[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ ongoing response to the global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more temple closures, a largely nullified commencement ceremony for Brigham Young University graduates, and even the cancellation of an important and beloved women’s conference. These moves come after the shocking (but not unexpected) announcement that the upcoming General Conference will be largely virtual, with the public barred from entry to the Conference Center, and massively scaled back in-person operations at missionary training centers.
After announcing the closure of the Asunción Paraguay Temple yesterday, today the Church announced the closure of five other temples: the Boston Massachusetts Temple, Copenhagen Denmark Temple, Louisville Kentucky Temple, Manhattan New York Temple and the Lisbon Portugal Temple. Thirteen temples worldwide are now closed as a result of the virus. The Church did not disclose when the temples will reopen.
Commencement is a singular life event, and unfortunately, it will not take place at BYU as planned, nor will devotionals, concerts, and other large-scale events, all in response to updated CES guidelines. Classes will continue, however, and faculty have been encouraged to evaluate remote alternatives for their courses where possible. Athletic events will continue, but the decision to shut them down or limit public participation is up to BYU. Given the controversy swirling around BYU at present, clearing out campus might be a PR blessing in disguise.
Unfortunately, this also means the BYU Women’s Conference will be canceled. It was scheduled for April 30-May 1. According to the Church News, which cites the event’s Facebook page, attendees can received refunds for their tickets. Organizers are looking into streaming options so that the content can still get out into the wild at some point.
These are wild times, friends. At least we have a prophet who also happens to be a physician. Imagine if President Ballard, the car salesman, were in charge!
Be careful out there. Avoid unnecessary socialization. Check your food storage (not toilet paper). And. Wash. Your Hands.