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For week ended December 05, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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Y2K fears fuel LDS grounding

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Y2K fears fuel LDS grounding
Deseret News 1Dec99 B1
By Carrie A. Moore: Deseret News religion editor

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH --Taking a cautious approach to the Y2K dangers, the LDS Church is not allowing missionaries or employees to fly between midnight December 30th and midnight January 5th. The policy was announced in a statement released on Tuesday, which read, in part, "In view of lingering uncertainties as to the precise effect on air travel of the Y2K phenomenon, the church has instructed all employees and missionaries worldwide not to travel by air" during the designated time period. "This is a precautionary measure only and may be subject to change in some parts of the world as developments unfold."

The policy applies to missionaries returning from their missions as well as those flying out of the various Missionary Training Centers around the world. General Authorities will also not travel during that period.

Church-owned Brigham Young University has also restricted travel during that time, requiring faculty and staff to get approval by the vice president over their department for any exceptions. "If travel during that time is deemed absolutely necessary, those employees need to be pre-approved for travel by the vice president over that respective department. We're encouraging them to avoid it if at all possible," said BYU spokesperson Carrie Jenkins. The University is advising parents and students to make a personal decision on the issue, and has provided a question and answer section on its website to assist parents in making the decision.

Some students and faculty at BYU may end up traveling during that period regardless, because of athletic competitions and academic conferences. BYU's football team, which is being considered for the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, Michigan scheduled for December 27th, would likely avoid travel during the period.

Salt Lake based Murdock Travel, which handled LDS Church until 1992 when the Church formed its own internal travel office, said that it has seen a "single-digit decrease" in bookings over last year for the year-end period.Chief Financial Officer John Rasmussen attributes the decline to Y2K fears, "We feel it's directly related to Y2K -- people are waiting to see what happens and that the world is still going" before they book air travel. Murdock, which was started in 1958 at the suggestion of then-LDS Church president David O. McKay, has avoided offering advice on air travel during the period.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information