Thursday, December 17, 2020

Our Ward's Liberal Bogeyman

Shortly after moving into our ward in Florida, I caused a stir by interupting a Gospel-Doctrine-class discussion about gleefully shooting robbers to suggest that life trumps property. That was sufficient to make me the suspected liberal that worries the other ward members. My preference for soccer over American football and my lack of support for President Trump has seemed to seal the deal. I'm basically a Communist in their eyes.

Early this year, no one was really sure about the correct response to Coronavirus. To me, this seems like the textbook scenario where it helps to have a prophet. When it is impossible "to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong" (JS-H 1:8), my money is on following the prophet. And what a fortunate coincidence that the current prophet, Russell M. Nelson, is a medical doctor by profession. And my wife and I have taken the long suspension of worship services, the profound changes to both April's and November's General Conference, and the continued closing of temples as a pretty clear guide to follow.

It appears that, in our ward, we're pretty much alone in this. My wife says the bishop regularly sollicits her opinion in Ward Council on matters of social distance, and I said, "It's because they think we're the only ones who care."

I recently read a post on Millennial Star that reflects the (wrong) thinking of many Church members on this issue. Entitled "Ye Shall Not Fear," the money quote is this:

We are also in favor of the Church policy against fear. In fact, if you search on lds.org, 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.

Now, the Church doesn't have a "policy against fear." What we have is a scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30) that says "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." That's conditional, not a blanket prohibition. And in the case of Coronavirus, perhaps adequate preparation includes wearing masks. In fact, just eight months after revealing Section 38, the Lord told us, "let the rebelious fear and tremble" (Doctrine and Covenants 63:6). It seems to me that a good indication of rebeliousness is a tendency to listen to President Trump over President Nelson.

I mentioned to my wife the other day that nationally we're experiencing about 3,000 deaths per day, which is the same death toll as the September 11th attacks. A 9/11 every day seems like it would merit a public response. One out of every 500 New Jerseyans has died of Coronavirus. I said, "If we said, 'We're thinking of letting ISIS go through New Jersey and murder one out of every 500 people,' I don't think these folks would be cool with that. They would not be out there saying, 'There's a 99.8% survival rate, so it's no big deal.'"

For the record, I like Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan. If that makes me a Communist, I have a hard time believing anyone to the left of Mussolini would satisfy them.

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