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Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 12 Aug 2020, 14:53
by NoahVail
I know there's an existing thread on masks but this post brings up a specific issue.

I am concerned about our leadership (Bishopric, et al) not wearing a mask in church. It's a particular challenge in our ward because about half our members are elderly and when members (of all ages) see the Bishop not wearing a mask in the chapel, they are then removing their own masks.

Regarding masks, the Church's Covid-19 page includes guidance to: "Follow public health agency recommendations for using a face mask." Our state & local health department are unambiguously direct and are calling on us to "wear a mask".

Of note: The Church's Covid-19 page also says: "Local leaders should encourage members to follow these guidelines"

I have a family member who has discussed this with our bishopric and pleaded with them to wear a mask in the building. The bishopric seems to have not have been moved. He later met with the stake president. My impression is that the stake president didn't seem to recognize any issue here. That's just my impression though and I may be misinterpreting what was said. I'm pretty clear about the Bishop's position, however.

In closing I'll clarify that I do not know if anyone in our bishopric or stake presidency has read the Church's Covid-19 page. I will email them this week, just a couple of lines with a link to the article and an excerpt. Based on a very long history in my ward, the safe bet is that our bishopric won't change course w/o clear guidance from the stake presidency.

I will be happy to be wrong though and to come back here to correct the record.

edit: readibility

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 12 Aug 2020, 16:00
by nibbler
We might not be able to change the behavior of the leaders, but we can change our own... to some degree.

In that scenario I'd opt out of attending all in-person meetings. If asked why I'm not attending, I'd let them know that I didn't feel safe and if pressed further I'd list my conditions for returning. After that, the ball is in their court. In this case, if they want you back, they'll start requiring masks.

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 12 Aug 2020, 16:12
by NoahVail
nibbler wrote:
12 Aug 2020, 16:00
In that scenario I'd opt out of attending all in-person meetings. If asked why I'm not attending, I'd let them know that I didn't feel safe and if pressed further I'd list my conditions for returning.
I had considered that. Like everything about my ward, I'm content to just let it go.

However, I was prompted to post here because of our wards' high numbers of superspreaders (kids) & super-vulnerable (elderly). There is a meaningful chance of members dying and/or being gravely injured by Covid. FL is a really hot zone.

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 12 Aug 2020, 17:22
by DarkJedi
Our state is also very clear about the mask requirement - there are even highway signs. Our ward is on a rotating schedule and my group has only been once. But the bishop was in the foyer wearing a mask and checking that everyone else was. He had made it clear in his letter that masks were required.

So, I'm with Nibbler on this. I would not attend and would say why - and I would be sincere because I would actually be concerned.

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 12 Aug 2020, 17:56
by NoahVail
DarkJedi wrote:
12 Aug 2020, 17:22
So, I'm with Nibbler on this. I would not attend and would say why - and I would be sincere because I would actually be concerned.
The Sunday meeting is being held over Zoom. Kudos to our stake president for that direction.

The in-person meetings are not ones that I'd attend - eg: groups I'm not a part of. Even so, member absences generally aren't noticed. Leaders, whole families, whoever will drop off and most of them won't register. I don't know why; it's just always been that way. My mother-in-law says it's the water.

Sort of related: I run an obit scraper & query the results against our roster every day. I get emailed on hits. So at least when Covid takes them, I'll notice.

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 13 Aug 2020, 04:59
by DarkJedi
I seem to be confused.You're having Zoom meetings - why the concern about masks? Or are you looking to the future when you do have meetings?

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 13 Aug 2020, 07:24
by SilentDawning
I also agree that simply opting out of attendance is a healthy response to lackadaisical attitudes toward preserving the health of members. I also think it behooves the membership to set the example, even if they don't feel the personal need for it. The fact that you've got supervulnerables and superspreaders in the same Ward is also another reason to hold the leaders accountable...

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 13 Aug 2020, 11:58
by hawkgrrrl
Our current SP is a doctor, and we are not resuming meetings yet. Everything is still on line. When we do resume, he has 7 pages of very clear, mandatory guidelines, and yes, masks are absolutely required, along with very stringent requirements on social distancing, no singing, and how sacrament is prepared and administered.

Our gutless governor who is a lame duck anyway and clearly angling for a cabinet position should Trump be re-elected personally wears a mask but refuses to mandate it, instead deferring to the mayors to do so. At least where I live, all of them immediately did so; however, it varies from business to business which ones are enforcing it. I avoid the ones that don't enforce it.

One of the YW leaders just made a terrifying analogy (and she's a school nurse, FYI!) that masks were like Satan, trying to block us from the good things God has for us, like blessings. The girls and YW President just sat there in awkward silence and talked about it later. Masks are literally blocking us from spreading viruses to one another. That which goeth out of the mouth (in the form of droplets) defileth.

It is completely insane to me that masks have become a political issue. Are they a pain? Yes. But I really don't want to get Covid, and I don't want others to get it. It's a terrible virus and often causes clotting problems (I have a clotting disorder). I have heard that there's an area in East Phoenix (Mesa? Gilbert? Chandler?) where the ward is so divided on mask-wearing that they have one ward with masks and one without at a different time. They should send the data to the CDC. IMO, the people who are against masks are: 1) anti-science, 2) xenophobic / American exceptionalists (the data from Asia on mask-wearing is long-standing and clearcut), 3) Trumpists (which is their true religion / cult), 4) conspiracy-theorists, 5) think they are invincible and that only old people are at risk, and 6) don't care enough about others' lives to be inconvenienced by a mask. Actually, all of those fold neatly into #3. It's an embarrassment to be associated with such people, and even if it weren't a pandemic, I really don't know that I can form friendships with these people.

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 14 Aug 2020, 08:53
by Roy
Our area is limited to gatherings of no more than 25 people. Because of the vastly limited number it is necessary to sign up for church. We were specifically called to make sure that we were not planning to attend. I think they wanted to avoid a scenario where people showed up unannounced, put them over the limit, and put them in the position of being in violation of the mandate or having to turn people away.

Re: Leadership seems anti-mask - Church guidance isn't anti-mask at all

Posted: 14 Aug 2020, 12:22
by DarkJedi
Roy wrote:
14 Aug 2020, 08:53
Our area is limited to gatherings of no more than 25 people. Because of the vastly limited number it is necessary to sign up for church. We were specifically called to make sure that we were not planning to attend. I think they wanted to avoid a scenario where people showed up unannounced, put them over the limit, and put them in the position of being in violation of the mandate or having to turn people away.
Our area is also limited to 25. The bishop very carefully planned and divided the groups to keep it under that number and made it clear that we cold only attend on our assigned Sunday. He also said that in the event that somehow more than 25 showed up they would be turned away. On the one Sunday we have been so far there were 16.