Church wedding

LDS leaders simply say no to all religious exemptions from vaccination warrants


Their religious leaders encourage inoculation and refuse to sign religious exemptions from gunfire. Additionally, one blogger notes that Latter-day Saint doctrines can and do change from time to time. Could this happen with same-sex marriage?

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Elder Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the Church’s First Presidency, receives the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Church authorities do not allow lay leaders to sign religious exemptions that members can then use to avoid getting vaccinated. Instead, top Latter-day Saint leaders support immunization.

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Just say no to religious exemptions

So you want your bishop to sign a religious waiver to help you avoid a vaccination mandate?

It’s not going to happen.

“The church does not provide religious exemptions,” a church spokesperson told the Salt Lake Tribune bluntly on Friday. Period.

This is hardly surprising. After all, major religious leaders do more than support vaccinations. They got them. And they encourage members to do the same. In preaching, in practice, and in policy, they make it clear that inoculations align with the position of the church.

“We urge individuals to get vaccinated,” the ruling First Presidency said in August. “The available vaccines have been shown to be both safe and effective. “

We wrote earlier this month about the church telling California bishops and stake presidents not to sign religious exemptions. Now, the same prohibition extends to the whole church.

In short, the overwhelming message from the church greats is to get these little hits.

Doctrine can and does change

Change is happening – even, sometimes especially, in the church.

The three-hour meeting blocks become two. Home teaching and visiting teaching becomes ministry. Women missionaries wear trousers.

Guest blogger Exponent II Nicole Sbitani notes that change occurs within the faith not only with cultural, peripheral and procedural practices, but even with doctrines.

Sbitani highlights the current debate over same-sex marriage. The church, of course, opposes it. But could that change?

Sbitani says she has heard Latter-day Saints say that if they did, they would leave – not because they oppose LGBTQIA + rights, per se, but “because that would mean the doctrine has changed and the church is not true ”.

The blogger has news for these members: “Doctrine and not just politics are changing”, she writes. “It has changed many times, and it can still change.”

She lists important changes to the doctrine of marriage and eternal seals, including:

• Members were once sealed to senior church leaders, a “mistaken” notion that this would be necessary for exaltation.

• Members used to not seal children of deceased non-member parents – or wives of deceased non-member husbands.

“Something as monumental and fundamental for our religion as the nature and the practice of the seal is not a simple policy” Sbitani adds. “These are fundamental doctrinal changes. … Revelation changed the doctrine, and I hope it will do it again.

Patrick Mason, head of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University, said The Washington Post recently that some members “have already begun to do the work of sketching out a theological rationale that would allow the kind of revelation that allows … same-sex marriage.”

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