Guest Post: Stoning the anti-vaxxers

This is guest post by Eric Hachenberger, who says he was born and raised in the Church in Austria, served his mission in Spain, studied Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution at BYU-Hawaii, and lives with his wife and daughter in Berlin. He works as Account Manager and a Conflict Coach on the side.

After the First Presidency’s message urging us to get vaccinated, a close relative of mine refused to do so and got Covid-19 a mere few weeks later. 

Me, the obedient member, who decided to be vaccinated after this prophetic counsel, felt like the world was in order now. ‘See, you should have been vaccinated,’ I thought, ‘then you wouldn’t have to suffer now.’ 

I am deeply ashamed of the thoughts I had at the time. Sadly though, I wasn’t the only one to think along these lines. In fact, I saw these tendencies spring up all around me. Similar patterns run outside the church as well.

Using the Gospel as a Hammer

Many of us, who were aligned with the First Presidency’s message’s content, immediately used it as a hammer to say, “See, I was right. Now go, think like me, and get vaccinated.” 

This is not how we are supposed to use the gospel. But it is sometimes how we would like to use the gospel, and sadly also do use it, but it really defeats its purpose. 

We don’t know exactly how Lucifer wanted to execute his plan of saving all of mankind. Only that it boiled down to the extermination of agency. There is, however, one prevalent theory among members of the church, namely, that Lucifer just wanted to force us to always do what is right. (The second theory, also quite compelling (pun intended), was to simply eradicate all the bad consequences of mistakes and sins). 

This tendency to force our ‘truth’ on someone else is easily observable in our natural, human state. ‘To be right’ just feels so good. To know (or at least deceive ourselves to think) that we chose and acted right holds tremendous satisfaction. And in its worst form, it becomes equal to the absolution of judging and condemning others. 

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Anthony Fauci, Revelator

From the Deseret News:

“Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t quite ready to say you’re safe to celebrate Christmas and the winter holidays without taking proper precautions…”

“Dr. Anthony Fauci has revealed a number of things over the last yearwhen you can spend time with your family, what’s next in the COVID-19 surge and how to stay safe in the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Fauci has revealed why people don’t like him. Fauci recently told ”Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that he is a polarizing figure because he supports “science, data and hard facts” rather than conspiracy theories.”

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Effective headlines for a religious media market? Simply good journalistic strategy?

For sure. And maybe something more…

It’s one thing to regard the word of a living prophet as especially trustworthy – even as a revelation of higher wisdom (which is a good thing). It’s quite another to take that prophetic counsel as justification for portraying the current thinking of a single health authority as equally trustworthy – so much so that normal journalistic duties (like asking hard questions, and showing even a pretense of critical examination and scrutiny) are laid aside. Such is the sorry state of virtually all health journalism in America – unfortunately, including at the Deseret News.

You can do better than this, Deseret News! We are grateful for all of the good work you do on a regular basis.

Book Review: ‘Proclaim Peace’

Review by Meg Stout

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aren’t famous for avoiding conflict. Anyone reading up through page 10 of the Book of Mormon reads about how Nephi decapitates Laban. I myself work for the Department of Defense (formerly referred to as the Department of War). My Bishop in my teens was a four-star general.

But Bishop Amos Jordan wished a life of diplomacy for me. He yearned for my talents to go toward creating peace in this world.

So I was intrigued to read Proclaim Peace: The Restoration’s Answer to an Age of Conflict. Authors Patrick Q. Mason and J. David Pulsipher demonstrate “that pursuing peace is godly, foundational, muscular, and not for the faint of heart.”

This book arose out of the authors’ participation in a March 2011 conference on Latter-day Saint perspectives on war and peace, held at Claremont Graduate University. In the ten years since that conference at Claremont, the authors have assembled a delightful demonstration that the gospel of the Restoration and scriptural canon revered by Latter-day Saints provide rich bases for living a just peace that goes well beyond the mere absence of conflict.

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Gay man speaks out in support of Elder Holland’s BYU talk

This is a guest post by Nicholas Applegate.

I am a gay man married to a wonderful wife, and I openly support The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its doctrines, and its leaders. As a result, I support the BYU honor code and their decision to require their students to keep the law of chastity (see link at bottom). This is because I have a testimony that this church is truly Christ’s church and that its leaders are called of God and divinely inspired.

However, at the core of myself, I am not a gay man; I am a child of God, a priesthood holder, a husband, and a father. I am not denying my true self by living the tenets of the Church. I would be denying my true self by not living the Gospel and leaving the Church to life a gay lifestyle.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a man we believe to be an apostle of God, spoke to BYU faculty a couple days ago (see link at bottom) reaffirming our beliefs in the sacred nature of marriage between a man and a woman, the right of BYU as a private, church school to support and institute doctrinal policies, and the need of disciples of Christ to defend and support our church leaders and the doctrine we believe in. I have seen lots of posts and messages opposing Elder Holland’s remarks, and while I respect their right to share their thoughts and while I also have some reservations about Elder Holland’s choice of words, I believe that he is a divinely inspired apostle of Jesus Christ and that his message is true. He asked for more to defend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to be a voice in its support, so I have decided to do just that. Being a gay man in a mixed-orientation marriage, I think I am in a unique position to share my thoughts on the matter.

I have known from a young age that I was attracted to men. It was an emotional roller-coaster, something I mentioned to almost no one before I became an adult, and which still was told to very few individuals after. It made me feel different, gross, and mostly embarrassed, and it was hard for me to talk about. It took years for me to process this and accept myself for who I was. However, unlike many that I have heard about in my situation, I had little doubt about my future standing in the Church.

The Church has always been clear, in my lifetime anyway, that it is not attraction to men that is sinful, but acting on those desires. I always understood that if I chose to either live a celibate or a heterosexual life, my standing within the Church would never be in question. I decided essentially as soon as I realized I was gay that I would follow the law of chastity and not engage in a relationship with a man.

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So you want to speak at a public board meeting

This is a guest post by Lattertarian, who describes himself as “a jaded Gen-X Ward Mission Leader living in Southern California. He’s a compulsive communicator who loves chili cheese fries, prefers vegetables on his pizza, and wishes we could all just get along.”

As your local town or state crawls out from under lockdown hysteria, you may feel the need to talk to your local government officials. Good for you! Too few people do this, but it’s a critical part of the local government process. You’re never going to get any uninterrupted time to speak straight to your federal representatives, and probably never your state ones, either. But your county and city boards and commissions are wide open (and let’s face it, the future is local). So good on you for wanting to get in there and speak your mind. 

You’re probably fired up about whatever your topic is, and that’s good. You’re probably also a little nervous about public speaking. Most folks are, and that’s okay. Here are some tips for making your point and keeping your cool. 

First, remember that the usual rules of first impressions apply. You don’t need to show up to a board meeting in your Sunday best, but come on: put on a clean shirt and groom yourself. Don’t let your appearance be a distraction from your point. 

Second, read the rules and know the agenda. Whatever board you’re talking to has rules about public comment, and is legally obligated to post both those rules and every meeting agenda ahead of time. Read both. There are three things you should be watching for: agenda items, public comment, and time limits. We’ll get to time in a bit. For now let’s talk about agendas and comments. 

When you speak to a government board in person (which is to say, physically in the same room), you’ll probably have to fill out a card. That card will ask if you want to comment on a specific agenda item, or if you just want to be lumped in with “public comment.” Read the agenda. If your subject is on there, be sure to note that agenda number (or letter, or whatever) on your comment card. The board will call on you to speak when that item comes up in the agenda. If you just want to vent at the board and/or your topic isn’t on the agenda, then mark your card for public comment. 

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