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Everything posted by SpiritDragon

  1. I appreciate your point of view and struggle with the position myself. It's my way (for now at least) to not have to deconstruct my testimony over this issue being at odds with my personal witness of the spirit as directed previously. I'm not saying that the prophet didn't put thought or prayer into the statement, but I can see how it could come across that way and I may just need to stop saying anything and keep it to myself as I don't want to be casting doubts, I'm simply sharing my own struggle and how I'm trying to hold true in the face of contradiction between church leadership and personal revelation. It could be counsel from God that doesn't apply to me, but that seems even more suspect to me than Russell M. Nelson simply falling back on personal biases through his medical training to favour this intervention (and I realize how that sounds like, "isn't this the carpenters son?" and I am probably the problem and need to figure out to get out of my own way). I mean there are any number of ways, I suppose, that one could justify why the counsel isn't what people think it is, or doesn't apply personally, but they are all problematic in one way or another as far as I can see. The problem for me is that on this topic, following the counsel as it is appears is also problematic given personal history and relationship with the spirit on the matter. Left with the choice between following the spirit or following the prophet, I'm following the spirit, but cautiously and trying to remain open to different avenues as I don't like doubting the prophet and have seen too many people go down what I perceive to be errant paths in the name of following personal revelation that contradicts the teachings of the church.
  2. By carefully reflecting. Thus far, I have taken the counsel to mean that I am still to prayerfully make personal and family decisions. Counsel with competent medical professionals as needed and wear masks in church if social distancing isn't possible and local government health authorities advise to do so. If my ward or stake asks us to mask up, I will do so. For the time being, our local restrictions have been lifted and just about no one in church is wearing masks. I asked my bishop if he knows if in light of this announcement we should be doing so in our area and he replied he is waiting for further direction at the stake level, but in the meantime he doesn't believe it's necessary on account of it not being asked by our health authorities and government leaders who the first presidency suggested we look to for direction. I haven't read that to be the direction given, but I will follow local church guidance on the issue. If the Stake or ward asks us to wear masks, that's easy to do. That's a harder question to answer. I haven't ruled it out entirely, but I've been leaning towards not getting one for a variety of reasons. 1.) I've had bad vaccine reactions in the past and have been counselled by a medical professional to be cautious and selective about any future vaccines and to definitely avoid further tetanus boosters. 2.) The approved vaccines in my area don't appear to stop infection and spread of the delta variant and with more variants sure to follow it is likely to be as futile as getting a Flu shot that every year we hear the same contradictory messaging around Christmas that the shot this year proved to be a poor match and doesn't offer much protection, but get it anyway as it's the best we have to offer. Since, the vaccine narrative at this point has even changed from protecting others to simply protecting myself and I'm in a low risk for having complications from covid, I would prefer to gain natural immunity for a more robust and accurate response to future threats beyond just antibody-mediated immunity, but the whole complex process. 3.) I believe this urging from the first presidency to be either a combination of largely giving advice based on personal reasoning speaking as men, or a calculated move on the part of church communications positions signed off by the 1st presidency and don't consider it an admonition from the lord to get the vaccine. 4.) I've prayed about it and haven't felt that getting it is right for me at this time. I would have left it at that, but since this has come again I am again studying it out and praying it out more. I'll need a strong witness to change my mind though as I don't want to risk taking the route of continuing to pray for a different answer on account of outside pressures as Joseph Smith did with Martin Harris and the lost manuscript. 5.) I ponder on quotes such as the following: (This quote applies less to the exact topic at hand but stands in contrast to the living prophet being more important than a dead one, and yet we judge the validity of a current prophet on how his teachings match the dead in the standard works, so it's not as cut and dried as the living oracle having free will to do and say anything. There is a balancing act to following the prophet and we can take an extreme approach of he can never lead us astray and we simply need to listen without any extra effort or thought on our part to the flipside that we need to pray about everything he says and if we don't have a confirmation it isn't truth or at least not incumbent upon us individually - I personally think that somewhere in the middle is more likely best, but lean towards the side of having spiritual confirmation) As well as the following: On the one hand it seems that we are to always simply follow the prophet, as he must surely be the mouthpiece of the lord and assurances have been given that he won't be able to lead the church astray. On the flip side, a way I've been given to know when a prophet is speaking as a prophet and not as a man is that the spirit testifies to me and I have the principle ratified via a personal testimony through the spirit. It's a challenge with this issue, because I can acknowledge that my own leanings are in conflict with the counsel to get the vaccine at this time, and perhaps that puts me in a position of being hard-hearted and unwilling to allow the spirit to act on me in this matter. But there again, I have felt at peace with spiritual confirmation to stay my course the last while, but this messaging has come out again more strongly still against my personal witness leaving in the position of having to choose to doubt either more personal witness or the counsel of the brethren. Since my testimony is founded on experiences deemed to be a witness of the spirit, I believe that needs to be given the higher priority, but admittedly it's an awkward situation. If I don't accept a personal witness, I risk losing my testimony altogether because at the foundation level it's built on a spiritual witness as to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith's calling. But if I choose to "disobey" the urging of the 1st presidency I feel I also set a poor precedent of picking and choosing what counsel to follow, and I don't love the idea of setting a standard for selectively following prophetic guidance. So sadly, I'm left with the position that if I believe my personal witness I have to conclude that either the prophets counsel on this matter is generally good advice, but not for me, or that the brethren have bigger issues. If I choose to believe my prior witness on this matter is in error, I am choosing to be in constant doubt of any church teaching and not just the current counsel. It's not a fun place to be, and I don't want to hurt others in the process and wish to be careful about calling out the brethren while remaining to true to the witness within me.
  3. That's a very good observation. I had seen such footage and didn't think enough on it to notice, but once I read your post it registered as completely true, almost exclusively young men.
  4. On that note, I find it interesting how people live in alternate versions of what they consider reality. I was just talking to my former Stake President yesterday and he blames Trump for sewing mistrust in everything and puts the blame on him for lower than expected vaccine uptake. I see Trump's rise as a symptom of that mistrust rather than a cause. And if I were to point any fingers on the vaccine issue in particular in the political realm, Biden and Harris were the one's saying they wouldn't trust Trump's vaccine leading up to the election, they are the same vaccines and were never "Trump's" to begin with, but they seem to skate free of having caused any controversy or doubt...
  5. We'd likely agree to a great extent, but perhaps not. I see it kind of like workers with no experience in a particular field turning their nose up at how those who labour in that field go about their work, they don't have the requisite experience to understand why things are done a certain way. Most of the world can't seem to grasp the foundation of liberty that the United States is built on, and while they try to emulate those freedoms to an extent the majority are still quick to snuff out individual choices they are not in favour of.
  6. Yup JJ's post is the first I've heard of this!
  7. @mirkwood I agree with your interpretation of the handbook as this being a personal matter to be decided upon by the spirit. The concern is that the messaging from the first presidency is getting stronger toward the default position is to be vaccinated and it's creating a situation where vaccination and mask wearing are being seen as a sign of devotion to God. @LDSGator actually made an interesting comparison to wearing white shirts which is certainly not pertinent to salvation, but is very much part of church culture and those who don't follow suit can tend to be ostracized. Of course, wearing a white shirt is a simple matter that won't affect health and isn't likely to be something people would have medical or revelatory reasons to avoid, but it might not be a completely bad comparison as it's something used to gauge dedication to the gospel in a sense. Only the white shirt issue is one that I can't recall ever even being brought up by the brethren, it just seems to be a cultural thing as far as I can tell - perhaps a pharisaical interpretation of guidelines to dress and groom in a respectable and modest manner? However, I think a better comparison would be counsel to have food storage. It's not a temple recommend question or anything like that, and it doesn't seem to be directly tied to salvation in anyway, but it is certainly advised (although much less than 20+ years ago) and everyone knows that the truly faithful will be working on that food storage.
  8. I've often wondered about this very thing as well. As I don't want to air all manner of dirty laundry beyond the concerns I've already expressed, I'll simply state that this is the latest in a string of concerns that I'm having a harder time accepting. I'm afraid if a new revelation in the way of homosexual acceptance or possibly even women holding priesthood offices were to come out it would likely be the final nail in the coffin of my ability to push to believe and doubt my doubts. This just seems to me that the Saviour was frequently found among the lepers and the unclean, but that the current earthly church leadership is unnecessarily sowing divisions and creating the groundwork where those who have already followed the counsel to seek personal revelation on this matter and arrived at a different conclusion will be viewed as unfaithful for not being vaccinated. Perhaps there's a greater play at work beyond what I can see. I'm certainly not perfect and am more than capable of being mislead as well. I just don't see how this counsel helps anyone as church reopens (My ward just reopened fully and we've attended one time prior to this announcement which may mean we are back to worshipping from home without authorization to have a sacrament service) It also raises concerns about which way the sifting will occur. I know the standard mantra in the church is to stick with the brethren, but what if the real test is to see who will follow personal revelation even when it seems to contradict the church establishment? In Abrahams test he was being asked to sacrifice his son, Nephi to kill Laban, these go against the commandment not to kill, but were the right thing to do as directed by the spirit. I'm not saying people should leave the church either, so please don't misconstrue my intent. I'm just voicing thoughts and trying to adapt. I've felt as strongly with my answer on these vaccines as I did when I received my witness of the Book of Mormon, so to see the brethren practically come out and say my personal revelation is wrong is disheartening for sure. Perhaps no one at church will ask, but I'm concerned this is the beginning of a new requirement for church attendance which will force a decision one way or the other for sure. It's not my first or last test of faith, it's just the latest. You're right though, these matters are highly personal and no one can really do much from the sidelines. Listening and praying is appreciated.
  9. While you are absolutely correct, and in fact these vaccines are incapable of producing herd immunity as they can't stop infection and spread and are likely driving the variants of concern as the virus adapts to incomplete vaccine immunity by mutating to evade the subpar immune effort mounted in the vaccinated, the sad fact is that the first presidency is not using immunization in this context as they are urging members to go get vaccinated and not to look after their immune health by getting good sleep and following the word of wisdom. What's also sadly lacking in this communication is reference to personal revelation. It's not even a message of hope if the only protection is vaccines that are failing all over the place. That's not to say that they don't appear to be curbing Covid in some ways, but there is so much break-through infection (read: vaccine failure) that we can't call covid a vaccine preventable illness. There is no mention of therapeutics and such that have been shown to actually help reduce transmission and effectively treat the disease itself, even among those who were vaccinated but not protected.
  10. I'm happy it's working out for you and hope you are happy and on the right path. I will continue to soul search as I've done most of my life. The Church seems to be the correct vehicle and certainly seems more sound than other alternatives in the religious and areligious realm to me. I know it's comprised of imperfect people including those in leadership positions at the highest levels, save the Lord himself, so I can't expect perfection.
  11. That and the bigger concern for me is this phrase: Since when does prophetic counsel defer to the corruption of the government leaders and medical experts? (and which experts and governments? there are multiple viewpoints that are not in agreement) What happened to trusting in the Lord and not the arm of flesh? I'll continue to fast and pray, but I haven't felt that this is the answer for me and my family. I'm admittedly struggling to believe the 1st presidency is inspired and speaks for the lord at all these days. I don't know if that means that the church is false and always has been, if it means that our current leadership is just making some blunders and in time the church will right itself, if I'm listening to the wrong spirit and can't trust personal revelation or something else altogether, but I don't like it. I've been struggling to reconcile this since the handbook alterations and conference moment, but have accepted the following the guidance of the spirit part. More and more it seems that the spirit is being diminished and the opinions of man being held up. It doesn't inspire confidence. I've been studying Isaiah lately and been finding Gileadi's commentary really helpful in this process. I'm not sure what to make of this yet, but this is seeming more and more to me like it's happening before my eyes:
  12. I completely understand where you are coming from. I know that as I often post the counter position to the pro-vaccine narrative that I must be considered quite the anti-vaxxer, and yet I don't consider myself as such (In fact, aside from never taking flu shots and having concerns about covid vaccines being too early to tell and one-sided in reporting, I'm fully vaccinated aside from tetanus boosters after a bad reaction leaving my arm in a state of paralysis for a week following my last booster 20+ years ago). My position has always been that of pushing for informed consent where we have better information to work with and don't have to be worried about medical tyranny forcing any procedure on any individual or group, it needs to be a voluntary decision made based on the best available evidence (including the risks that don't get their due attention). This current vaccine push does appear to be opening others eyes to how the information is presented works in favor of one authorized outcome which is sadly not new in the world of vaccines. The messaging is always "safe and effective" downplaying vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths while up-playing disease risks and complications. Consider that throughout this pandemic anyone with Covid at the time of death could have been documented as a covid death, even if they didn't die of covid. This unnecessarily inflates the numbers making it appear more dangerous than it is. On the flip side, vaccine reactions are only passively monitored through VAERS where they should be followed up on with better data analysis than it is capable of providing (as though they don't really want to know about problems) and then simply considered unverified and probably only a temporal association. When disease rates come down after vaccination campaigns correlation is causation, but when adverse events go up with the campaign correlation is not causation. It certainly continues to breed mistrust when now that vaccines are out that diagnostic criteria are changing and how covid deaths are reported and recorded are changing, so that by changing definitions we can make the disease less problematic. It ultimately means that we can't compare apples to apples and have junk data. You may find this a worthwhile watch:
  13. Simply to showcase that concerns aren't unreasonable based on numbers people see I am sharing the following. I don't know what to make of the contrast of these numbers with what @NeuroTypical has presented for New Jersey, but Massachusetts appears to be telling a different story. Perhaps they have different metrics for collecting numbers, or different vaccines or dominant covid strains? I don't have the answers right now, but I totally understand people not simply buying into the narrative of vaccines are safe and effective when we get these kinds of conflicting results and one side tends to be censored so as not to alert the population of the concerns and failures. Based on the numbers presented by NT clearly vaccines appear to be making a huge difference in NJ and I wouldn't fault anyone for wanting to ascertain that protection. On the flip side we have numbers like this out of Massachusetts (Cued to the sound of the Beegees : https://usafacts.org/visualizations/covid-vaccine-tracker-states/state/massachusetts https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/30/cdc-study-shows-74percent-of-people-infected-in-massachusetts-covid-outbreak-were-fully-vaccinated.html What we are seeing here is that in a population with around 72% who have one dose of vaccine at least and 64% are fully vaccinated, that same 64% who are fully vaccinated are making up 74-75% of the new covid cases. Of interest: With asymptomatic breakthrough infections being likely to be underreported that means almost certainly the actual percentage of cases is even higher still among the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. At the very least, one would hope to see that the new case percentage was lower than the vaccinated percentage in the population as this would still indicate protection, but this paints the picture of the vaccine being a statistical wash at best for preventing disease (and the spread of it as the vaccinated are still contagious to others) and at worst making people more vulnerable to infection than they would be if not vaccinated because the documented percentage of new cases is 10% higher among the vaccinated population than it should be without intervention. Perhaps it's a statistical anomaly, but it is understandably concerning to those who would take a more cautious approach to injecting foreign matter into their bodies that haven't been fully vetted. Ahh but it's really just the serious cases we care about... In this case, 80% of those being admitted to hospital were fully vaccinated (I'm curious if the other one was partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, but I don't see that info). This matches pretty closely with what would be expected from 3/4 of the cases had nothing been done. Now I can't explain the differences in what's going on in Massachusetts compared to New Jersey, but I think it's worth being aware of different data sets that people are seeing and clearly formulating opinions of which are better based on preconceived biases, which is human nature.
  14. Yeah. This is unfortunate when we take the position of greater worthiness over personal decisions. Medical procedures can easily be right for one and wrong for another and there is no reason to get upset with each other over such things. Getting the vaccine is not essential to salvation and I don't think that getting it is going to lead to damnation either.
  15. I think for many this is problematic. As others have mentioned it seems entirely possible that seeking to listen to the spirit and seeking to listen to a doctor can be at odds with each other, so who to listen to? I'd choose the spirit, but on such a heated topic that may be problematic in and of itself because people may convince themselves the answer they "want" is from the spirit whether that is for or against the treatment. While I have had heard of some doctors giving advice to certain people not to get vaccinated, I think others will be afraid to give such counsel even if they feel it is the correct course of action. I believe it was @Vort who mentioned how doctors generally carefully follow standard of practice guidelines set forth by governing health bodies, so for one they are discouraged from thinking for themselves outside of the decided upon approved treatments that aren't always the best options available. They also need to fear losing jobs over making perfectly reasonable assessments that go outside of what the governing organizations want to push. This article shows an example of a professional being "cancelled" for daring to speak out on the topic of informed consent and vaccines https://sharylattkisson.com/2021/06/censored-pro-vaccine-doctor-francis-christian-over-covid-19-vaccine-safety-concerns/. Informed consent should be a cornerstone of any doctor/patient treatment transaction and should not be controversial. But for reasons that seem to come down to greed (power, control, money) even a fundamental principle such as this comes under attack if it could possibly stop people from lining up and rolling up sleeves. It seems to be the same reason that other treatments have to be attacked as well, because otherwise the emergency use authorization of the vaccines would be pulled and money would be lost for vaccine manufacturers: https://www.biznews.com/thought-leaders/2021/05/12/mailbox-ivermectin?fbclid=IwAR1wMMcth7nZ2pZcc_V2NaLt4BFamAIcclnMPQs-51kMV_O95mmyZNbzyhM (just one example) So the problem comes down to not really feeling great about putting trust in the arm of flesh when so much of the medical-industrial complex and the bought off media continue to push narratives in one direction only while censoring and grasping for any reason to naysay anything that goes contrary to that narrative regardless of what evidence shows. And even there, an appeal to "science" is really convoluted as a stand alone argument because it still comes to a religious belief in what "science" is valid science and what is not. Take nutrition for instance, It seems clear to me that a close to fully whole food plant-based diet is closest to the word of wisdom and best for overall health and there are many experts who would agree with me with plenty of data to back it up. However, in religious fashion there are also many low-carb believers who also have what appears to be evidence on their side (I personally don't think it's great evidence, but many of them do) Both sides can get into big arguments over why the other's science is wrong and using cherry-picked data.
  16. I understand your frustration. The funny thing about gas prices is it is all relative and it seems someone always has it better and someone always has it worse. I just came home from paying $1.40 per liter (basically 1/4 gallon, so $5.60ish per gallon) and that's because Costco has "nice" gas prices to beat the $1.50+ everywhere else in the city. Still, there are far worse prices in other parts of the country, so while I miss the days of sub-dollar-per-liter gas, I'm glad it's not worse. It's also frustrating because we drill and refine oil in the province, but still pay a premium.
  17. Wishing you all the best. I'm sorry to hear you're going through a rough patch. I'd be happy to listen and act as a sounding board as well, but it sounds like you may have that covered.
  18. Naturally, it's the Ministry of Truth and the thought police... A reasonable person voicing reasonable concerns about the only treatment we're supposed to know about and want is intolerable and must be censored.
  19. Too often the yummiest dishes are this way and when following a recipe it just doesn't turn out quite right, there's something magical about the just knowing the right amounts in the moment based on ingredients on hand! Hopefully yours transfer well into recipes though! Maybe I'm just not good at getting things written down accurately or following other's directions.
  20. The moderators should really look into this MG/NT sock puppet thing
  21. @Vort I look forward to reading these posts in greater detail as I get time. I've only skimmed and may have missed some important notes and if so, disregard my desire to help as being redundant. I was noting your stomach pains after eating following not eating for around a week and was wondering if you are familiar with refeeding syndrome. I don't think you've experienced it, but it is a possibility to be familiar with. I personally never fast longer than 48 hours just to be safe since I can't be bothered to do a medically supervised fast. I'm sure most of the time a week or so is great. Anyhow, refeeding syndrome can be fatal and I'd hate for you to pass on prematurely. Some primary concerns are electrolyte imbalances and a cascade of inadequate nutrition to properly metabolize food wherein by introducing food while specific nutrients are low (but the need for them is high to deal with the incoming food) it creates a situation where eating actually creates a greater need for nutrients (a key one being vitamin B1/thiamine) and can begin a cascade of unwanted effects such as organ failure and even death. Please undertand I am not trying to dissuade you from long fasts, but just want you to be aware of some risks and possibly work with a trusted advisor/do your own research to take appropriate precautions.... you may not intend to get that close to the Lord from your fasting just yet. https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/refeeding-syndrome-dont-forget-thiamine-deficiency https://www.healthline.com/health/refeeding-syndrome
  22. I'm glad you recovered from your heart attack. Sorry I dropped off the map. I have way less time to spare for checking into this group and I wasn't convinced I was doing anyone any good anyway. Now a year later, have you maintained the weight loss and near vegan diet?
  23. Splitting hairs or not, I think questions like this help lead to deeper understanding of principles. Too often, I think, we as a church culture are too prone to accepting basic levels of understanding as all there is to know and discourage deeper study as reaching off into the fringes and not focusing on what is "essential/pertinent to salvation". While certainly too much time can be spent on studying pet topics, this to me, does not seem like one of those at all. How much more critical to the plan could it be than to try and understand the deeper implications and importance of resurrection. If I get any other thoughts on the matter, I'll run them past you.