In Israel, approximately 27 staff and family members at Brigham Young University's Jerusalem Center remain in Israel despite the Gulf war.
And despite terrorists threats, Mormon missionaries will continue to serve throughout the world, according to officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The church's First Presidency released a statement Thursday, expressing love to those affected by the conflict.
"As war rages in the Middle East, our hearts reach out to those who carry the burden of the conflict, and to all who suffer from its consequences," the statement said.
"We are mindful not only of those immediately affected as members of the Armed Services, but also of their loved ones who live with fear and anxiety."
The First Presidency continued: "We pray that misery and suffering will be minimal for those on both sides and we earnestly hope that hostilities may be brought to an early and satisfying conclusion. We also pray that the peace of the Lord may be in the hearts of people everywhere."
No Mormon missionaries are serving in the Middle East.
Church spokesman Don LeFevre said missions outside the United States have been alerted to take precautionary measures to assure the safety of missionaries.
"Missionaries outside the United States have been asked to stay away from crowds and demonstrations and, in essence, keep a low profile," he said. "Many missionaries are foreign nationalists and serve in their native countries."
Meanwhile, two couples Monday left the BYU Jerusalem Center for the United States. And two other faculty members with large families had scheduled flights out of Israel Friday.
"We don't know whether the flights will operate," said Robert C. Taylor, center director. "The others were determined to stay."
Taylor spoke with officials at the center early Thursday.
The center is equipped with two bomb shelters, which can easily accommodate the remaining staff, Taylor said. It is equipped with provisions and everyone has been issued gas masks.
The center is located in the midst of a Palestinian neighborhood, which may provide a protective buffer around the area, Taylor said. Center employees are on excellent terms with their Palestinian neighbors, he said.