COVID-19 Repsonse: Church Gatherings Suspended for Now, Worldwide

Today the Church announces that Church gatherings are temporarily suspended worldwide. China led the way in having members adapt to cancelled Church meetings, building swiftly on our experience with the Church’s new emphasis on home-centered worship. Now we will all have the opportunity to worship and learn as families, individuals, or small groups without the structure we are used to.

Here is today’s announcement from the Newsroom at

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent the following letter March 12, 2020, to Church members worldwide. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

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, please 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


A reasonable call for reducing risk as the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading into many nations now creating panic and leading to sometimes draconian steps that can cause plenty of stress and pain on their own. 

Meanwhile, don’t panic, but do prepare (some writers like Peggy Noonan may disagree with “don’t panic,” but I think vigorous, realistic preparation is what they may be calling for). Even if you (mistakenly) think this is no more serious than the ordinary flu, it has already begun to disrupt our society and our basic supply chains, many of which depend upon production in China (they are starting things up again, but it could be a slow process to get supply chains restored). When supply chains break down, markets and financial systems will be hurt. When capital flow and bank liquidity becomes strained, we could see the day when ATMs suddenly cease to work, when banks take a “bank holiday,” and when many stores are shut down or have little to sell. What you see happening right now in the stores is not panic, it is preparation, which is a reasonable response (see “Panic? You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet… ” by Brandon Smith). Real panic is what happens to the unprepared when difficult scenarios they have ignored suddenly take place.

One important suggestion: now is the time to make sure you have a good supply of any essential medications you may need. Ditto for food, water, and some other supplies. If stores and pharmacies have to close for one or two months, are you ready? There’s still time to take further steps to prepare.

Continue preparing — something the U.S. has tragically failed to do when it comes to the most important resource for dealing with this virus, test kits. We should be testing thousands of people each day like Korea and China, but we are just doing small handfuls of testing due to blunders in preparation and some doctors report they can’t get government permission to use test kits for people who they think may have the virus (see, for example, the related story at Can’t we just admit the problem and ask Korea and China for some medical assistance?

Update, 3/13/2020: reports that based on examination of cases on the Princess Diamond cruise ship, the real mortality rate for the virus is probably around 0.6% on average (much higher for the elderly), making it deadlier than the flu but not nearly as frightening as the questionable 3% figure reported by the World Health Organization. This is consistent with the mortality rates being reported in South Korea based on vastly more extensive testing that we have seen in most other places.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

4 thoughts on “COVID-19 Repsonse: Church Gatherings Suspended for Now, Worldwide

  1. Italy is rationing medical care….. elderly and those who have any type of underlying medical conditions are not going to be treated!

    Other countries are doing the same as Italy.

    What Italy and other countries are doing is Socialized medicine…. universal health care…..

    What the useful idiots want for the USA.

    For every success story about socialized medicine there are one thousand that show the truth of how bad socialized medicine really is.

    Socialism is Communism, Socialism is a nicer word and does not scare people…. Vladimir Lennin

    There are so many examples of how bad socialized medicine is that it is dumbfounding that people want it for the USA.

    I came from a Socialist/Communist country. Those who want Socialism/Communism have no idea what you are asking for.

    My cousin died helping us escape the Communists. My father was targeted for "reeducation camps" because he was a college professor. We came to the USA with just the clothes we were wearing.

    Bernie Sanders people were videoed talking about putting people in gulags when Sanders becomes president. These deranged people are serious! This is why they are called Useful Idiots! What they said is exactly what Socialist/Communist leaders do to the people.

    You people who want Socialism/Communism in the USA need to leave. Go to a Socialist/Communist country and get a taste of what you think is so much better than the USA. But you don't because you want to destroy the USA.

    You can vote to have all your freedoms and choices taken away from you and completely destroyed…which is Socialism/Communism….but you have to shoot your way out of Socialism/Communism to gain your freedoms.

    God raised up the USA to be a free country…and all the useful idiots want to destroy it.

  2. Anon 11:40 tells us that “you have to shoot your way out of Socialism/Communism to gain your freedoms.”

    Oddly enough, that wasn’t true with Poland, or East Germany, or the rest of the Soviet Union, nor was it true of Vietnam. China, too, is gradually moving away from communism, without a shot being fired.

    And of course if any of the “socialist” European countries move away from their “socialism,” there’s every reason to think it’ll be by ballot, not by bullet.

    — OK

  3. Thanks for mentioning Vietnam and China, both places that I love with many positives. Vietnam has missionaries able to proselyte in some regions and quite a lot of economic freedom, and what China calls "socialism with Chinese characteristics" looks surprisingly free and prosperous, thanks to their daring retreat from the disaster of a centrally planned economy in 1978 with their amazing economic revolution, ignited by six brave farmer families in a starving province and a leader open to new ways of helping China to rise. I share that story, one that American needs to understand (in addition to understanding our own story) in my November 26, 2017 post, "Freedom to Be Thankful For: My Pilgrimage to Xiaogang, Birthplace of China's Latest Revolution."

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