Church Announces More Temple Closures, Guidelines for Large Gatherings at BYU, BYU–Idaho, BYU–Hawaii, LDSBC

Contributed By Sydney Walker, Church News staff writer

  • 12 March 2020

Students arrived hours early at the BYU–Idaho Center on March 1, 2020, in anticipation of a Sunday evening devotional featuring Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf. Photo by J. Lawson Turcotte, BYU–Idaho. 

Article Highlights

  • Devotionals, performances, concerts, public lectures, and graduations at Church schools may be cancelled, streamed, or recorded and posted later.
  • Five additional temples are closed.

Following the changes to general conference, missionary training, and stake conferences, the Church has announced more temple closures and guidelines for large events at Church-owned college campuses, due to ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 virus

Devotionals, performances, concerts, public lectures, and graduations at Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University–Idaho, Brigham Young University–Hawaii, and LDS Business College may be cancelled, streamed, or recorded and posted later, according to the statement on Church Educational System guidelines. Each school’s leadership will make those decisions. 

Classes, however, will continue, and faculty are encouraged to consider remote alternatives when providing instruction. BYU will make decisions regarding athletic events. These temporary guidelines will take effect March 16. 

In addition to the closure of the Asunción Paraguay Temple announced yesterday, five other temples will be closed: the Boston Massachusetts Temple, the Copenhagen Denmark Temple, the Louisville Kentucky Temple, the Manhattan New York Temple, and the Lisbon Portugal Temple. There are a total of 13 temples now closed worldwide in response to the virus. 

Asunción Paraguay Temple.

Boston Massachusetts Temple.

Originally a Church meetinghouse, the Copenhagen Denmark Temple underwent extensive renovations to transform the building into a house of the Lord.

As a result of the CES guidelines, BYU Women’s Conference, according to its Facebook page, will not be held on BYU campus April 30 through May 1. Tickets will be refunded, and the conference is currently looking into streaming options.

BYU-Pathway Worldwide gatherings will follow guidelines provided by the Area Presidency and employ virtual gathering where necessary. Church primary and secondary schools will also follow the guidelines provided by the Area Presidency.

“CES is deeply interested in the health, education and spiritual growth of each of these students and those who serve them,” the statement said. “Concerns related to COVID-19 have impacted every part of society, including education.” 

Daily seminary and stake institute programs are instructed to follow the gathering decisions of local congregations. Released-time seminary and campus institutes will follow local high schools or college campuses. Area Presidency guidelines will determine whether or not students gather for local devotionals and graduations.

“The Church will continue to monitor these evolving circumstances and make adjustments as necessary,” the statement said. 

The Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President M. Russell Ballard speaks during the BYU campus devotional in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on March 3, 2020. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo.