Next Latter-day Saint general conference to be ‘virtual only’ as COVID-19 concerns continue

In this photograph provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shows, far left to right, Neil L. Andersen, M. Russell Ballard, both members of a top governing board called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, sit next to each other during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' twice-annual church conference Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. | Photo courtesy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News.

ST. GEORGE — Like in April, the next general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set for October will be “virtual only,” according to a letter from top church leaders relayed to members Thursday.

While the LDS church has been gradually reopening its chapels, temples and Deseret Industries thrift stores that each shut down in mid-March due to COVID-19 concerns, the church’s First Presidency stated the October general conference would lack crowds and not be open to the public.

“While some areas of the world continue to experience the effects of a serious pandemic, other areas do not,” the First Presidency stated in the letter to church members. “As a worldwide organization, we have an obligation to be good citizens and to act with caution as it relates to such a unique setting as general conference, which traditionally brings thousands of visitors to Salt Lake City from around the globe.”

Details surrounding the October general conference have yet to be released.

In April, handfuls of church leaders and speakers gathered in an empty conference room to deliver their sermons. The sight was a dramatic contrast from the traditional setting of the LDS Conference Center, which seats up to 21,000 people and is often packed for each session of the conference.

While Utah itself is currently designated by state leaders to be at a “yellow,” or low-risk level for the virus, infections have been on the rise in recent days across the state, including in Southern Utah.

Despite the rise in cases, state leaders anticipate moving to the “green level” – the lowest risk factor for the virus – in the near future.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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