Guest post by Samuel Smith
As drug manufacturers rush to create a vaccine for COVID-19, one question is sure to be on the minds of many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “What is the Church’s position on vaccines?” Of course, many will point to the 1978 statement from the First Presidencywherein they stated: “We urge members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to protect their own children through immunization… Failure to act could subject untold thousands to preventable lifelong physical or mental impairment, including paralysis, blindness, deafness, heart damage and mental retardation.” Others will bring up the fact that since 2012, mass vaccination campaigns have been officially part of the Church’s humanitarian initiatives. Because of these facts, this is where the issue ends for many people. However, the questions most worthy of our consideration are these: What is God’s position on vaccines? Does He care? Is He in favor? Does He oppose? How can we know?
The answers to these questions, as I will argue, are yes, He does care and does have a position. The way that we can know is not only through “personal revelation”–for there is a chance we could be deceived by only relying upon such alone–but also through an appeal to the scriptures and prophetic teachings on the treatment of our bodies. So, let us examine some of these things.