Ye Shall Not Fear

It has been amusing to watch progressive members of the Church cheer when they perceive Church policy is in their favor. I refer to recent cheering related to promoting mask wearing as the most recent example.

Here at M*, we have always supported Church policy. So, when the Church came out against same-sex marriage, we added our voice in favor of the Church’s position. Most progressives didn’t like that at all. And when the Church came out in favor of a compassionate immigration policy, we were in favor. Many traditional conservatives didn’t like that either. And when the Church came out against drug legalization, we supported the Church position, and of course many libertarians were upset.

As a blog, we always support Church policy, and this includes mask wearing. So, as one of the founding members of this blog, I would like to re-emphasize that I personally support Church policy on mask wearing. People should wear masks at Church and they should wear masks at the temple, and they should wear masks in other common sense situations.

We are also in favor of the Church policy against fear. In fact, if you search on, you will find dozens of talks urging Church members to have faith and not fear the world around us. I have never seen a talk that says that you should not fear, except when there is a virus with a 99.5 percent survival rate if you are under 70 years old.

Fear is one of the greatest motivators. I think we can safely argue that one of the reasons President Trump won the presidency in 2016 is that he used fear against Hillary Clinton and fear against many other groups to motivate people to vote for him. Joe Biden also presumably won in 2020 by ginning up fear against President Trump and against the virus. Fear is the basis of many successful marketing campaigns.

But ginning up fear is primarily about manipulation, and manipulation usually means emphasizing certain details while ignoring others. So, we hear about some studies, but others, which are better in quality, are conveniently ignored because they don’t stir up enough fear. Many of us are smart enough to know when we are being manipulated, but many others are not. Of course, the primary source of evil here are the people doing the manipulating, but we also have some responsibility for controlling our own fears.

If your fear is causing you to lash out at others who are doing nothing more than disagreeing with you, then you are at fault, not the people expressing an opinion you don’t like. If your fear is prompting you to accost people and insist they behave in certain ways (such as telling other people to wear a mask), you are a victim of manipulation and fear. You need to realize this and learn to control yourself. There is no heroism in being a busy-body who feels a need to tell others how to behave. Mind your own business. If you cannot mind your own business, you are 100 percent responsible for the contention that takes place. (There are, of course, exceptions for cases when people are causing DIRECT, DELIBERATE HARM to other people, in which case intervention is often justified. A person not wearing a mask is not causing direct, deliberate harm to people, and you should just ignore him or her. If you feel a need to get in this person’s face and tell him to wear a mask, you are either stupid (because you may catch the virus from this person) or you are a hypocrite because you don’t really believe the person is a threat, but you want to control another person’s behavior.)

I have lost dozens of friends, perhaps as many as 100, over the last year or so simply because I expressed opinions these other people did not like. Most of these people were social media friends, but some of them were friends in real life. And the thing that I did wrong was write or say something they didn’t like.

Here on this blog, I wrote something that one long-time friend did not like a few months ago, and he called me out publicly in a way that showed that he actually did not understand what I wrote. He later clarified his position and apologized, and we are still friends. Another person on this blog did the same thing more recently, and he accused me publicly and in private of going against Church policy. When I asked him to name an example, he had none. I want to repeat this: this person accused me, a temple recommend-holding proud member of this Church of opposing Church policy, something I have never done since being baptized. And he did it publicly and in private. But he has no evidence and no examples.

What could be motivating such strange behavior? I don’t know for sure, but it seems fear has something to do with it.

Just in case I was somehow in the wrong on this issue, I had long discussions last night with my bishop and my wife. These are the people I trust most on personal worthiness issues. I laid out the facts of what I believe and what I have written, and both my bishop and my wife told me that they had no questions about my personal worthiness. In fact, both of them told me to continue speaking out against man-made policies (lockdowns and other government mandates) that are harming so many people during this pandemic.

One of my goals this year has been to decrease fear of the virus. Of course we should take it seriously and take common sense measures to avoid harming the most vulnerable. But we should live our lives and allow others to live their lives. Life is inherently about taking some risk. We will all die eventually. There is no reason to live if we are stuck in our homes for years on end, afraid to venture out into the world because we may catch a virus with a very high survival rate. If you are at high risk, then of course you should stay at home. But if you are not, you should live your life.

That is my primary message: do not let yourself be controlled by fear. Live your life. And I am happy to report that the most respected epidemiologists and health policy experts agree with me. They have put together something called the Great Barrington Declaration, which says, in part:

Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.  Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

You may have noticed that this statement has not gotten as much publicity as is warranted given the number of scientists (more than 12,000) and medical practioners (more than 38,000) who have signed the declaration. Again, we live in a society motivated by fear, and some people prefer to live in fear and attempt to censor those who disagree with them rather than move away from fear.

I want to share with you the incredibly sad story of the latest victim of the lockdowns. This is the story of high school freshman Spencer Smith who killed himself because of the COVID-19 restrictions on high school football and because he was continually locked in the house because of the irrational fear of people in his school district. As I have pointed out in other posts, suicide is skyrocketing because of the lockdowns, and school children are among the most tragic victims.

I share with you a 2004 talk from Elder Packer, that is relevant to what we are living through today:

When I was a boy, childhood diseases appeared regularly in every community. When someone had chicken pox or measles or mumps, the health officer would visit the home and place a quarantine sign on the porch or in the window to warn everyone to stay away. In a large family like ours, those diseases would visit by relay, one child getting it from another, so the sign might stay up for weeks.

We could not blockade ourselves inside our homes or stay hidden away to avoid those terrible contagions. We had to go to school, to employment, to church—to life!….

…Encourage our young people. They need not live in fear (see D&C 6:36). Fear is the opposite of faith.

While we cannot erase wickedness, we can produce young Latter-day Saints who, spiritually nourished, are immunized against evil influences.

Unfortunately, too many people today do not heed the counsel of modern-day prophets. They appear addicted to fear. One of the results is the lockdowns and mandates that are destroying our freedom. Another result is the contention that is hurting personal relationships and ending friendships. The true message of the Gospel is that of Elder Packer — do not live in fear!

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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.

34 thoughts on “Ye Shall Not Fear

  1. Thanks, Geoff.
    I would add that Elder Renlund ‘s counsel on following medical guidance as a sign of Christ-luke love is spot on.
    Also, while I’m against government mandates, we need to honor rules set by private companies. If Walmart says wear a mask inside, then wear a mask. In such an instance, people should have the right to kindly approach the person and remind them to follow the rule.
    While a small percentage die, hospitals are overwhelmed, and many end up with lasting side effects. Caution and kindness, even charity, to care for the interest of our neighbors is a Christian thing to do (see D&C 82).

  2. Geoff: This is the stuff of a great blog. I am not a fan of blogs, really, but long live this one! This is a wise, helpful, edifying blog. This post is the most!

    P.S., why are there so comparatively many black breathing masks? Mine are white! I like white, but I’m beginning to feel like an oddball out there.

  3. Gerald, a few answers:

    1)On Elder Renlund, yes.
    2)There should be no government mandates related to COVID. However, if Wal Mart, which is a private company, says it wants its patrons to wear masks, then you should wear a mask inside Wal Mart. Presumably other stores may make other decisions, and you should be able to choose to shop at other stores if you don’t want to wear a mask.
    3)Wal Mart employees should remind its patrons to wear masks. Other customers going to Wal Mart should mind their own business. If they want to ask a Wal Mart employee to remind a customer to wear a mask, that is the preferred method of dealing with the problem. If the customers get in the face of the person without a mask, they are either stupid or hypocrites, and they are in the wrong.
    4)Hospitals are NOT overwhelmed nationwide. There are some cases of hospitals in certain locations being overwhelmed, but most hospitals are run by private companies, so when you hear that a hospital is at 90 percent, that is actually what the hospitals want and are prepared for. Many people with non-COVID sicknesses are not going to hospitals and are waiting for the latest surge to pass, so in fact many hospitals are completely empty, which is what happened during the March/April/May COVID surge. If you don’t believe me, go to a few of your local hospitals wherever you live and ask the hospitals if they are overwhelmed. The vast majority will say no.
    5)Being kind and charitable to people is always the Christian thing to do. It would be nice if people were also kind and charitable to people who write things they disagree with. (This is not aimed at you, Gerald, you are usually kind).

  4. Thank you. I need somewhere to go where people express ideas that I agree with. I love the prophets and strive to follow them. I want to be careful around others and not potentially spread a virus that may cause them harm. But I am very worried about businesses and schools being shut down. I agree there is too much fear and not enough rational perspective.

  5. I hope everyone will voluntarily wear masks during this period of concern while inside shops and other buildings or outdoors where distancing isn’t practicable. I see this as protecting oneself while being courteous to others.

  6. Geoff,
    Thank you for your posts. They reach and encourage more people than you know. They have uplifted me many times this past year.

  7. Geoff, my brother went to a hospital this past weekend with pneumonia. The doctor recommended he stay a few days, as it was advanced. No beds. This in Utah. They sent him home with steroids and oxygen. So, yes, there are places that are at full capacity.
    I agree that the preferable method is for Walmart employees to manage their own customers.Though it is clear that they do not, because the employees are not police officers and not trained to deal with such controversy.

  8. A few thoughts:

    While the opposite of fear should be faith or courage, we should be careful that it not spill over into recklessness. Such is the case with one of my relatives (through marriage).

    This man in his mid-30s self-identifies as a Libertarian, refuses to let anyone else tell him what to do (including wearing a mask), and decided to not live in fear regarding COVID. He found out one of his friends had it and intentionally spent an extended period of time with the friend with the intent of getting the illness. It worked. This same young and healthy relative then went on to spend time in the home of his parents who are in their early 60s. Again, he refused to mask up or tell his parents what he had done.

    Both parents got COVID from him. His mother was down for a week and had lingering effects for several more. His father was down for three weeks and, more than 2 months later, is still not fully back to normal. In this case, yes, I would like to chew his ear off for being so arrogant and reckless!

    I grieve for those who have suffered due to loss of employment, to forced confinement, and to the many other effects of the extreme lock-down policies enacted by governments. I also grieve for those who have suddenly lost parents or grandparents to the illness. I have relatives who are healthcare workers and I know that they in fact do live with a certain amount of fear coming in contact with COVID patients daily, and when they go home they fear possibly infecting family members. These relatives have seen people die before their eyes from this disease and it is not pretty.

    I am all for following all of the safety protocols (distancing, disinfecting, washing, masks) when in public indoor venues. If I see another person not doing these things, I will practice extreme social distancing! However, if I am seated on an airplane next to someone who won’t follow these protocols, you better believe I will say something, or ask to be reseated.


  9. Commenters, thanks for the kind comments so far. I am reminded of this 2016 quotation from President Nelson: “You will have days when you will be thoroughly discouraged. So, pray for courage not to give up! You will need that strength because it will become less and less popular to be a Latter-day Saint. Sadly, some whom you thought were your friends will betray you. And some things will simply seem unfair.”

  10. John Sandorf, your Libertarian friend is in the wrong. Many of my friends are libertarians, and none of the people I know would do such a thing.

    Regarding this comment: “However, if I am seated on an airplane next to someone who won’t follow these protocols, you better believe I will say something, or ask to be reseated.”

    You would be right to say something to the flight attendant, but I would strongly urge you not saying anything to the person directly. The flight attendants have the power of the law to make the person wear a mask, and in fact somebody who does not follow flight attendant recommendations can be arrested. You don’t have the power of the law behind your comments. I have traveled more than 100,000 miles every year the last 30 years (except in 2020), and I can tell you that fights start when passengers start telling other passengers what to do. Fights usually end when a flight attendant gets involved.

  11. Geoff,
    Thanks for the reply.

    One of the downsides of exclusively written interchanges is the inability to detect voice inflection and emphasis. When I said “you better believe I will say something” it would be done politely and with empathy, but it would be done. I am not a confrontational person, especially in person.


  12. Thank you for this post. It echoes so much of what I have been unpacking in my attempt to understand and weigh things out. I think you did an excellent job here.

  13. I’ve been trying to pinpoint my personal aversion to wearing a mask (aside from the physical annoyances and the fact that it adversely affects my work). It might be tied to my aversion to people playing the “compassion” card to convince me to mask up.

    [Preface: I’m a younger dude but I have a lung condition that puts me squarely in the high-risk category. I dutifully wear my mask everywhere it’s requested or required to do so, including work.]

    I personally feel more comfortable wearing one in public and I appreciate when the people I come in contact with do as well. But the hard science on masks still seems to be inconclusive, and it won’t surprise me if some future study concludes they were minimally effective at best.

    Regardless of how effective they may or may not be, I conclude that we don’t wear masks because of science. We wear them out of fear– fear that we might get sick, fear of being shamed, fear of being shown the door at Trader Joes, fear of being reported or fired, to not make a scene, to put others at ease, etc. The closest we come to doing it for science is doing it *just in case* the theories are sound.

    So when I hear somebody tell me to mask up out of compassion, I immediately interpret it as compassion for others’ fearful state. I’m being asked to change my lifestyle to justify an as-yet dubiously founded fear. I’m being asked to enable.

    Now that’s not always the case, but I think my knee-jerk reaction is actually more accurate than not. Californians are required to wear masks outside, something I’m certain science will eventually invalidate. But they do it. Why? Just in case. Cause someone might take offense. To avoid liability.

    To signal.

    [I know this is a tangent, but how ironic that the party that proclaims itself to be so pro science is the party that values emotions and signaling over science?]

    So while slowing the spread of the virus may be a result of wearing a mask, I see the “mask up” movement primarily as an appeal to emotion. That triggers me.

    But I’m not sure I’m Elder Renlund’s target audience. Frankly, I’m not sure he meant what progmos are reading into his comments. Either way, if you cheer one thing an apostle says, you should cheer them all.

    Geoff, it’s funny you mention the immigration thing. I voiced my staunch opposition to illegal immigration here back when the Brethren were pushing what you call a “compassionate” stance. But guess what? I’ve done a good bit of praying and have come into harmony with leadership on this issue. I can still call a spade a spade, but I am at peace.

    Bottom line: these men aren’t just apostles when they say something that fits your political narrative.

  14. Tossman, good comment. A few quick thoughts: the science is actually pretty clear that the masks do almost nothing to prevent you from getting the virus. I think many of the Brethren know this. They are older gentlemen who have lived through many pandemics where people did not mask up. So, this is primarily about signaling.

    But it also may be that the Brethren are preparing us for some future pandemic more like the 1918-1919 flu, which really WAS a problem and killed millions, as opposed to thousands. It is also true that the Brethren want to keep the Church under the radar so the temples reopen sooner rather than later.

    I believe the Brethren are watchmen on a tower and see things we don’t, so I will follow them even if it doesn’t make any sense to me.

  15. Yep. Could also be a mechanism for sifting. The rise of progressive politics and the critical race theory/intersectional movement have facilitated a lot of sifting. The mask thing opens up a new, different front.

    My personal philosophy is exactly what you expressed: Trust the watchmen.

  16. I really like this post.

    I would also recommend another very great, timely and relevant aritcal entitled
    “There Is a More Beautiful Melody Than Fear,” by Barry Brownstein. I don’t know how to embed a link, but it can be found on a site called “Intellectual Takeout” and from the American Institute for Economic Research.

  17. I personally think fear it’s a healthy thing and God instill in us the capacity to fear so we won’t be reckless. Parents fear for the children’s safety, so they baby proof their house. I think that’s perfectly normal. I fear the flu, so I take a vaccine every year. Who wants to be sick every year with the possibility of dying. I fear Covid so I stay mostly home and wear a mask in public places. So far, wearing mask has not been proven useless and it seems common sense to me to wear it so I won’t be breathing people’s droplets and they won’t be breathing mine. I’ve personally seen the devastation Covid leaves behind, the death and the aftermaths. I’ve a friend who was left with scar lungs and will have problems for the rest of her life. So, yes I fear Covid and yes I will wear a mask until they find something better. I even heard a renowned expert in infectious diseases and epidemiologist that works for the FDA, who recommends wearing a mask even after getting the vaccine until most of the population is vaccinated, as he argues that if you are vaccinated and contract the virus, you won’t get sick, but you will shade virus for a period of time where you can infect people around you that are not vaccinated. I found that to be a very useful piece of information that most people won’t think about after they get the vaccine. If they are so cavalier right now about not wearing a mask, that won’t even cross their mind after they get a vaccine.

  18. Tossman and Geoff, to further explore your motivations-of-the-brethren-regarding-masks discussion, I’m circling the belief that the brethren may also be viewing this as an exercise in picking the right battles. At the end of the day, wearing a mask may be totally ineffective as a disease barrier, but the practice of wearing one is also a pretty minor thing, and can be accepted as a neighborly thing to do. Breaking hard with larger society/government here has no real point. And there will come a point where the Church must break hard with larger society/government. When that time comes, it may make such a break more defensible to say “we’ve accepted a variety of government interventions in daily life for a long time, but this one is too much.”

  19. @ Kareen, re: fear is a healthy thing,
    Certain types of fear are certainly healthy; recklessness does not a long life make. However, in our current situation, watching how most people are reacting to this virus, I don’t think the fear exhibited is healthy at all. Nor is people’s reaction to that fear.
    While I follow government directives, at this point I’m doing it not because I think that mask-wearing is terribly helpful, but because I don’t think that non-compliance is a hill worth dying on. If I must wear a mask in order to partake of the sacrament and grocery shop and work, I’ll wear the mask, even if I don’t personally believe it confers protection.
    A decade ago, I just about died from pneumonia complicating a particularly severe case of the flu, and that was as a fairly healthy teenager. I have no desire to repeat that particular experience, as it took me years to recover. One thing I learned, though, with death such a close companion for weeks on end: death is nothing to fear – something I think few people my age actually understand.
    We as a society have not lived with death as a close companion in the way our forebears did. It is shut away in nursing homes and hospitals and hushed funeral parlors, and treated as something to be feared. We forget that there is only one true Victor over death, and that it is only through Him that we will overcome the grave.
    “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? . . . 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

  20. @E.C.: “death is nothing to fear – something I think few people my age actually understand.”

    I understand perfectly that death is nothing to fear, but I also understand that life is a gift to be cherished, given to us to learn certain spiritual lessons, like charity, and it’s not to be wasted or to be put recklessly in jeopardy. Death is a natural thing, but it’s not something we are to be constantly seeking or desiring or trying to inflict upon ourselves or others.

    There are etiquette rules we follow during normal life as courtesy to others to make their life and ours a little better. Your parents and society teach you to greet people; hello, good morning, good evening. Holding the door open for others in public places. For men opening the car door for the ladies. Do not interrupt people when they talk. Cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Say excuse me when necessary. You get the point. Doing these things are considered common sense and signs of a good education. We are taught by our parents and specifically at church to be mindful of people’s feelings and needs and to serve them. So, why in the world, would we not even have the courtesy of doing such a simple thing for others and ourselves as wearing a mask, when the whole world is at risk of dying from a killer virus and wearing a mask, we are told by scientists experts in the matter, will lessen that risk? To me it’s such a selfish act and a disregard for other people’s lives and needs. Some find it bothersome for people to call out antimaskers for not wearing a mask, and I understand that, but I find it even more disturbing and despicable for those antimaskers to be so uncaring about others not wearing a mask in public.

    With due respect to others opinion, I don’t think we should disregard or minimize or criticize people’s fear of this killer virus during a world pandemic.

    We are not taking about giving somebody a rash, or lice or some curable illness, we are talking about a killer disease that doesn’t discriminate, so I find it a normal reaction for people who appreciate the gift of life, to fear the virus and to try to protect themselves and others from it and I find it extremely uncaring to not have the basic courtesy of wearing a mask that will help others feel safe and comfortable around you and that might even keep save your life as well.

    Most people outside our church do not have a clear understanding of death and that death it’s not such a tragedy after all, so I perfectly understand their fear. To be honest, as much knowledge as I have about the gospel and the roll of death, it still is an unknown thing to me and until I experience it myself there’s always going to be some trepidation about it and I think is normal. I also think we even have an alarm system built in us in us regarding death to keep us alive, otherwise we just be too careless.

  21. Ot they may have revelation we are not privy to as the Lord knows all things and reveals them to the prophets. I’m pretty’s sure they discuss these things and pray for guidance as to how to proceed.

  22. Kareen, COVID-19 is going to be around the rest of our lives, just like the seasonal flu. What will happen is that the vaccines plus natural herd immunity will decrease the number of people who die over time. But the coronavirus will still be there. Two questions: 1)when do you stop wearing a mask? and 2)when do you stop insisting that everybody else wear a mask?

    I am asking these questions because I am honestly curious how you approach this. If wearing a mask now is a good thing, and under certain circumstances it may be, then wearing a mask forever is better, right? As I say, the virus will be around forever, and not only that, there will continue to be other viruses. So, shouldn’t people wear masks forever if they really care about other human beings?

  23. Geoff B: “If wearing a mask now is a good thing, and under certain circumstances, it may be, then wearing a mask forever is better, right?” “So, shouldn’t people wear masks forever if they really care about other human beings?”

    I know you know better than that and sarcasm doesn’t fit you well.

    I understand the virus will be around forever and other viruses will come in the future, that’s part of living on this earth, but as many experts have said the time will come when Covid would be just like Polio.

    I also heard the experts say that there won’t be a need for a mask after 70% or 80% of the population has been vaccinated. People stopped wearing masks after the Spanish flu went away and they didn’t even have a vaccine for that. So, yes, the time will come when wearing a mask won’t be necessary. But hey! to your last point, I’ve seen how people in places like Japan wear masks on the subway and buses even before the pandemic to protect themselves against germs.

    And I certainly hope, there won’t be a time when people stop caring about others enough to do simple things that will benefit everyone.

  24. Kareem said:

    “If they are so cavalier right now about not wearing a mask, that won’t even cross their mind after they get a vaccine.”

    I recently moved from SLC to one of the reddest counties in Utah, and I have yet to encounter these cavalier people you speak of. Aside from the fiery but mostly peaceful riots in SLC over the summer, everyone there has been good boys and girls when it comes to masks.

    So it might think my red MAGA county would be a bunch of anti mask rednecks. Turns out, no. I haven’t seen a single maskless soul in a store or office. Nobody protesting or making a scene. I’ve been so confused who these problem people we’re supposed to hate are hiding.

  25. Kareem, I wasn’t being sarcastic — I was truly interested in your opinion. My concern is that if we follow your logic, which is that it is “extremely uncaring” for people not to wear masks, then we get stuck in a place where we must wear masks forever. Hundreds of thousands of people die in the U.S. from various viruses every year, and this has been the case for decades. This is the first time we have had a widespread call for mask wearing in 100 years, and even during the Spanish flu the vast majority of people never wore a mask. This is new. We should not pretend we know for sure how it will end. What we are talking about here is a change of societal norms. Obviously, it is good for some norms to change. Racist language used to be very common when I was a child — now it is much more rare. The norm changed. Same with attitudes toward people with same-sex attraction. Just a year ago, the norm was that people wearing masks all the time were germaphobes with a mild mental disorder in the United States. It was not socially acceptable. (I know about Asia — I have traveled throughout Asia for many years, and, yes, masks are more socially acceptable there, but primarily for people who are sick to prevent them giving diseases to another person). So, we should not pretend that massive mask wearing is not a change, and we must accept that norms are changing, and we must think about whether this is a good thing or not. I don’t see an end to mask wearing — ever — if we continue to follow the logic that you must “show you care” by wearing a mask. I hope you are right, that sometime in 2021 the mask wearing will diminish and by 2022 we will be back to normal. But I sincerely doubt it. I think we will be harassed into wearing masks the rest of our lives by the new busy-bodies — regardless of what the science says. But as I say, I hope you are right.

  26. @ Kareen,
    Did I ever say that I don’t wear a mask where asked to? I do. However, asking perfectly healthy people to wear masks creates a culture of fear towards others, which in my opinion is far more dangerous than a disease that we’ll eventually overcome.
    Also, it’s not like I or any of the people I know are being reckless or trying to get sick. Risk can never be totally avoided, and I’m afraid that our culture has become so risk-averse that we can’t handle real life anymore.
    I have advocated for years for people to stay home when they’re sick, if at all possible, and I’ve tried to do the same. I’m just not comfortable with the sudden societal norm of treating every cough, sneeze, or wheeze as a deadly threat.
    @ Tossman,
    I, too, live in a ‘red’ county, and probably 95-100% of people are complying with the mask mandates (when I go out in public, which is not often). The one time I saw someone causing a scene was in the SLC airport.

  27. Nobody has mentioned the group psychological effect that would take place if only symptomatic people (or symptomatic people plus vulnerable people) were required to wear masks.

    First off, mask-wearers would be treated like lepers, and driven away by people assuming they had Covid, as opposed to having a regular cold, allergies, or being merely vulnerable and covid-free.

    Second, people with symptoms, whether disgnosed as having covid or not, would still go out, but would not wear masks out of fear of persecution. Anyone caught sniffiling, sneezing or coughing would claim it was just an allergy or asthma.

    There would even be people like the recent airline passenger who knew he had covid symptoms, and purposely avoided getting tested, and went on the flight anyway, infecting others, and dieing.

    So the only way to get symptomatic people to wear a mask, most of whom are going to hide their symptoms anyway (because most Covid+ people only get the sniffles) , is to have everyone wear a mask.

    (And masks don’t have to be 100% or even over 50% effective to be useful. If masks reduce transmission by only 20%, I’ll take it.)

    Think of it, especially after the recent airline thing, can we trust strangers who say their sniffle “is only allergies”, or the cough is just a smoker’s cough?

    Wanna get really weird? Proof of vaccination, or proof of a recent negative covid test could also lead to the mark of the beast thing. You’ll have to have your implanted id chip scanned, and the health database is queried for a “go/no-go” to enter a store.

  28. Book, in Asia, where I spend a lot of time, people who are sick have been wearing a mask for decades now, and there is no “mark of the leper” thing. Now that mask wearing has been normalized in the West, I hope we move to a situation more akin to the Asian situation, where people who are sick are the only ones wearing masks. I do a lot of martial arts, and it is an unwritten rule of courtesy that if you are sick you don’t go to class. So, if we had a more reasonable situation, without all of the unreasonable, insane frightened people, we could manage this through voluntary actions, not government mandates. I like that the Church emphasizes personal courtesy in mask wearing and does not emphasize government mandates. I will point out that you almost never see people in Asia ganging up on people or harassing them for not wearing masks, as unfortunately has become commonplace in the U.S. (Obviously some governments are more repressive than others in enforcing lockdowns — I am talking about the societal norms that have existed for decades now). So, to summarize: 1)The Church policy supports voluntarily wearing masks to be courteous to others 2)The Church policy does not call for government mandates 3)once we get past the worst of the pandemic, I hope we move to a more reasonable situation where only people who are sick wear masks. 4)I fear we have created an entire generation of busy-bodies who are going to love this new reality where they get to boss around and harass strangers on the streets and be cheered by the lemmings around them 5)violence will inevitably result from number 4) because people simply don’t like being told what to do by random busy-bodies.

    Regarding your last point on the vaccine, yes, I fear we are headed to a mark of the beast type of situation. Just wait until you are told you must implant a computer chip in your body to monitor your health — that is only a few years away, I am sorry to say.

  29. ” I hope we move to a situation more akin to the Asian situation, where people who are sick are the only ones wearing masks. ”

    That would be nice. But, I think too many US-Americans are too arrogant and too non-caring for that. In addition, the progressives would claim it’s a violation of privacy to advertise your adverse health condition.

    I agree with your points 1 through 5. But people, and I’m specifically talking about the _average_ person with sniffles, are not reasonable. Too many people are going to dismiss their symptoms, and carelessly expose others, like the recent plane passenger.

    I recently heard, on the radio, a recorded back-and-forth between a mask-refusing customer and a store employee — the latter correctly said the customer would be asked to leave if the customer did not put on a mask, and (again statded correctly) if they did not leave after being requested to leave, they could be arrested for trespassing. first, the customer claimed “but I’m asymptomatic!” Then the clueless customer (erroneously) said “You’d have me arrested for not wearing a mask?!” I wondered if the customer was really that stupid, or was intentionally twisting things. (As you are a libertarian, I’m sure you see the situation, but I bet some readers will side with the clueless customer.)

    First, my thought was “how the heck do I know you’re asymptomatic, you twit?” 2nd, that the twit didn’t understand the store owner’s rights as far as trespass law. And third, I was shocked the radio show hosts sided with the customer, and they lost my respect for that, and I realized that there are clueless twits on the so-called “right” (or so those hosts claim) who also do not understand trespass law for commercial places that cater to the public.

    I’m more and more coming to agree with the saying: Dems are the party of evil, and Repubs are the party of stupid. A pox on both houses.

  30. As usual, Book took good look! I admire his lyre, the music of his mind. We vary only at the very end—the couplet is right about Dems, less correct about Repubs, I think. On other hand, the latter did support Trump weirdness and strangeness. So yah, maybe they have been stuck in stupid.

    Cheers, Bookslinger brother; you’ve slung word to be heard!

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