News Release

Latter-day Saints Worship at Home during Ebola Lock Down

 Confined to their homes during a three-day, government-mandated lock down, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint in Sierra Leone conducted Sunday worship services in their homes.

Latter-day Saint families were authorized by local Church leaders to conduct home-based sacrament meetings during the lock down. A sacrament meeting is a regular Latter-day Saint worship service, usually held each week on Sunday, in a meetinghouse or other place of worship.              

During such meetings, the sacrament (similar to communion) is offered to the members of the Church. Sacrament meetings include music, talks, testimonies and prayers“It was a spiritual reflection meeting . . . with 22 of us, including two members of other faiths,” said President Sahr E. Fomba, leader of the Kissy Second Branch (a branch is a small Latter-day Saint congregation). “What a spiritual moment this is!”

The rapid spread of the Ebola virus throughout the country prompted the government to declare a national, 19-21-September “stay-at-home,” during which families were asked to reflect and pray.

In Freetown, the Oneil and Smith families conducted a sacrament meeting in the home of Bishop Titus Oneil, leader of the Dwarzark Ward (a ward is a large Latter-day Saint congregation). During the meeting, his wife expressed her devotion to Jesus Christ and hope for an end to the suffering.

“I know that Heavenly Father loves us,” Fatmaqa Oneil said. “That is why He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come and teach us the way we should live our lives in this world. I know that if we follow His pattern, Heavenly Father will guide us from this dreadful disease as He did for the Israelites in the land of Egypt.”

She continued, “And if we continue to be faithful in keeping the commandments, we will be blessed, our country will be blessed.”

President Fomba reminded family members they were meeting in the same residence where Latter-day Saint missionaries first introduced the Church’s teachings to the family.

“Some time back in 1993, missionaries knocked on the door of our hillside residence at Cassel Farm, Kissy Freetown . . . in an effort to introduce us to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he explained. “We lived in a difficult terrain and therefore required much courage and faith to climb up the hill where my family is homed.

“I remember the effort and sacrifice of those missionaries who made us feel the power of the gospel, which eventually led us eight, including Mum and Dad, to be members of the Church.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.