On masks and obedience

Two months ago my stake presidency in Colorado sent out an email to the members of our stake requesting that all members sign a petition so that an initiative could get on the 2020 ballot banning late term abortion. I happily signed the petition, and this initiative will be on the ballot in 2020, and I plan to vote for a ban on late term abortion.

This post is not about abortion, but instead the issue of obedience to Church leaders. As a general rule, I try really hard to follow the counsel of my local leaders. When we go to stake conference, we are urged to go to the temple regularly, to take our callings seriously, to help minister to those around us. I could go on and on, but you get the drift: I really do try to do what local Church leaders ask us to do.

Now, what are we to think of the people who did not sign this initiative? Are they all apostates? Could it be they did not have time or were working? Perhaps they are in favor of late term abortion because they are generally pro-choice. Are pro-choice people all apostates?

I think we would agree that the people who ignored the stake presidency’s guidance had their reasons. I know people who did not sign these petitions for a variety of reasons, and I guarantee you the people I know are NOT apostates.

Last week the area presidency in Utah sent out a letter urging people to wear masks in public because of COVID-19. I know dozens of people, good friends and family members, who will ignore this request. I also know several people, including people I like and trust, who have argued that this is a wheat and tares moment and that the people who refuse to wear masks in public are apostates. I think this is crazy, and the people making these claims should be ashamed of themselves.

Continue reading

The Breath of Life

Last month, as I discussed COVID with my sister who is a registered nurse, I mentioned the large number of cases without symptoms. She rolled her eyes, and replied:

All cases have symptoms.

Then she said some medical stuff I didn’t understand.

This week we were talking about our dying parent, whom so many of us have traveled to visit. Reasonably, some were concerned about whether anyone was showing symptoms of COVID. So my sister, the RN, shared about the various positive cases amongst her co-workers and the inaccuracies of the rapid tests.

Given the exposure these medical folk have to so many, the known presence of COVID in their work environment, and the inaccuracy of rapid testing, the nurses have taken to testing the one measurement they’ve seen change for all COVID patients, even those who are supposedly without symptoms:

The amount of the body’s hemoglobin that is carrying oxygen.

We all grew up taking our temperature. Many of us have been taught how to take a pulse. But few of us had a device at home to test how much oxygen was in our blood. But it turns out you can get such a device, a pulse oximeter, for less than those rapid forehand thermometers so many of us have.

Normal is in the 90s. If the reading is only 90 or even less, then your breath is not giving you sufficient oxygen. This is the symptom my sister and these other nurses find to be correlated with true positive COVID diagnoses, even when other symptoms are not (yet) present.

Knowing whether or not your ability to absorb oxygen is compromised doesn’t protect you from COVID any more than a clean STD test protects you from getting a future STD. But it can provide a level of comfort in this uncertain time where COVID infection rates are rising in so many places.

Meanwhile, I recommend taking precautions and obeying local laws, much as you might do to avoid STD infection. You are free to choose what you wish, but you are not free to reject the natural consequences of your choices.

N.B. – %SpO2 stands for peripheral capillary oxygen saturation, an estimate of the amount of oxygen in the blood. Specifically, it is the percentage of hemoglobin containing oxygen compared to the total amount of hemoglobin in the blood measured at your fingertip, detected by the pulse oximeter measuring how red your blood is at its brightest, using infrared light. It gets your pulse by detecting how often the red changes per minute. Alas, since you need infrared light for this measurement, this isn’t something a phone app can measure, since phone cameras only use visible light.

Come Follow Me: Alma 32-35

My blog on Come Follow Me: Alma 32-35.

“In this lesson, we continue the events regarding the Zoramites. As discussed before, they were probably descendants of that Zoram, who was Nephi’s friend. Due to the change in the government from a king to judges, the Zoramites found themselves with no power nor recognition in the new order. While the Mulekites, Ammonites and others maintained their own identity and power through having their own judges, the Zoramites seem to have been left out.
“They developed a religion that opposed the Nephite faith, insisting that only the Zoramites would be saved, while the Nephites, Mulekites, Ammonites, and all others would not.

“For a people who were so frustrated for being neglected, ignored, and pushed to the edge of society, they developed a government that was very oppressive to the poor.”

Read more at my blog.https://joelsmonastery.blogspot.com/2020/07/come-follow-me-alma-32-35.html

Protesters fire into car in Provo, Utah, wound driver

Protesters in Provo, Utah blocked traffic last night. When a white SUV tried to get through the traffic, the protesters fired at the car. You can see the videos below.

This video clearly shows at least one protesters firing into the SUV, and at least one more shot is heard.

The Deseret News has more on the protests here.

UPDATE: the man in the vehicle was shot in the altercation and drove himself to the hospital. His wounds do not appear life-threatening. More here.