Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday “temporarily suspended” all public gatherings of church members because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The worldwide suspension, which begins immediately, includes stake conferences, leadership conferences, public worship services, and all branch, ward and stake activities.
The church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asks members to conduct “any essential leadership meetings” through technology. They also ask bishops to counsel with stake presidents “to determine how to make the sacrament available to members at least once a month.”
Leaders say the directive follows their seeking the counsel of local church leaders, government officials and medical professionals, as well as “the Lord’s guidance in these matters.”
Stephen Horsley, president of the church’s Desert Foothills Stake, said the move didn’t surprise him. Although church leadership made the move in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Horsley said it meshes well with leaders’ request that families “study more at home and rely less on meeting together.”
“So, many families have stared to study together instead of relying as much on study at church,” said Horsley.
The change does begin immediately, Horsley said. “This Sunday, everything is cancelled and we’ll have to organize ourselves in the next day or two. But we will do that.”
Even without Sunday worship, he said, “we’ll continue on without missing a beat.”