The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday that a universal mask mandate is no longer in place for Church members. The Church is encouraging local LDS leaders to follow guidance from “local health and government officials and local customs and conditions.”
When leaders of my church first began encouraging mask use in the second half of 2020, there were literally dozens of LDS intellectuals claiming the mandate was for health reasons. I heartily disagreed and pointed to the many years of studies indicating that almost all masks are useless against viruses. The science has not changed: almost all masks are as useful in stopping a virus as a chain link fence is in keeping out mosquitoes.
The mask mandates were never about health, and I don’t believe Church leaders ever believed the mandates were about health. The mandates were about government control and offering a frightened populace some symbol that governments were “doing something” about SARS-CoV2. It is worth pointing out that hundreds of individual stakes, including mine, told members they did not have to wear masks before the February 18 announcement from the First Presidency, so if the FP announcement imposing masks was a commandment of some kind, why did these stake presidencies commit apostasy?
Over the months I have linked to dozens of studies on masks showing that masks do not stop viruses.
Just to give one example, here is what a leading surgeon and the former editor of a medical journal has to say:
A response to people who use the classic fallacious argument, “Well, if masks don’t work, then why do surgeons wear them?”
I’m a surgeon who has performed more than 10,000 surgical procedures wearing a surgical mask. However, that fact alone doesn’t really qualify me as an expert on the matter. More importantly, I am a former editor of a medical journal.
I know how to read the medical literature, distinguish good science from bad, and fact from fiction. Believe me, the medical literature is filled with bad fiction masquerading as medical science. It is very easy to be deceived by bad science.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve read hundreds of studies on the science of medical masks. Based on extensive review and analysis, there is no question in my mind that healthy people should not be wearing surgical or cloth masks. Nor should we be recommending universal masking of all members of the population. That recommendation is not supported by the highest level of scientific evidence.
First, let’s be clear. The premise that surgeons wearing masks serves as evidence that “masks must work to prevent viral transmission” is a logical fallacy that I would classify as an argument of false equivalence, or comparing “apples to oranges.”
Although surgeons do wear masks to prevent their respiratory droplets from contaminating the surgical field and the exposed internal tissues of our surgical patients, that is about as far as the analogy extends. Obviously, surgeons cannot “socially distance” from their surgical patients (unless we use robotic surgical devices, in which case, I would definitely not wear a mask).
The CoVID-19 pandemic is about viral transmission. Surgical and cloth masks do nothing to prevent viral transmission. We should all realize by now that face masks have never been shown to prevent or protect against viral transmission. Which is exactly why they have never been recommended for use during the seasonal flu outbreak, epidemics, or previous pandemics.
The failure of the scientific literature to support medical masks for influenza and all other viruses is also why Fauci, the U.S. Surgeon General, the CDC, WHO, and pretty much every infectious disease expert stated that wearing masks won’t prevent transmission of SARS CoV-2. Although the public health “authorities” flipped, flopped, and later changed their recommendations, the science did not change, nor did new science appear that supported the wearing of masks in public. In fact, the most recent systemic analysis once again confirms that masks are ineffective in preventing the transmission of viruses like CoVID-19.
So, we must ask ourselves in retrospect, why did the position on masks change all of a sudden in April 2020?
Two words: fear and control.
An unscrupulous media had stirred up the populace into a mania of fear over a virus that had a 99.8 percent survival rate for most people, and most government leaders felt they had to do something — anything — to show they were acting. So all of a sudden, masks were mandated across the globe. If there is any doubt that people can lose their liberty in the space of just a few months, we have just lived through it.
The position of the LDS church was always the same: 1)wear a mask if your government tells you to and 2)wear a mask to show concern for people (the elderly, for example) who may be at high risk.
So in August 2021, the Church issued a statement from the First Presidency asking people to wear masks and encouraging people to be vaccinated. I will note that the FP has never repeated this guidance. But on Friday the Church rescinded the mask guidance and encouraged people to wear masks based on local conditions. In other words, now that many governments are rescinding their own mask mandates, masks are no longer required at church.
So, if Church leadership truly believed that masks were necessary for health, wouldn’t the Brethren have insisted on continuing the mandate? Many virtue signaling left-wingers say they will never stop wearing masks — why wouldn’t the Church adopt that position if mask wearing was about health? The virus is still around, after all.
The answer is clear and it is what I have been saying since the beginning: the mask mandate is NOT about health, and Church leadership never believed it was. Church leadership simply wanted to keep up the Church’s mission, and the Church could not afford, politically, to be known as the “anti-mask church.”
So, just for the record, I would like to point out that I was publicly and privately labeled an apostate by dozens of people, some of them former friends, for the last 18 months or so for simply repeating the science on masks and for pointing out that the Church suggestion was not about health but instead was a response to government mandates. To sum up: I was right, and all of these people, most of whom were repeatedly rude and insulting to me, were as wrong as wrong can be.
I do not expect any of them to apologize, because all of them have proven that they have zero integrity. But perhaps some of them will surprise me. And if they do, I will acknowledge that I was wrong about their lack of integrity, and I will reach out a hand in friendship. It takes a big person to admit you were wrong. Will any of you do it?