Following the Proclamation of Emergency announced by the Samoa Government on Friday night and Orders issued last night prohibiting children under 17 years to attend public gatherings, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints made a swift call to cancel all services in Samoa today.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has over 82 thousand members in 20 stakes and 158 congregations.
Church member and Leader Support Country Manager Sauimalae Chu Ling shares that “as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, we have been informed last night that services for today have been called off.”
“The inspiration and directive came from the brethren and as a member, we follow the counsel.”
Mother of six Sauimalae says today will still be honored, as a normal Sabbath day.
“It’s just that we don’t go to the chapel and worship as usual but we can continue to practice what’s done in Church at home, like reading the scriptures as a family, and study the ‘Come Follow Me’ lessons which is a study done weekly in families”.
“It is a good chance to do family counseling early rather than evening. There is a whole lot of things to be done in our own homes to make this sabbath day a delight,” said Mrs Chu Ling.
“This is a great initiative to abide the Government directive of alleviating public gatherings and the efforts of contain the measles epidemic,” she added.
Another mother and Church member from the Lotopa Chapel, Seiuli Doris Teo said their family committed the time this morning to scripture studies and prayer and their usual Sabbath practices have been kept.
“Keeping the Sabbath day holy brings blessings to our families. It is a day of rest and to ponder on the Atonement that our Savior Jesus Christ has done for us through reading the scriptures and saying our prayers especially at this challenging time for Samoa,” said Seiuli.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has historically supported immunisation. Here is a summary of Church decrees highlighting the Church’s pro-vaccination views.
A 1978 message from the church’s First Presidency:
“We urge members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to protect their own children through immunization. Then they may wish to join other public-spirited citizens in efforts to eradicate ignorance and apathy that have caused the disturbingly low levels of childhood immunization.
Failure to act could subject untold thousands to preventable lifelong physical or mental impairment, including paralysis, blindness, deafness, heart damage and mental retardation.
Immunization campaigns in the United States and other nations, if successful, will end much needless suffering and erase the potential threat of epidemics. Such efforts are deserving of our full support.”
A 1985 statement:
“Today, with the use of immunizations, these diseases are becoming more and more uncommon. In fact, they are so uncommon that many parents have become lax about immunizing their children. Some feel that there is no need; others fear adverse side effects. But parents have an obligation to protect their families through immunization.”
A Church manual from 2000:
“We can protect ourselves and our families from some diseases by getting immunizations. For some diseases we need only one immunization, but for other diseases we may need several immunizations at certain time intervals.”
And from an Church-magazine article:
“The advantages of immunization overwhelmingly exceed the minuscule risks of receiving vaccines. Immunization renders an individual resistant to disease for varying time periods. Maintaining immunity may require a booster injection.”