The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is under new scrutiny after it was revealed that the church’s former health director is in charge of administering the coronavirus.
The revelation comes amid the church reeling from revelations that the former health chief, who was replaced last month, had been a key figure in the church using the Church of Latter Day Saints’ official coronaviruses as cover.
But in a new report published Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit organization, church leaders say they have changed the churchs health policy to address the “toxic environment” of the community.
“The church’s new policy does not allow its health and wellness professionals to take direct orders from the leaders of the LDS Church on matters pertaining to public health,” the report said.
“It is only for those who are qualified to take such orders, through a personal physician or other health professional, to be able to direct health care decisions.
That change is a significant improvement.”
In recent weeks, Church leaders have made a number of public pronouncements, including a call to change the churchís climate and how the church is run.
“In addition to improving health, the Church will take a number or actions to make sure its climate remains the same as it has been,” the church said in a statement last week.
“We will work to better understand the challenges faced by our members and make changes that make them feel more confident about living a healthy lifestyle.”
A church official confirmed to The Hill that former health and wellbeing director, Robert C. Anderson, is the director of health and health care at the church.
“He has been with the church for over a decade,” the official said.
“His role in this office has been to manage the operations of the health department, which is currently managed by the medical staff and the medical director.”
The report said that while the church has a longstanding policy of not commenting on personnel matters, “several things have come to light over the last few weeks that suggest that the Church’s leadership, including current leadership, have been aware of Anderson’s work.”
Among them:The church has changed the wording of the Church History of the Latter Day Saint Church to clarify that Anderson was an employee of the organization, not an employee, in 2014.
“Anderson has been instrumental in coordinating the Church Health and Wellness Center, which provides support and information for church members and members of the general public,” the new report said, adding that he also “coordinated health and safety planning for church-owned and operated facilities.”
The new report also said that the new church health and welfare policy was written by a “senior member of the leadership group” and that the policy was approved by a board of directors.
The church released a statement Thursday saying that “the policies and practices that are in place have been in place for many years and were made in consultation with leaders of various levels of leadership in the Church.”
“As we have learned over the past two years, we must be mindful of the toxicity and risk posed to our members, our church, and the community,” the statement said.