Hundreds of Mormon missionaries returned from the Philippines on chartered Delta flights while their families ignored social distancing at the airport

The Mormon church (also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) has over 70,000 missionaries currently serving on missions around the world. They are serving in over 160 countries. Men serve for two years starting at age 18 while women serve for a year and a half starting at age 19.

You can imagine the logistical challenges with the current coronavirus crisis and removing these missionaries in countries that have closed their borders. In the Philippines specifically, the Mormon church chartered six Delta flights from the Philippines back to Salt Lake City because of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decision that all non-native missionaries leave the Philippines due to the coronavirus outbreak.

a group of people sitting in an airplane

White shirts and ties

Their flights arrived tonight at Salt Lake City airport. The missionaries will now go home and self quarantine with their families for 14 days. In anticipation of this, the Mormon leaders had sent guidance to every parent picking up their missionaries to send only one representative, wait in the car for their missionaries and to practice social distancing.

“Parents or guardians should go to the airport alone to meet a returning missionary and practice safe social distancing while there. That way the missionary is able to properly begin self-isolation.”

Unfortunately, the families didn’t listen and hundred of parents gathered around waiting for the missionaries to walk out to top of the parking structure.

As someone staying and working from home per the governor’s instructions, this infuriates me. I understand the excitement in seeing someone that has been gone for two years but this is absolutely irresponsible and careless and will not help flatten the curve of the coronavirus.

I anticipate that this same scenario is going to play out over and over as tens of thousands of missionaries are brought back to Utah and something has to be done immediately to get people to distance themselves.


  1. All religions share the same denominator: They have deep disdain for science and facts and they are highly hypocritical ( Do as I say not as I do). All religions demand their followers to use their hearts not their heads in decision making and daily lives. Their ultimate goal is the expand their sheep flock by converting other faith followers.
    An infectious disease does not discriminate age, gender, race, religion and geography. It is better be six feet away than six feet under.

  2. What it really comes down to is sure there taking a risk, but who wouldn’t want there children home with them during this crisis? I’m sure they will be taking the correct precautions to insure the safety of there families as soon as they can. We’re all in this together, now is not the time to be bagging on anyone.

  3. @Happy ExMormon: Funny, I was thinking the same, exact thing… The words ‘Mormon’ and ‘facts’ do not belong in the same sentence.

    The behavior in this article is reprehensible, selfish behavior. Just like the idiots in FL on Spring Break, things like this to be called out and those people need to be publicly shamed. Nothing else seems to be working to get people to understand how serious this is, and we’re well on our way to a full lockdown if these people continue to do whatever they want.

  4. LOL, spot the “offended” Mormon who can’t tolerate the slightest criticism in these comments.

  5. First off the church and the missionaries have been a tremendous blessing to the country of the Philippines. The service and resources rendered to this country has been without equal (typhoons, poverty, etc). Millions (members and those not of the faith) have benefited.

    Second, the Cult argument has long since been dispelled and is brought up as tactic by those that have some ax to grind. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has Christ as its cornerstone and follow His teachings. The Church is very family centered

    Thirdly, while not professing to be perfect the churches members try to live Christ like lives. These families meeting their sons and daughters at the airport should (appear to) have used a bit better judgement.

    Lastly the government of the Philippines ordered non-natives out. Fortunately there are hundreds of native missionaries and members that can and will continue to bless their fellow Filipinos with their own service and resources provided by the church

    We are all getting used to this new social order.

  6. This infuriates you? Huge amounts of a spring breakers packed the beaches of Florida and California far more than those small groups of missionaries and their families by comparison. I’m more irritated at the spread breakers for partying for a week all together. At least the missionaries had instructions to return home to quarantine.

    • @Greg – spring breakers packing the beaches frustrates me as well.

      Selfishly as I live in Utah, this could have been handled by everyone involved so much better. As I’m sure there will be many more planes of missionaries returning, I hope everyone has learned from this. Frankly I would rather see them take all the missionaries to immediate quarantine, test those who exhibit symptoms, and THEN give them back to their families.

  7. To say there are leads cases is the Philippines is not understanding the medical resources available to the residents. Filipinos for the most part do not have the money to be tested, the government doesn’t pay fir their test. So therefore no one is being tested that needs to be tested. I stay for weeks at a time when I travel to Manila and Cebu. Having many friends who have been sick realize they don’t get checked for the virus. United States numbers errr low before we started testing. Now look! More testing the higher the number of cases. It’s simple math.. no test no virus..dint be naive thinking it’s safer, or the government wouldn’t ask them to leave, there’s more than the eye can see.. be safe

  8. 1. How accurate are the data about the real numbers of infections in the Philippines?
    2. The death rates, because of Covid, is higher in the Philippines than the rest of the world.
    3. Covid patients in the Quezon City, Philippines are sent home to infect their community.
    4. There is a huge mormon believers in the Philippines where these missionaries work with and calling them cult is wrong.

  9. If they have been gone for two years wouldn’t it have been better to shelter in place and come home in a few weeks after flu season ends instead? Besides if the family is going to catch the flu they will catch it from the person coming home, not from each other at the airport.

    In addition if they all have been quarantined for the past week like many in the USA the risk is very low. Our local church just had a missions team return Saturday from Africa. They each are doing a self-quarantine at home but it’s not like the people in their house won’t have contact with any of them.

  10. Who possibly cares??????

    It’s junk articles like this that make the media look so stupid and hungry for clicks. Nothing like a good tragedy to generate revenue!

    Did you REALLY have nothing better to write about?
    Seriously. Serious question.

    Is this the best you can do?
    It’s just…. good lord, the Internet is ruining everything.

  11. 1) The church believes in science having many scientists and doctors that are known internally for their attainments.
    2) The correct name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints” not Mormons. This being a nickname .
    given by others. App. 14 million members and not a cult.
    3) You are correct, over zealous parents should use more restraint and follow the protocol for safety-

  12. Irresponsible? Sure. Painting all Mormons with the same brush? Uneducated. Has nothing to do with their religious belief, and everything to do with being a human being. Your Daughter / Son comes back from active service in the military during this time, pretty sure you’re going to be there. And when you haven’t seen them for years, and they go to hug you, are you really going to shy away and say “stay 6 feet away!”? Probably not. That being said, should have had rules preventing friends and extended family from visiting. This is coming from a Utah Mormon compliantly staying at home.

  13. Better to be in the Philippines then in he US right now. Few cases in the Philippines. People in the US are careless while in the Philippines people are paranoid.

    And hope they don’t come back to the Philippines. They are viewed as a cult in the Philippines for good reason.

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