SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In a new initiative referred to as “Spare a Square,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking its members to donate one-tenth of their toilet paper to Church reserves as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the world. The surge of coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, has caused panic in many areas, leading to unnecessary shortages in crucial supplies such as toilet paper and bottled water.
Dating back to Church president Gordon B. Hinckley, Latter-day Saints have been counseled by Church leaders to be self-reliant by building their own food storage and emergency preparedness supplies for times of adversity. But some have taken this counsel to the extreme as the virus continues to affect nearly every nation in the world and toilet paper supplies continue to dwindle.
“We have seen cases where members of the Church, especially in areas with high concentrations of Latter-day Saints, buy literally every pack of toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, and party streamers available out of fear of this deadly virus. That is simply not how we as members of the Church should act. We should be our brothers’ keeper,” said Joseph Gayetty, president of the Church’s new Spare a Square committee. “We have to be considerate of others and hoarding toilet paper and water is not how we accomplish the mission of the Church.”
In some areas of heavy Latter-day saint populations, witnesses have seen Church members fighting over packs of toilet paper. In Draper, Utah, a woman named Karen was escorted from a Costco after she had filled two carts full of toilet paper and refused to share with a member of her own congregation.
“We have seen what is going on out there. Elder Holland himself has seen what is going on in our local stores and we understand the fear. Just know that toilet paper hoarding is not the solution to the problem at hand,” stated President Gayetty. “Symptoms of the coronavirus are not even remotely connected to a need for toilet paper.”
A statement made to Church membership on Wednesday, declared the following:
“Beginning today, we ask that members of the Church contribute one-tenth of their toilet paper supply to the Spare a Square Reserves via their local wards and branches. Please place the toilet paper rolls on your front porch in a sanitized plastic bag to be collected by the Young Men of your local congregation. The rolls will then be taken to the Granite Mountain Records Vault in the mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah to be distributed to those in greatest need.”
“We have lots of important papers stored in the granite vaults of the church. Some papers are just more important than others at this time,” said President Gayetty with a subtle smile.
The Church asked that the donations continue through May 31, at which point needs will be assessed and re-evaluated at that point. Members in need of toilet paper are asked to submit a request using the new Gospel Living app where they will find a “Request Toilet Paper” button in the newly released social app for members.
The Church invited members to continue to practice self-reliance according to Church guidelines found on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.