Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

What Has Agency Got to Do with Vaccination and Mask Wearing?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is agency, or freedom of choice. As taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, agency is a gift from God. We each received this gift from Heavenly Father in our pre-mortal life, and we brought it with us when we were born into mortality – wherever in the world we might have been born. In addition, the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience, the freedom to believe and to live our lives as we choose.

            Governments – local, state, and federal – are infringing on this God-given gift and constitutional right when they mandate vaccination and/or masks. There are many – number is unknown to me – who are willing to fight against forced vaccination and/or wearing of masks. Vax believers and not-vax believers are divided, and government officials who blame one camp or the other for the spread of COVID-19 are not helping.

Parents are up-in-arms because school districts want to force school children, grades K-12, to wear masks all day long. Statistics show that school children are far-less likely to get and/or spread COVID-19. They also show that mask-wearing causes serious problems with children mentally and emotionally, if not physically.

Stir into this mix an email from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to all members encouraging everyone to get vaccinated and to wear masks when physical distancing is not possible in public settings. Many members of the Church are refusing to be vaccinated and/or to wear masks. They claim to be good members of the Church and to support the First Presidency and to sustain the and Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught to follow the Prophet for spiritual safety, but we are not promised physical safety for doing so. The question for many members is, do we follow the prophet’s counsel in all things, or do we follow him only when we choose? Another question is, is the encouragement to be vaccinated and to wear masks coming from the Prophet, or from the administrative arm of the Church? Still another question is, did the Prophet receive this admonishment from the Lord, or is he acting on his own knowledge, or in accordance with demands of government?

This is the bottom line: every person has agency, the power to choose how we will live. Every American has freedom of conscience, the right to choose what we will do and what we will put in or on our bodies. Whether the order comes from the federal government, or the counsel comes from God, no one should be forced to be vaccinated or to wear masks. However, every person has the responsibility to themselves and to others to be wise in their decision making and not oppose the suggestions simply to exercise agency and freedom of choice. Every person has the right to live as they choose. However, none of us have the right or ability to choose the consequences of our choices.

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