Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Institutional Bullying and the Question of Religious Exemption from Vaccine Mandates

I received a call this week from a father with two children facing intimidation and bullying from the universities they are attending. As is common these days, those who have concerns about the COVID vaccine and are hesitant to be vaccinated are treated as second-class citizens, with corporations, universities, and other institutions treating them as second-class citizens if not pariahs to be ousted. At the two universities in question, the vaccine hesitant are easily identified and are pressured or bullied by other students and intimidated by the university. Sincere religious concerns do not count for much. 

Religious exemption requests are based on the idea enshrined in the Constitution that American citizens should have freedom to practice their religion. Of course, where the boundaries of those freedoms are is a complex and thorny issue. But an important aspect of that liberty is codified into law in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination of employees on the basis of religion. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" for the sincere religious beliefs of workers unless that would cause undue hardship. Similar principles have been put into state laws and are part of the official policies of many universities. See, for example, the Religious Accommodations Policy of the University of North Carolina

But what does this have to do with COVID? No major religious organization, as far as I know, has come out against COVID vaccination. The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have encouraged us to protect ourselves and others by being vaccinated. (For the record, my wife and I are vaccinated and we think it's a good idea to get vaccinated, especially if they do not already have natural immunity and are in a high-risk category or closely associate with those at high risk.) So how can there be a sincere religious objection to the COVID vaccine? 

Two Possible Grounds for Religious Objections

The two university students in question have concerns about the use of fetal cells in the R&D and development that led to these new vaccines. The vaccines do not contain fetal cells, but fetal cells were used in the development and commercialization of the vaccines that are available in the US. Many people who share an opposition to unnecessary abortion and strongly believe in the sanctity of human life do not necessarily object to the use of modern fetal cell lines that have been cultured from fetal cells taken in the 1970s, especially when those fetal cells are not physically part of the product. But there are arguments both ways. I think we need to understand that a person can have a sincere concern about any new medical product that was invented or developed through the use of abortion, even if the abortion occurred long ago.  If aborted cells were an integral part of the development and introduction of a new product, I can see why it might be viewed as tainted and objectionable to use, or especially repugnant to take into one's body. 

As reported by the State of Michigan in their fact sheet on fetal cells and COVID vaccines (PDF), the “Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine used a fetal cell line to produce and manufacture their vaccine.” While the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine did not use a fetal cell line to manufacture their vaccine, “a fetal cell line was used in a very early phase to confirm efficacy prior to production and manufacturing.” All three vaccines are thus subject to potential religious concerns about the use of fetal cells for the development of a new drug.  

But fetal cell use is not the only reason a religious person might have a sincere religious concern about the COVID vaccines or any experimental drug or drug that has not had the normal years of long-term safety testing. As I discussed in my Sept. 10, 2021 post on the Emmy Award-winning singer, Victory Boyd, whose contract with the NFL was terminated when she refused vaccination on religious grounds, Ms. Boyd based her request for a religious exemption on the biblical concept of the sanctity of her body and the desire to not take potentially harmful (or not completely tested) substances into her body. Here is her statement:

“The Bible admonishes Christians to appreciate their bodies as being sacred and a temple of the Holy Spirit and to not participate in things that can defile the body or render the body dysfunctional.

“I am in prayer to make sure that the Lord guides me into the right decision concerning receiving an unproven injection with artificial properties that can potentially have a long-term effect on my reproductive health.

“If I want to take the vaccine, the decision will be between myself, my doctor, and my God. At this point, the Spirit of God is leading me to take a stand for freedom of choice.”

Sadly, the "my body, my choice" argument only seems to work if it's being used to justify destroying someone else's very vulnerable prenatal body. When it comes to actually protecting your own body from unwanted substances, many institutions insist that compliance is the only option with no effort at all to make reasonable accommodations for one's sincere concerns. But that doesn't mean a person with those concerns should be silenced, shamed, or booted from the company or university. Even if we disagree with the religious concerns, I think we need to stand with those who are asking for their religious views and rights to be respected.

As Latter-day Saints with our own health code, we are taught to have concerns about taking harmful substances into our body. Tobacco, alcohol, and harmful drugs are on the list. But what about drugs where the safety status has not been fully resolved due to the lack of long-term studies on such issues as reproductive health or cancer? The two students in question both wish to be parents one day and have sincere concerns about the long-term impact of the vaccines on reproductive health. What is the impact on pregnancy or on fetal development or mutations? What we know so far from extensive safety testing in the past 18 months is that the vaccines are safe. But no matter how awesome your short-term testing is, no matter how close your rats and mice are to humans, there are some human health issues that cannot be fully settled with one or two years of testing. Most vaccines go through 10 to 15 years of development and testing before being rolled out for widespread use. There is a sincere reason why someone might feel short-term testing is not enough time to take a substance that could affect them for the rest of their life. It's a reasonable basis for a religious exemption and a reasonable basis for a scientific objection. I'm not saying we have to agree with it or that the argument is compelling, but it is a position that a reasonable person can take. 

There may be further grounds for religious exemption requests besides the two considered here, but please understand that those having religious objections may have more than one basis for their concerns. 

As healthy young people with very little risk to COVID, both of these students wonder why they should be compelled to take a substance into their bodies that may bring genuine risk (though risk that at the moment seems quite rare) yet offers very little benefit for them while in their youth. Given their health and age, having COVID is very unlikely to send them to the hospital to use up limited resources for others. Their vaccinated peers have very little to fear from them if the vaccines are effective. Compelling them to take a medication that may bring risk but offers little benefit seems unfair. Giving them time to wait for long-term safety results doesn't seem unreasonable. 

Aspirin, Tylenol, Ex-Lax and the Hypocrisy Test

One of the children of the father who called me had already expressed the desire for a religious exemption to the university, which apparently claims that it will make reasonable accommodations to sincere religious belief. In response, the university provided an intimidating form to "test" the sincerity of that belief by giving a long list of popular over-the-counter products that allegedly also have used fetal cells. The form requires students seeking a religious exemption to vow that they do not and will not use such products.

The hypocrisy test apparently was developed at the healthcare company, Conway Medical, per Tristates Public Radio, WIUM. Here's their form (click to enlarge):

The same list is now being used in many parts of the country, including at some universities. This hypocrisy test, in my opinion, might not really be based on a good-faith desire to confirm the sincerity of a student's religious views, for it feels like it is intended to intimidate students and mock their belief. It's a little like saying, "Oh, you refuse to drink alcohol due to religious beliefs? According to science, you're a hypocrite.  We've seen you drinking orange juice and eating bananas, both of which can contain around 0.2% ethanol. We've seen you eating hamburgers with baked buns known to have over 1% ethanol. It's amazing you can even walk straight right now. You obviously don't have a sincere religious belief against alcohol. Now drink up!" 

This alcohol-related mocking is only a little like the mockery of the university's hypocrisy test, because my alcohol hypocrisy test is actually much more logical. Alcohol occurs naturally in many foods, enough so that parents perhaps really should be cautious about giving young children lots of fruit juice. See Eva Gorgus, Maike Hittinger, and Dieter Schrenk, "Estimates of Ethanol Exposure in Children from Food not Labeled as Alcohol-Containing," Journal of Analytical Toxicology, vol. 40, no. 7 (Sept. 2016): 537–542. But there's still a significant difference between most alcohol-rich foods and the alcohol content of beer, wine, or liquor. 

Importantly, whether my religious acceptance of the Word of Wisdom's prohibition of alcohol is logical or scientific does not determine the sincerity of my religious belief. My religious beliefs related to what I eat or drink is based on revelation and to some degree religious tradition in interpreting that revelation. I personally avoid low-alcohol beer, even if its alcohol content might actually be less than that of my favorite fresh-baked bread. Our response to the Word of Wisdom may seem illogical or contradictory when explored by secular observers. But guess what? It's religion. It's a matter of faith and sometimes a matter of tradition. It's not supposed to make perfect sense to outside secular observers. Religion of all kinds abounds with elements that require faith and may seem contradictory, superstitious, or unreasonable to outsiders, especially those looking for reasons to criticize. Whether it's the nature of the Trinity or the refusal to eat cheeseburgers based on an interpretation of a verse in the Torah, there are things that are puzzling to those outside the believer's faith. Whether a student has taken Tylenol is not a fair gauge of the sincerity of religious belief.

Further, the university's hypocrisy test is actually deceptive and unreasonable. It is deceptive because nearly all of the products on the list were developed and marketed without the use of fetal cells, often long before fetal cells were even available for testing. Aspirin, which was first marketed by Bayer in 1899 but has a history that goes much further back in time. Ex-Lax was first produced in 1906. Tums was introduced to the market in 1928 but employs compounds known to be safe long before that. Preparation H dates to around 1935. Ibuprofen was discovered in 1961. Now that aspirin is on the market, if some lab or manufacturer decides to test it with fetal cells, I don't need to reject aspirin if my religious belief and conscience leads me to reject products that relied on abortion for their development and commercialization. Products that were developed and commercialized independent of an aborted child are what some people object to. Taking an existing product that did not rely on the cells of an aborted fetus for its development and commercialization and then later testing it with fetal cells may be unfortunate, but need not require the believer to reject that product.

If some lab decides to test the safety of lettuce using fetal cells, that would be unfortunate, but it does not turn pro-lifers objecting to fetal cell use in vaccines into hypocrites if they are caught eating salad. Lettuce salad, like most of the products on the hypocrisy test list, was an established product long before fetal cells were available for testing.

A Better Sincerity Test

If the universities really want to know if these students have sincere objections to the vaccines based on pro-life views or the Word of Wisdom or some other matter of faith and conscience, the right gauge is not whether or not they have ever used aspirin, Tylenol, Ex-Lax, etc., or consumed fresh-baked bread or orange juice. The hypocrisy test is great as a secular tool to belittle the beliefs of others, but if you want to know how sincere those students are, a better tool might be to simply observe what they have been doing already. In spite of being publicly shamed as vaccine hesitant rebels, facing sustained harassment from fellow students motivated by statements and policies from the university without respect for the medical privacy and personal beliefs of the students, these students continue to maintain their position and to implore the university for the right to control what is taken into their bodies and to avoid an injection of a substance that, unlike aspirin or Tylenol, relied on the cells of an aborted fetus for its very existence (i.e., its development and commercialization). Being willing to face that kind of pressure and discrimination and now to risk being expelled from the university for their beliefs seems like an indicator of sincerity, even if we don't share or agree with the position they take. 

The "Scientific Exemption": It's Not Just Religion We Need to Respect

For the two university students in question, the objection to the vaccine is not just based on religious concerns, though I think they should be respected in spite of my not fully agreeing with them. Besides the religious concerns, there is also a scientific or health-based objection, and they may be including a request for a "scientific exemption" in their requests to the university. 
Their concern is that they are young, healthy people with almost zero risk from COVID. The decision to receive the vaccination makes a long-lasting change in their bodies and while the evidence so far points to a high level of safety, there are significant unanswered questions. A particular concern is about long-term impact on their reproductive health. These concerns are swiftly dismissed by advocated of vaccine mandates based on "extensive" testing in the past 18 months or so. But have we really had enough time to understand the effect on the human reproductive system and on children born to those who have received the vaccine? Do we understand the long-term effect on cancer? How can we have solid answers in such a short time?
If concerns about reproductive issues have been fully assessed already, why did the NIH just award five institutions grants “to explore potential links between COVID-19 vaccination and menstrual change”? See the NIH post, "COVID-19 Vaccines and the Menstrual CycleNIH encourages researchers to investigate reported changes in menstruation after COVID-19 vaccination." Here there are enough concerns that have been raised for the NIH to launch a study related to reproductive health.  Note that these grants in no way suggest there are any reasons to believe that the vaccine might have any adverse impact on fertility or on children born to vaccinated parents, and I personally don't know of any data suggesting the least real concern so far. But if understanding the effect on menstruation requires more time and money, could their be other aspects of reproductive health that will require even more time? Ditto for the long-term effect on cancer or other ailments.  It is not unscientific to ask questions about such effects and to seek more data before taking injections that can impact my body for decades to come with effects that are not yet clear.  I may not agree, but a person can have sound scientific reasons for at least wanting more data before committing to vaccination. There is a reasonable basis for a good-faith request for a "scientific exemption" from the vaccine mandate based on the principle of stewardship over one's body, back to "my body, my choice."

Finally, Let's Not Forget Natural Immunity

One of the most puzzling things about the vaccine mandates sweeping this country is the uniform neglect of natural immunity. Why should those who have already had COVID need to be vaccinated as a condition of employment or continuing at a university?

While I am vaccinated and think it's a good idea for most people, I also recognize the scientifically demonstrated principle of natural immunity and feel that those who have already lived through COVID should be given recognition for their natural antibodies. There should also be recognition that adverse reactions, though typically mild, are more likely for those that have already had COVID and is something that might reasonably be weighed in a person's personal decision about vaccination.

A few days ago, I met a young mom who was required by her employer to get the vaccine in spite of having had COVID. She objected and asked for an exemption based on already having antibodies. Request denied. So she buckled. For her, the adverse reaction to the vaccine was much worse than COVID. COVID was like having a cold for her, but the vaccine caused intense pain and fatigue that kept her ill for about a week. Unfortunately, even after a month she said feels she's only 75% back to normal. 

Meanwhile, a close friend of that woman had COVID and struggled with the complication of myocarditis. Now he's been forced by his employer to receive the vaccination, even though it is known that young men like him may be at some risk of myocarditis from the vaccine (again, the vaccines are generally safe and I still encourage vaccination, but also encourage respect for individual concerns). He's asked for an exemption based on medical risk and the fact that he already has natural antibodies. Request denied, even though his doctor is on his side (so I was told, but maybe she had the story wrong). He's deeply worried about his health and does not want the vaccination, but may have to leave his high-paying job in the financial industry. Shouldn't there be respect for people's health and for their concerns? Shouldn't there be reasonable accommodations for reasonable health-based and scientific objections, as well as religious objections? Concerns about myocarditis, especially in males, are not based on mere rumors and fake news, but are leading Europe to take significant steps. See the Oct. 8, 2021 CNBC report, "Nordic countries are restricting the use of Moderna’s Covid vaccine. Here’s why," and the earlier July 9, 2021 Reuters story, "EU finds potential link between heart inflammation and mRNA COVID shots." These concerns are generally minor and don't affect everyone, but they can affect some. The CDC is also aware of some reports of myocarditis, but still encourages vaccination. But we must not forget that there are always risks with any drug, and these need to be weighed against the benefits.

There are plenty of good reasons to be vaccinated, and I'm glad (so far, anyway) that I've been vaccinated. But may we have enough compassion and respect for others to recognize that there are genuine religious and scientific concerns that some may have. Today there is popular pressure to shame such individuals, some of whom are likely in our own wards or branches, families, workplaces, or schools. 

May we express our humanity and our tolerance of diversity by standing for their freedom to choose, for their rights to have their religious views reasonably accommodated and their scientific objections to be considered. May we stand against the unreasonable and hateful condemnation of the unvaccinated and sweeping one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates that may be genuinely unnecessary for many. May we resist the manipulative paranoia and fear that is causing some of us vaccinated people to dread and despise those who have sincere reasons for not wanting the vaccination at this time. And may we help keep them from being fired or expelled from universities, especially those who are in critical areas related to health care, law enforcement, manufacturing, and numerous other fields already suffering from a shortage of talent. Reasonable accommodation and kindness is surely the most reasonable thing we can be doing with those who have sincere concerns about these new vaccines.

UPDATE, Oct. 21, 2021: The social argument for vaccine mandates needs more discussion and more science. It's repeated without question as an article of faith, often without consideration of data and the existence of other means of mitigating risks. Those wishing to not be pressured into letting others make decisions about one's body and one's health care may be on even stronger grounds in light of the latest relevant scientific report:  S. V. Subramanian and Akhil Kumar, "Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States," European Journal of Epidemiology (Sept. 30, 2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-021-00808-7. Analysis of extensive data suggests that high levels of vaccination aren't effective in slowing the spread of the virus. The benefit is the reduced risk to the vaccinated. This seems to greatly weaken the "social good" argument that requires people to "give up their 'precious' freedoms" and let some corporate or political bureaucrat dictate what medical treatment they receive instead of making their own decision. I'm pro-vaccine, but also pro-freedom. There are cases where the social good argument may be compelling, but the data does not seem to come close to supporting that in this case. If vaccination does not greatly reduce the spread of the infection, what's the basis for vaccine mandates and shaming the unvaccinated? It's time we engage in conversation on this topic.



Jeff Lindsay said...

A comment at https://www.tspr.org/post/getting-religious-exemption-vaccine-mandate-may-not-be-easy-heres-why gives some further dates on Conway's list of products that have had testing with fetal cells:

Tylenol, also knows as Paracetamol or acetaminophen, was discovered in the 1870s and first marketed in the US in 1950.

Ibuprofen’s discovery was the result of research during the 1950s and 1960s to find a safer alternative to aspirin, with a patent application filed in 1961.

Pseudoephedrine was first characterized by German scientists in 1889.

Diphenhydramine was discovered in 1943 and first marketed in 1946.

Dextromethorphan was successfully tested in 1954 and marketed in 1958.

Guaifenesin was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1952.

Tums entered production in 1930.

Maalox was first marketed in 1949.

Sodium docusate was patented in 1937.
Its use for the treatment of constipation was first proposed in 1955.

Senna Glycoside is an over-the-counter medication available whose origins go back centuries – Kayam churna is a traditional Indian laxative that contains senna leaves.

PeptoBismol – bismuth salts were in use in Europe by the late 1700s. At first sold directly to physicians, it was first marketed as Bismosal in 1918.

Phenylephrine was patented in 1927 and came into medical use in 1938.

Might not all be accurate, but the dates are probably pretty close.

BrianG said...

Being required to be vaccinated is not bullying. I was required to get vaccinated for my mission to Nicaragua for the LDS church to measles, mumps, rubella, yellow fever, typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis, and typhoid. My daughter four years ago was required to show proof of vaccination to a list of diseases to attend university and live in the dorms. Making this vaccine and disease somehow totally different than requirements for other reasonable public health vaccination requirements is absurd.

BrianG said...

Plus when your religious leaders urge members to get vaccinated you don’t have grounds for a religious exemption.

Anonymous said...

Don't you wonder sometimes how some Americans with their fragile and convenient sense of "freedom" and "dominion" manage to spend their lives standing in lines, stopping at red lights, not pushing through crowds, not breaking into song in libraries or yelling "FIRE" needlessly in public places, not staring at people with disabilities or differences without railing at those of us who do?

Chances are they've been vaccinated a number of times in their lives. But I guess there are folks who pay taxes as an investment in the country and the comfort and security of our daily communal lives and others who won't but feel free to break into the public buildings they've contributed nothing to and then wrap themselves in righteousness for doing it.

Unknown said...

Nobody needs to live differently or take any gene therapy shot for a disease with a 99.9% recovery rate and an average death age of 78.
Trust in the Priesthood and have Faith in God's power.

Anonymous said...

Re: myocarditis, the easy answer is to get the J&J vaccine, which is not associated with myocarditis.

Unknown said...

Moroni is talking about those of you who no longer have faith and have instead follow shots and masks and social distancing and the will of governments instead of God. He comes down extremely hard on LDS members going so far to say you are no longer even members at all, and that there is no redemption for you.

"36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
39 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church."
Moroni 7

BrianG said...

@Unknown. That is the funniest use of scripture ever. Outer darkness here I come I guess. Still laughing. Thanks for making my day.

Unknown said...

Outer Darkness is the name Alma for what we often call "Spirit Prison". And, yes, anyone who fears a flu bug with a 99.9% recovery rate is going there.

"But the FEARFUL, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death"
Revelations 21:8

BrianG said...

@unknown. Happy to go with the other people that care about public health and believe in science. Again you are quoting scripture in the silliest way possible.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Brian, yes, a requirement is not bullying. But what these students are experiencing seems like it, at least to them. Shaming, being treated as a second-class citizen, etc. They feel the university is encouraging discrimination and hostility from others to pressure them to comply.

And yes, as I explained at the beginning, the Church encourages vaccination. It is improper for someone to ask for a religious exemption based on their membership in the Church. The Church has even issued a statement instructing bishops and branch presidents that it would be improper for them to declare that a person should be exempt by virtue of being a Latter-day Saint. But matters of faith and conscience are not always determined by the official declarations of an organization. They can be based on the personal religious beliefs of an individual. Individuals might have strong personal beliefs on a variety of issues that don't completely align with official teachings of the organized religion they currently affiliate with.

Concerns about fetal cells or the potential long-term harms of a new drug may be sincere beliefs grounded in conscience and religious belief, regardless of an institution's policies. I may disagree with those positions, but I feel the right thing for me is to respect those beliefs. Whether it's about fetal cells, health risks, concerns about cheeseburgers or alcohol content in a beverage, the beliefs may be assailable on various logical grounds by non-believers, but should still deserve basic respect.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Anonymous, I agree that it seems many Americans are overly concerned about the vaccines. For example, yes, one can sincerely worry about the short development time of these vaccines and the lack of long-term studies regarding issues such as reproductive issues and cancer. But those concerns might well be balanced by recognizing that the novel corona virus can also bring long-term effects for those who survive it, and much remains unknown about what those effects are.

But weighing these risks seems like it should be the responsibility of individuals. This is a disease that is not an existential threat, but has a very high survival rate except for the elderly and those with significant co-morbidities. Let's focus on protecting them, but to demand vaccinations for everyone based on the alleged need to stop the spread seems unjustified in light of science. What is the latest science on the primary justification used for the mandates, namely, that we need to be vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID? We've recently been told that vaccinated people still need to wear masks because they can spread the virus and can have a high viral load. But doesn't vaccination still significantly reduce the spread of the disease? We know it reduces the health risk to the vaccinated, but surely it reduces the overall spread, right? Shockingly, the science doesn't seem to support that pillar of faith for vaccine mandates.

Here's the latest: S. V. Subramanian and Akhil Kumar, "Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States," European Journal of Epidemiology (Sept. 30, 2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-021-00808-7. Analysis of extensive data suggests that high levels of vaccination aren't effective in slowing the spread of the virus. The benefit is the reduced risk to the vaccinated. This seems to greatly weaken the "social good" argument that requires people to "give up their 'precious' freedoms" and let some corporate or political bureaucrat dictate what medical treatment they receive instead of making their own decision. I'm pro-vaccine, but also pro-freedom. There are cases where the social good argument may be compelling, but the data does not seem to come close to supporting that in this case. If vaccination does not greatly reduce the spread of the infection, what's the basis for vaccine mandates and shaming the unvaccinated?

It's time for tolerance and respect for those who see things differently than we vaccinated do.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Here's the link to the European Journal of Epidemiology study showing no significant reduction in the spread of COVID based on the vaccination levels of various nations and counties in the US.

BrianG said...

Jeffrey you give no specifics besides hinting that the university doesn't accept their religious objections. Then your post gives paragraphs of defense of those objections. The university doesn't have to accept those reasons.

I still see no evidence of this as bullying. It is their policy. Students can choose to comply or leave.

On the other side of this debate your other commenters basically tried to use scriptures to tell me to go to hell. Which is funny, but also more bullying behavior than stating the policy to students and expecting them to comply. I have tried to comply with your policy of leaving civil, intelligent comments, but see no evidence to support your assertion.

Anonymous said...

All they had to do was look at the brass serpent and live. All we have to do is get a free vaccine available nearly everywhere and live.
Visit reddit.com/r/hermancainaward for those who refuse to follow this simple scriptural injunction. Or keep tripping over your words in an attempt to strain at even more gnats, which is what we've come to expect of this blog, Jeff. Congrats on being last out the door of the blogernacle, I guess.

Rob said...

The narrative has been pushed to the effect that a person unvaccinated will most likely end up causing themselves and all others including both vaccinated and unvaccinated to be hospitalized or die. Absolutely no discussion whatsoever is allowed for natural immunity as a means of safety. People have played right into the fear narrative.

Recently, an elderly lady in our ward needed a blessing having a just catching a suspected case of Covid-19. It was brought up in our bishopric and ward council meeting she needed this blessing. I immediately said I would go (I am unvaccinated BTW). No one else volunteered and most of them are vaccinated. That is the sorry state that we are in. No longer do we believe in the Lord's protection while on His holy errands. I was able to be guided by the spirit and find another person to assist giving the blessing. This pandemic with the way the narrative is preached by leaders and scientists is destroying our faith. People don't believe in the PH power anymore, don't believe in true miracles anymore. We are spiritually blind to a large degree. No longer do we believe it is the Spirit that can guide us in safety in all things. We adhere instead to government and scientific authorities for our every move. We believe prayers and PH blessings are just for comfort now and have no true, miraculous healing power.

Anonymous said...

The above message was brought to in part by the Rob is Better than you Foundation.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that your President and Apostles believe in getting vaccinated. And they've urged the membership to be vaccinated too.

I guess they just don't believe in the holy priesthood and true miracles anymore. Or maybe they don't believe they could get priesthood blessing if they needed one. It couldn't be that the Spirit is guiding them in a false direction, could it?

Ben, I think they need your inspired guidance.

Rob said...

The vaccine guidance by the church was a PR move. Nothing in the letter of them urging us to get the shot stated that it came from the Lord or that they received the guidance through fasting and prayer. I would hope that my own church doesn't use it as a type of religious pressure to shame members into getting it.
We have become very lazy, spiritually speaking, to having sufficient faith. And it bothers me that church leadership hasn't come out and said anything to the fact that God could make this disappear as fast as it appeared if we just repent and turn back to God.

Anonymous said...

But...but...but, haven't there already been at least 2 worldwide fasts to end Covid?

Anonymous said...

The Provident Living manual also urges members to wear seat belts when on Church sponsored activities. I didn't see a caveat that this recommendation came as a result of fasting and prayer.

D&C 58:26

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.


Anonymous said...

Alma 46:40 "And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land- but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate-"

If the Nephites can trust in the plants and roots prepared by God, I have no trouble trusting in the vaccines that President Nelson called a "literal Godsend" for which he and other members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 had prayed.


Rob said...

And here we are folks! Proves the point. God can't save us, prayers won't save us, blessings do not heal, only the vaccine and strict compliance to the CDC will save us. If that's what you believe then that's what you get.

Jeff Lindsay said...

First Presidency recommendations don't need to declare that they came by revelation or by fasting and prayer. I think we should assume they are sincerely given statements made prayerfully and in good faith. We aren't commanded to be vaccinated. It's not a requirement. But for most of us, it seems to be a wise recommendation that can reasonable be urged as a general rule. But each of us needs to consider our own situation, including the risks we face, our personal conscience, etc., to make our own choice. For most of us, I believe the right choice will be to get vaccinated. For those who choose otherwise, let's be accepting and also stand for their rights to make the choice themselves, just as many of us freely chose to accept the vaccines.

Anonymous said...

And here goes Rob, putting words in my mouth. I didn't say prayers won't save us. I said the Nephites were able to trust in something God given (plants and roots), and so can we. This is not to the exclusion of blessings, prayers, etc. But just as we shouldn't pray for the missionaries to find people to teach without then being willing to HELP them find people to teach, we shouldn't pray for protection from a virus (or whatever) and then refuse the protection when God sends it. THAT'S a lack of faith in the principle of agency.

Anonymous said...

But then, I should know better. Why would I trust the words of the Prophet over some random guy named Rob? I mean, if the Prophet is saying something that coincides with science, he must just not have sufficient faith like Rob has. I guess I should vote to oppose President Nelson next conference, and we can have Rob installed instead.

Rob said...

If we believe that this pestilence came from God, which I believe it did, then God cal heal us according to our faith and repentance and turning back to God so he can heal us. We can't just continue to live in sin with passive faith and believe a vaccine made by man is God's way of healing us.

Anonymous said...

Why not? Even assuming you're right that it's a God-sent affliction to chasten us, how do you know how He might choose to heal it? You seem to claim to speak for God. Sounds a lot like what a prophet is supposed to do. I wonder what the prophet has said about it?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there are any scriptural examples where God had people actually do things to get out of problems they were in?

Mosiah 22 comes to mind.
The brass serpent comes to mind.
Nephi slaying Laban comes to mind.
David gathering and using stones rather than just praying that Goliath would drop dead comes to mind.

I think acting in faith with the tools available to you is actually the rule more than the exception in scriptural accounts.

Rob said...

13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Anonymous said...

And yet, God did not give Nephi tools with which to build a ship. Nephi had to go get them. The Brother of Jared had to figure out how to light up the boats- he wasn't just given light bulbs. Moses made a freaking idol with which to heal the people at God's command. Jesus anointed a blind man's eyes with clay to help him see. Naaman had to wash in Jordan. The fish didn't just jump in Peter's boat, he had to cast his net in. Noah had to build an ark (a man-made ark! Can you believe that? How could something man-made save them?!)

Faith requires action. So I ask again, what has the prophet said about it?

Rob said...

I believe that Scripture applies to all people at all times and in all places. In the last 5 years we have seen locusts eating the land, fires and drought ravage the world and a pandemic (pestilence) among us. Who are we turning to?
When we fast what are we fasting for? Are we fasting for forgiveness? Are we turning away from our worldly idols and seeking God? Why is there so much hate in the world? All things denote a judgment of God is upon us. If we fast, let us fast in humility to find God, to repent of our worldly idols and pride and lack of diligent service. Then maybe God will actually hear us and heal our land.

Anonymous said...

And maybe we can also try listening to the prophet.

Anonymous said...

And I agree- the scripture you cite is pretty universally applicable. But it shouldn't be construed to mean that we should just pray and then sit back and do nothing. That would be utterly foolish.

Rob said...

"There has never been a time in the history of the world when knowledge of our Savior is more personally vital and relevant to every human soul. Imagine how quickly the devastating conflicts throughout the world—and those in our individual lives—would be resolved if we all chose to follow Jesus Christ and heed His teaching" (Russell M. Nelson, October GC)

His teaching isn't to get vaccinated. It is to follow Christ.

Anonymous said...

"Do all you can to bring Covid numbers down in your area so that your temple opportunities can increase"

-President Nelson

And what does "all we can" consist of?

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We find ourselves fighting a war against the ravages of COVID-19 and its variants, an unrelenting pandemic. We want to do all we can to limit the spread of these viruses. We know that protection from the diseases they cause can only be achieved by immunizing a very high percentage of the population.

To limit exposure to these viruses, we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated. Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.

We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders. Please know of our sincere love and great concern for all of God’s children.

The First Presidency

Russell M. Nelson
Dallin H. Oaks
Henry B. Eyring

So yeah, he has taught that we should get vaccinated. That is not mutually exclusive to following Christ. Stop pretending it is.

Anonymous said...

Rob, your argument is like saying "Nephi said we should pray always (2 Nephi 32:9). He never says we should be industrious or work."

Well, actually, he said BOTH things. See 2 Nephi 5:17.

Rob said...

Let's first back up and put things in proper perspective. The pandemic was put forth and allowed, by God, to continue to harm us. As part of this judgment by God, all ordinances, both for the living and dead were stopped or put on pause for a while. Salvation is not possible without making and receiving ordinances and covenants. And yet, salvation is the greatest gift God can give us. Thus in proper perspective, God temporarily withheld the procedures to access his greatest gift from us. Why is that? So that we could all get vacconated so he could restore that gift to us? That's completely unbelievable. Man's not in charge, God is.
As we turn back to God, repent and seek to follow him then, and only then will he remove this plague from us.

Anonymous said...

I refer you, yet again, to what President Nelson said would be required for temples to open. You really think a few months of stopped temple ordinances made a significant dent in the work of salvation? Talk about short-sighted...

Rob said...

It's like God said "hum..man isn't listening or obeying my voice. I will send for all manner of afflictions among them including locusts yo destroy their crops, drought and fire to destroy their livelihood, pestilence to harm them, and as part of that I will pause my blessings (ordinances and temple attendance) until they turn back to me and repent of their wicked ways.

Anonymous said...

Let's take that assumption as a given- it was a punishment, and temples wouldn't reopen until we repented. Well, people have been getting vaccinated, and guess what? Temples have opened back up! So apparently repentance does not exclude vaccines.

Also, you ask if I think the purpose of the pandemic, in God's mind, was to get us vaccinated. Of course not! Nor do I think He sent fiery flying serpents to the camp of Israel just so they would look at a brass serpent (which, by the way, was man-made, and many Israelites probably believed Moses was violating the express commandment of God to create no graven images). Yet that brass serpent was part of the God-given solution. Alma even specifically cites looking upon that serpent as an act of faith.

I am not saying you absolutely must get vaccinated. It's something to consider personally and with a competent physician. However, to say that getting vaccinated manifests a lack of faith is the same as saying looking on the serpent is a lack of faith. Both were recommended by the prophet of the day, over the objections of some who were supposed to be faithful. Will you follow the prophet's counsel, or do you suppose that you know of yourself?

Rob said...

As that being part of my beliefs, I honestly feel that I am protected from God's judgments by constantly seeking him, repenting daily, praying earnestly and seeking His face and His ways in all things. My patriarchal blessing tells me in part that as I seek to live righteously and by faith I can stand in holy places and not be harmed by God's judgments on the world. So, putting 2 and 2 together it's not hard to see that as long as I'm striving to be obedient it is God, not man, that will put me in the Holy place and not be destroyed by the destroying angel. Protection from God's judgments will not be found in the arm of flesh but rather by obedience to God's commandments.

Anonymous said...

Do I have any particular reason for believing that vaccines are part of the God-given solution to this plague, you may ask? Well, the fact that the living prophet characterized it as a literal Godsend is a start.

Anonymous said...

You can believe what you want, Rob. But unless you are only extending your interpretation of your patriarchal blessing to yourself, and no one else, then what you believe contradicts the living prophet. You'll have to reconcile that.

Rob said...

Well, it's been manifested to me personally that getting vaccinated is not God's answer to protection of His judgment. That's a religious belief and right I have. I completely believe it was a PR move for the church to produce that statement regarding vaccinations.

Anonymous said...

Then I guess you're more enlightened than the prophet. When is your sustaining vote?

Anonymous said...

You also might want to review D&C 28

Rob said...

I will post it again. Insert one phrase in there and it changes everything. Where he speaks of "conflicts" just insert things like "effects of the pandemic".

"There has never been a time in the history of the world when knowledge of our Savior is more personally vital and relevant to every human soul. Imagine how quickly the devastating conflicts throughout the world—and those in our individual lives—would be resolved if we all chose to follow Jesus Christ and heed His teachings."

Anonymous said...

That's cool. I don't see anything in there that says "don't get vaccinated." Care to point that part out? Because he's specifically encouraged it elsewhere, and you have absolutely no evidence that it's merely a PR game (which would frankly be evil, if you're right. Are you saying the prophet is evil while simultaneously quoting him?)

Anonymous said...

To clarify: if getting vaccinated causes one to distance oneself from God, and President Nelson is encouraging vaccination even though he knows it's against God's will (assuming that's the case), then he is knowingly encouraging people to distance themselves from God for the sake of PR. That is evil. Is that what you're accusing him of?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's institutions doing the bullying. I think it's self-indulgent individuals who are very confused about their priorities, at best, and manipulative and divisive opportunists, at worst, who are trying to inflict their will on the well-being of the general population on flimsy excuses passed off as science or righteousness. I don't think this is any more clear than when a, seemingly, believing Mormon holds himself up as superior to the Lord's Anointed to satisfy his own whim, or when a habitual arbiter of decency and virtue excuses those forces of petulance and division as freedoms the rest of us should take seriously.

Institutions of religion, learning, commerce, public health and governance in this country and the world at large are doing everything they can and employing enormous reserves of patience in the process to keep people alive, healthy and productive in spite of the Spreadnecks. If ever there's been restraint and an effort to meet objectors halfway it's institutions displaying it.

The appropriate question is how long will it take for decent people who have been mislead by the Spreadnecks to catch on to how they're being used to their own detriment and the detriment of our society.

Rob said...

It would be notable if the letter put out by the church stated something to the effect of them having prayed and received revelation from God on the matter. Instead they state nothing of prayer, revelation, etc, but rather state that we should follow the reccomendations of "medical experts and government leaders". So- don't ask God, just follow the medical and government leaders. That's not godly counsel in my opinion. It's not evil counsel, it's just man thinking like man and giving advice based off of communications between the church and government and medical personnel. It's got PR vibes stamped all over it so that the church won't come under fire. That's not evil, just not revelation.

Rob said...

The first letter stated in part the following-
"Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. In making that determination, we recommend that, where possible, they counsel with a competent medical professional about their personal circumstances and needs."

What is their counsel? To counsel with a competent medical professional. Nothing is said about asking God in prayer, asking for his counsel. Why is that ommitted? Because once again- it's a PR move. My opinion on the matter is that had they made that mention of praying, asking God then the church is liable and accountable to sign off on vaccine exemptions based on people's own individual answers to prayer. Because the church has already emphatically sided with medical experts they will ommitt God from the equation. The church officially will not recognize that this pestilence came from God as a judgment. Why? Because it would run counter to being pro-science.

Anonymous said...

President Ballard, October 2020: "PRAYER will influence scientists and help then toward discoveries of vaccines and medications that will end this pandemic"

President Nelson "We have PRAYED for this literal godsend"

First presidency statement in Jan 2021: "Now, COVID-19 vaccines than many have worked, PRAYED, and FASTED for are being developed, and some are being provided."

Prayer absolutely was involved, according to living prophets.

Also, the church handbook uses similar language to the part from the letter about seeking advice from medical professionals, and then adds this: "If members have concerns, they should counsel with competent medical professionals and also SEEK THE GUIDANCE OF THE HOLY GHOST."

So we ARE encouraged to make inspiration part of the decision. If you feel that in your case the Holy Ghost is telling you personally not to get vaccinated, that's one thing. But you don't get to extend that to the realm of general counsel, and you certainly don't get to judge other people's faithfulness based on the answers they've received and their decision to follow what the prophet has counseled with regard to this answer to prayer.

Anonymous said...

And now you are accusing church leaders of deliberately omitting God from the equation. Again, that would be evil. You can deny if you want, but you are accusing the prophets and apostles of working against God.

And the fact that the prophets haven't called this a judgement from God... maybe you should think about that a little harder.

Rob said...

It's a PR move by the church. The church has also come out and publicly asked that leaders do not sign off on religious exemptions to the vaccines. In my personal case, according to the blessings I have received, I interpret them to mean that it is God who will protect me while God uses various judgments on the earth. But I can't use the church, of which endorsed the PH authority to bless me to officially stand by why I do not feel to get vaccinated. I have noticed this PR trend by the church. Anytime a disaster causes death to human life they will not come out and say it is a judgment of God. The Tsunami in Indonesia that killed a few hundred thousand was one such example. From a PR perspective, it's not wise, by worldly expectations, to say that disaster was caused by God as a judgment. Thus, to appease the masses of the world, the church remained silent on stating the facts that God caused the tsunami and that it was part of the prophesied destructions and judgments by God found in Scripture for our latter day. Ancient prophets had no problem describing in their day where these disasters and plagues came from and why. It's completely opposite now. Modern church prophets remain silent on the obvious. Why? Because it is bad PR for the global church.

Anonymous said...

The blessings you have received apply to YOU and ONLY YOU. So yeah, you cannot use those to say the church as a whole should take a particular stance. You have absolutely no right to speak for the church. Again, see D&C 28.

Which also means you don't get to say what is and is not a judgement of God on the earth. You do not hold the keys relevant to that. Know who does? The prophet.

And there you go again, accusing prophets and apostles of ungodliness and cowardice. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Here's an applicable quote from Elder Cook:

"While there are many examples of looking beyond the mark, a significant one in our day is extremism. Gospel extremism is when one elevates any gospel principle above other equally important principles and takes A POSITION THAT IS BEYOND OR CONTRARY TO THE TEACHINGS OF CHURCH LEADERS. One example is when one advocates for additions, changes or primary emphasis to one part of the Word of Wisdom. Another is expensive preparation for end-of-days scenarios. In both examples, OTHERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO ACCEPT PRIVATE INTERPRETATIONS. If we turn a health law or any other principle into a form of religious fanaticism, we are looking beyond the mark."

emphasis added.

Rob said...

I'm Calling a duck because it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck. If anyone can't see this pandemic for what it truly is- a judgment by God Almighty, they are truly blind.

19 For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. (D&C 5:19)

31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. (D&C 45:31)

96 For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
97 And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness (D&C 84:96-97)

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe you're right and maybe you're not, but either way you seem to be looking beyond the mark. And regardless, preaching against getting vaccinated, contrary to what the prophets and apostles have said, is folly. Vaccination is not mutually exclusive with faith. You can do both. Just like the Israelites could look at the serpent (graven image) AND have faith.

Rob said...

I'm not looking beyond any mark, neither am I saying the vaccine is evil. Vaccine decisions should be an individual decision between the person and the Lord. For the church to categorically issue a blanket statement urging all to be vaccinated without first asking the Lord is not how God works, especially in light of the reality that the pandemic is a judgment by God because of wickedness.

Anonymous said...

...except that the Lord allows other people to get sick and hospitalized when you carry the virus. Pretty selfish of you unless you're willing to chip in on 4-figure hospital bills and just HOPE there aren't funeral expenses to go with them.

Matt said...

Can the people who took the vaccine not also carry and spread the virus? I'm pretty sure they can. Also another thing I've noticed among my friends and family who took the vaccine is that despite their enthusiasm for taking it, they seem to have little to no faith in it actually protecting them as they all seem quite scared still. It's very odd

Anonymous said...

"especially in light of the reality that the pandemic is a judgment by God because of wickedness."


Please note the scriptural pattern when God curses the land because of iniquity. He sends his prophet to identify the source of the pestilence (God) and call the people to repentance. So based on your statement, you believe you are said prophet and no longer believe in the prophet of the church as he has done no such thing.

The quote you provided about men being more Christ-like was referring to war and the acts of men, not communicable diseases. If indeed all mankind were more like Christ there would be no war. The same cannot be said about disease. One's righteousness has no bearing on his or her ability to avoid infection from Coronavirus. There have been many righteous as well as wicked people who have died in this pandemic.

Rob said...

We can pretend that this pestilence is not a judgment of God. We can also pretend that the record droughts we have are also not judgments by God. Blame it on global warming and rightwing policy right? We can pretend that locusts ravaging through crops is just a natural phenomena and has nothing to do with God judging the wickedness of the world. Why not go so far as to say that God doesn't judge the world at all, right? The scriptures are all just a babble of fables after all, right?

Believe what you want but the reality of the facts are that God is sending forth His testimony of judgments on the world because of our wickedness. It's up to us both individually and collectively to change and replace those judgments with blessings. It has been prophesied though that the world will just get more wicked and thus why it will be paramount to be able to stand in holy places and be not moved while the judgments of God will destroy the earth and its inhabitants.

Anonymous said...

Why is god so ham handed in his justice? If natural phenomena are his justice why does it have its impact on innocent children and the vulnerable while grifters like Trump and the Sacklers get immunity in which they can thrive and even get medical remedies unavailable to the "wicked" general public?

Your god shows neither skill nor compassion, Rob. Perhaps that's why is "lessons" aren't very instructive or effective.

I think what you're practicing resembles superstition more than religion.

Rob said...

Who is your God?

Anonymous said...

So are you the prophet we should all be following, Rob?

Anonymous said...

Hope you're proud of what you're defending, Jeff. What good will your version of "freedom" be when we lost civilization to the folks who's only concern is themselves?

Anonymous said...

Jeff, one of the points you make is that getting vaccines doesn't stop the spread of covid, so doing so has no impact on anyone other than the recipient. What about the impact on hospitals? Because getting the vaccine has a clear effect on keeping covid patients out of the hospital. Wouldn't it be of great benefit generally if hospitals weren't stuffed to the gills with covid patients, leading to doctor burnout? And that would then open up resources for other ailments, and allow doctors to better focus on the relative few breakthrough cases that ARE bad enough to result in hospitalization.

Anonymous said...

Bad news. Rob died. Check today's obituaries on the Deseret News website if you don't believe me. Rest in peace, Rob. I hope there aren't any impersonators who come here to deny this sad fact. That would be ghoulish and unkind.
Rob's next of kin

Anonymous said...

I'm probably going to sound like a callous jerk for pointing this out, but the obituary says someone named Roby died on Oct 24, and Rob posting something here on Oct 25. Not sure how that works. Anon 1:13 AM, I hope you wouldn't use someone else's death just to shut someone up.

Anonymous said...

Anon @9:55 look again.

Anonymous said...

The only other Roberts I see both died on Nov 2, AFTER you made your original post. Could you just post a link to the obituary of interest?

Warner Woodworth said...

I'm late to this discussion having just come from the funeral of another of the 117 friends who've died from COVID-19. I continue to be astounded at the so-called Latter-day Saints who rationalize their decisions to get the COVID-19 vaccine rather than follow our prophets teachings and examples. Jeff and his co-defender, "Rob," are but two unbelieving Latter-day Saints of some sort who will defend their naivete and superior wisdom over God until their dying day. The Church has suffered greatly because of people's refusal to obey counsel, not declaring but clearly choosing instead their leaders like DJT (the Denier-in-Chief), Brazil's Bolsonaro (Trump of the Tropics), and other despicable fascists who have sought to have their opposition die by claiming vaccines aren't needed. They prefer slogans like "It'll be over in a few days," downplayed the risk, minimized damage to our economic and educational systems, lied about making test kits available, minimized social distancing measures, and rejected science and healthcare knowledge. Reading Rob and Jeff's underlying assumptions, this is all clear.
Even worse, these guys have apparently not yet grasped what priesthood leadership means, how revelation works, the difference between natural plagues and God's wrath, or the meaning of U.S. citizenship responsibilities. You know, concepts like the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Maybe they've taught fulltime seminary and institute as I have. Or my 40 years as a BYU professor teaching critical thinking and managerial decision-making. Some folks try to justify their fears of a tiny needle as having faith. Nope, mere ignorance. Truly faithful members actually comprehend that "Faith without works is dead." They trot out complaints about wanting "freedom," meaning the freedom to infect others. drive as fast as possible, deny the Brethren as simply victims of government control as my neighbor claims, or PR as Rob whines. It's tragic that so-called members who distort our laws are attacking school boards and flight attendants over vaccines and facemasks, forcing healthcare workers and public servants to be overworked, halting regular medical care and hospital surgeries for many because they don't believe in solutions for saving millions. Yes, they can manipulate reality by blaming the poor, misguided First Presidency, area presidents, Relief Society leaders, mission presidents, bishops, temple presidents, etc. Even church leaders who died of COVID knew they were vulnerable. God save us from such confused justifications for selfishness.

Warner Woodworth said...

I meant to add my thanks to Anonymous who has the temerity and faith commitment to accept both living prophets and science regarding the growing genocide inflicted across America and beyond. The Coronavirus itself was bad enough. But its spread by Faux Media (not "News"), LDS phonies claiming righteousness while espousing ignorance, has been tragic. We see these creatures among many anti-democratic groups such as LDS assaulters on our once-sacred Capitol, those who now fan the flames of anti-vaxxers, Mormon QAnon believers, and the host of LDS deniers of the election rule of law, public health, and the Constitution. Many claim, as did little Mike Lee, that Trump is akin to Captain Moroni rather than Korihor. Others formed the Arizona "Latter-day Saints for Trump," led by ex- bishop Orrin Hatch and others. Others who've apparently left the church over not getting COVID vaccinations have attacked election officials in their states. Clearly many such people have betrayed their religion, like Utah's Attorney General who joined other GOPers to overturn the presidential election and deny us our valid votes for Joe Biden, a Christian, rather than the heathen creature at Mar-A-Lago who's now perpetuated over 36,000 independently documented lies. The guy who fake Christians call "The Anointed One," Trump spends his time ignoring the pandemic and stirring people to anger. His mentor, Lucifer, also seeks to deceive the very elect in our church, encouraging them to lie about COVID by ignoring education and facts, pretending our prophets are confused about modern medicine, and instead laboring to motivate some LDS members "to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come” (Helaman 16:22).

John Robertson said...

I may be wrong, but it seems that Warner Woodruff’s writing style is marked by ad homonyms and exaggerated language. At least that’s what the data seems to show:

"LDS phonies" … "espousing ignorance"..."is tragic"… "who are creatures" [are “creatures” subhuman? — the first dictionary definition: “an animal, as distinct from a human being” — by the way, man's inhumanity to man is typically marked by considering humans as subhumans. By the is legal to kill subhumans/creatures in the womb. They become humans with their exit from the womb.]
These “creatures” are "LDS assaulters."
The "ex-Bishop Orrin Hatch" was pro-Trump
"Trump’s mentor is Lucifer," who “seeks to deceive the very elect of the church.”

In this regard, the great polymath C.S. Peirce observes:

“We can easily recognize the man whose thought is mainly in the dual stage by his unmeasured use of language. ...Everything with him was unmitigated, absolute, ineffable, utter, matchless, supreme, unqualified, root and branch” (CP 1.360 Cross-Ref:†† 360).

I would find your argumentation more engaging if you were to give up "unmeasured use of language."

John S. Robertson

John Robertson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.