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Latest from Mormon Land: Vaccine conspiracy theories are scaring away some Latter-day Saints

Also: Pop icon Donny Osmond reveals how he nearly became paralyzed.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Health care worker administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru event organized by the Utah County Health Department in Spanish Fork on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines are scaring off some Latter-day Saints.

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And now for this week’s newsletter about developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Vexing anti-vax messages

Newsweek reports that Latter-day Saint-dominated Utah saw a significant boost in vaccinations soon after the governing First Presidency’s plea last month — its strongest to date — for members to get inoculated and don masks.

That surge has since tailed off.

One reason, according to historian Matthew Harris, an expert in Mormon studies at Colorado State University Pueblo, is that a number of members still buy into conspiracy theories that spread falsehoods about the vaccines and governmental decrees.

“Because they become accustomed to these conspiracy theories over the years, it’s easy for Latter-day Saints today to think the ... vaccines are evil,” Harris told Newsweek. “This is the way by which they’ve been indoctrinated into viewing the world and also government.”

This comes even though the faith’s top leaders — who have shared photographs of themselves getting vaccinated — have emphatically proclaimed that the shots “have proven to be both safe and effective.”

A post-election addition to the church’s online General Handbook warned members to beware of misinformation, stating that “some sources seek to promote anger, contention, fear, or baseless conspiracy theories.”

Donny Osmond’s close call with paralysis

(Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment) Donny Osmond recently opened a solo run in Las Vegas after a health scare in 2020.

After Latter-day Saint pop singer Donny Osmond ended his 11-year Las Vegas concert run in 2019 with sister Marie, he came frighteningly close to never being able to walk on or off a stage again.

That’s because after undergoing back and neck surgery — to repair previous dancing injuries — he suffered a secondary infection that left him practically paralyzed.

Did he fear he would never use his legs again?

“Absolutely,” the 63-year-old Osmond told The Mirror. “It absolutely crossed my mind. But I just didn’t take no for an answer.”

Months and months of rehab finally paid off, he said, thanks to his faith, his family, his medical team, a lot of hard work and positive thinking.

In fact, he’s back on stage in Vegas, singing and dancing solo at Harrah’s.

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