Thank you for the kind comments, everyone. These are challenging questions, and whatever we decide, I hope we can remain united as brothers and sisters seeking the Lord.To Dr. Lynn D Johnson's question, I sent my draft to Sally Linford prior to publication. So, it's not true she would have been shocked, because she was very encouraging of my moving forward.The woman on Facebook whose post prompted this piece (and who I kept anonymous on purpose) expressed concern that she had been portrayed as angry. Despite her contention that she was not motivated by anger, I maintain that her post and comments she and others made throughout the thread functioned to stir up people in opposition, suspicion and enmity towards our presiding leaders. Call it what you want, it's something I raise concern about without apology.
The only flaw I see in this balanced article is the assumption on his part that the intentions are noble of those developing and distributing the vaccine. If so, then things are much less risky. But, most have a proven track record of deception and immoral pursuit of wealth. We won't know for years the real effects of this medical experiment.
Great article! Very balanced, very thoughtful. The Lord can and does lead people to do opposite things, because He knows our needs and we're all different. We must be patient with those who see things differently and not expect that following the prophet looks the same for everyone. The prophet's role is to lead people to Jesus Christ. Those who listen to the prophet will have heard him tell us repeatedly that personal revelation is crucial in these confusing times. Boy, are we seeing that! It seems a huge part of the "big test" is whether we can love others who see things differently when so much is at stake - life and liberty.
I believe the Lord's hand is helping us during this pandemic. For the first time ever, we have a prominent medical doctor who is our prophet, giving us counsel. We have next generation vaccines, which have been in development for 25 years, ready now just when needed most.
When I saw a picture of President Nelson wearing a mask, I had a very strong feeling that I should follow. It was the same way when I saw the picture of him getting vaccinated. I pray all the time to know what to do, and I follow those strong feelings I receive to "follow the Prophet."
I really appreciated this article. This has been a difficult time for me with lots of questions and conflicting ideas. This gave me some new ideas to think about how I can approach how I’m feeling. Thank you so much!!
I appreciate this article very much. I never thought about it being an act of humility. I just thought it was common sense and good manners. For those who feel that doctors have all the answers they should read "Confessions of a Medical Heretic".
Thank you for this well thought out and much needed article! I have been troubled over this vaccine issue and am not convinced it is something I should do. However, I feel pressure from many around me demanding conformity. And I have gently pushed back so that I have room to continue to gather information and think things through. In the process, my husband and I have had to caution ourselves from falling into the contention that surrounds this issue. Contention is clearly a weapon of the adversary; we need to keep his purpose clear in our sight and not get blindsided. He has cast fear for our physical well-being into our midst and we need to take care that we don’t jeopardize our spiritual well-being in exchange. And through this all, we should exercise grace and humility one with another.
Bro Hess, THANK YOU!!! So well said.
Thank you. These are much needed words in the world today and especially for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is from a marginalized and persecuted non-mask wearer and reluctant vaccination patient that has had to regularly self-reflect and repent for returning judgement with judgement, anger with anger and prejudice with prejudice. The peace and joy that comes from humbling myself before the Lord, hearing Him and then forgiving myself and others has been my refuge. Every. Time.
Thank you Jacob for taking a sensible and rational approach to what has become a very polarizing issue. Down here in Arizona, the border crossing of thousands being released into small border towns has many feeling very uncomfortable. The local news is reporting as high as 50% infection rates among those who crossed. Unfortunately, they are dispersing across Arizona with Zero tracking, etc.I definitely, respect those who wear a mask and those who do not, those who have been vaccinated and those who have not. One thing I'm definitely sure of is, Satan's influence is taking its toll on individuals and families. Oh, do we need this week to focus on the Savior's atonement and to hear inspired counsel from the Brethren !!
As a senior citizen who's been in the Church a good long time, I've had many opportunities to argue about the pros and cons of many issues. My takeaway has been "be patient until there is clarity". All of us are mostly blind on virtually every subject, no matter how much we think we know. The biggest problem is that we don't know what we don't know, and tend to misunderstand what we do know.
I had the virus a year ago, came through it unscathed, and will not consider getting the vaccine until after the Pfizer trials are complete, on January 31st, 2023. I will make a decision then. But your results may vary, and I will not presume to dictate what anyone else should do. What you want to do is none of my business. I chose long ago to not live in fear of anything but displeasing my God. He is the source of clarity.
I think the answer goes a step further than you have described. I've been vaccinated and I wear a mask because I think it's the right thing to do to help stop the spread of the virus. I understand how some people may have questions about the safety of the vaccine, but that doesn't absolve them of our common responsibility to help stop the spread of the virus. So what can they do? Stay home, wear a mask, stay distanced, have groceries delivered, attend church on Zoom, etc. We pay fast offerings because some other people need the help. It may not always be convenient, but we are in this together and we need each other to be able to get out of it. It won't work if everyone doesn't do something to help. Objecting and complaining won't help, and being civil (or humble) isn't enough.
I can understand the resentment of many toward government officials because of their actions to usurp our freedoms. Elder Bednar's recent article regarding protecting our religious freedoms in the midst of COVID addressed this subject beautifully. However, we must never allow ourselves to lose our faith and trust in our Prophet or other general authorities of the church. I just read recently in the Doctrine & Covenants 107:22 about the specific ways we support our chosen leaders: "...upheld by the CONFIDENCE, faith, and prayer of the church..." This scripture is so timely. It is essential that we hold fast the iron rod right now, consistently feeding our spirit with truth so that we will not be deceived by having a rebellious spirit. Satan is doing everything he can to divide us--especially from our Prophets and Apostles. We MUST NOT allow the storms around us of doubts, confusion, or angry debates to shake our confidence in the Lord's chosen leaders. Everything within me revolted from getting the COVID immunizations. However, when I saw pictures of President Nelson and other general authorities receiving it, and when I read his counsel for us to also get the immunization I followed that counsel as an act of faith.
Jacob, I sent your link to Sally Linford; she was shocked to see you feature her comments. Since I quit Facebook 2 years ago, she must bear the burden of defense of the anointed while I remain in blissful ignorance.Some seeds fall on good ground, and some fall on rocky soil where they fail to put forth roots. That's the way it's always been and always will be.
Wow! Thank you for this article and addressing my pain over this issue. As I have studied food and nutrition my whole life, I have observed that what is recommended in one period is totally reversed in another and then reversed again. My peace is in the hands of the Lord that ultimately he is in charge and all truth will be revealed in time. Whether anyone chooses vaccine or not chooses vaccine I have no need to be militant about it. I have had to make peace with death and dying and conclude that there are worse things than death. We will all die when it is our time. I just want to be ready when it is my turn.
This is an excellent article. I see this issue about the vaccine a way Satan can use us to do his will. If it comes to determined arguing it makes him happy. He knows our weaknesses and he is playing on them. We need to back up and simply share opinions and respect one another. "Beauty for ashes."
I believe in personal revelation that we have for ourselves and our immediate family. I love that the Presidency has given us an example we can follow or not on vaccines. We can feel safe to know he has chosen that and we can follow- or if we have complications like pregnancy or other health compromises we can choose to not get the vaccine. I believe he is showing us the way for personal agency on the vaccine. Whether or not we get it has NOTHING to do with church DOCTRINE. The prophet is still our Prophet and the church is still true! We need to make that distinction and not be caught up making mountains out of molehills.
Very worthwhile for us to read and consider. Thank you.
Thank you for this article! Beautifully written. Agency, which was fought for in the war in heaven, will never be taken from us. Only with humility can one be respectful of others “choices” or “opinions”. It is the peace that comes to the heart which matters most. Once received, it should not matter what others may think...a very personal relationship with the SAVIOR - who gives that peace - is the most important goal in this life and for eternity.
I am older, with health concerns, yet I have lived a very hard life, but with no regrets. When the decision to have or no to have arose, I decided to talk to the one person here on earth who would have the last choice--myself. Knowing that the good Lord would also be attending. As I presented cases for and against having the shot, it was finally decide that, I trust more in the Lord, but also know He is sending knowledge so it was decided. I took the shot. Whether or not it is good or not, I really still cannot say. I know President Nelson did it, and if he trusted in it and surely in the Lord, so can I. My hard life is such that I know the Lord has also helped me through it and allowed easier times in also. No, I don't like masks, but I'll error on both sides.
Thank you for this reasonable message. It pains me to read of others willing to villify our Prophet or consider leaving Church membership over things where we have agency to believe what we will . Our Prophet and membership are worth so much more than the complaints listed. I feel our Prophet knows more than I do, so I am going to follow the Prophet.
So beautifully written. Why don't we see this for the test that it is? Pride rears it's ugly head in times like these and divides us from one another and from our God. I especially love your final point. Our spiritual well-being is our chief concern here. Thank you for bringing clarity to this confusing topic.
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