SALT LAKE CITY — A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is recovering from COVID-19 while other top officials have tested negative for the virus. Elder Gerrit W. Gong and his wife, Susan Linsay Gong, tested positive for the virus earlier this week, days after missing the faith’s semi-annual general conference.
Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said Elder Gong and his wife continue to experience “mild symptoms” and are recovering at home. They are also grateful for the many expressions of concern and love.
Elder Gong was absent from last weekend’s general conference. The two-day meetings, traditionally held in the Church’s 20,000 seat conference center, was instead broadcast from a small theater. There were only a select number of attendees present who were participating in the conference sessions.
In a prerecorded message, broadcast during the Saturday afternoon session of the conference, Elder Gong spoke about the growth of the church during the past 200 years, explaining many great thing often start small. He also expressed encouragement to church members that in mortality, they may lose or wait for some things for a time, but in the end they will find what matters most.
Hawkins also said, “Out of an abundance of caution, all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were tested, and all tests were negative. Church leaders will continue to exercise caution and follow all health guidelines related to COVID-19 and encourage our members to do the same.”
Elder Gong is the first member of the church’s top governing body to test positive for the coronavirus. The 66-year-old from Redwood City, California, has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since March 2018.