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Matt Ray: Members of LDS Church should follow their prophet’s advice on vaccines.

If members can follow the directive to drop the ‘Mormon’ name, they should follow this, too.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Church President Russell M. Nelson receives the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Salt Lake City.

In August the Mormon church released a statement about COVID. Here’s a quote from that statement:

“We find ourselves fighting a war against the ravages of COVID-19 and its variants, an unrelenting pandemic. We want to do all we can to limit the spread of these viruses. We know that protection from the diseases they cause can only be achieved by immunizing a very high percentage of the population.

“To limit exposure to these viruses, we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated. Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.

“We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders...”

I am impressed that the Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) came out with such a strong stance about immunization in these crazy COVID times, when many are ridiculing science, saying that immunizations don’t work, and we should avoid the vaccine altogether.

The church seems to be filled with people who aren’t happy with the current administration. They are part of the conservative Christian movement that supports right-wing government and, yes, many of them voted for Donald Trump. To say that most of them aren’t happy with President Biden and his vaccine mandates would be an understatement.

Having their leaders come out with a statement that supports the current administration was very progressive. Most of the time, Mormons blindly follow their prophet. Any time he “urges” them to do something, they typically follow immediately.

Case in point, when the prophet said in 2018, to stop calling themselves Mormons, they all stopped, almost immediately. It’s hard to find references to Mormon anything anymore other than The Book of Mormon. Even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is now called The Tabernacle Choir. To me, this is sad, but it’s a fine example of how quickly Mormons will follow their prophet.

So, you’d think, when the prophet “urges” the Mormons to get vaccinated, they would do it. Eh, not so much.

I was on a Zoom conference with my family recently. I asked if the church had said anything about vaccines during its recent General Conference. Apparently not.

So, I mentioned the statement above and my brother said, “He said we could get it if we wanted to, but it was up to us whether we got the vaccine or not.”

I smirked, “Are you sure that’s what he said?” I looked up the word “urge” in the dictionary.

Merriam defines it:

1. to present, advocate, or demand earnestly or pressingly

2. to force or impel in an indicated direction or into motion or greater speed

These definitions are not lackadaisical as my brother suggests, but others have expressed the same sentiments. There are many who tend to pick and choose which things they will follow from the prophet’s words. Especially if they don’t fit their own agenda.

I realize the irony of an ex-Mormon wondering or caring about Mormons adhering to the urgent requests of their prophet. I don’t believe in the Mormon church, nor in its leader. But I do agree with him in this case. He is a heart surgeon, someone who actually knows about medicine. Of all the things the Mormon church should listen to from him, it should be advice about medicine.

So, to summarize:

1. We know that protection from the diseases they cause (the viruses) can only be achieved by immunizing a very high percentage of the population.

2. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated.

3. We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders.

If you can read these three statements and still believe he is not telling you to go get vaccinated, you are completely ignorant.

Get over your politics and prejudices. Listen to your prophet for once and get vaccinated.

It’s not like he’s telling you to do something nonsensical, like changing your name from being Mormons.

Matt Ray

Matt Ray is a cyber security consultant, a circumnavigated yachtmaster, divemaster and a freelance writer, currently living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He comes from Mormon pioneer stock and is related to Levi Savage Jr. and other Mormon pioneers. You can follow him on Medium where he writes articles and poetry about various topics. https://mraymus.medium.com

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