Church President Offers Hope, Direction During COVID-19 Challenge

Mar 14, 2020, 10:25 PM | Updated: Mar 15, 2020, 10:15 am
President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -Day Saints is greeted by famil...
President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -Day Saints is greeted by family members after a press conference to announce Nelson was the 17th president of the Mormon Church on January 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered hope and comfort in a video posted to his social media channels in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

The message from President Russell M. Nelson was posted Saturday.

“As you are well aware, we as a global Church are facing a unique challenge. COVID-19 and its resulting illness has affected thousands of lives and interrupted many regular routines,” he said. “We pray for those who are suffering and for those who have lost loved ones.”

Several temporary changes have been made to the regular worship routines of the church after government and health officials have advised the public to avoid large crowds.

“After prayerful consideration, and with our deep desire to be part of the solution to this challenge, we have recently made many temporary adjustments to the way we worship and serve the Lord,” President Nelson said.

The concern has been over a widespread escalation in the spread of the virus, especially among patients over 60 years old, who seemed to be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus.

Out of an abundance of caution and a call for social distancing, the church has closed its April General Conference to the public, and decided to make it available through “technology only.”

Those options include KSL TV and KSL Newsradio.

Several temporary changes have been announced for the missionary program and temple worship. Government leaders have canceled or suspended classes at K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning.

People who test positive for the coronavirus, and those who have come into contact with those individuals, have been asked to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.

Social media posts have featured photos and videos of long grocery lines and empty shelves.

In the midst of the anxiety and confusion, President Nelson offered a message of hope.

“These unique challenges will pass in due time. I remain optimistic for the future,” he said.

President Nelson encouraged church members to find opportunities to serve the people around them.

“We have the great privilege of ministering to our neighbors wherever they live,” he said. “Brothers and sisters, please take good care of yourselves and your loved ones, and look for opportunities to help those around you near and far.”

Among the Church’s temporary changes was the suspension of Sunday worship services for the foreseeable future. The Church had recently made a change to Sunday services, eliminating the third hour of meetings in favor of a “home-centered” approach that would have members hold gospel study in the home.

“Temporary changes in our normal routine may allow additional time to experience how precious home-centered gospel study can be,” President Nelson said.

Although many letters about the temporary changes have gone out from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the video marked the first time President Nelson has spoken directly to the worldwide church regarding the outbreak of COVID-19.

He encouraged members to find opportunities to minister to their neighbors, and practice worshipping at home.

“I know the great and marvelous blessings that God has in store for those who love Him and serve Him,” he said. “I see evidence of His hand in this holy work in so many ways.”

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth service through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If  you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at

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Church President Offers Hope, Direction During COVID-19 Challenge