RELIGION

All Temples Temporarily Closed To Limit Spread Of Coronavirus

Mar 25, 2020, 7:25 PM | Updated: 7:33 pm
Fort Collins Colorado Temple (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)...
Fort Collins Colorado Temple (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)
(Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – All 161 operating temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be temporarily closed because of concerns over COVID-19.

It was not clear when the temples would reopen. Officials said the suspension of operations would last until further notice.

The First Presidency issued a statement with the announcement Wednesday evening.

“After careful and prayerful consideration, and with a desire to be responsible global citizens, we have decided to suspend all temple activity Churchwide at the end of the day on March 25, 2020. This is a temporary adjustment, and we look forward to the day when the temples will reopen,” they said.

Most temples were already operating with significant scheduling changes, and only for living ordinances.

Health officials in Utah and across the world have urged the public to practice social distancing, and to keep at least six feet away from others in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Temple staff planned to contact patrons with existing appointments for living ordinances, including sealings, to confirm the cancellations. Once the temples reopen, those patrons have been advised to reschedule their ordinances.

Church officials had already made several temporary adjustments to keep members from getting sick. Weekly church services have been suspended, missionaries were in the process of returning to their home countries, and the April 2020 General Conference has been moved from the Conference Center to a small auditorium at Temple Square.

Only essential church leaders, speakers and those who have been asked to give prayers were expected to be in attendance in person. The rest of the membership and visitors have been asked to watch the proceedings through television or streaming platforms.

The broadcast will be available on KSL TV, staging.ksltv.com and the KSL TV streaming app, along with several documentaries prepared for the weekend conference.

Church leaders had already announced the temporary closure of 112 temples.

The Bountiful Utah Temple was closed Monday after officials said a Davis County man who was Utah’s first coronavirus-related death was inside the building before being diagnosed.

Officials said the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple also had possible exposure to the virus. It had been closed for maintenance, and was closed for another week for evaluation.

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All Temples Temporarily Closed To Limit Spread Of Coronavirus