For the first time in over seven months, Carol and I were able to attend church services in our building today. The county of Ventura moved from the state’s purple tier, where almost everything is closed, to the less restrictive red tier, which permits houses of worship to open, with severe restrictions, including no more than 100 people in attendance. We had no problem with that number.
In spite of having to wear face masks and not being able to sing, it was wonderful to be able to gather with a number of our fellow saints to worship the Lord and to partake of the sacrament. Just like at work, we had to be scanned for fever, and had to sit far apart from one another. There was no shaking of hands and little to no conversation among us, unlike the usual happy social interaction of the past.
Church Service has Changed
It seemed a bit somber, especially with no music other than recordings of the Tabernacle Choir, but it was good to hear others share their thoughts on being faithful in times of uncertainty and what we can do now to prepare for eternal life. Both sisters who spoke were encouraging and uplifting, mainly because we know some of their own struggles with the economic distress of this pandemic.
One sister is a business owner who has had to close her stores because of the restrictions imposed by a state government trying to appease the demands of the fearful majority. I disagree with those who insist on greater control and greater limits on our freedoms and liberties as the only way to keep this virus from spreading. After seven months, I think it is clear the lockdown is not working.
Impact of the Second Surge
I keep wondering if this will all blow over soon after the election is over. Like most of you, Carol and I have followed the news and read the reports of the “second surge” of positive tests yet see no corresponding surge in deaths. That number has remained at less than 0.2 percent here in our county for the past few weeks. 164 COVID-related deaths to date (since March 2020) of 14,020 positive tests.
We look at the other numbers too, particularly the number of ICU beds available and how many are occupied (14 occupied out of 51 available). That number was higher a few months ago. That is why we were seeing fearful headlines of hospitals being “overrun.” Of course, that does not mean all those who are occupying the beds are COVID-19 patients. But I suppose that does not matter, does it?
Still Hard to Pin it Down
We remain skeptical of the validity of the COVID-19 testing itself. We have read far too many reports of people being tested positive one week, negative the next and then positive again in a few weeks. And from what we have seen, the majority of those who test positive say they feel fine and do not suffer any symptoms, or that they are mild, such as shortness of breath or a lingering cough.
It seems clear the lockdown, with all its attendant economic distress, was not warranted. Although you will get slammed for saying it, to us, this is no worse than the flu. We get our flu shots each year and intend to get the vaccine for COVID-19 after it comes out and has proven to be safe and effective. I actually trust that the laboratories will do a good job of creating a successful vaccine.
Ceremony and Ritual
I hope that we will soon be able to re-open our church service to all members of our ward. Only those whose last names are from A to M were allowed to attend today. We had nowhere near 100, which is the limit imposed by the state. Next week, which is Fast Sunday, I assume they will do N through Z. The service was being broadcast over the church network. We no longer use Zoom to broadcast.
There is something wonderful about ceremony and ritual that gives strength to the ordinance of the sacrament. Although we have been able to partake of the sacrament in the home of our Elder’s Quorum President each week, there just seems to be added strength in worshiping together in a larger body. I hope they will be able to open the temples again soon. I know the members miss that.
California Versus Utah Politics
I think I have made it clear Carol and I are politically very conservative. In my “About Tim” section I tried to be careful to emphasize we are only Republicans and supporters of Trump because the Republican party and the agenda of Donald Trump seems to align most closely with our conservative views. It just so happens that I have been a registered Republican and have voted Republican all my life.
Carol is from Utah but has spent her entire youth and adult life in California, so Utah politics are a little foreign to her. I used to think most everyone in Utah was Conservative Republican, but it became clear I was wrong after I started reading “Wheat and Tares” and “By Common Consent.” Both group blogs seem to be full of posts espousing the Liberal Democratic point of view. I used to enjoy reading the “other side” and could still see good faithful LDS thought in what I read.
Judging the U.S. President
I was a little shocked by this post from Steve Evans over on BCC. It is short enough that I can post it in its entirety here:
“I thought about writing something longer, pointing people to Mosiah 29, enumerating his numerous vices, but there’s not much point in doing so. Casting your vote for an evil person is a sin.
“When I said something similar in 2016, folks debated whether voting is a moral choice, whether Trump was really that much worse than Hillary, etc., etc., but I believe I have been vindicated in every respect. He is evil and has led our country closer to the brink of infamy and internal collapse. Voting for him is unjustifiable and morally wrong. Therefore, it is a sin.”
Although Steve is wrong in using Mosiah 29 to judge President Trump (he is not a King), he may be right about America. Perhaps America is closer to infamy and internal collapse than ever before. He knew he would get a lot of comments and they came fast and furious. There were a lot even for BCC. He shut them down after two days. He claimed it was diminishing returns. I think perhaps he didn’t like some of the opposing comments.
What You Get If You Vote For Biden
During this election cycle, Carol and I are finding ourselves more and more in agreement with the posts of Anonymous Bishop. His latest spells out exactly why we are voting for Trump. The main reason is that we oppose what the Democratic party have put forward as their agenda, with Joe Biden as their champion today. The best part of the post is where he lists what you get with a vote for Biden:
- Gay marriage
- Liberal Supreme Court Justices
- The abolishment of the Electoral College
- The continued advancement of Transgender “laws”
- The advancement of pedophilia
- The continued legalization of drugs
- Higher taxes
- More Federal regulations
- Adding DC and Puerto Rico as States making it impossible for conservatives to win the Senate or the Presidency or the House.
- Orwellian News Control (see Facebook and Twitter as 2 examples of many)
- Using the IRS to punish conservatives (see what Obama did D’Souza and many others)
- The end of Conservatism as we know it
- Closed down economies for “pandemics”
- Closing down Churches for our “public safety”
- Mask shaming
- Antifa legitimized
- Defunding police
- Defunding the military
- Green New Deal
- The destruction of our economy
- The punishment of anyone not complying or supporting
- And much more…
Restoration Movement Activities
I want to give a shout-out to the web page for the upcoming conference to be held next year outside of Mesquite. I had a long chat with one of the organizers of the conference last week. He is hopeful folks will want to participate in the online activities leading up to the actual conference week March 27 – April 4th. The first of several anticipated presentations is already available on the site. Check it out.
By the way, they also linked to part three of The Heavens are Open Again series which covers three great things left undone. If you want a good summary of why this movement is relevant and will be blessed of the Lord, watch the video and consider the three things:
- a proper temple established where the Lord can come to dwell therein;
- the fullness of the priesthood restored; and
- a holy city, the New Jerusalem, to be built.
Orthodox LDS folks tend to respond the first two items have already been accomplished and that the third is “in the works” just waiting for the right time. I and many others disagree. We believe the Nauvoo temple was rejected and that the fullness of the priesthood was not restored as promised. Nor do we believe that Zion will be built in Jackson County Missouri. These are three great summary points that differentiate us.