The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has canceled all services and public gatherings of church members worldwide until further notice amid coronavirus concerns, according to a letter sent to members by church leadership Thursday.
There are more than 16 million members and 30 thousand congregations of the church around the world.
Here is the letter sent to church members:
As promised in our letter of March 11, 2020, we continue to monitor the changing conditions related to COVID-19 throughout the world. We have considered the counsel of local Church leaders, government officials and medical professionals, and have sought the Lord’s guidance in these matters. We now provide the following updated directions.
Beginning immediately, all public gatherings of Church members are being temporarily suspended worldwide until further notice. This includes:
- Stake conferences, leadership conferences and other large gatherings
- All public worship services, including sacrament meetings
- Branch, ward and stake activities
Where possible, leaders should conduct any essential leadership meetings via technology. Specific questions may be referred to local priesthood leaders. Further direction related to other matters will be provided.
Bishops should counsel with their stake president to determine how to make the sacrament available to members at least once a month.
We encourage members in their ministering efforts to care for one another. We should follow the Savior’s example to bless and lift others.
We bear our witness of the Lord’s love during this time of uncertainty. He will bless you to find joy as you do your best to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in every circumstance.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The decision was made hours after Utah’s governor recommended limiting group gatherings in the state to no more than 100 people for at least two weeks.
The move comes a day after the faith announced it would hold a major conference in early April without attendees.
It is first time since a 1957 flu epidemic that church leadership has taken the step of barring church members from attending in person.