Attendance at the 190th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 3-4, 2020 around the world.

Courtesy: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Top Latter-day Saint leaders again test negative for COVID-19

By Lauren Bennett, | Posted - Dec. 10, 2020 at 7:27 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Top leaders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have again tested negative for the novel coronavirus after Elder Dale G. Renlund tested positive over the weekend, church officials announced Thursday.

Elder Renlund, 68, of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund, recently tested positive, becoming the second couple in the church's top leadership organization to contract the virus.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, tested positive for the virus in October and have since made a full recovery.

Since testing positive, Elder Renlund and Sister Renlund are both feeling well as they maintain their regular duties remotely from quarantine, church officials said Thursday. The couple also felt thankful for all who have shown concern for their well-being.

All members of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are older than 60 and considered to be at higher risk for developing complications from COVID-19.

Church President Russell M. Nelson is 96 years old, putting him in the highest-risk age group (those older than 85), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the weekend, church officials said Elder Renlund was suffering from acute COVID-19 symptoms while Sister Renlund remained completely asymptomatic.

In a prerecorded video released on Monday, Elder Renlund, a former physician, encouraged church members to follow public health guidelines, saying wearing a face covering is a sign of Christlike love.

In the video, he clarified he was speaking in his capacity as an apostle and not as a doctor.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the church has repeatedly encouraged members to adhere to local health guidelines and wear a face covering.

Utah, where the church is headquartered, did not implement a statewide mask mandate until November, but church leaders have worn masks at all events held by the church in the state, including both the April and October general conferences, all temple groundbreaking events, and the recent annual Christmas devotional. Attendance at each event was also drastically reduced to ensure social distancing could be maintained.

In July, the Utah Area Presidency also urged members in the state to wear a face covering, warning "Latter-day Saints are not immune" to the virus.

Lauren Bennett


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