Why vaccine conspiracy theories scare Latter-day Saints away

Also: Pop icon Donny Osmond reveals how he almost became paralyzed.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A health worker administers a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru event hosted by the Utah County Department of Health in Spanish Fork on Friday, September 10, 2021 COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories scare some Latter-day Saints.

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And now, for this week’s newsletter on developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Vexatious anti-vax messages

Newsweek reports that Latter-day Saints-dominated Utah saw a significant increase in vaccinations shortly after the First Presidency called to power last month – the loudest yet – for members get vaccinated and wear masks.

This surge has since faded.

One reason, according to historian Matthew Harris, an expert in Mormon studies at Colorado State University Pueblo, is that a number of members still adhere to conspiracy theories that spread lies about vaccines and government decrees.

“Because they got used to these conspiracy theories over the years, it’s easy for Latter-day Saints today to think that… vaccines are bad,” Harris told Newsweek. “This is how they were brainwashed into seeing the world and also the government.”

This comes even though the main faith leaders – who have shared photos of themselves being vaccinated – have categorically proclaimed that the injections “have been shown to be both safe and effective.”

A post-election addition to the church’s online General Manual warned members to beware of misinformation, saying that “some sources seek to promote anger, discord, fear or baseless conspiracy theories.”

Donny Osmond’s close call with paralysis

(Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment) Donny Osmond recently opened a solo race in Las Vegas after a health crisis in 2020.

After pop singer Donny Osmond ended his 11 years of gigging in Las Vegas in 2019 with his sister Marie, he almost never got to get on or off a stage again.

That’s because after having had back and neck surgery – to repair previous dance injuries – he suffered a secondary infection that left him virtually paralyzed.

Was he afraid of never using his legs again?

“Absolutely,” he told the Mirror. “It absolutely crossed my mind. But I just didn’t take no for an answer.

Months and months of rehab finally paid off, he said, thanks to his faith, family, medical team, a lot of hard work and positive thinking.

In fact, he’s back on stage in Vegas, singing and dancing solo at Harrah’s.

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