Richard Turley discusses the history of the Church and pandemics, from Joseph Smith’s childhood, to Zion’s Camp to Nauvoo to 1918 pandemic to polio to today.
“Well, first of all, I think sometimes people are being a little bit too technical when they try to parse the various statements on the basis of what they’re called. In this particular case, the First Presidency used the most direct and effective method they had at their disposal for communicating their letter. As you know, I was the managing director of the Church’s Public Affairs Department, and then Church Communication Department, and so I know that email is the single most effective method for reaching members of the Church. I think it’s highly significant in this case that we have a message signed by all three members of the First Presidency, and directed using the method that’s most effective in reaching Church members. So, if I were to receive, an individual member, a letter or a call from a member of the First Presidency, which I do from time to time, I would pay attention to it. Think of this in many ways as an individual letter to each member of the Church. “