All around the world, different groups of people are reacting in different ways to the Covid-19 vaccination. This is especially true of religious groups.
The relationship between religion and vaccines is complicated for many reasons. The highly unethical practice of using aborted foetuses in the production of vaccines, God’s will and scepticism of “big pharma” are all common reasons for being against vaccinations.
Mormons, or those who belong to the Latter Day Saints movement – are among those to have a complex stance on vaccines.
With the Covid-19 vaccine continuing to be used around the world, many Mormons are considering their options, with opinions largely mixed between them on which course of action they should take.
Who are Mormons?
A “Mormon” is an informal name for those that follow the Latter Day Saints movement, which in itself is a part of restorationism. They are considered to be Christians.
Mormons can be found all around the world in huge numbers. In fact, with over 15million followers, they are the 10th biggest Christian denomination in size. They have temples in a huge number of countries.
Within Mormonism, there are different denominations. The largest is the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints – known a the LDS Church. There are fundamental Mormons too, which also represent a sizeable number.
Mormons believe that their founder Joseph Smith was a prophet. Smith discovered the Book of Mormon, which forms the basis of their religion. It is viewed as a third testament following the Old and New Testaments of The Bible.
Sadly, Mormons are a highly-misunderstood denomination. Despite this, Mormons continue to be a group known for their charitable ways and kindness, along with their missions and devotion to God.
Mormons and vaccines
Church elders and senior figures in Mormonism have historically promoted a pro-vaccination message. In fact, many Mormon temples go to great lengths to assist governments in the distribution of vaccines.
A prime example of this is the LDS Church’s efforts to eradicate Measles in Guatemala – a significant achievement. The LDS Church heavily assisted UNICEF, the Red Cross and various governments in achieving this.
In the past, Church elders have placed a strong emphasis on childhood vaccination. Parents have been strongly urged to vaccinate their children. This position was particularly strong in the 1970s and 1980s, and has remained since.
However, Mormons view the sickening act of abortion as evil, which does cause some difficulty with some vaccines. This is because many vaccines involve foetal tissue from aborted foetuses.
Despite the Mormon faith largely supporting vaccines, its followers do not always espouse such beliefs. Numerous studies have found that many Mormons are sceptical of vaccines, and do not support their use.
Mormons and the Covid-19 Vaccines
Mormon leaders have supported the Covid-19 vaccines since the inoculations were first announced. In August 2021, the LDS Church’s President went on record to urge followers to wear face masks and get vaccinated.
Church leaders shut down temples early into the pandemic and were very slow to reopen them. Their cautious approach highlights how serious the Church are taking Covid-19.
Another heavily pro-vaccine effort from the LDS Church concerns their decision that any individual that wishes to serve a mission (as the majority of Mormons do between the age of 19 and 22), will need to have been vaccinated.
A study by the PRRI-IFYC group found that about half of Mormons accept vaccines, while the other half are either “hesitant” or reject vaccines, including the Covid-19 vaccine.
Like many other religions, the issue of politics also seems to be affecting decisions. Many Democrat-supporting Mormons have been accepting of the vaccine, while Republican-supporting Mormons have leaned towards avoiding the vaccine.
So while Mormon leaders have heavily supported the Covid-19 vaccine, actual adherents have not been as enthusiastic about the vaccine, with many still reluctant to take the vaccine.
Mormons are some of the most pro-vaccine Christian denominations in existence. Many other denominations have given mixed messages about the vaccine, or have left it up to individuals to make their own choices.
With the ongoing vaccination drive, Mormon leaders will hope that their followers listen to their advice. Better days are coming – and the Church will surely continue to flourish.