STK Temple Square

The Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at left, is photographed along with Temple Square, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, lower right, and the Church Office Building, top right, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in Salt Lake City. In the background is the Utah State Capitol. 

Citing growing concern over COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday that the leadership sessions for General Authorities have been postponed.

Special meetings for Area Seventies and General Officers scheduled to be held on April 2–3, in conjunction with church’s April general conference, have been postponed for six months, until Oct. 1–2 of this year, a church press release said.

“General Authorities serving outside of the United States and all Area Seventies are excused from attending the general conference in Salt Lake City,” the First Presidency said. “Furthermore, in view of statements issued by governments and health organizations, members of the Church living outside the United States are discouraged from traveling to the United States to attend the general conference sessions.”

In a prepared statement, the First Presidency shared their concern over the disease.

“Out of an abundance of caution and with deep concern for global health considerations, as well as sympathy for all who have been or may be affected by the COVID-19 virus, we are postponing leadership meetings associated with the upcoming general conference,” the First Presidency said in a prepared statement. “We wish to be good global citizens and do what we can to limit the spread of this disease. We also want to relieve concerns of our leaders, members, and their families related to the uncertainties of travel at this time.”

This postponement applies only to pre-conference leadership meetings. Present plans call for the general sessions of the April 2020 conference to be held as previously announced.

“We are grateful that all members who do not travel to Salt Lake City will be able to view the proceedings of April general conference through technology,” the First Presidency stated. “With great compassion, we pray for all whose lives have been affected by this illness.”

As of Thursday there are only three Utahns who have contracted the coronavirus. The church has temporarily moved missionaries from several missions based in the Asian theater with many missionaries self-quarantined in their mission apartments.

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

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