On Tuesday, top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints authorized a two-phase plan to allow members to being meeting for Sunday church services again after COVID-19 precautions canceled all meetings in March.

A letter by the church’s First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sent Tuesday to general and local leaders around the world said reopening meetings can be done only when local government regulations allow and after the faith’s Area Presidencies provide additional guidance to local church leaders.

“A two-phase approach will be used, always following government regulations to ensure the health and safety of all involved,” the letter said. ”The models ... may be adjusted by Area Presidencies as local conditions require and as approved by their contact in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Presidency of the Seventy.”

Local leaders including stake presidents, counseling with bishops, will determine the specific timing for resumption of meetings and activities. A stake president is the head of several congregations. A bishop is the leader of one congregation.

Phasing will go as follows:

Phase 1

Sabbath Day worship services

Shortened meetings at the meetinghouse with up to 99 individuals will be allowed, following local government regulations.

Other meetings and activities (including weddings and funerals)

Shortened meetings, following local government regulations, may be held remotely using technology.

For members living in Utah and Utah County, Gov. Gary Herbert has placed the state in a yellow or low-risk phase which allows for no more than 50 to gather at one time. Following Herbert’s directions, that would include wearing face masks in public.

Phase 2

Sabbath Day worship services

Meetings at the meetinghouse with 100 or more individuals will be allowed, following local government regulations.

Other meetings and activities

In-person meetings will be allowed at the meetinghouse, following local government regulations.

“We are grateful for the faith of our members as they have worshipped at home and are grateful for the blessings that will come as we gather for worship and activities,” the First Presidency said.

Members of the church have not met in chapels or for meetings since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some worldwide congregations discontinued meeting even before that.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter


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