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Latter-day Saints adjust services and missions due to COVID-19

I have been asked by many friends and neighbors how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is weathering the pandemic.

As with many of our friends of faith, worship services and other activities have been deeply impacted.

Weekly worship meetings and church activities, including those held at the local Sandy River Branch in Burkeville, were suspended worldwide on March 12. On May 19, congregations were authorized to begin planning for a return to church worship services, in counsel with local church leaders and public health officials.

We rejoice in the opportunity to join with brothers and sisters soon to worship together.

The Church’s 168 operating temples, where ordinances are performed to join families together forever in eternal relationships that transcend death, were all closed. Thankfully, based on local conditions and public health guidance, these temples are beginning to re-open in phases around the world.

Missionary work has continued, with some adjustments. The church’s 11 missionary training centers closed, but training continued in online formats. In a dramatic global airlift, many of the church’s 67,000 missionaries returned home from overseas assignments and, following a quarantine period, were reassigned to new locations in the United States and Canada. In many areas, though not allowed to actively visit and teach, missionaries have been teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and sharing their testimonies through social media.

You can chat with missionaries online and learn more about life’s purpose by visiting: http://www.ComeUntoChrist.org.

Saints and friends joined in worldwide days of prayer and fasting on March 29 and April 10 to pray for relief from the global pandemic. Along with our friends from other faiths, we have also made and donated masks and continued working with local charitable organizations, including FACES.

In a recent address, Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught that even though the world is in commotion due to the pandemic, “the efforts of each individual matter… If even one of us gets weary in well-doing, it slows the work. And each one who is diligent affects the work in positive ways that even he or she may not realize or ever see.”

Despite current circumstances, may we each cheerfully find ways to minister to those around us and share our testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ.

DR. BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.