First Presidency discourages leaders, members from international travels to April conference due to coronavirus concerns

The First Presidency has announced the leadership sessions for the upcoming April 2020 general conference have been postponed because of growing concerns with the spreading coronavirus.

The announcement came in a Church statement released on Newsroom on Thursday, Feb. 27.

“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.

“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.”

The Church leaders’ cautions about traveling to the U.S. for leaders and members comes amid growing global concern for the spread of the coronavirus. Just a week before the First Presidency statement was released, Church leaders announced the closure of some temples in areas heavily affected by the virus and issued extra cautions for members and missionaries.

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The leadership sessions, which typically bring together General Authorities, Area Seventies and general officers of the Church in the days prior to the spring sessions of general conference, have been postponed by six months and are being rescheduled for Oct. 1-2 of this year. 

Only the pre-conference leadership meetings have been affected by the postponement at this time, with regular general sessions of conference are expected 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.”

April general conference is already expected to be a historic conference due to the focus and celebration of the 200-year anniversary of the First Vision. President Nelson announced during October 2019 general conference that the April 2020 general conference will be “unforgettable” and has extended two invitations to Latter-day Saints to help them prepare for the upcoming celebration.