Apostolic Decree on the Wearing of Masks

Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife Sister Ruth Renlund have coronavirus, and I send them best wishes and prayers for a full recovery. Before this was announced, Elder Renlund participated in a video series (alongside Elder Stevenson and Elder Bednar) that announced the shift of certain temples to Phase 3, which re-engages limited work for the dead and seems, for all intents and purposes, to be a safe and cautious fuller re-opening.

However Elder Renlund’s specific remarks on mask wearing have some people downright angry. He’s not the first apostle to mention mask wearing. In October, President Oaks gave a devotional talk where he said “Please do your part in what is required in these unusual circumstances. And remember that some of the burdensome restrictions, including even the wearing of masks, are not only for your immediate protection but also for the well-being of those around you.” However this was directed at BYU and maybe it was the softer wording, but it didn’t seem to generate that much heat from members.

This is different. Elder Renlund titled his remarks “Our Brother’s Keeper” and began his remarks by explaining that he was not speaking as a doctor, but as “an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He then says, “Sadly, responses to the pandemic have been politicized and contentious. Ours need not be as we anticipate performing more proxy ordinances in the temples we do for others what they cannot do for themselves. Without these blessings, these deceased individuals are profoundly disadvantaged. The savior taught that the second great commandment after loving God was Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. As it relates to this pandemic, especially in temples, that means social distancing, wearing a mask and not gathering in large groups. These steps demonstrate our love for others and provide us a measure of protection, wearing a face covering is a sign of Christlike love for our brothers and sisters.”

There are, of course, responses that are supportive, but this is only a smattering of the vitriol I’m seeing.

I’ve been vocal on Twitter about the need for the church and the leaders to be stronger in their statements about the pandemic as we have a platform to express prophetic ways of being Christlike in doing the things that can save lives. I honestly believe that shutting down the meetings and temples at the beginning of the pandemic did that just. And doing what Elder Renlund decrees as a Christlike behavior will also do that. I know this is true. <Insert end of testimony here but not really because I don’t want to include vitriolic comments like that above, but if I was at a podium, I certainly would.>


Comments

  1. Those comments above are BLOWING MY MIND. I thought when I watched the videos sent our earlier today by the church, that, “whew, finally everyone will have to come around…” I don’t even know what to think when I see stuff like that. Thanks, EmJen.

  2. hugh padgett says:

    I completely agree with the dissenters of this mask hoax. I will NOT wear a mask period.

  3. Took two comments. Wow.

  4. Just A Thought says:

    Do those folks whose sense of their personal freedom is so fragile they can’t bear to be asked to wear a mask to protect someone else’s health write manifestos every time the seatbelt light flashes on an airplane? God help them!

  5. I’m curious if those people who like to drive-by and tell us at BCC that we’re apostates feel the same thing about hugh and the redacted Facebook commenters.

  6. I remember growing up thinking how could half of the “elect” be deceived. I think that we all know now.

  7. Sorry for the second comment, but after making the earlier one, I went over and checked out a church Facebook group… and it’s worse than the comments you provided above. People are seriously saying things like, “even the elect will be deceived,” meaning the apostles. And, “I can’t believe the Brethren have fallen for this hoax. Well, the prophet, after all, is only a man.”

    I am very well aware of my own human frailties and know I’m FAR from perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I do find some comfort feeling like I’m on the right side of history on this one.

  8. Unfortunately I don’t think any amount of pleading or appeals to “loving thy neighbor” will help people who refuse to understand science and believe with all sincerity of heart that mask don’t make a difference whatsoever in virus transmission or that COVID-19 is fake.

    And I have to be sympathetic to their frustration that the government is requiring them to do something that is not only inconvenient but that they are 100% sure is completely useless.

    I’m not sure how the church can influence these folks.
    But for those in the middle who feel torn between loving people and loving their political position, I do hope this message helps them lean in the direction of focusing on real people first and letting politics take second place in this situation.

  9. I would like to invite all those who think masks are a “hoax” to enjoy their next surgery with an un-masked, un-gloved surgical team!

    Science is not political. It is also not perfect, and it doesn’t tell us what to do, but it can inform wise political and personal decisions. We believe not only in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law,” but also that “the glory of God is intelligence” and that we must know “of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth.” Brigham Young taught clearly, “In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular.” How, then can some Latter-day Saints feel it right to reject *both* science and their inspired leaders, placing their trust instead in a vocal, extreme ideological minority whose ideas conflict drastically with both science and Christianity?

  10. Meems, if they produce a couple videos tomorrow to reiterate that marriage is decreed by God to be between a man and a woman, will you “come around” to their decree?

  11. Sam, I do enjoy dusting my feet on this site fairly regularly, and I would say this rejection of an apostle’s counsel is every bit as bad as when BCC collectively lost its stuff in November 2015, and probably worse. In 2015, the flirtation (and in some cases, embrace) of apostasy was at least potentially motivated by sympathy with real dilemmas and serious hardships faced by some families. In this case, these people are questioning and rejecting an apostle’s counsel to do something many times simpler and whose benefit to others is many times clearer.

    So yes: If you reject the counsel of our apostles to follow masking and other public health guidelines, you are worse than someone who apostasizes over the law of chastity. Thou shalt not kill, including through negligence and a distorted sense of personal freedom.

  12. “Thou shalt not kill, including through negligence and a distorted sense of personal freedom.”

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^

  13. arelius11 says:

    This is a joke, right?

  14. I wouldn’t exactly call those comments vitriolic (aside from perhaps the remarks about Hubener and abortion), although they are anti-science and ridiculous.

  15. I’m not surprised there is some reaction like this but I am surprised at the amount and the vitriol. This confirms what recent sociological research is saying about how Americans are now identifying more closely with their political party than their religious affiliation.

    I don’t agree with the way @C. Keen framed it but I do agree that my first thoughts were, “where were these people when the Church asked us to support Prop 8” and “how many of these people justified discriminating against LGBTQ folks because the Church said to.”

  16. If the prophet RMN or in this case Renlund says something that is in opposition to the prophet trump, which will we choose? Especially difficult where one is true, and one is another lie?

    Do we wonder if this was assigned to test the water before RMN or Oaks, says something else not supportrd by trump. Perhaps even congratulating Biden?

    How are the 50% of members going to get back to reality, if they won’t believe the American system of government, or the church leaders?

  17. We are doing alphabetical church now, attendance based on last name. A family came yesterday out of schedule because they were “dying to bear their testimony” (especially their young kids) and I’m sure no pun was intended when Sister B said this. Damn the torpedoes and instructions from the Area President.

  18. I am so saddened that politics, especially ill informed politics such as resistence to mask wearing, has come to mean more to the members than following our leaders.
    It will not matter much here in the US for some time since our temples will not be opening any time soon for work for the dead. But I do wonder if there has been resistence to the rules by family members accompanying the children as they receive endowments prior to missionary service or marriage. Has anyone heard anything about that?
    I thought clearly stating the rules now when we probably will not restart work for the dead here in the US until next summer was more a statement of belief that this covid crisis might affect us for years. And it will slow down our temple work immensely if sessions can only be one third full. That to me personally is a tragedy. I have worked and worked to add family names and they were taking years to finish as it was. Now, who knows how long it will take.
    The bright note for me was that Taiwan was one of the temples reopening. I am not sure if any temples other than Hong Kong and Taiwan can currently read names written using Chinese characters. And Hong Kong was closed before covid for renovation. With the current political unrest there, I was not sure when it would reopen. I do know familysearch is working on a system to provide a phonetic transliteration of Chinese names into something that can be read by those using western alphabets. I see the wisdom of that move clearly now. When people of Chinese background enter the Church, they often bring family books going back 2,000 years and containing 20,000 names. If Hong Kong remains closed, we need a way to help them to get their work done. Thank you Taiwanese saints.
    Anyway, just saddened by reactions to what should be a joyous announcement. I love the deceased people on my temple list and am upset we are not ready to get them into spiritual paradise through our temple work. I hope we are praying all over the church for this to end.

  19. Politics trumps faith. Guess we should have seen it coming. First the liberals, then the conservatives. The wonder will be if any are left
    In the faith by the time the Saviour returns.

  20. Geoff-Aus says:

    As is appearent from the comments, half the members of the church have been converted to the church of trump. They believe lies in preference to truth. They enable their leader to continue to undermine democracy, and the health, and climate change, of America. He is the opposite of Christ, and yet half of members follow him in preference to Christ or prophets.

    There is a terrible moral problem here. America will continue and possibly recover, with a new president.

    How the church can recover any moral authority, I can not comprehend. The LDS church will have to decide whether it joins the church of trump too, or corrects those members.

    If it does neither it risks loosing all moral credibility, the left of centre members, and can forget missionary in the first world. Trump is seen as a charlatan, and source of evil, by most in the first world.

  21. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Where was this 6 months ago? Maybe at General Conference next October one of the Twelve will encourage people to get vaccinated. But that’s probably premature.

  22. Abd3AlAlim says:

    As a now outsider looking in, I feel OK saying this, because I’m not tied to it personally. I don’t have to wrestle any more because I choose not to. But my understanding of the church’s teaching on Apostles is this: either these men are called by Christ to speak for Christ, and either they speak what God wants them to speak, or they don’t. So when a man, claiming apostolic authority, makes the statement “wearing a mask is Christlike”, either he is speaking for Christ, or he isn’t. When I was struggling to understand and accept difficult church teachings, I was told repeatedly that it’s not a buffet, that I don’t get to pick and choose from God’s teachings as revealed by His Prophets.

  23. I propose we pluck out the eyes of everyone who has given covid to someone else.

    Does anyone actually think 50% or more of those who end up with one eye won’t be a person who wore masks? Is the position truly that this virus is only continuing to spread in large part from the maskless?

    Look at where the majority of the deaths occur and there you will find masks.

    Elder Renlunds message about masks is certainly true that many if not post people wearing them have concern for others as the foundation.

    It can equally be true that there is a concern for the effects of wearing a mask on society, psyche, and liberty. All those concerns can be dismissed if desired.

    I’m not interested in debating wearing a mask – if you’re asked to wear one, wear it. If Roman asks you to go a mile…

    Remember, letting the government drive nails though the hands of your innocent son is also the Christ like thing to do.

    There’s no theological twinkies for you here.

  24. I have struggled to understand the mental gymnastics involved in climbing the Rametrumpton and ignoring the counsel of both men we sustain as prophets and medical science. I still have dear family members who are part of the never-mask movement, and I try very hard not to think of them as selfish and uncaring. It’s a mystery to me. I do recall during the summer seeing a tweet from the area presidency for Utah County, begging the members to wear masks, as a handful of stake presidents had died from Covid-19. As for me and my house, we are wearing the masks.

  25. Wearing a mask does not stop the spread of the virus. The virus particles are so small that if you are “spreading” they will go through your mask and into the surrounding area. If there are virus particles in the air near you, they will come right through your mask as if it wasn’t even there. Telling people to wear a cloth or paper mask to protect everyone from any virus is malpractice, as it only gives people false security that they are safe, and they may go out and about while feeling unwell. Sick people should stay home, and healthy people should act normally, and exercise faith, which is a Christlike virtue, unlike mask-wearing.

  26. Jon Miranda says:

    From a blog(food for thought)
    As a hospital administrator I can tell you that for years in our ER we have always operated at 90% capacity. We are a business and if we don’t have people in the most lucrative part of our hospital outside of the operating room we don’t make money.

    There are definitely people coming through our ER that have COVID-19, but we are a major city and do not have nor have ever been overwhelmed by the pandemic. The media and the Democrats are manipulating America into tyranny.

  27. Of all the things I am asked to do by my faith (tithing, garments, word of wisdom, temple attendance, sabbath observance, callings, scripture study, regular prayer, ministering, etc), masking is probably the easiest. I am afraid that the church has waited too long to act, however, and it may be too late to change entrenched minds.

  28. Just A Thought says:

    “Sick people should stay home, and healthy people should act normally, and exercise faith, which is a Christlike virtue, unlike mask-wearing.”

    Why does this remind me of the fundamentalist Christians who dance with venomous snakes?

    I’m wearing a mask and avoiding the people who won’t and who dance with venomous snakes like the plague.

  29. Anabel, while it is true that the virus itself is tiny enough to get through a mask, the primary way it spreads is not by floating around by itself, but by hitching a ride on the droplets you expel from your nose and mouth when you talk, breathe, cough, sneeze, etc., which are then breathed in by others around you. Those droplets are easily caught by a mask (which is why you need to wash reusable masks regularly). Yes, a few virus particles will escape from a mask, but the vast majority will be caught. And the mask you wear will also help keep large amounts of virus from getting into you. You need to have a pretty heavy viral load to “catch” COVID-19. In other words, being exposed to a small amount of virus such as you might encounter if you pass by an infected person while shopping at the grocery store or taking a walk by yourself is unlikely to make you sick, especially if you are both wearing masks, but being in a room with an infected person and breathing in their droplets over an extended period such as you might do during, say, Thanksgiving dinner is much likelier to make you sick. In short, cutting down on the amount of virus you are exposed to or expose others to by wearing a mask, while not 100% guaranteed to prevent contact with the virus, helps a great deal. I’m sure your mind is already made up about this, but maybe knowing how this virus works will help someone who’s on the fence for some reason.

  30. Anyone else hear Elder Renlund tested positive? When was that video made? Should be have been masked? Would it have changed the outcome? Should the Christlike thing to do have been shelter in place and not assemble the media team? Or to go out and heal the lepers? Or shun them?

    All will be well. I’m not debating with Elder Renlund’s points. But the surrounding certainties presumed on all sides.

    It should be clear that people following best practices, surrounded by little following best practices “get covid”. Getting covid is actually less clear from being sick then wearing a mask is clear to protect you. Because we seem to equate getting covid with testing positive for finding presence of viral particles-dead or alive, capable of reproduction or not, with being sick.

    I hope he’s well and family too. I noticed he looks in much better shape in that video then when he was called. He’s clearly focused on his health. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if Pres. Nelson was the inspiration for that.

  31. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again here. There are many Latter-day Saints who are more Republican than they are either LDS or Christian. All we have to do is look at any of several countries where the citizens followed government directives to wear masks and maintain appropriate physical distance from others. I’ll mention just two. Taiwan has had a total of 7 deaths. New Zealand (led by a former Mormon) has had 25 deaths. Utah is fast approaching 1,000, with fewer residents than New Zealand and far fewer than Taiwan. The US is, of course, going to blow past 300,000 before the end of December. All because of people like some of the commenters here who don’t understand either freedom or love.

  32. Jon Miranda says:

    Sweden no masks no lockdowns.
    Doing fine
    I wonder why?

  33. I have two points to make:

    1: Jesus didn’t social distance or mask himself from leper’s.

    2: Judas was an apostle too. Dale renlunds dumb comments mean nothing.

  34. As this post is showing the extreme responses towards Elder Renlund’s comments, I am going to let E.’s comment stand. But honestly.

  35. As EmJen suggests, we generally have a policy here of not engaging in the kinds of speech that break temple covenants. E’s outrageous comment can stand as a warning, but further comments that question Elder Renlund’s calling and righteousness won’t be allowed.

  36. Jon, you might want to rethink your comment. Sweden is not doing fine.

    Also, I have no patience for the Jons and Es of the world. These the were same people who pontificated loudly that when we questioned traditional gender roles we were apostates for not following the prophet. Now that they asked we wear masks, they are howling that the Brethern are wrong. The hypocrisy is sickening.

  37. Jon Miranda says:

    Kristine
    Wash Post killed any credibility they might have had.

  38. Then read any source you want. Sweden is a) not doing fine, and b) implementing various mandatory control measures.

  39. Jon,
    I’m sure the Washington Post has at least as much credibility as your unsourced blog from a “hospital administrator”.

  40. I’ve been commenting for years as E and the E above is not me.

  41. Just here to say that we are completely doomed and this dynamic illustrates why.

  42. Opposing armies, armed with sword and self-assured righteousness, face each other on the plain, anxiously awaiting battle. Into the gap rides Elder Renlund. Attempting to bring peace, he addresses both armies:
    “Brothers and sisters, this issue need not divide us! We need not be so contentious! We can have peace…
    He turns to face one of the armies:
    “If YOU would just SURRENDER and be more Christlike!”

  43. Perhaps it would help to just outline a little of the science here. One of the problems with the way the U.S. has handled the pandemic is that we’ve not heard enough directly from the scientists, and I think that has left some of us thinking they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    No, masks do NOT stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. What they do is REDUCE the spread. With no precautions in place early in the pandemic, the R0 for this virus–the average number of new people to whom one infected individual will typically spread the virus–was about 4. With masks and distancing in place, it drops to about 2. With more stringent measures, like stay-at-home orders, it drops even more.

    This is not scientific hocus-pocus or political trickery. It is simple, basic epidemiology. You can take the data from different countries and different states that have implemented different measures, and you can easily calculate the effect of mask-wearing and other measures. Transmission goes down when measures are implemented, and it goes up when they’re reduced. (But of course this isn’t the ONLY factor affecting virus spread.)

    As Villate noted, this virus (like influenza virus) is most likely to spread in respiratory “droplets”–little, invisible globs of moisture that leave the respiratory system when a person talks, sings, coughs, sneezes, or (to a lesser extent) breathes. The most dangerous and contagious respiratory viruses survive in tiny droplets and can stay suspended in the air for long distances. SARS-CoV-2 dies quite rapidly in smaller droplets and is transmitted best in larger droplets. These don’t travel as far, and they’re more likely to be caught by a mask.

    Even a simple one-layer cloth mask will catch some of these larger droplets, a couple layers of fabric or a surgical-type mask will catch more, and an N95-type mask will catch more still. No mask will catch them all, but the chance of the virus going from one masked person to another in a brief, casual contact (like a store transaction) is much smaller than if only one or neither is masked.

    There are some tricky things about this virus that make the job of stopping it much harder. With the 2003 SARS pandemic, people rarely became contagious until they showed symptoms. The same is true for the West African Ebola epidemic: a contact of an infected person could be watched and isolated only when symptoms appeared. But for SARS-CoV-2, many people have very minor or no symptoms but can still be infectious. So, merely staying home if you are sick and acting normally (with or without faith) if you are well doesn’t change the transmission enough. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 is at least about five times more contagious than SARS-CoV-1 was back in 2003, so it won’t die out on its own; we have to do something in order to stop it or slow it down.

    Well, fine, some people say, just let the pandemic run its course! Why not? What are we trying to accomplish with our public-health measures? Aren’t we just slowing it down? Yes, we are just slowing it down. Transmission is obviously still continuing everywhere. BUT, when we slow it down, we accomplish two things: 1) We reduce the number of people who are sick at any given time, and thus the demand on hospitals, and especially ICUs and ventilators. This reduces the death RATE (deaths per case) because more people get better care. 2) We create time for researchers to find better ways to treat the sick and, as has happened, potentially produce a vaccine. If we had let the pandemic run its course, it would be over by now, no need for a vaccine! But there would be at least 2 million dead in the U.S.–and most likely at least twice that many because the rapid rate of infection would produce too many sick people to take care of. Instead, with some reasonable level of response and public compliance in most states, we are able to begin vaccination at a point in the pandemic when less than 300,000 of our fellow citizens have died.

    Finally, no, Sweden is not doing well: they are spiking just as we are, and on a per-capita basis are doing about as well as Italy, a little below 30,000 cases/million (3% of population). Want to see a country that’s doing well? How about China? Despite it’s enormous population and hugely crowded cities, 65 cases/million. Why? Draconian public-health measures. A good place to look at these data without commentary and draw your own conclusions is https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data.

    I apologize for the lengthy post. I hope it will benefit someone.

  44. keepapitchinin says:

    E at 12:11: I’m so glad you clarified that you were not the one who made the earlier comment.

  45. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Abbey, please do not apologize for the lengthy post full to reason, fact, and logic. Those things are even more effective than masks and vaccines.

  46. Annabel, the mask stops most of the droplets that carry the virus out of people’s mouths. If you ever get surgery, your surgeon would be sued if she didn’t wear one. Why? Because they help prevent the spread of virus and bacteria.

  47. your food allergy is real says:

    Actually Turtle,
    This post and thread demonstrate that reason, fact, logic, and apostolic pleas are utterly and depressingly ineffective.

  48. Easy to agree with the prophets when they agree with me. More difficult when they preach things that I don’t want to hear. In this case, the scientific advice and the prophetic advise coincide: wearing mask is an indicator of loving your neighbor. In other words, the science validates the prophets – and vice versa.
    With regard to LGBTQ matters, the pronouncements of the prophets diverge from the known science. Thus, forcing some difficult personal decisions about which to countenance.
    And thanks, Abbey, for your excellent summary of what is known about the pandemic.

  49. Just A Thought says:

    Thank you, Abbey, for that perfectly clear and compelling explanation.

    I hope people heed it instead of taking a perfectly juvenile stand against masks, keeping in mind, of course, that these very people stop at red traffic lights and expect everyone else too as well without feeling their “freedoms” have been irreparably compromised.

  50. Truckers Atlas says:

    With everything surrounding the Givens article, the other Givens article, the John Dehlin/Deznat dumpster fire, and now the responses to Elder Rendlund’s directive, I cannot remember a worse string of weeks for online Mormonism.

  51. …how many of these people justified discriminating against LGBTQ folks because the Church said to[?]

    None. These are the folks who were just glad to see the Church get in line with their own political persuasion when it comes to anti-LGBT animus.

  52. Do you know what’s sad? I could write a very similar post today about responses to President Oaks talking about social distancing at their Thanksgiving table. Sigh.

  53. Masks reduce one’s exposure to a larger viral load. You want the smallest possible.

  54. J Miranda—My husband was hospitalized last spring during the peak of Covid infection in the small city we live in. Our hospital is was the designated area hospital for Covid patients. He was in ICU, not for Covid, but with Covid patients. The infectious disease doctor lost several patients there. He told us about the “air hunger” and death. The hospital didn’t allow anyone but the patient in the hospital–no family. I’m thankful for that. My husband is here today because of the precautions taken. The ICU was full. Staff was exhausted. No democrat tyranny and media hyping. Just competency. BTW–my cousin died in NY of Covid 19.

  55. More deaths on wednesday (one day) than 9/11. And will continue each day.
    Why does the light not come on?

  56. Billy Possum says:

    Liberals wishing for greater science literacy (myself included) on the right should be careful not to overstate our case.

    1) Science is, and always has been, political. Galileo, Turing, the IPCC – all great scientists anger those in power (who depend on the status quo, which science disrupts). Many other vital, beautiful things are also political. The Church, for instance.

    2) Science can’t tell us what’s right and wrong; it tells us only what is. So moral judgments about “LGBTQ matters” can’t “diverge” from science, because moral judgments aren’t scientifically falsifiable. Statements of fact (biology, psychology, sociology, theology) often do diverge from scientific evidence (and when they do, shame on them), but right and wrong are up to philosophy and religion, not the quants.

  57. You wrote too soon Terry. Long investigative piece today at reuters.com about stepped up military harassment by Chinese military trying to wear down Taiwan’s defenses in order to take over there. We may lose access to both Chinese temples.
    The only advice I have is wear your mask. Keep social distance. We need the temples open again. Get the tree at familysearch built out as far as the source documents allow. Satan does not want us to do the temple work. He enjoys watching the deceased suffer. I say let us lessen his enjoyment. It is 1,000 names per adult member of the church to attach every person we have records for. You can do that with 20 names a week in a year. Very easily accomplished. Just because half the church will not be ready for Second Coming does not mean we cannot be ready. And leave the nut cases alone.

  58. The scientific merit behind wearing pants is much weaker than the merit behind wearing face masks. But we all wear pants, or at least something to cover certain areas up. We can wear pants and still speak out against and for all sorts of things. Wearing pants does not interfere with our ability to experience freedom. Ditto for masks. If you wear pants without feeling the thumb of Big Brother bearing down on you, then you should be able to wear masks without feeling the crushing arm of government taking away your soul. You can wear a mask and still be a massive jerk. Ted Cruise and Donald Trump and Mike Lee can all be total dim-wits and still wear masks. At least they manage to do so while wearing pants.

  59. sch— did you just compare covering one’s genitals as equal to covering one’s face? Who is the dimwit here?

  60. I believe so many church members follow TV propaganda politics rather than actually living their religion ( or thinking critically ) they are lost in the desert. To have read some of the comments against this Apostle, who asked for a little human kindness from supposed members of the church. My, my. Love, decency, fairness, democracy, all are in jeopardy in these troubled times. Is it right to belong to an organization that has members who support goverment overthrow while judges have given valid reasons for upholding our laws? I have had one foot out the door for awhile…

  61. I’m a little late to the party but here goes.

    I see so many online rants about how members will only heed a mask requirement if it comes from President Nelson followed by “thus sayeth the Lord.” Apparently a member of the 12 is insufficient based on the evidence of this post. I’m sure President Nelson is aware of such online comments. Yet he doesn’t address it. I think he’s afraid to alienate his faith base.

    I’m in SoCal. I’ve been to church once since March (we had a small window in October where church resumed before we shut down again). I’m familiar with all the rhetoric about religious freedom. So imagine my surprise when I realized that, even in lockdown, we can have church as long as it’s outside! Yet my stake presidency doesn’t want outside church. They would rather complain about religious freedom over zoom church than set up folding chairs in the parking lot. Go figure.

    I’m a CPA so I really don’t know what to make of the pandemic. So many things we have done in California to slow the spread don’t seem to have helped when I compare our numbers with Utah, for example, which did literally nothing to slow the spread, which makes me sad. And some of the rules don’t make sense. All that being said, my kids have proven to me that many of the rules are not as hard as grown adults claim they are. My kids wear masks all day at school while I don’t wear one working from home. My kids are surrounded by friends all day at school that they can’t play with in the way they would like to while I work alone in my home office. And yet my kids seem happy. They seem resilient. We can do hard things, even if five years from now the science says they weren’t necessary.

  62. Jon Miranda says:

    Chadwick
    I think slow the spread is so ridiculous. Since when have we ever able to control a virus?
    What do you want to do keep it out there forever?
    everyone has protection. It’s called an immune system.
    and if yours is not that good or you have a compromised immune system take precautions.
    There’s no science behind masking and quarantining healthy people.

  63. Jon Miranda
    Here is a pretty comprehensive discussion of the science. Are masks the whole answer, no- but they are a profoundly important part of the toolbox. We do know a lot more about there benefits than we did 9 months ago. And some places have controlled this virus quite well, and the vaccine will add more to that. Do not say there is no science when there is obviously – science. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02801-8

  64. Stephen Hardy says:

    Jon: almost every country in the world has slowed the virus some amazingly well: New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and some less well such as Canada. This administration’s bungling, chaotic, unscientific, and political response to this supreme scientific challenge will stand for years or centuries as the worst response to a national crisis on record. Can’t control the virus? Just look outside the u s. We’re just trying to hold it at bay until a cure in the form of a vaccine comes along.

  65. Jon Miranda says:

    Of course we all have beautiful flowery answers but something is just not quite right with this virus, mask and lockdown thing.

  66. Just A Thought says:

    From the World Health Organization:

    “Smallpox is an ancient disease caused by the variola virus. Early symptoms include high fever and fatigue. The virus then produces a characteristic rash, particularly on the face, arms and legs. The resulting spots become filled with clear fluid and later, pus, and then form a crust, which eventually dries up and falls off. Smallpox was fatal in up to 30% of cases.

    Smallpox has existed for at least 3000 years and was one of the world’s most feared diseases until it was eradicated by a collaborative global vaccination programme led by the World Health Organization. The last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977. Since then, the only known cases were caused by a laboratory accident in 1978 in Birmingham, England, which killed one person and caused a limited outbreak. Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1979.”

    Note that smallpox was a viral disease that has been eradicated from the planet by human intervention.

    Of course this was an era before antivaxxers and people whose sense of personal liberty is so fragile that it can’t withstand wearing a cloth mask to protect the lives and safety of others. And that despite the fact that these same people manage to go on with their lives even if they have to line up in a grocery store, wear clothing all over other parts of their bodies, use seat belts, drive on the right side of the road, and heed any number of other social conventions.

  67. The home of my youth, Utah, is super weird now.