The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued two documents on Friday for how members of the church should conduct ordinances during the current pandemic.
The two documents sent to leaders explain administrative principles for the church during these challenging times, the church statement said.
“These documents are issued in response to the disruptions in Church procedures and member activities caused by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter said. “They should provide guidance as long as this pandemic exists in a particular country or region. Other directions may be issued later.”
The document on administrative principles provides encouragement for leaders and is a reminder that the Lord has prepared the church for these kinds of challenges and the requisite wisdom leaders need to perform their ecclesiastical duties, according to the statement.
The first document is entitled “Administrative Principles in Challenging Times” and is on the church website at https://churchofjesuschrist.org.
The second document addresses the faith’s essential ordinances (baptisms, confirmations, priesthood ordinations and settings apart), priesthood blessings, administration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, church meetings, and everyday service given by Latter-day Saints.
“The rites of baptism, confirmation, and priesthood ordination must be done in person. If necessary, the leader who oversees these ordinances (along with other leaders, family, and friends) can watch remotely via technology,” according to the statement.
The statement explains that priesthood blessings to heal the sick also require a physical touch of hand to head. However, the document says, “after taking every necessary precaution, when conditions prohibit placing hands on a person’s head, a prayer can be offered, including using technology. This is a prayer of faith and not a priesthood blessing. Anyone at any time may pray, fast or otherwise minister to others.”
A local bishop can authorize priesthood holders in his congregation to prepare and administer the sacrament in their homes, which has been happening since mid-March.
“In unusual circumstances when the sacrament is not available,” the document adds, “members can be comforted by studying the sacrament prayers and recommitting to live the covenants members have made and praying for the day they will receive it in person, properly administered by the priesthood,” the church statement said.
For more information, the church invites members to read “Directions for Essential Ordinances, Blessings, and Other Church Functions.”
The Q&A document answers several other important questions being asked by Latter-day Saints around the world. Three examples are:
- Can weddings and funerals take place in meetinghouses?
- Must temple recommend interviews continue to be done in person?
- Should we continue to participate in blood drives?
Read the complete document of questions and answers, “Responding to COVID-19: Answers to Questions,” on the church website.
“We are grateful for the efforts many of you are making to follow the directions carefully from national, state, and local leaders in many countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the First Presidency said. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also taking appropriate precautions and is providing assistance to those in need. Under the present circumstances and under conditions that may exist in the future, the Church and its members will faithfully exhibit our commitment to being good citizens and good neighbors.”