Lest you think—for reasons largely beyond understanding at this point—that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not in favor of vaccinations despite the First Presidency clearly asking Church members to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as General Handbook sections on the Church’s pro-vaccine stance, as well as numerous media efforts by the Church in recent years that publicly demonstrate the Church’s commitment to vaccines, as well as requiring temple workers to be vaccinated, we have another example of the Church pushing Latter-day Saints to get the jab, this time in the form of our beloved lights on Temple Square.
Lights are returning to Temple Square in a limited capacity for the first time since 2019. The smaller scale is not only due to COVID. The Salt Lake Temple is in the middle of a multi-year refurbishment that knocks out nearly half the property. The North Visitors Center, a longtime gathering place for the lights and other activities, is being torn down. The entire area around the Church Office Building is closed off because of a full rebuild of the plaza. With the Conference Center serving as a de facto visitors center and limited acreage available across the street, it is understandable the event this year will be pared down.
The image below shows just how little of Temple Square is available, but available nonetheless!
But it will also only be available to individuals who wear masks and are vaccinated. The Church has asked all who visit Temple Square and attend the events around it, including the returning Giving Machines, don a face mask and for all those “in eligible age categories” to be vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for ages 5 and up.
The Church did not disclose what, if any, enforcement mechanism will be in place to verify vaccination status, something it has been far more proactive in pursuing with the Tabernacle Choir, for example.
Officials will turn on Temple Square’s lights on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States and the traditional start of
rampant consumerism the Christmas season. Numerous experiences and food options will be available on and around Temple Square. As for me and my family, we will be served at Cheesecake Factory, wherein it will take the entire evening just to read the menu.