Vaccine Hesitancy (or the Lack Thereof) among Members

One of the stereotypes conservative US members have to deal with is the idea that they click their heels and salute every time the Church makes a political statement, when anybody who’s had deep political discussions with them understands that there are multiple layers of nuances and influences built into their decision making process. Consequently, I can’t say that I was terribly surprised when vaccination rates didn’t seem to jump up in Utah when the Church very explicitly came out in favor of vaccines. 

However, in the spirit of humbly pointing out something I did not expect, according to a survey recently released by research firm PRRI:

“Among religious groups, Hispanic Protestants and Latter-day Saints (Mormons) increased most in vaccine acceptance. Hispanic Protestants went from 56% vaccine acceptant in June to 77% in November, and Latter-day Saints similarly increased from 65% acceptance in June to 85% in November.”

Now, technically we can’t tease out causality for this increase, but given that the First Presidency came out with their statement between those two waves, the most likely scenario is that First Presidency statements can actually move the political needle among members. [As “John Mansfield” in the comments pointed out, this suggests that more than half of those in the Latter-day Saint community who did not accept vaccination before changed to being pro-vaccine].

Another interesting point from the survey, besides Jews we are the religious group most likely to agree with the statement “Because getting vaccinated against COVID-19 helps protect everyone, it is a way to live out the religious principle of loving my neighbors,” so the stereotype that Latter-day Saints are particularly anti-vaccine does not appear to be born out by the data. 

 

45 comments for “Vaccine Hesitancy (or the Lack Thereof) among Members

  1. If more than half of those who did not previously accept the vaccine changed their stance on that, that seems like a pretty big change.

  2. You’re absolutely right, I’ll remove the “It’s not huge, but it’s not nothing either.” As I was dashing this off I based that on the fact that 1 out of 5 members changed their minds, but so many were pro-vaccine to begin with that’s not the best way to look at it.

  3. All the info I can see says Utah is 57.1% vacinated, so members 85%?

    “Mass hypnosis and the COVID cult

    Posted on December 3, 2021 by Geoff B.

    It can be frustrating trying to reach the people who have fallen for the propaganda and fear porn of the COVID cult. But each of us might know one or two people who can be reached and awakened from their deep sleep. I have personally awakened a few dozen people over the last 18 months, and I will continue to do my best to help others.

    I assume fear porn, and covid cult are in common use where this person gets his informationa. It would be nice to think the extreme right is loosing it’s grip if only in this one area, but?

    We had a family in our ward 30 years ago who moved to Utah. The husband just died of covid after 3 weeks in ICU. The wife said she had not realised the covid was so dangerous. Neither was vacinated. I hope the hospital bill doesn’t bankrupt her.

  4. Most true conservative members of the church will continue to not vaccinate with this particular pandemic. I personally believe this is due to a small degree of politics but mostly due to how they feel about the efficacy and legitimacy of the vaccine itself. Conservatives are more likely to not be swayed by fear mongering tactics and do their own research.
    In my own case I myself do not generally believe vaccinations are superior to living right, following the HG and doing what I feel is best for my immune system. I did some math calculations of where I live and my chance of having a favorable outcome regardless of vaccination status is around 99.96%.

    The church made a political statement about the vaccinations, they generally always have in the past also. I wish they would stay out of the politics of it and counsel members and nonmembers alike to pray and follow the Spirit on what’s best for them and their families.

    We have become a faithless culture that worships science above God.

  5. Rob, I know many Latter-day Saint conservatives who have been vaccinated–including myself. The real question for most us doesn’t have as much to do with science as it does with following the counsel of the Lord’s anointed.

    I was glad to see the stats in the OP because I’ve been very disappointed by the outcry of conservatives against the brethren. But seeing those numbers gives me hope–in that the majority of Latter-day Saint conservatives probably are (quietly) following the counsel we’ve received vis-a-vis the pandemic–and that the loud voices of opposition likely comprise a minority of conservatives in the church.

  6. Rob, I agree that one should make decisions for oneself based on the best data, wise and trusted counsel, and the guidance of the Spirit. In that context, I just don’t see the First Presidency statement as “political.” It was a public health statement, not a political one.

  7. Jack,
    I did say “true conservatives”. My personal belief as a true conservative is that the statement by the brethren to get vaccinated is driven by scientific and political pressure and not driven by revelation. True conservatives watch for the signs of God in all things. When the Brethren signed off on the vaccine counsel it was obvious that it wasn’t driven off of counsel came by prayer and fasting and revelation. That much is obvious. The brethren played a political card. I find it rather interesting that since the vaccine has come out that the brethren are silent on issuing another church/worldwide fast. And yet the pandemic continues. No mention by the brethren officially stating anything about changing our sinful behavior and turning back to God to mitigate the effects and for God yo remove it from us by showing obedience to His commandments.
    True conservatives see this pandemic as the judgment of God on a wicked world who have turned away from Him.

  8. A fundamental principle of conservatism is respect for authority, both scientific and religious. There are a lot of descriptors available for those who reject the prophet’s counsel, but “conservative” isn’t one of them. “‘The prophet is a prophet whenever it’s convenient to me” isn’t a principle of conservatism. It’s a long step toward personal apostasy.

  9. I would bet that in areas of the country where it is strongly conservative, which tend to be in more rural areas, that amongst members there, they are more likely to be more vaccine hesitant. I live in a small rural area of highly conservative people. In general, a lot of members here are vaccine hesitant. There is a strong correlation with strong conservatives and vaccine hesitancy and it’s not so much related to politics.

  10. I’m confident the PRRI didn’t survey many LDS in Utah County, where I live. Their figures would be wildly optimistic.

  11. “I did say ‘true conservatives.'”

    I think this is the definition of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

  12. Among Church members who are COVID-vaccine “hesitant” or “skeptical”, I suspect there are are a many different reasons for such.

    In my case, I worked for a time for the U.S. government in a position involved with the administration of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. What I saw in that job–relating to the standard “schedule” of childhood vaccines–gave me a different perspective than the average “person on the street.” I became sensitized, you might say, to certain kinds of risks–including both medical and moral hazards–inherent in public health law and policy. Law and policy which is inherently generated by what is, at bottom, a political process.

    Among Church members who are uncomfortable in some sense with the First Presidency’s statement on vaccine encouragement, I again suspect there are many different reasons.

    In my case, I am uncomfortable with what I consider to be counter-factual statements in support of the counsel (urgings) given.

    One example: “[P]rotection from the diseases . . . can only be achieved by immunizing a very high percentage of the population.”

    This is not true, strictly speaking, particularly if the term “immunizing” means (as it would appear from the statement) vaccinating with the currently available vaccines. The currently available vaccines are not immunizing. This was known at the time of the statement to people paying close attention to available data, including the initial trial reports. And it has become more widely known since—namely that vaccination with the current vaccines does not prevent infection and transmission. (And, although somewhat beside the point, the “vaccines” also are not vaccines in the pre-2020 meaning of the word—although recent FDA/CDC [and Merriam-Webster] definition changes removed the “immunizing” aspect from the definitions).

    The clinical trials were not even intended or designed (or conducted) to try to see whether infection and retransmission of the SARS-COV-2 virus would be prevented.

    The WHO has recognized this from the beginning, and the respective WHO information pages for the MRNA vaccines still state that “[t]here is currently no substantive data are [sic] available related to impact of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on transmission or viral shedding” and “[w]e do not know whether the [Moderna] vaccine will prevent infection and protect against onward transmission.”

    There is also a question of whether “immunizing” the population is the *only* way to achieve protection. Most studies on protection from previous infection find long lasting immunity, while the case fatality rate for symptomatic COVID-19 is very low, especially for younger people. Further, estimates of rates of asymptomatic infection range from about 2% of cases to about 80%, lowering the overall case fatality rate even more. Early reports from Israel, even before the statement was released, were suggesting prior infection was more effective prevention against cases of the Delta variant than vaccination (without prior infection)—as much as 90% better or more.

    (This parenthetical is not my point of view, but at least some people apparently saw this statement [that immunization is the only protection] as an intentional misstatement contrary to what the First Presidency knows about the power of God to do “miracles” if He wills.)

    Second example: “[a]vailable vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective” is also not true, strictly speaking, on either point.

    If “effective” means that “protection” can be achieved by “immunizing” with the “vaccines,” then the current vaccines are not effective, as noted above. Moreover, vaccine breakthrough is and has been rampant in Israel and the UK for some time now. The U.S. may be a little behind the curve of this progression but is unlikely to be exempt from it. Whatever protection is afforded is not very strong against infection and retransmission, and it also does not preclude serious outcomes, though it appears it may reduce the risk of them (for now at least).

    (However, recent data from the UK cast doubt on whether protection from serious outcomes exists [or exists at this point]. Relative reduction of deaths from COVID among the fully vaccinated [compared to the “fully” unvaccinated] appear to match the relative reduction of deaths from all non-COVID causes among the fully vaccinated. In other words, the fully vaccinated in UK appear to be less likely to die from any cause, not just from COVID-19, suggesting their health is just better than those who, for health or personal reasons, remain fully unvaccinated, and that the currently remaining apparent positive effect of the vaccine vs. COVID-19 is illusory, caused by factors other than the vaccine.)

    Regarding safety, if the current COVID-19 “vaccines” were as safe as other vaccines, they would still not be “safe” in the way that most people understand the word.

    Although the general public is mostly unaware, even the US-standard childhood vaccines injure a non-negligible number of children. In the 30+ years of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the Program has paid out well over 100 million dollars per year to children (and now to adults also) injured by the covered “safe” vaccines.

    Moreover, based on frequency of adverse event reports, the current COVID-19 vaccines are not at all as safe as the vaccines covered by the compensation program. It is true that the current vaccines are available under FDA “Emergency Use Authorization” which is supposed to require medical personnel to report all adverse events, so reporting rates should in theory be higher than for vaccines not under emergency use. But COVID-19 vaccine adverse event reporting rates are also many times higher than for past “emergency use” vaccines.

    Taken together, the evidence suggests that the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are relatively ineffective compared to most vaccines (except perhaps flu vaccines) and relatively unsafe compared to any currently available FDA-approved vaccine. (Apparently the actual approved version of the Pfizer vaccine [named “Comirnaty” in the U.S.] is not actually available yet.)

    A risk-benefit analysis might still come down on the side of taking the injections. But “safe and effective” rings hollow to me, as a close observer of the data.

    Even Twitter–before the Frist Presidency statement–abandoned their standard “safe and effective” tag appended to all vaccine-skeptical tweets, and replaced it with “learn why experts recommend vaccination for most people” or similar statements. (Indications of safety issues, and/or of heightened risks for some, had become too well known.)

    There is also an issue with the word “proven.”

    Although hundreds of billions of dollars have been and are changing hands worldwide in the pursuit of and in the purchase of vaccines, the actual clinical trial data is not yet available for independent review. Pfizer has stated their trial data will be available on request starting in May of 2025(!). Moderna has recently said that their clinical trial data “may be available” with publication of the final trial results in 2022. (The Moderna trial is scheduled to end in October of 2022, so late 2022, at earliest, it “may be available.”) Johnson and Johnson has said that their trial data will be available in July 2022.

    The actual trial data should show, for example, how many participants left the two-shot trials due to adverse events after the first injection, for example, and so were excluded from the trials. As it is, we only have counts of how many persons left the trials, in most cases not the specific reasons.

    With no independent review of the detailed trial data, at this point only the companies and individuals conducting the trials (if anyone) know what has actually been “proven.”

  13. Valuable post. Thank you.

    Some of the comments highlight the danger of sloppy and/or changing definitions — particularly of the word “conservative.”

    A conservative used to be a person who believed in the principle of limited government. While some might claim that vaccine skepticism follows the principle of skepticism of government authority and involvement, conservatism—or what some people claim is conservatism—seems (including on the issue of vaccines) to have morphed into a sort of “us against them” populism that relies on dubious science.

    It is incredible that a 97 year-old man who was an eminent heart surgeon, who knows medical science, got hate messages when he did a photo-op of his own vaccination, as a way of encouraging Church members to do the same.

    Skepticism is one thing. But in my opinion, vaccine skeptics, particularly angry ones, run the danger of associating themselves with flat-earthers.

    In the meantime, the analysis of this post that shows quiet, but significant increases in the percentage of vaccinated Church members is very welcome. I am glad that President Nelson’s message about vaccines seems to be gaining traction.

  14. One of the dangers associated with vaccine policies is that it does indeed encroach upon an individuals personal liberties and free will.
    I love our prophets but I do not believe it is the churches place to admonish its members into getting the vaccine and using words and phrases in such a manner to associate loving one another as Jesus would by getting vaccinated.
    God’s in charge and we really should start asking the right questions. We should not primarily view removing a judgment by God in a wicked world with a manmade vaccine. If our heart is right we will acknowledge God and recognize that the only reason this pandemic continues is because we refuse to repent not because people refuse to get vaccinated.

  15. Did my wife’s high school friend die at age 50, leaving a widow and two children, because God was smiting him for his sins? What about my cousin’s husband, also just 50? Do you think he spent a month on a ventilator before he died because he didn’t repent? What you write is incompatible with modern medicine and the restored gospel. Please tune in to General Conference to find out what our prophets are actually teaching these days.

    People who love the prophet don’t tell him to butt out. It’s gross when progressives do it and it’s gross when whatever-conservatives-have-become do it.

  16. All we have to do to make this pandemic go away is turn back to God and repent of our wicked world worshiping ways. God’s in charge, always has been and always will be.
    I find it no coincidence that at the height of the pandemic a year ago that God removed his blessings and ordinances of salvation (temple worship) for a time. To me it’s a witness that God is not pleased with Zion.

  17. I believe President Nelson was inspired to call for a worldwide fast for relief from the pandemic. I can’t help but view the rapid development of such an effective vaccine as a miraculous answer to prayer.

  18. And yet, the pandemic continues…
    Still not asking the right questions or seeking the right answers.
    Maybe we should repent and fast that God will hear our prayers, forgive us our sins.

  19. Rob, you view this pandemic as judgement from a wrathful god, angry at his children…an OT god.

    I view this pandemic as a test from our living, loving Father whose main objective in creating this earth is to teach us to love others more than ourselves.

    The pandemic will be removed when enough people show love to love others by getting vaccinated, send vaccines to under vaccinated populations, and wear masks.

    Two very different perspectives on the same situation. Who’s right? No one can say for sure, but at least my perspective is aligned with someone you’ve promised to sustain as a prophet of God while your perspective requires you to reject his council to continue to uphold it.

  20. Dr. Cocoa,
    We do need to love each other. The notion of being vaccinated and wearing masks to show the love of God to each other borders on ridiculousness. If Christ were to come tomorrow with all his holy angels are they all going to be vaccinated and be wearing masks?

    The pandemic will rage on until a sufficient amount of humbling unto repentance and turning back to God happens.

  21. I’m half convinced Geoff-Aus and Rob are the same person, play acting as two different trolls from opposite sides of the political/cultural spectrum.

  22. Winston Churchill once stated that a fanatic won‘t change his mind and won‘t change the subject.

    And another quote from the English poet, A.E. Housman:

    To think that two and two are four,
    And neither five nor three,
    The heart of man has long been sore,
    And like ‘tis long to be.

    Denizens of the left and right dislike facts that fly in the face of their preferred world view. They therefore invent different “facts.”

    I look forward to the next post on Times and Seasons.

  23. Rob:
    God must have been mad at us when he spread polio throughout the land. And then He must have really been ticked off when we cured it with a vaccine, saving millions of children from life in an iron lung. So God planned revenge by spreading COVID. This God you worship is a harsh dude!

  24. One can believe that God never sends judgment on the earth. That same thinking will one day lead them to disbelieve God even exists.

  25. I echo what Jack said. The prophet asked us to fast and pray on April 10, 2020. When skeptical journalists would talk about it taking a miracle to produce a vaccine by the end of the year, my reaction was, “Yup.”

    I am also impressed at the faith of Francis Collins, NIH director and Christian, who said, “Give God the glory but roll up your sleeve… A lot of science went into this, but a lot of prayer too. It does feel like those prayers were answered. This feels like a gift from God, but you do have to unwrap that gift.”

    I think it is wonderful to have a government leader who is also a believer.

    If this illness were indeed a divine judgement, would not the prophet say so?

  26. Alas, I can confirm that Rob is a long-time reader whose presence long predates Geoff’s. His perspective has always been fairly antediluvian, but his views seem to have developed in some alarming ways in the last several years.

  27. Nothing against modern prophets but because of politics they refuse to say any of God’s judgments are God’s judgments. I can’t remember the last time they specifically said a catastrophe or modern pestilence of any kind was a judgment of God on a wicked world. Perhaps they each individually personally know they are but publicly remain silent on it.

    I am not against vaccines, get it if that’s what makes you feel right through prayer and fasting, but this supposed vaccine (which it isn’t until the scientists changed the definition) has its own set of problems and isn’t a Godsend. That’s why the pandemic rages on. If one looks at the death numbers since the worldwide fast, and since the vaccine, the death numbers have actually increased. So, I’m not sure the vaccine is doing anything of lasting good. We were supposed to have already reached herd immunity according to Fauci long ago. He just keeps movibg the goalposts. He’s not in charge, God is, and when the children of God repent and turn back to His ways enough God will cause this pestilence to go away.

  28. Rob,

    Spreading misinformation that can kill or harm people is utterly inappropriate and unethical.

    COVID has always been highly contagious. But, the vaccines offer two types of protection: 1) Diminish the chance of infection (may not be true with Omicron) and 2) Drastically reduce the probability of hospitalization or death.

    No vaccine is perfect. But, the overall impact of vaccination is to limit spread. Those like you who resist vaccination and masks are the reason COVID continues to spread. The selfishness of those who won’t take minimal steps are the reason that this is still a threat.

    The toll is so unnecessary. A few blocks from my home in Eastern Idaho is a short street where 7 of the residents have died from COVID. As of yesterday, 88% of our local ICU COVID cases are the unvaccinated.

    My biggest frustration is those who claim harm from the vaccines. According to VAERS, we’ve had less than 20 deaths in my state after vaccination (with not a single linked to a vaccine). Yet, during that same time we’ve had over 2,000 COVID deaths.

    The John Birch Society is behind most of the anti-vaccine and anti-mask groups in Utah and Idaho. They claim to be pro-life but their actions are directly linked to deaths.

    Those who put their politics ahead of their neighbors’ lives deserve shame and condemnation.

  29. Steve, I too live in Eastern Idaho. I’m not against vaccines. We have had a few people locally in our community who have died from complications of covid and it is sad. I don’t know their other underlying conditions or if they were vaccinated or not. In my own ward we haven’t had any active member who has died from covid and we cram our church every Sunday like sardines ever since the Governer changed the state’s status back to normal. As leadership we wear masks but the vast majority do not and do not care and no one really cares. I guess our ward family for the most part live in faith and look to God for protection and peace.

    I just feel the church headquarters should be neutral on the point and let members decide for themselves the right course of action, whether they get vacconated or not. They should encourage members to pray and receive revelation for their own particular circumstances. I prayed about it and at this time it’s not right for me. That’s my right and choice not someone else’s.

    The blanket statement of people like me is the cause for the pandemic continuing is baseless and wrong. I take care of my health, have good health and hygiene and do not go around others when I am sick which is very rare. My wife got covid back in the beginning before the vaccine was available and I’m sure my whole household got it too at that time. We didn’t worry about it then and don’t worry about it now. We believe strongly in natural immunity. My wife worked at an assisted living facility and the building she worked in everyone caught covid and recovered. My wife had to be in close contact with many of them to care for them. We live by faith, we live by prayer and fasting. We don’t live by fear and run around like the scientists do always shrieking out “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”

    It bothers me that especially as members of the Church of Jesus Christ that we do not live by faith so much anymore but rather by what our government and scientific leaders prompt us to do. We have become like puppets that no longer think for ourselves or have sufficient faith to be healed or to heal with God’s priesthood power. We have placed local government above and before God and faith.

  30. Rob, there are times when the Lord’s counsel will challenge us to the very core–right down to our own sense of morality as it were. And so, for many of us, the question isn’t about what we believe to be the best course of action–based upon our own religious sensibilities and whatnot. The question is: will we follow his counsel even when it requires us to go *against* our religious (or moral or philosophical or what-have-you) sensibilities.

    For some folks the counsel we’ve received from the brethren vis-a-vis the pandemic has been excruciatingly difficult to follow–and for others it’s been a walk in the park. The same can be said for others vis-a-vis the counsel we’ve received on marriage and family and whatnot. But whatever our personal views may be all of us at one time or another will likely be challenged in some measure by counsel that flows through those channels So we should be careful not to presume–when it’s our turn to go through the grinder–that our excuse for rejecting that counsel is somehow legitimate.

    That said, I certainly believe that, at times, some (few) folks might receive personal revelation that would point them in a different direction than that which is designated by general counsel. Even so, those individuals should (IMO) keep that revelation to themselves and not openly pit themselves against the general leadership. Personal revelation should, for the most part, stay with the person who receives it.

  31. Steve,

    I’ve wondered how our reaction to the advice of medical experts might be different if the virus were taking the lives of our children rather than our elderly. Sadly, I think it would substantially different. My guess is that those soccer moms who are hesitant to mask up their children for school would, instead, behave like she bears protecting the children from the unmasked masses.

  32. Steve,

    You state, in part:

    “Those like you who resist vaccination and masks are the reason COVID continues to spread.”

    Do you base this conclusion on evidence, and if so, on what evidence?

    Questions that you might consider, the answers to which may challenge the vaccine aspect of this conclusion:

    1. What were (and are) the respective definitions of a covid “case” used in the Pfizer and Moderna trials? (Asked in other terms, covid vaccine “efficacy” for these two vaccines means what?)

    2. How much asymptomatic spread occurred among the treatment arm of the Pfizer and Moderna trials? (And if this question difficult or impossible to answer, why?)

    Two sources useful in answering the above: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2035389 (initial Moderna trial report) and https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2034577 (initial Pfizer trial report).

    3. Where did the current “omicron” variant of concern originate, or from where have the earliest samples (so far) been identified?

    4. How (or among whom) has the omicron variant been predominantly spreading? (Or how has it traveled around the world?)

  33. Jack,
    I don’t believe it’s the Lord’s counsel to follow Fauci and company. The statement by the Brethren on vaccines came after it had been suggested by government and science leaders that church leadership could have a strong impact if they asked their members to get vaccinated. So, the First Presidency issued a statement urging us yo get vaccinated. Nothing in the letter suggested the counsel came from the Lord or from prayer or fasting. Instead it stated we should follow the counsel of government and science leaders.
    So, basically you are suggesting that the Lord now works through Fauci on this matter. This is the same Fauci who lied to us about masks and how we make this pandemic go away by herd immunity.
    Fauci is a godless humanist. Fauci doesn’t believe in God nor organized religion.
    So, God now works through humanists eh to give his will?

  34. Rob, it doesn’t matter where inspired counsel may seem to fall on the sociopolitical spectrum–or with whom or what it may seem to be aligned. Some counsel might appear to lean to the right–other counsel might appear to lean to the left. The truth will take its own course–and we should be willing to follow it no matter where it takes us. If we’re labelled bigots because we believe the proclamation on the family to be an inspired document–so be it. If we’re labelled Marxists because we believe the counsel we’ve received from President Nelson vis-a-vis the pandemic to be inspired–so be it.

    Forgive my preachy-ness, but (IMO) we should be Latter-day Saints first and everything else second–and then let the chips fall where they may.

  35. Jack,
    It’s wholly unwise to follow the counsel of mammon. Faucism is driven in large part by billions and billions of dollars in revenue. Corporations like Amazon are profiting big-time from Faucism.

    It’s a bit mysterious that we do not hear from church leaders to repent and turn back to God. Instead it’s follow the organization’s and corporations that will gain power over you, destroy your freedoms and liberties and profit in the billions.

    Interesting stuff…

  36. The ancient Jews rejected Jeremiah’s counsel not to resist the Babylonians. It went against everything they believed about their own national identity and theology. And, perhaps, if they had been a righteous nation then they might have had the strength to withstand the invasion of foreign nations. Even so, they considered Jeremiah a traitor for suggesting that they bow to the authority of the uncircumcised; they rejected his counsel, resisted the Babylonians, and were consequently destroyed.

    To them, Jeremiah’s counsel might’ve seemed like the wisdom of mammon. To Abraham, the Lord’s command to offer up his son might’ve seemed like something akin to murder. And in like fashion, the Lord’s counsel will (on rare occasion) seem rather counterintuitive to the moral sensibilities of each one of his children. No serious disciple can expect to skate through this life without having the Lord tug at his or her heartstrings on occasion.

    And so the question (IMO) shouldn’t be: how does the counsel of the Lord’s anointed line up or fail to line up with the wisdom of the world? IMO, the most important question — and perhaps the only question that really matters — is: is the counsel we receive through the Lord’s prophets inspired?

  37. Jack,
    The simple answer is “no”, the counsel regarding vaccines and following government and science leaders is not inspired. It’s a publicity and political move so that they can be accepted by worlds standards.
    Here are their exact words that are relevant-
    “We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders.”
    They basically just subjugated the church to the will of the government and a mostly godless science that does not recognize the power of neither prayer or priesthood power.
    On that premise alone we should all acknowledge that this is not the divine will of God on the matter. A letter that makes no mention of faith, prayer or fasting, just subjugate to the authorities who have the supposedly wise and thoughtful answer…not hard to see where this letter arose from and why.
    The Lord doesn’t work that way, never has and never will. It further saddens me that the church will not allow any endorsement fro any leader that exempts someone from vaccination on religious grounds alone. The church basically just pretty much said “we don’t care about a person’s personal convictions, faith, priesthood power, blessings, miracles, etc.

  38. Rob, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I believe the counsel we’ve received through President Nelson regarding the pandemic to be inspired. I also believe the swift production of an highly effective vaccine to be answer to the worldwide fasts and prayers led by the prophet.

    That said, it’s my hope, dear brother, that you and I will find fellowship in the Kingdom in spite of our differences of opinion on this or any other issue.

  39. Jack,
    We will for sure be together in the kingdom of our God. Disagreement isn’t a bad thing. Dialogue brings change and awareness. There’s no doubts that forums such as these are read by people high up in church leadership from time to time.

    For me it really boils down to IF we believe this pandemic is a judgment by God or not. If it is a judgment our only escape from it is to repent and turn back to God. Standing in “holy places” in my opinion does not mean getting vaccinated but rather choosing the right and being led by God and protected by God while the destroying angel pours out plagues on the world. For me it is the belief that as long as I choose the right God will guide and protect me always, in all places and in and from all things including his judgments such as this. We can live by faith or by fear.

    If we want yo truly win the war on this pandemic it’s all about repenting and following our Savior in word and deed. It is He who offers refuge from the storm, not science, not man, not government.

  40. Just to be clear, Rob, I have grave doubts about you and the kingdom of God. I’m not confident you’ll still be a member of the church in 5 years, because the way you’re talking about the prophets and apostles today is nearly indistinguishable from that of people 5 years ago who have since gone marching out of the church. You’re listening to people in the media you consume who oppose the prophet, and when you have to choose between the two, you’re choosing to follow your favorite TV talking head and reject the prophet. That’s your choice, but you have to be honest with yourself about the consequences.

  41. Jonathon,
    I will always be a member of the church. I love my fellow members including the prophets. That doesnt mean I have to agree with everything they say and do. I remember many years ago when the church came out with the whole mormonandgay website and I didn’t agree with it on two counts. The first was the use of the word “Mormon” to define our church and 2- showcasing gay members would go the other way and would ultimately backfire. Both of my doubts ended up coming true. Russell M. Nelson reversed course on the use of the name “Mormon” as it doesn’t properly define members of Christ’s church and it doesn’t carry the necessary power that the name of Christ does. And most of those gay members showcased on mormonandgay fell away from the church and followed the gay lifestyle. The church then modified the wording to use as same sex attraction and stopped showcasing individuals all the while maintaing and reinforcing proper morals. Needless to say, whether some called it revelation or not, the end result was not good for both sides. They have made policy over the years they have had to reverse or change because it wasn’t having the right effect. I bring this up not to axe the church which I’m part of, but to show that a lot of times man acts as man with his best intellectual faculties and sometimes those results are man made and create manmade results.

    One way to always discern I have found is that if the prophet says or signs off on something it should have the stamp of the Holy Ghost as approval and those things don’t change. Read the statement again and see if you can see where it says the Brthren faster and prayed for guidance. It’s completely absent. The statement isn’t a “thus saith the Lord” instance.

  42. Rob,
    Apostle Renlund explicitly stated he was telling us to get vaccinated as an apostle of the Lord, not as a doctor. The Brethren had us fast and pray and Pres. Nelson indicated that this vaccine was the answer. I get a flu shot every year.
    You are likely vaccinated against polio, diphtheria, and measles. My husband had sepsis and is alive today because of faith , PH blessings and antibiotics. The Lord knows he did his part by taking the medicine so he had a right to petition the Lord for His help and receive it. Two of my righteous cousins died of Covid in NY when it first struck.
    Read about the Provo death recently of the 28 year old man devout LDS newly married, wife and baby on the way–wasn’t vaccinated and died. Pres.Nelson has told us ,repeatedly..if we don’t know how to discern the truth, we won’t be able to stand. The unvaccinated are the ones now packing the ICU’s and overwhelming nurses.
    Rob, when you die you will be expected to teach the Gospel to “Godless humanists” and to love them. If you view them as” us vs. them” instead of as like yourself, you won’t have the privilege of teaching them. They were disappointed with their mortal experience of religion. They will accept because they finally understand. Someday they will inhabit the same eternal kingdom with you because they
    are like you. Based on your comment about Dr. Fauci, I will assume you could not bring yourself to vote for Trump because you found him to be authentically Godless, and with lying lips about it. I even hope there will be hope for him because he needs it more than the decent humanists I’ve come across.

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