The Church is still true even though the COVID vaccines are failing

Almost a year ago, I wrote this post warning that there would be an increasing amount of information in the months ahead that the COVID-19 vaccines were a failure.

Since then, we have learned that the mRNA COVID jabs actually increase the likelihood of hospitalization and death.

More and more evidence indicates the vaccines are unsafe and harmful.

The state of Florida has urged younger men not to get vaccinated because it increases the risk of heart problems.

The evidence indicates the vaccines are destroying the human reproductive system, and the pharmaceutical companies knew this would happen.

Just this week, Pfizer admitted publicly that it they had NO EVIDENCE the vaccine would stop transmission of the virus. Pfizer execs and public officials of course never said this in 2021, and they went on to support vaccine mandates and vaccines passports throughout the world when, again, there was no evidence the vaccine would stop transmission.

So, what are we, as faithful Latter-day Saints, to make of this? The Church, after all, encouraged members to get vaccinated in August 2021. And now it appears the vaccines are a bust, at least for many, many people. (The vaccines probably are still worthwhile for the elderly and people with co-morbidities).

I want to be clear: I have more faith in modern-day prophets than ever before, and my testimony has not been affected negatively by this situation. Let me reiterate the reasons why:

  • I am responsible for my own health, and I don’t rely on Church leaders to tell me what I should and should not do regarding health.  I am responsible for my earthly temple, my body, and I do my own research and come to my own conclusions.  I don’t believe the Word of Wisdom is primarily about health — it is primarily about faith.  It just so happens that not smoking and not drinking are definitely healthy.  There have been some studies lately saying that tea and coffee are actually healthy, but I don’t drink them anyway because I made a promise not to.  When the vaccine came out, and the Church announced support of the vaccine, I prayed about it and did not get a strong feeling either way.  I did my own research and used some common sense and determined that it was not a good idea for me, a healthy man in my late-50s, to take this experimental vaccine.  I have not been seriously ill from COVID or anything else for many years, so I think my decision was a good one.  (Anecdote:  I know hundreds of people who weren’t vaccinated, and a handful of them were seriously injured by COVID, and I know hundreds of people who did take the jab, and most of them were not seriously injured by the vaccine, but I do know personally a dozen or so people who suffered immediate, lasting side effects from the vaccine.  Almost all of the unvaccinated people I know who were seriously injured by COVID were at high risk (ie, elderly, obese or suffering from diabetes or other risk factors). Just sharing my personal experience).
  • We will all have our faith tested in various ways during our Earthly journey.  I believe the Church’s recommendation on the vaccine is a test of faith for some people.  So, if you are a progressive Church member, you are tested on some social issues.  If you are a libertarian Church member, you are tested on the Church’s opposition to legalizing drugs.  If you are a conservative Church member, you are tested on the Church’s support of immigration.  This is another test.  You can pass the test, in my opinion, by still supporting the Brethren even though they urged members to take a vaccine that is failing.  The Church is not any less true because of this one issue.
  • Is it possible that more lives were saved than lost among older members and at-risk members because of the vaccine?  Yes, I think it is possible, although we will never know for sure.  For what it is worth, I believe most of the General Authorities were vaccinated, and we have not seen a huge amount of vaccine-related injuries among GAs.
  • The mission of the Church is to spread the Gospel.  The Church could not afford to be known as the “anti-vax church.”  The Church’s activities in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Austria and Germany may have been at risk if the Church had not urged members to take the vax.  it is simply naive and ignorant to believe that the Church did not act on masks and the jab for political reasons.  If you don’t accept that, you are going to have to wrap your head around the fact that we just had two General Conferences this year where nobody on the stands was masked, and yet COVID is still around.
  • I take the words of Joseph Smith very seriously when he said:  “I teach them the correct principles, and they govern themselves.”  I do not expect to be commanded in all things, and in fact my Church experience has been that I am commanded in nothing.  The Church emphasizes voluntary action, not force.  That is a very, very good thing.
  • I want to emphasize that the history of the Church shows that people are constantly tested in surprising ways.  Who would have guessed that many of the early leaders of the Church would have left in 1837 because of money issues related to the Kirtland Safety Society?  We will all be tested, and usually the test comes when we least expect it.  The test today is:  can you continue to support the Brethren, do your calling, go the temple, pay tithing and otherwise keep your covenants even though you may disagree with the prophets regarding the vaccines?

Here is my answer:  I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith, I know that Jesus Christ leads this Church and I know that Russell M. Nelson is a prophet of God.  I know that keeping my covenants and performing my Church duties brings joy for me and my family.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

39 thoughts on “The Church is still true even though the COVID vaccines are failing

  1. I made my decision not to get vaccinated based on:
    1. Imperfect and potentially unreliable evidence of vaccine damage early on. But I was just a persuasive as the bogus promasking pro shutdown evidence.
    2. My healthy body and fitness level
    3. My prior exposure to covid and robust fitness throughout infection.
    4. My careful reading of the prophetic letter didn’t jump to conclusions or misinterpret what he did and didn’t say.
    5. My age and location.

    All that said, I agree that my testimony was not affected in the least. I’m OK with the prophet making a judgment call. But I know several people who died, trusting in the prophet’s advice. I have to assume (and hope) that many others lived, trusting in his advice.

    What does seem clear though is that the primary reason for his urging if the vaccine is not revelation, but trusting in medical science and his owned reasoned judgement. There were no major organizations advocating against vaccination, while all the others lined up for it.

    What disturbs me about this is it reveals how manipulatable the prophet is (was) to speak out in such a way that he would not have otherwise without the “science”. If science can be manipulated ( and it is) and used to justify infringing on liberty, then you’ve created a strong incentive to manipulate science. If you refuse to let science, even if accurate, be a justification in itself, for infringement of freedom then you both protect freedom and science. We did neither. This is dangerous territory.

    All that said, the reality is he did so because the world was in a frenzy on this issue and we really needed to get back to normal, or something like it. We are still experiencing the effects of this disaster, and will for a generation. If the fauxvaccine killed some, saved some, did nothing for some, etc, the end result was the justification for overriding freedoms and facial expressions evaporated in time.

    Is that not worth it? Would we really rather the prophet called us to arms and engaged in direct combat with secret combination, with all the death and fallout among the innocents? What’s the better alternative?

    I think the prophets path was still the wisest, even as I sadly wished it could have been different.

  2. Do I still sustain my local and general church leaders? Yes I do.
    Do I trust them? No, I don’t.
    Do I have faith in the church? Absolutely not.
    Do I believe that the church is true? Parts of it.
    Do I look to the church for leadership in the establishment of Zion? No, we will have to do that ourselves.

    I have almost completely withdrawn myself from the other saints over the last two years. I have seen the ugly side of people when they have replaced faith with fear. I believe the greastest insight I have had from the prphet is to ‘Hear Him’.

  3. David, the response to the pandemic has created a lot of friction for the Saints. I have heard many, many stories about people lashing out at each other for various reasons. People who read this blog know that literally dozens of people who I considered friends attacked me personally for my opinions during the pandemic. Fear is a great motivator, and it caused many people to do things they have begun to regret. Forgiveness is difficult in such an environment, but forgiveness is essential to our progression. So, I would counsel forgiveness and I would also counsel following the prophet and local leaders as much as possible during the coming turbulent times. In terms of big picture issues, I don’t think they will lead you astray.

  4. I am a Latter-day Saint from Germany, a country that was mentioned in the post. I can assure you that the church’ standing in Germany would not have been affected by simply not giving advice to the members about whether they should take a jab or not.

    But I absolutely agree that some if not all of the messages from the church regarding this topic were and still are political in nature. However it is certainly not the task of the church to make any political statements. And of course I knew about certain exclusions from this rule in rare circumstances.

    The prophet used words and phrases that indicated that his message about getting vaccinated was not just his personal opinion. This message was drafted in a way that made it quite clear that he was using his prophetic authority. And in this case it is more than appropriate to ask yourself the question why he did this and how it can be reconciled with the fact that we still consider him a profit, seer, and revelator.

    What I really would like to see is that the prophet or the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve come out and explain why this message went out the way it did.

  5. Seb, this is exactly why I am writing this post. I guess there are a variety of different reactions I am seeing from Church members these days.

    I live in a conservative part of Colorado. In my ward and stake, the vast majority of members did not get vaccinated and are still active, still going to the temple, etc. And btw, none of these people had a severe response to COVID. So, they are mentally where I am, ie, the Church is still true even if we don’t understand why the Brethren supported the vaccine and the masks. But people in this group, and I would remind you this is the largest group where I live in Colorado, do of course wonder why the Brethren felt a need to speak out about this issue.

    Then there is a group of people who did get vaccinated. And they seem to be getting sick all the time. And many of them are asking themselves: “did we make a mistake by being vaccinated, and why did the Church urge us to do this?”

    And then there is a group of people, in my particular physical area a very small group, but a very vocal group online, who rushed out to get jabbed and who have not had any adverse reactions to the vaccine, and they are wondering what all of the fuss is about because obviously they believe the vaccine worked for them and for others. What is interesting about this group is that they seem to me to have a cult-like devotion to the vaccine and are completely uninterested in understanding the viewpoints of others. But I will note that I know a lot of people in this group, but even though they will defend the vaccine with cult-like intensity, very few of them are getting boosters and they are not vaccinating their kids for the most part. So, this group appears to have a disconnect between their words and their actions, and it will be interesting to see what happens if they or their family members or close friends develop unexplained severe health problems (like myocarditis) over time.

    And then of course there are others who got vaccinated and are just minding their own business and feel no need to virtue signal to others. Again, this group probably appreciates the prophet’s advice. But, again, what will happen if they or their friends develop unexplained severe health problems?

    The reason I keep on writing these posts is that people seem to be talking past each other and seem remarkably uninterested in understanding the viewpoints of others. Readers: just because you personally don’t have a problem with the vaccine does not mean that there are not hundreds of thousands other Church members who DO have a problem. And pretending that all is well in Zion will get us nowhere during this difficult time.

    Seb, one last point: if the Brethren do speak out on this issue, I think they will simply say they were following the best advice of the CDC, the WHO and other international health organizations. That is the simplest answer. Of course, one of the things that we have learned during the pandemic is that, unfortunately, government health organizations are completely bought and sold by the pharmaceutical companies and their advice simply cannot be trusted on issues like this. I see some evidence that Church leaders are beginning to know this. The fact that nobody wore a mask at two General Conferences this year may give us a hint. It is also interesting that Church leaders have not repeated the vaccine or mask advice in 14 months.

  6. Thoughts about the Word of Wisdom connection (sorry, side-topic): I see the findings of coffee and regular tea delivering health benefits as the result of a strong desire to find reasons why they’re healthy, because most people in the world are addicted to them, and can’t do without them. A lot of culture and social acceptance is built around them, like the drinking of alcohol, and those who are part of these cultures don’t want to lose them and want to feel legitimised in them, because they know already they’re addicted and it’s a semi-guilty pleasure. So they don’t want to feel bad about it anymore. Like a lot of vices, sins, and unhelpful habits these days – people want to feel good/okay about having them and indulging them and whatever it is they feel like doing (the idea that whatever one feels, especially whatever one feels good ‘inside’ about doing, or wants to, is good and should be supported), rather than feeling guilty or restrained because of rules, laws, and traditions.

    Coffee and tea aren’t the worst things in the world, but I can see a few reasons why they’re counseled against: addictive substances, history of exploitation in their production – including that they’re ‘cash crops’ and therefore take up land that could otherwise be used to grow nutritious food – coffee and tea being choices, not foods that give calorific nutrition – and that they do more harm than good, healthwise. Finding healthy elements with their use is a bit like that of alchohol (wine being easiest for this, it seems): there are health benefits, but these generally aren’t limited to those products – you don’t have to drink coffee or tea to get them – and the fact they have health benefits doesn’t eliminate their negative effects, which I think are greater than any benefits they might give. Also, most people can’t drink any of these things in moderation, which is where any benefits exist. They’re notoriously addictive. I’ve worked with tea and coffee drinkers in hospitality, and they’re truly addicted, with demanding and exacting behaviours related to having them. Specifically boiling hot and at regular intervals, or they feel they can’t function.

    Similar with wine consumption. Elements like reservatrols (hope that’s correct!) have been found to have benefits. But you can get those in dark grape juice or from grapes, for example. And it only works at certain levels. Beyond that, the negative effects outweigh them – like memory loss, brain cell destruction, alcoholism, etc.

    I think we’re meant to take these – the very few things specifically stated within this revelation and by prophets about its interpretation over time – and apply them ourselves to other products and activities. Anything which is prone to causing addiction. A lot of women Church members here are addicted to hot chocolate, for example – in disturbingly (to me) similar ways to coffee drinkers (hot, rich, and ‘now’). Also entertainment (TV, internet, gaming), a lot of foods and drinks, shopping, etc. I think the WoW is a guide in the sense of giving us a guide for how to manage the addictive elements of our modern, industrialised societies.

    Anyway, those’re my thoughts about this aspect. Sorry if it’s too off-topic for the vaccine focus of the article.

  7. Idealist, I’m sure you realize that I was only using the coffee and tea example simply to point out that the WoW is not only about health — it is about faith, and in my opinion more about faith than about health.

    Here is why: people today are much more addicted to sugar than they are to coffee and even to alcohol and tobacco, yet the WoW does not mention sugar at all. Latter-day Saints can happily drink their energy drinks or sodas filled with sugar and feel like they are still keeping the WoW. And then they are dying of diabetes at 62 years old. And we could discuss whether grains are really that healthy for you as well.

    I have had the “coffee is not healthy for you” discussion with nutritionists, and they have pointed to dozens of studies showing there is nothing wrong with two cups of coffee a day, especially when compared to, for example, the endless sodas that Latter-day Saints seem to slurp down. I am sorry, it is simply a losing battle to say that the WoW is all about health when we as Saints eat and drink all kinds of things that are not healthy.

    Now having said that we have a prophet who is approaching 100 and seems super-healthy and relatively young, and it is true that in general your average temple-attending 70-year-old Latter-day Saint looks a lot healthier than the 70-year-old bar-attending people you might encounter elsewhere. I think we can all agree that not drinking and not smoking is more healthy than drinking and smoking, and we can agree that coffee and tea are addictive and part of the purpose of the WoW is to prevent us from getting addicted to things.

    Anyway, this really is the subject of another post. This blog does a word of wisdom post every few years, and you get all kinds of opinions on the subject. I am going to ask you to wait for that post if you don’t mind. In the meantime, I would be interested in your opinion on the subject of this particular post, ie, what do you think about the Church’s stand on the vaccines?

  8. I haven’t had a cold in 20 years. I’m 81. My doctor told me 2 years ago the jab was a sham. My Prophet told me to take it. I see so many sick people who have taken it. My neighbor dropped dead. I still love my Prophet. Many things in life are confusing. This is one of them. It does NOT change the truthfulness of the gospel. I try to show wisdom and patience.

  9. Geoff,

    Juxtapose what transpired during Covid with President Nelson’s talk “Overcome the World and Find Rest”, delivered in the Sunday morning session of conference. In a particular paragraph President Nelson states:

    “What does it mean to overcome the world? It means overcoming the temptation to care more about the things of this world than the things of God. It means trusting the doctrine of Christ more than the philosophies of men. It means delighting in truth, denouncing deception, and becoming “humble followers of Christ.”

    The global Covid response was a manifestation of the destructive philosophies of men who put their trust in their own wisdom.and strength. The lockdowns and school closures and mandatory masking and vaccinations were evil. These impositions caused tremendous social and individual harm. The defense of these policies was based entirely on lies and deceptions.

    There is a more substantial concern than rehashing the Covid policies debate. It is: How can the Church and its leaders prepare the members for the second coming when they struggled so much with Covid?

    As bad as the political and social pressures were with Covid, they will only get worse as the gulf expands between the wicked and righteous. Our leadership shrunk before the pressure of whether to close chapels, to mandare masking and to promote a shot. How will they do with the pressure to embrace various forms of Paganism and Idolatry or be shutout of financial markets? Or the pressure to embrace the deceptions of D.E.I and ESG. and other vain agendas or be denied employment, or university accreditation?

    One can appreciate the Lord doesn’t need a physical army to go to battle to cut down adversarial forces. No, the Lord has a plan to destroy the wicked. But the Lord needs saints who discern right from wrong and who prove themselves willing to stand for Truth & Righteousness no matter the pressures of the world. Doing this will ultimately require the Saints of God to separate themselves from the wicked.

    The LDS justification for embracing Covid protocols was that this was the cost of being part of the world. Someday we LDS willl need to act separate or independent from the world or else we will be consumed by it. If not now, when?

  10. Since you mentioned it:
    Coffee and tea are not addictive. They contain caffeine, of course. Caffeine intake is, of course, not against the WoW. And caffeine is not addictive in a physiological sense. You can develop a strong habit of having coffee or tea. And habits can strongly influence our behaviors. But that’s not addiction. The words, habit and addiction should never be used synonymously.

    As mentioned before the WoW is not first and foremost about any substance. It is a test of faith. Coffee and tea, as well as tobacco are used by billions of people daily. When the WoW asks us to abstain from these things, we are automatically being made different. We are made different compared to the rest of the world. We are set aside. And that is the literal meaning of the word holy or holiness.

    So personally, I usually don’t use any medical or health references when talking about the WoW. Knowledge about health effects of certain substances evolve over time. Smoking tobacco was once considered healthy. Today we know better.

    But when discussing the WoW I always try to put the focus on the faith aspect.

  11. I agree with you, Carolyn. But since we consider our prophet as well as the 12 apostles to be prophets, seers, and revelators, we have to hold them to a higher standard. Especially when they speak with prophetic authority.

    So I do believe that the prophet coming out and asking members to get vaccinated has done far more harm than good. And I don’t mean that in a medical sense. I mean that in a spiritual sense.

    If and when the prophet speaks with prophetic authority, we have to have the assurance and the certainty, that what he is saying comes from God. He can speak his own mind as well, of course. But in the case he invokes his prophetic authority, we must be sure that what he is saying comes from God.

    So what I would like to see here is that the church comes forth and tells us that it was a personal opinion of the prophet and he was not speaking with prophetic authority. I doubt the church will do that.

  12. Seb,

    Reading this letter from the FP to the church, I see no hint of revelation:

    I see reasonable sounding and pretty accurate advice as far as the best science of the day was indicating at the time. And the reality is, nearly all of society (because they were duped, but it made no difference) was obsesses with covid and would not feel comfortable opening back up until vaccinated. A sizable number still feel uncomfortable after 4 vaccinations….

    I’m pretty confident, if at the time of that letter, there were widespread documented and accepted reports by the media and science of people dying in the studies and kids dying and having heart conditions, bells palsy, etc. the public, doctors, and consequently, the church leaders would not have had the same advice. The difference is, to this day, the evidence of vaccine damage is ignored or waived away for any number of reasons.

    Next, read this study regarding coffee/caffeine and dependency:

    Since most of the world has their head in the sand when it comes to coffee, it’s difficult to get people to see reason on this. But the simple fact that caffeine increases your heart rate, increases blood pressure, and decreases the flow of blood through the constriction of your blood vessels. The combination of all of those does not sound positive. Well known research, I won’t provide a link to prevent spam flagging. Even more alarming, at a cellular level, caffeine binds to receptors in the cell that are used by other natural (in body) chemicals. Fortunatey, our bodies are pretty resilient, but that doesn’t mean we should just damage them away because they can take a beating and keep on ticking in my view.

    Next, the body develops not only a dependency to caffeine as cited above, but develops a resistance to it that means it’s impact wanes over time, which might sound positive, but it really is just indicative of damaged cell receptors, and the necessity to increase the intake of caffeine to have the same effect.

    Sugar is of course, no better, and arguably far worse because of how we consume it (I supposed if we consumed caffeine in equal quantities to sugar we’d be dead pretty quickly though).

  13. Seb. I appreciate your comments. They probably mirror my feelings. I guess I have pushed them to the back of my mind. I do believe people have been harmed. And I have been criticized for my stance. I stop short of criticizing the Prophet. And wait patiently as I have done my whole life when things confused me in the Church.

  14. I guess I am losing the battle to keep this post on the original subject.

    The WoW does not prohibit caffeine — it prohibits tea from the tea leave and coffee. Here is the 2019 statement from the Church on the subject:

    “The Word of Wisdom is a law of health for the physical and spiritual benefit of God’s children. It includes instruction about what foods are good for us and those substances to avoid. Over time, Church leaders have provided additional instruction on those things that are encouraged or forbidden by the Word of Wisdom, and have taught that substances that are destructive, habit-forming or addictive should be avoided.

    In recent publications for Church members, Church leaders have clarified that several substances are prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, including vaping or e-cigarettes, green tea, and coffee-based products. They also have cautioned that substances such as marijuana and opioids should be used only for medicinal purposes as prescribed by a competent physician.”

    Having been in two bishoprics, I can tell you that the official word from the GAs on decaffeinated coffee was: don’t drink it. So, it is not about the caffeine, it is about the coffee. (This does not mean you should not avoid addictive substances — the point I am making is that if the word of wisdom were about caffeine, then members could drink decaffeinated coffee and still keep the WoW, but they can’t).

    More here:

  15. Carolyn, you wrote:

    “I stop short of criticizing the Prophet. And wait patiently as I have done my whole life when things confused me in the Church.”

    God bless you! This is exactly the right thing to do. Church history has shown us that the Church members who are on the wrong path are the ones who criticize the prophet or lose faith when they are confused by Church policies. I always say: “put it on a shelf. You may understand the issue sometime later, but meanwhile keep the faith.”

  16. Disciple, you wrote:

    “The LDS justification for embracing Covid protocols was that this was the cost of being part of the world. Someday we LDS willl need to act separate or independent from the world or else we will be consumed by it. If not now, when?”

    I completely understand this position, and I share your frustration. I think you have read a lot of my posts on this subject, and I keep on wondering the same thing: when will the Saints be advised to separate ourselves from the world? I really wish we were more like the Amish in that sense.

    The answer is: not yet.

  17. Geoff,
    The “yet” will likely arrive when the world ripens in iniquity and collapses under its own weight. Many of us know this, and see it coming cleary as a “when, not if” sorta thing.

    I think where the frustration comes is that group of Saints is splintered among those who are still receiving the Lords servants and those who want the Lords servants to receive them.

    I can understand both camps, but I’m personally not invested in anyway at criticizing areas where I think they might have made a mistake, because in totality, their actions are almost certainly the best path considering the circumstances.

    If you disagree, feel free to fault every general in history who marched their troops to battle with hopes of victory knowing some will die or even that they will all likely lose. Look forward with faith and accept what comes and you are better off.

    Now, those that remain critical are too stubborn to accept that the secret combinations have already won, and barking at them like a maddog will not bring them down. And the prophet, for all his positive abilities, can not preempt the Lord and force his hand. If they have weakness and err, trust that the Lord called them in their weakness and maybe even specifically because they need to seemingly err for the ultimate good (ie Peter, denial).
    Uncomfortable thoughts, but we should not presume that what looks like a tactical mistake in the short term is not for the best in the long run.

  18. Ps, I said nothing about caffeine being against the word of wisdom as written. It’s just not wise to use habitually.

  19. I’ll also do not criticize the Prophet. However I have made clear that I would wish for a clarification from church leaders about this matter.

    In my opinion it should be made clear when a prophet or an apostle speaks for himself and when he does it on behalf of the church and with prophetic authority. This does not mean that we should not follow or at least consider what a prophet or an apostle is saying of his own opinion. There should however be a visible line between personal opinions and speaking with prophetic authority.

  20. Sorry to continue with the WoW side topic. Just a couple of thoughts.

    I tend to view the WoW as a consecrating (i.e. Nazarites) or differentiating from the world by the Saints, regardless of the latest perceived benefits or detriments of coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, etc.

    That being said, although caffeine is not prohibited, I am finding fewer and fewer benefits from it and would be careful about taking too much of it. To add on to the issues that Sute mentioned previously, the relatively long half life of caffeine in the body and its ability to block adenosine receptors can significantly impact sleep patterns. The importance of sleep to us is not only physical and mental, but I would argue spiritual as well; at least it seems that way in the scriptures…

    By the way, decaffeinated coffee is not caffeine free. It still has 5-10% of “normal” coffee.

  21. Geoff: The reason I wrote about that is that I wanted to correct, or show a deeper perspective regarding these things that are purported by studies to show health benefits. You could see it in a similar way to studies that purport health benefits to the vaccines for this virus.

    I disagree on the assessment that the WoW is purely spiritual and has next to no practical application. Of course, it’s not only practical: it’s both. Our physical bodies are essential in this learning process, so how we take care of them is central to the Plan of Happiness, as we’re all aware. It is also very much about the perils of our modern world: what ‘experts’ say and the power they’ve gained, what those who are powerful and want to keep it ang gain more do to that end, etc. We need to make our ways through this minefield, and the WoW is a very basic guide for some for that.

    I’m sorry for taking it off topic due to that, but I noticed the detail and couldn’t ignore it. The other detail I noticed was about people with conservative philosophies having trouble with immigration – it’s excessive and unmitigated, unwisely-planned immigration that’s the concern there, not immigration itself.

    But segué over, you’ve expressed the situation with the vaccines and the official Church response so well and comprehensively that I don’t have anything to add – I agree, overall. I’m just really disappointed the world went that way.

  22. Bullet #4 is where I’ve been the whole time, and it’s where I still am, and I see nothing wrong with it, and quite a lot of long-game upside. Everything about the Church’s mask/vax decisions was grounded in being good neighbors, as this particular problem at this particular time wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Something way worse is coming, and the Church is now positioned to say “we did our part last time, we’ve been the best neighbors we could be, but on this we must draw a line.”

  23. Apostel Bednar used almost the same phrase of drawing a line in a talk in 2020.

    Apostles use to talk cautiously and diplomatically about issues. But this talk was in my opinion extremely straightforward and in your face. Not much diplomacy here:

  24. “we did our part last time, we’ve been the best neighbors we could be, but on this we must draw a line.”

    Do we have any recent examples? Missiles in Utah maybe? But that’s kind of different.

    If the government says, no church buildings can be built or operated if you exclude gay couples from full participation, I don’t know what the church would do.

    Draw the line? Plural marriage ended when the government drew that line. And the was among a much more hardened group of leaders and members who were not so tightly dependent on the rest of society. Today, we are fully dependent on being in societies good graces.

    When banks say, no accounts or transfers etc for “bigoted” organizations, what will the church do? Draw a line?

    Placing a muzzle on child for hours, days, weeks, years, didn’t draw any outrage, but two dudes who don’t understand biology with a piece of paper with a state sponsored stamp showing up at the door is the line?

    I’ll take gay dudes in the pews who have no understanding about biology over masking my children.

    And for the record, gay dudes are wrong on so many dimensions.

  25. Hi Sute,

    You may be touching on one subtle reason why the church may be working so fast to get as many temples permitted and built now. It is hard to tell people that they cannot attend a gathering in a private building. It is far simpler to block building permits…

  26. It’s true that the First Presidency “urged” people to be vaccinated. However, it seems to me that there is one element that is being missed – this sentence in the First Presidency’s original statement on vaccines: “Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination.”

    I felt very conflicted about receiving any vaccine. But I feel that I followed the prophet in making my own decision, including being prayerful and following the promptings I received from the Lord.

    Perhaps, this was more about receiving our own personal revelations. Prior to this the Prophet was also counseling us to “Hear Him.” And that is the key to any important decisions in our lives, including our health. It’s sad that there is such a divide between those who support vaccines and those who do not. It is a personal choice according to the dictates of our own conscience and following the Spirit, and therefore, we shouldn’t judge another’s choice or decision.

  27. Mike: this is an interesting idea.

    Jude: Yes! It’s really, really easy for us to move straight to either/or thinking and speaking about stuff like this. Although part of the needed discussion and thought about issues, it does obscure more foundational and important principles, like whether you’re learning how to receive personal revelation, or your faith is developing, or you’re coming closer to accepting God’s will humbly. These and the rest really underly everything, don’t they, and that’s most often what our General Authorites talk about and try to get us to look at.

  28. Interesting discussion because this week I was assigned a talk on the message of the Prophet, so read all of his five years of talks. Every time I read his mention of COVID it makes me sad, but at this point its less important. As to its importance to every other message he had? Not much at all. He talks about it maybe two times in part of longer sermons, and usually in reference to the Temple closings. He quotes another Prophet that there would be days when temples were not accessible because of outside forces and how to deal with that situation.

    Ninety five percent of his other messages were about relying less on the Church and more on personal and family daily personal progression, along with gathering living and dead Israel. Perhaps COVID was more of a test on how we will use, again another of his major messages, our own resources to personal revelation over reliance on others. I know that reading ALL his words and not focusing on one controversy has really helped me better appreciate him as a religious leader.

    As to the Word of Wisdom, important as it might be, it is “for the least” of the Saints, meaning it shouldn’t be that complicated to follow. Not drinking tea and coffee and alcohol is not the end goal, but the beginning. Too many emphasize those three parts while neglecting the greater obedience to God, such as loving our neighbors or following the Ten Commandments. As an example, caffeine might not be the reasoning, but my observation of those who drink it and how it has effected them and me has convinced me to stay away from the drug physically and spiritually. Still, if I don’t treat my friends and neighbors with Christlike kindness then it won’t matter what I put in my body.

  29. Jettboy, good comment. I especially liked this part:

    “Ninety five percent of his other messages were about relying less on the Church and more on personal and family daily personal progression, along with gathering living and dead Israel. Perhaps COVID was more of a test on how we will use, again another of his major messages, our own resources to personal revelation over reliance on others. I know that reading ALL his words and not focusing on one controversy has really helped me better appreciate him as a religious leader.”

    The primary message I have gotten from President Nelson is that I have to do a better job being self-reliant spiritually and temporally and do a better job in my callings and in being a good father and husband. So, in recognition of this, I am doing a better job with my health and doing my own due diligence on health advice from public authorities. I lost 25 pounds and have kept it off. I am eating must less junk. It is this advice from the prophet (and my general contrarian nature, let’s be honest) that caused me to investigate the truth about the COVID jabs. What I found out: I will never take these experimental mRNA jabs, and I will certainly never give them to my kids, at least not until they are much less experimental.

  30. “David, the response to the pandemic has created a lot of friction for the Saints. I have heard many, many stories about people lashing out at each other for various reasons.”

    Which is prima facie evidence that the response to the pandemic, and in particular, its immediate political weaponization by a particularly focused, ambitious and energetic side of the ideological and political spectrum, was grounded in the aims and desires of that spirit who rebelled at the beginning and sought the throne of God and became an enemy of all righteousness.

    The church ended polygamy for a similar reason that it seems to have determined to “go along to get along” in this instance, that being that the church would have been crushed by the state (what we would call today being “cancelled” even though there was no modern media or “pop culture” then as we know it today).

    And those activities (the traditional three-fold mission of the church) take presence over the church involving itself in bitter political strife and warfare (the church’s historic declining of involvement with politics per se, save for certain specific moral/cultural issues, has served it well). I do notice that, while many conservative members took President Russell’s counsel as counsel, and, like Geoff, interpreted it as rather a Word of Wisdom approach (study it out in your mind, educate yourself by study and by faith, pray, mediate, and come to your own conclusion based on individual circumstances), many progressive members took his counsel as doctrine and as something of a commandment (balking at which is indicative of rebellion and apostasy).

    These are mostly, it should be noted, many of the same people who support the OWM and look forward to homosexual temple sealings at some future time.

  31. “And caffeine is not addictive in a physiological sense. You can develop a strong habit of having coffee or tea. And habits can strongly influence our behaviors. But that’s not addiction.”

    This is simply false. Caffeine is a stimulant drug (one of a body of alkaloids found in various natural substances) and, at least in susceptible people, create a low-level addiction syndrome characterized by the three main indicators of such a syndrome: dependence, tolerance and withdrawal.

    No, its not cocaine or meth, but its classed with them as a stimulant and the addiction syndrome associated with caffeine (known as “caffienism” in the 19th century) is well understood.

    While caffeine is not prohibited by the WoW, without the presence of caffeine in coffee and tea, it is quite likely that very few human beings would imbibe either to any significant degree. Caffeine has also been traditionally added to certain soda drinks as, quite obviously, an addicting agent (well above and beyond the quantity normally found in the cola nut, for example).

    Each and every prohibited substance found in the WoW has one element that binds them all together: the potential for addiction and the dominance of the spirit by compelling cravings of the flesh.

  32. Loran, I am beginning to develop a thesis that if you use Church statements to reinforce pre-existing ideological beliefs, and use these statements as a weapon, you are on the wrong track. It is clear to me that progressives did this during the pandemic and some others (including former writers on this blog) did this repeatedly. In essence, the masks and lockdowns and vaccines were idols for these people, and when the Church seemed supportive, they used the Church support as a weapon to attack people and to drum up hatred towards people with differing views.

    It seems clear to me that this is what the Pharisees did during Jesus’s time. When it came to the Sabbath Day they concentrated on the RULES and attacked any kind of rule-breaking rather than try to understand the true purpose of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. You also saw this with the woman caught in adultery — the poor woman was literally used as a weapon to attack the Savior. Have you ever considered how the Pharisees caught this woman in the very act? Isn’t it possible that one of the Pharisees set her up, knowing that Jesus would be there? So at the end of the day they didn’t really care that much about the adultery — they cared about using her as a political pawn.

    The same thing went on with the masks and the lockdowns and the vax. The LDS progressives and the other LDS people admonishing others on social media were concerned mostly about enforcing conformity and attacking people who asked questions. Did they really care about “saving lives?” I have my doubts, because when I pointed out to them that people were being killed because health services were focused only on one threat, they did not care. And now of course there is overwhelming evidence that 1)the masks never did anything 2)the lockdowns caused much more harm than good and 3)the vax is, at the very least, problematic and possibly more dangerous than helpful. And yet the virtue signaling Covidians, for the most part, refuse to look at reality and continue to enforce conformity, again showing no actual concern for people who have been harmed by the RESPONSE to the pandemic.

    One of the things we are studying in Come Follow Me this week in Ezekiel is how important it is to give your heart over to the Savior. The outward performances, the virtue signaling, the public enforcement of church rules and admonishment of those who in your opinion don’t follow the rules — these are the acts of the Pharisees. The Lord wants you to repent and admit you are a sinner and ask for forgiveness — while turning your heart toward Him. Too few of us are actually doing that.

  33. The fact of the matter is, it is now three years since COVID first arrived, and I’m still seeing people, in fair numbers, including apparently young, healthy men and women, maksed in stores, walking on sidewalks in a firm breeze, masked while walking through nearly deserted parking lots, and every now and then, yes, driving their cars with the windows rolled up…masked.

    A number of people are going to be found still wearing masks (essentially still cowering in cringing fear) many years hence, and this is just as many of those now popularly termed “global elites” would have it.

    As Paul Muab Dib said: “Fear is the mind-killer.”

  34. “In essence, the masks and lockdowns and vaccines were idols for these people, and when the Church seemed supportive, they used the Church support as a weapon to attack people and to drum up hatred towards people with differing views.”

    Indeed. Many years ago, on my own blogs (including several FB groups which, to say the least, I’ve had trouble with FB keeping alive), I developed a concept I call the “idolatry of ideology.” That does not mean, of course, “ideology” in the lexical sense of just a body of beliefs or ideas, but in the modern sense as long employed by that which we call “the Left” or, in other words, grand ideological templates explaining all human phenomena and pointing the way to utopian human redemption and felicity (in essence, using politics, technology and deep social and economic restructuring to overcome the effects of the fall, but quite without Christ).

    I took note, at least two years ago and probably more, of the way in which the visceral bifurcation and hostility of progressives to anyone who balked at and questioned the severity of Covid or the necessity of the vaccines (let alone mandates emanating from people who had no electoral accountability or legitimacy) or who questioned the lockdowns mirrored with eerie precision the same cultural and political warfare found in the “climate change” issue as well as others of note (such as abortion, homosexual marriage or now, gender ideology).

    There is no cultural and political warfare found over treatments for heart disease, stoke, cancer, diabetes or enlarged prostate, just as no one quarrels or threatens loss of job, livelihood or cancellation (essentially Maoist-like expulsion from society) over plate tectonics or what the surface of Mars is like.

    Its interesting to watch how, when science, once thought the last bastion against political correctness, has become a battlefield similar in every way to those fields of battle found in the humanities and social sciences in academia and the world of politics.

  35. “Have you ever considered how the Pharisees caught this woman in the very act? Isn’t it possible that one of the Pharisees set her up, knowing that Jesus would be there? So at the end of the day they didn’t really care that much about the adultery — they cared about using her as a political pawn.”

    I never really did, but now that you mention it, it would be, yes, hardly at odds with much of that which we see in the political world today.

  36. Loran, I am so proud of you for using a quotation from Dune!

    On a more serious note I like what you said about ideologues using anything but Christ in an effort to overcome the effects of the Fall. This becomes a 21st century version of idolatry. I see that in our addiction recovery ministry. People place addictions, habits, behaviours and thought patters before God when seeking relief from their underlying issues.

  37. Loran:
    Caffeism is a result of high doses over a prolonged period of time. You can severely damage your health if you intake very high sodium amounts over a longer period of time or simply put if you eat way too much salt. It will severely damage your health. Nevertheless, salt is neither addictive nor dangerous, taken in the right amount. The simple fact that too much of anything harms your health is not evidence for something being dangerous in itself.

    And salt is a good example. If you intake a high amount of salt over a longer period of time, first your body will adjust. Your kidneys will secrete more sodium. That helps to keep the sodium level in your bloodstream at the right level. If you then suddenly reduce your salt intake, your body needs time to adjust. So in the first few days you will have problems. Is this a sign of addiction? No, of course not. Your body just adapted to the higher intake of sodium. The same is true for water evidently.

    You are right, they are studies which suggests that caffeine might cause slight withdrawal syndromes if the intake is stopped. Drinking coffee or any other caffeinated drinks forms a habit. So if you stop it, your mind and body needs time to adjust. And during this period it is very difficult to distinguish between physical manifestations of withdrawal effects and psychological or even placebo effects because a long formed habit has ceased.

    You stipulate that people would not drink coffee or tea without the caffeine in it. The caffeine content of tea is quite low. Additionally caffeine in tea is bound to certain other substances causing it to be released in the body very slowly. In other words the effect of the caffeine in tea is way, way less than that of coffee. So while people might drink coffee for the caffeine evidence suggesting just like that for tea it’s not very strong.

    You also right that caffeine is added to soda drinks to form an addiction. I would strongly disagree. The caffeine content in traditional soda drinks like Coke or Mountain Dew is quite low. Traditional soda drinks most times contain less than 1/3 of the caffeine amount of coffee. Depending on the soda drink the amount often is even less. So for the caffeine to have any effect on the body at these levels you have to consume large amounts of soda.

    Once again let me emphasis that everybody should decide for himself whether or not he eats or drinks or consumes anything. My decision should not influence yours and vice versa. If somebody abstains from consuming caffeine that’s totally fine. So is the opposite.

    A former bishop of mine never drank any hot drinks. He made a decision whether or not he should drink something on the temperature of the specific drink. So why most of us are totally fine with drinking herbal teas or hot chocolate this bishop would not touch such drinks. That was how he personally interpreted the word of wisdom. He shared this with others if the topic arose. But he never ever expected others to follow his example.

  38. Loran:
    You wrote: “As Paul Muab Dib said: “Fear is the mind-killer.”

    You are totally right! You can totally turn people against other peoples just by fear. Fear is the most effective tool in controlling other people. And politicians notice of course.

    I am from Germany. The history of my people is a sad example of this. Just think about the Third Reich. Its foundations were built on fear. Fear directed against Jews and other supposedly less worth races and groups of people. After the second world war the eastern parts of Germany where I grew up were under communist rule. Fear again was the dominant force. People feared that they might be overheard and caught using the wrong words or expressing the wrong or forbidden thoughts.

    Since I grew up under communism I immediately spotted the similarities when Covid began. Governments all over the world once again used fear to control people. Sure, at the beginning nobody really knew anything about this new disease. So errors were made. Understandably. I guess nobody would blame governments for making mistakes at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. But that was only the beginning. It became evident quite quickly that COVID was much less dangerous than initially thought. But the fear mongering continued.

    And think about what governments achieved. Basic and constitutionally granted rights were trampled all over the world. And resistance from the people was negligible. So rights once deemed sacred were brought down almost overnight.

    Governments will remember this. They now know that with a little fear they can do anything without much opposition. And exactly this is what is so incredibly dangerous. Yes you are right, fear is still governing many, many people. And if you think about it, these are the hallmarks of Satan’s work. He wants to induce fear into the hearts of men. And unfortunately he’s very effective.

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