U.S.|Mormons should deterioration look masks ‘at each times’ successful temples, the religion instructs.
- Sept. 22, 2021, 3:34 p.m. ET
All visitors and workers successful temples operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should deterioration look masks “at each times” portion successful the temple, according to a letter sent by the church’s apical leaders to section religion leaders astir the satellite connected Wednesday.
“We privation to bash everything imaginable to let temples to stay open,” wrote the church’s president, Russell M. Nelson, and his 2 apical counselors, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring. “These information protocols are temporary, based connected Covid-19 conditions, and volition beryllium rescinded arsenic soon arsenic circumstances permit.”
Mr. Nelson, 97, is simply a retired bosom surgeon and is revered arsenic a prophet by Latter-day Saints, besides known arsenic Mormons. He has repeatedly urged the church’s 16.6 cardinal members astir the satellite to deterioration masks and get vaccinated. In an August letter, helium wrote that the approved vaccines were harmless and effectual and added: “We tin triumph this warfare if everyone volition travel the omniscient and thoughtful recommendations of aesculapian experts and authorities leaders.”
There are 167 temples astir the world, according to the church, with dozens much nether operation oregon planned. The religion closed them each successful March 2020 to assistance halt the dispersed of the coronavirus, and began reopening them successful phases successful May of that year.
Temples are not utilized by Latter-day Saints for Sunday worship services, and dissimilar the church’s much communal gathering houses, are not unfastened to the wide public. They are mostly unfastened lone to members who person a existent “temple recommend,” a paper that verifies they judge successful the church’s doctrines and obey definite rules specified arsenic tithing and abstaining from alcohol. Members sojourn temples for a assortment of rituals, including proxy baptisms for the dead.
“Temples are the astir important ineffable sites successful modern Mormonism, truthful restricting entree to temples to radical wearing masks sends a large connection astir however important masks are to the leaders of our church,” said Jana Riess, a elder columnist for Religion News Service who writes astir the church.
Although the missive says that the religion lone “asks” members to deterioration masks successful temples, Ms. Riess said that it is apt to beryllium interpreted arsenic “instruction that’s not to beryllium violated.”
In August, Brigham Young University successful Provo, Utah, announced that students and unit members would beryllium required to deterioration masks connected campus. The backstage school, which is sponsored by the church, besides urged students to get vaccinated “so that autumn semester tin proceed arsenic planned.”
The missive connected Wednesday emphasized that determination is ample precedent for the religion urging members to support themselves from the dispersed of the disease. In 1900, religion leaders urged members to beryllium vaccinated against smallpox, and successful 1957 released a similar connection astir the polio vaccine.