Missionaries Heading To Provo, England Will Be Trained Virtually
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a significant change in the operation of two Missionary Training Centers due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Missionaries scheduled to begin their service in Provo, Utah and Preston, England after March 16 will remain home and be trained remotely by video conference.
The announcement was made Wednesday, in conjunction with plans to hold the April 2020 General Conference without a public audience in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
In addition to changes in the Provo and England Missionary Training Centers, Church officials said.
Other missionary training centers will continue to function as usual, but they will not receive any missionaries from regions where government officials are restricting activity due to COVID-19. Missionaries from those areas will also be trained by video conference.
— The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (@Ch_JesusChrist) March 11, 2020
There were just over 1,100 missionaries at the Provo MTC and about 60 missionaries at the Preston, England MTC when the announcement was made, according to a church spokesperson.
Those groups will get smaller week after week as missionaries depart for their assigned missions. Missionaries who arrived in Provo on Wednesday as part of the last group before the temporary virtual training program starts next week said they are happy they will still get the MTC experience.
“I’m just glad I made the last batch,” said Nathan Meyers from Kirkland, Washington, who will serve his mission in the Philippines. “It would have been a lot more difficult, for sure, for me to be able to learn the new language—especially just from home.”
“It will be nice to get in the groove of living with other new missionaries before I’m in the field,” said Haylee Loveless from American Fork. “I’m excited to be surrounded by new missionaries and just get right into it.”
Loveless will spend about three weeks at the training center before heading to her mission in Columbus, Ohio.
VIDEO: “I’m just glad I made the last batch"
Missionaries in #Provo react to news that they are the last group to enter the @Ch_JesusChrist's missionary training center before temporary video training starts due to concerns over #COVID19 #coronavirus
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) March 11, 2020
“I feel lucky she gets to still go to the MTC,” said Haylee’s dad, Russell Loveless. “It’s good to have the full experience and the time to study.”
The MTC and General Conference changes were made in response to global concerns about the coronavirus, based on recommendations from government leaders and medical professionals.
“We are deeply concerned about the global spreading of illness caused by COVID-19. We have counseled with worldwide governmental, ecclesiastical, and medical leaders and have prayerfully considered the current circumstances,” Church officials said in a statement.
Officials said the Church’s other training centers across the world would continue normal operations, but incoming missionaries from areas in the world where civic leaders have restricted travel will also be trained remotely.
Missionaries trained remotely will report to their assigned missions directly from home after completing their training.
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