Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
AmyJ
Posts: 631
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by AmyJ » 27 Oct 2017, 07:00

We got to review "What is Truth" by President Uchtdorf, and I was intrigued by the story he included (quoted below), the pertinent application in our day, and the spiritual application of the story.

"A tragic example of this tendency is the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician who practiced medicine during the mid-19th century. Early in his career, Dr. Semmelweis learned that 10 percent of the women who came to his clinic died of childbed fever, while the death rate at a nearby clinic was less than 4 percent. He was determined to find out why.
After investigating the two clinics, Dr. Semmelweis concluded that the only significant difference was that his was a teaching clinic where corpses were examined. He observed doctors who went directly from performing autopsies to delivering babies. He concluded that somehow the corpses had contaminated their hands and caused the deadly fevers.
When he began to recommend that doctors scrub their hands with a chlorinated lime solution, he was met with indifference and even scorn. His conclusions contradicted the “truths” of other doctors. Some of his colleagues even believed that it was absurd to think that a doctor’s hand could be impure or cause sickness.
But Semmelweis insisted, and he made it a policy for doctors in his clinic to wash their hands before delivering babies. As a consequence, the death rate promptly dropped by 90 percent. Semmelweis felt vindicated and was certain that this practice would now be adopted throughout the medical community. But he was wrong. Even his dramatic results were not enough to change the minds of many doctors of the day."
https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ ... h?lang=eng

Even once we understood the science behind hand-washing, we still aren't great at the application of it (better, but not great - this is a judgement based on 5 minutes or less looking for solid scholarly research and articles within the last 5 years specifically for healthcare providers and EMS staff) ....

I picked 3 articles out of many that discuss this issue and how pertinent it is today - while we know the benefits of hand washing, we aren't so great at it.

CDC (2016)
"On average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection." https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.html


Journal of Emergency Medical Services (2014)
"The students observed 53 paramedics performing 258 patient contacts. Of those contacts, there were 165 HSE [Hand Sanitizing Events] directly observed that immediately surrounded a patient contact for a compliance rate of 63.9%—162 (62.8%) of these occurred immediately after patient contact and three (1.1%) occurred just before. There were nine HSE that occurred during a patient contact (3.5%).
Sixteen bathroom visits were recorded immediately proximate to a patient contact (e.g., while awaiting a bed to open for the patient in the ED). HSE were assumed for each of these 16 visits, which increased the compliance rate to 68.9%. Glove use during patient contact was observed 226 times, for a compliance rate of 87.6%."

"When I first read this paper I was appalled at the incredibly low rate of hand cleansing, particularly prior to patient contact and proximate to meals. I then reviewed dozens of hospital-based papers on the topic. What I found there truly sickened me—the paramedic HSE compliance rates are at the high end of rates seen in the hospital." http://www.jems.com/articles/print/volu ... ement.html

West J Emergency Med (2015)
"Healthcare worker compliance with hand hygiene remains a pervasive problem in medicine. Physicians have notoriously poor compliance.1–3 The lack of hand hygiene compliance results in transmission of community-acquired and hospital-acquired microorganisms between both patients and providers, which can lead to nosocomial infections. Unfortunately, compliance remains stubbornly low despite efforts to change. While poor hand hygiene is prevalent in the hospital, these behaviors may also be similar among pre-hospital providers. However, hygienic behavior has been infrequently studied in the pre-hospital healthcare worker population despite the fact that it is a key part of the healthcare system." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4644042/

LESSON: The next time you go to the doctor, watch to see if they wash their hands before approaching you and remind them to do so if they haven't.

Now the spiritual application:
"What is the spiritual equivalent for "wash your hands"? The universal spiritual principle that everyone should practice to ensure spiritual health and well-being?
Last edited by AmyJ on 27 Oct 2017, 08:55, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
LookingHard
Posts: 2812
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by LookingHard » 27 Oct 2017, 08:41

Teenagers are much healthier if they get a good nights sleep and are allowed to follow their bodies "owl" circadian rhythm?

OK - this was my snarky answer mainly due to my kid having lots of school extra-curricular activities, lots of homework, trunk-or treat at the church (including 2 hours of prep work) and thus only getting about 4-5 hours of sleep most nights this week. I even saw that a few of mom's Diet Coke cans were in the kiddo's car. I can't blame them, but I hate to see my teenagers needing to drug themselves to function when if they didn't have daily seminary they could have had another 5 hours of sleep and maybe not need (as much) diet coke.

Sorry for thread-jacking, but it is tangentially related in that early morning seminary is seen by current science to be very unhealthy (but probably does have some socialization benefits that are a bit healthy).

nibbler
Posts: 3589
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by nibbler » 27 Oct 2017, 10:27

AmyJ wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 07:00
"What is the spiritual equivalent for "wash your hands"? The universal spiritual principle that everyone should practice to ensure spiritual health and well-being?
Sounds like the moral of the story is to strive to keep an open mind, regardless of what we know to be true. Keeping an open mind is a challenge for everyone, no matter which position one takes.

Tangents:
Semmelweis probably would have never made his discovery if he wasn't having a worse experience than other people. If his clinic had a less than four percent death rate like all the other clinics he may have written the problem off as being within the accepted norms. A hardship stirred him to action.

Can we start hanging signs like this in the church hallways:
Image
:angel:

AmyJ
Posts: 631
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by AmyJ » 27 Oct 2017, 11:01

nibbler wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 10:27
Sounds like the moral of the story is to strive to keep an open mind, regardless of what we know to be true. Keeping an open mind is a challenge for everyone, no matter which position one takes.
The first question that popped into my mind when I saw the sign ...

Are you advising we make signs like that to remind everyone to be open minded and create an inviting mental/emotional environment?
Or are you trying to assist the Primary in curbing the spreading of germs of mass sickness?

Both are applaudable btw.

NOTE: I was explaining to the R.S. 1st Counselor (married to the Branch President) why we had stayed home for several weeks with various sick family members. I was expecting the "I understand - while mentally condemning you for your laziness" look, but she actually applauded me for keeping my family members from passing germs around. Granted, we probably stayed home 1 week more than we should have...

AmyJ
Posts: 631
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by AmyJ » 27 Oct 2017, 11:09

LookingHard wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 08:41
Teenagers are much healthier if they get a good nights sleep and are allowed to follow their bodies "owl" circadian rhythm?

Sorry for thread-jacking, but it is tangentially related in that early morning seminary is seen by current science to be very unhealthy (but probably does have some socialization benefits that are a bit healthy).
Because everyone is really spread out where I live, we have online seminary. I think that the early morning seminary was a tradition started because people used to milk cows and had to get up early with the cows anyways. Random Thought....
LookingHard wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 08:41
OK - this was my snarky answer mainly due to my kid having lots of school extra-curricular activities, lots of homework, trunk-or treat at the church (including 2 hours of prep work) and thus only getting about 4-5 hours of sleep most nights this week. I even saw that a few of mom's Diet Coke cans were in the kiddo's car. I can't blame them, but I hate to see my teenagers needing to drug themselves to function when if they didn't have daily seminary they could have had another 5 hours of sleep and maybe not need (as much) diet coke.
I can relate. I bought some Crystal Lite with caffeine drink packets to consume the mornings after the Pathways program. It runs from 7-9, and I have a 1.5 hour commute back home, so I am getting to bed around 10:45/11 PM those nights. My husband found the packets before I took them to work, so I explained the situation and he understood (surprising because I tend to get into a habit of abusing them or leaning towards that in the past...)

nibbler
Posts: 3589
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by nibbler » 27 Oct 2017, 11:38

AmyJ wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 11:01
Are you advising we make signs like that to remind everyone to be open minded and create an inviting mental/emotional environment?
Or are you trying to assist the Primary in curbing the spreading of germs of mass sickness?
A joke, a reminder that we should go in with an open mind.

There are wrong and right answers to questions during church lessons and I have to ask myself... if we already have all the answers before the lesson even begins, why have the lesson?

- - -

You don't want to get me started on the germs angle. There was that one winter where our family spent 2.5 weeks being sick, 0.5 weeks being well, just to get sick again and start the process from the beginning. We did those rounds for almost 3 months. People wouldn't stop bringing their sick kids to nursery. I came this →∥← close to banning my family from attending church after getting well just so we could avoid the next bout.

I get the feeling people like to show how they will persevere through hardships (in this case being sick) and continue to do what is expected of us (in this case attend church). I've heard many people at church brag about still coming despite being sick.

User avatar
dande48
Posts: 860
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by dande48 » 27 Oct 2017, 12:11

nibbler wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 10:27
Sounds like the moral of the story is to strive to keep an open mind, regardless of what we know to be true. Keeping an open mind is a challenge for everyone, no matter which position one takes.
Agreeing with Nibs on this. Washing your prejudices, your habits, your preconcieved notions. Back in 1965, Hemple addressed a paradox he found in the scientific method. To summarize, "Viewing a green apple increases the chances of all ravens being black." What? Lemme explain.

You see a raven, abd it is black. You see another raven, and it is also black. You see ten more ravens, and they are all black. Logically, you hypothesize that all ravens are black. As a scientist, you decide to test this hypothesis. How? You examine 1000 ravens. They are all black. To further confirm your hypothesis, you also check to make sure that all non-black things are also not ravens. If there is something that is non-black, which is also a raven, your hypothesis would be disproven. Viewing a green apple confirms your original hypothesis. A green apple is not black, and also happens to not be a raven. Therefore, viewing a green apple increases the chances of all ravens being black. Since there are a lot more (infinite) observable non-black non-ravens, than their are ravens, this almost seems to confirm their hypothesis beyond reproach.

HOWEVER, not all ravens are black. 1 in 100,000 ravens are albino.

Hemple's point was, we should never hold any truth to be absolute or above reproach. From the perspective of the scientist in his example, he might have very solid evidence that all ravens are black, as well as that all non-black things are also not ravens. The scientists world seems to confirm his original hypothesis. But in the end, the hypothesis was wrong.

To apply it to the gospel teachings, take these examples:
-By holding nightly scripture study and prayer, as well as weekly FHE, your kids will always faithful and active in the Church.
-Paying your tithing prevents your home from burning down.
-By keeping the commandments and having faith in God, you will be blessed both temporally and spiritually.

From the perspective of many members these principles are held to be absolutely true through their observation of their own lives and the outside world. Both the active members (black ravens) and inactive/non-members (non-black non-ravens) confirm their conclusions. 100% of all observed tithing payers may not have their house burned down, and 100% of observed house-burned-down victims are do not pay their tithing. The sample size is very large. But they are not correct as an absolute truth.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Roy
Posts: 4852
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by Roy » 29 Oct 2017, 13:43

AmyJ wrote:
27 Oct 2017, 07:00
We got to review "What is Truth" by President Uchtdorf, and I was intrigued by the story he included (quoted below), the pertinent application in our day, and the spiritual application of the story.

"A tragic example of this tendency is the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician who practiced medicine during the mid-19th century. Early in his career, Dr. Semmelweis learned that 10 percent of the women who came to his clinic died of childbed fever, while the death rate at a nearby clinic was less than 4 percent. He was determined to find out why.
After investigating the two clinics, Dr. Semmelweis concluded that the only significant difference was that his was a teaching clinic where corpses were examined. He observed doctors who went directly from performing autopsies to delivering babies. He concluded that somehow the corpses had contaminated their hands and caused the deadly fevers.
When he began to recommend that doctors scrub their hands with a chlorinated lime solution, he was met with indifference and even scorn. His conclusions contradicted the “truths” of other doctors. Some of his colleagues even believed that it was absurd to think that a doctor’s hand could be impure or cause sickness.
But Semmelweis insisted, and he made it a policy for doctors in his clinic to wash their hands before delivering babies. As a consequence, the death rate promptly dropped by 90 percent. Semmelweis felt vindicated and was certain that this practice would now be adopted throughout the medical community. But he was wrong. Even his dramatic results were not enough to change the minds of many doctors of the day."
I would find this very hard to discuss in a church setting. We as a church have for many years promoted a certain set of beliefs. Science and history advanced and cast doubt on some of our beliefs. For years, many of these not faith promoting sources were seen to be faith destroying and "anti". Faithful Mormons were told that if science conflicted with revealed truth that someday we would discover the error of science and that revealed truth would prevail. If we stubbornly and steadfastly refused to adjust our beliefs in the face of evidence, we would be the more faithful, valiant, and better for it.

The internet has since changed the game. It allows normal members to fairly easily research and discover just how implausible some of the beliefs that have been promoted by the church actually are. This change is so significant that the church itself tried to get out in front of it. They have produced official essays on specific Gospel Topics. Some of the information in these essays directly contradicts earlier church beliefs. Some of the acknowledgements in the essays have hit steadfast church members particularly hard. How is it that the "truth" that they were once told to faithfully support despite evidence to the contrary is know acknowledged to be unknown, speculative, inaccurate, or the product of a certain limited understanding?

President Uchtdorf in this talk speaks of questioning our assumptions and the limits of our own experiences. He speaks of our limited perspectives, how truth can be contradictory and still true, and to resist projecting our understanding out onto others.

But then he appears to introduce a source of truth that is above the questions, assumptions, and limits of all the rest.
For those who already embrace the truth, his [Satans] primary strategy is to spread the seeds of doubt. For example, he has caused many members of the Church to stumble when they discover information about the Church that seems to contradict what they had learned previously.

If you experience such a moment, remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything, at any time and every place.

You will find even those who still claim that they have evidence that the earth is flat, that the moon is a hologram, and that certain movie stars are really aliens from another planet. And it is always good to keep in mind, just because something is printed on paper, appears on the Internet, is frequently repeated, or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.

Sometimes untrue claims or information are presented in such a way that they appear quite credible. However, when you are confronted with information that is in conflict with the revealed word of God, remember that the blind men in the parable of the elephant would never be able to accurately describe the full truth.

We simply don’t know all things—we can’t see everything. What may seem contradictory now may be perfectly understandable as we search for and receive more trustworthy information. Because we see through a glass darkly, we have to trust the Lord, who sees all things clearly.

Yes, our world is full of confusion. But eventually all of our questions will be answered. All of our doubts will be replaced by certainty. And that is because there is one source of truth that is complete, correct, and incorruptible. That source is our infinitely wise and all-knowing Heavenly Father. He knows truth as it was, as it is, and as it yet will be.14 “He comprehendeth all things, … and he is above all things, … and all things are by him, and of him.”15

Our loving Heavenly Father offers His truth to us, His mortal children.
[snip]
Some, however, do not seek for truth so much as they strive for contention. They do not sincerely seek to learn; rather, they desire to dispute, to show off their supposed learning and thus cause contention. They ignore or reject the counsel of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “Foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do [generate contention].”29

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we know that such contention is completely inconsistent with the Spirit upon whom we depend in our search for truth. As the Savior warned the Nephites, “For verily … I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention.”30
I ask with President Uchtdorf from the beginning of this talk "can’t we recognize ourselves in these six blind men? Have we ever been guilty of the same pattern of thought?" Could we be like the community of doctors that Ignaz Semmelweis encountered? Do we treat those that challenge our truths with "indifference and even scorn?" Do we grow angry and label the bearer of these new ideas as someone possessed with a "spirit of contention"? Someone that is deserving of being isolated, excluded, even exiled from the community as a response for upsetting the harmonious status quo.

These are not comfortable questions to ask of ourselves - as humans. They are particularly difficult to ask as members of a church built upon such grandiose claims of unchanging, unassailable, and revealed truth.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Roy
Posts: 4852
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by Roy » 29 Oct 2017, 13:55

On the other hand - I suppose it is possible that one group above all others on earth could have access to advanced truth (something that is beyond the limited understanding of the day).

However, as time went on it would seem that the advanced truth of this particular group would be vindicated again and again. We would hope that impartial third parties would recognize and praise the superiority of the truth held by this particular group. Over time the errors of previous times would fall away to be replaced with more accurate truth (just as hand washing has almost universally been accepted as a preventative measure against the spread of disease).

Why does the LDS church seem so insular, backwards, cultish, and strange when viewed from the outside? Would not our truths be reasonably self evident to reasonably open minded individuals? Why would God want his truth to be so counterintuitive and hidden?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

nibbler
Posts: 3589
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Spiritual "Hand-Washing"

Post by nibbler » 29 Oct 2017, 14:26

Roy wrote:
29 Oct 2017, 13:43
How is it that the "truth" that they were once told to faithfully support despite evidence to the contrary is know acknowledged to be unknown, speculative, inaccurate, or the product of a certain limited understanding?
Or how about this hypothetical...

"When the Southpark episode came out I was confused. When I began to doubt I fasted and prayed and the spirit bore record to me that the story about the rock in a hat was not true, that it was a deception placed in the hearts of man by Satan meant to lead people away from the truth."

Then 10 years later the essay drops.

What happens when people feel they have received a spiritual witness to a truth that they later find that they must walk back? Would it cause someone to question spiritual witnesses in general or would that aspect be protected and some other reasoning be employed?

Post Reply