Many different opinions have been expressed in many forums for several months about the need to be vaccinated and wear masks to fight COVID. For those who have an interest in knowing the position of the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on these topics, today the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a public statement:
“We find ourselves fighting a war against the ravages of COVID-19 and its variants, an unrelenting pandemic. We want to do all we can to limit the spread of these viruses. We know that protection from the diseases they cause can only be achieved by immunizing a very high percentage of the population.
To limit exposure to these viruses, we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated. Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.
We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders. Please know of our sincere love and great concern for all of God’s children.”
In January 2021 the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and most of their spouses received their first doses of the vaccine.
A few months ago, the First Presidency urged Latter-day Saints to be “good global citizens” and help slow the spread of the virus by getting immunized.
“As appropriate opportunities become available, the Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization,” they said. “Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. In making that determination, we recommend that, where possible, they counsel with a competent medical professional about their personal circumstances and needs.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also encouraged missionaries and prospective missionaries to get vaccinated. However, missionaries who choose not to receive their required immunizations, which now includes COVID-19 vaccines, will still be able to server, but they will be assigned to a mission in their home country where their risk for contracting and transmitting the illness is not increased, in accordance with existing Church policies.
Regarding the benefits of vaccination in general, a statement from The First Presidency. explains that
“As a prominent component of our humanitarian efforts, the Church has funded, distributed and administered life-saving vaccines throughout the world. Vaccinations have helped curb or eliminate devastating communicable diseases, such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox and measles. Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.”
The Church of Jesus Christ respects the freedom of the individuals to choose what they think it is the appropriate course of action, while at the same time encourages its members to be “good global citizens” and help slow the spread of the virus by getting immunized. Being good global citizens, however, also includes respecting the different ideas of others and avoid unnecessary conflicts with those who may not share our convictions.