday morning in a press release, saying it will also not be hosting gatherings for the conference in stake centers or meetinghouses.
“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,” the church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote in the press release. “But, proceedings of the conference will be distributed throughout the world via technology only.”
All five general conference sessions will take place in the conference center, and many of those normally involved will participate as assigned.
For the first time in recent memory, the expansive building will still be largely empty, as no spectators will be in attendance.
In a second letter released by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, it was announced that starting next Monday all missionaries scheduled to report to training centers will now be trained remotely via video conference.
“Beginning March 16, 2020, all missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference,” church officials wrote in a press release Wednesday. “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. Missionaries from those areas will also be trained by video conference.”
Church officials said that the virtual training program will prepare missionaries for the field while “minimizing risks related to communicable disease.”
The church also announced that they will postpone stake and leadership conferences where COVID-19 has been a widespread issue. These areas include:
• Asia North.
• Europe East.
• All Areas in the United States and Canada.
In regards to weekly worship services and other activities, church members should adhere to the advice of their local leaders, who will be notified of additional direction when needed.
Provo Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire contributed to this article.