‘Mormon Land’: Are Latter-day Saint anti-maskers guilty of not ‘following the prophet’?

Apostle Dale Renlund stirs up that debate and more with his recent video, exposing fissures within the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A masked President Russell M. Nelson waves to a handful of attendees in the Conference Center Theater at the 2020 First Presidency Christmas Devotional on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. President Dallin H. Oaks (right), first counselor in the First Presidency, conducted.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a video this week from apostle Dale G. Renlund in which he pleaded with members to put on masks and put off assembling in large gatherings in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Wearing a face covering,” he said, “is a sign of Christlike love for our brothers and sisters.”

Renlund, a former cardiologist, emphasized that he was speaking not as a physician, but as an apostle, a position of great respect within the Utah-based faith. His words were just the latest in a series of statements and actions by top church leaders in support of public health guidelines. Still, they triggered strong debate between Latter-day Saints who support mask-wearing and those who don’t.

A key question: Are so-called anti-maskers among the church’s membership guilty of not following their prophet?

The short answer is yes, according to Latter-day Saint writer Emily Jensen, the web editor for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Jensen discusses that question and the wider implications for the church in this week’s podcast.

Listen here: