Here in Arizona, and in other parts of the United States, local government leaders are mandating that we all wear masks in public.
Some of you are refusing to accept this. You say you have agency and freedom and rights, and that the government shouldn’t tell you what to do.
Obey, honor, and sustain the law
So then what about the 12th Article of Faith?
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
Do you believe the 12th Article of Faith is a principle from God?
If you do, then shouldn’t you obey, honor, and sustain the law by following the mandate to wear a mask in public?
When you refuse to follow your government’s order to wear a mask in public, you are saying the 12th Article of Faith doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you believe you’re being a “patriot” or a “freedom fighter”. You’re not.
When you refuse to follow your State or local government’s mandate to wear a mask, you are not practicing what you preach.
You’re being a hypocrite.
And if you’re being a hypocrite, you’re living without the Holy Ghost as your constant companion.
if ye follow the Son, acting no hypocrisy, ye shall receive the Holy Ghost.2 Nephi 31:13
And if you’re living without the Holy Ghost, you’ve lost your ability to discern Truth (things as they really are). Therefore you’re unable to discern between information and misinformation, between education and indoctrination, between truth and error and lies.
More importantly, having lost the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, you’ve disconnected yourself from the light and love of our Heavenly Father.
No surprise then when your heart becomes hardened toward your friends, countrymen, and fellow Saints who urge you to wear a mask.
The government CAN tell you what to do
Do you believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God?
If you do, then the next example will show you that the government can tell you what to do.
In the Book of Mormon there’s the story of the King-Men, a group of Nephite citizens who wanted to change the law and do their own thing rather than obey, honor, and sustain the law (see Alma 51).
The King-Men’s refusal to follow the law came at a time of grave danger to the Nephite nation. The Nephites were about to be attacked by the Lamanites. And when the King-Men saw this, “…they were glad in their hearts; and they refused to take up arms,…they would not take up arms to defend their country” (Alma 51:13).
Refusing to obey, honor, and sustain the law, and refusing to defend their country. Doesn’t sound very patriotic of the King-Men, does it?
Well Captain Moroni was not having it. You remember Captain Moroni, right? Leader of the Nephite army. A man of God so good that “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” (Alma 48:17).
Well, when Captain Moroni heard that the King-Men refused to fight and defend their country, he was livid. He was “exceedingly wroth because of the stubbornness of those” King-Men (Alma 51:14).
So what did Captain Moroni do? He asked the governor for “power to compel those dissenters to defend their country or to put them to death” (Alma 51:15; emphasis added).
Captain Moroni, a man of God, wanted to force people to fight or kill them if they refused? That’s not much of a choice. It doesn’t sound very Christ-like either. Sounds more like Satan trying to impose his plan on Heavenly Father’s children.
Captain Moroni wanted to mobilize the army against its citizens? Doesn’t that seem like an extreme overreach of government power? What about the rights and freedoms and agency of the King-Men?
The governor granted Captain Moroni’s request, and the Nephite army mobilized against its citizens, killing 4000 of them. The leaders of the King-Men were imprisoned without trial because “there was no time” (Alma 51:19). Sounds like President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus. And the King-Men who surrendered to the army “were compelled to hoist the title of liberty upon their towers, and in their cities, and to take up arms in defence of their country” (Alma 51:20; emphasis added).
Here we have an example of a government that compelled its citizens to do something for the good of the country and society. “And thus we see…” that the government can tell you what to do.
Likening the scriptures to ourselves
I ask you again: do you believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God?
The threat we face today from COVID-19 is a clear and present danger. Like in the days of Captain Moroni, we face a danger that threatens to destroy us. The danger we face is not an invading army. It is a microscopic virus that is deadlier than the flu, and has already killed more Americans than World War I.
Also like Captain Moroni, many of our local government leaders have gone to their governors and petitioned for the power to compel the citizenry to wear masks. And that power has been granted.
If you are refusing to comply with the order to wear a mask in public, you are like the King-Men who refused to do what was best for their neighbors and their country.
Those soldiers who followed Captain Moroni and killed 4000 of their fellow citizens, they weren’t sheep blindly following what the government told them to do. They were regular folks doing what was best for their country.
Your friends, countrymen, and fellow Saints who wear a mask in public are not dumb sheep blindly following their government. They are regular folks doing what’s best for their country and for you. They are asking you to also do what’s best for the country.
Thankfully today, no one is being ordered to go kill their neighbor.
Though our neighbors are being killed. But that’s another conversation for another time.
All we are being asked to do is put on a mask in public. Is that so hard?
Doers of the word
Many politically obsessed Latter Day Saints today continuously cling to their politics more than to their God. They follow party lines instead of following Christ. They hear the word but don’t do the word, and thus deceive themselves into a false sense of security and believe “all is well in Zion.”
How can all be well in Zion when we are not “of one heart and one mind” with regards to wearing masks in public? How can you say you love your Savior, but refuse to be your brother’s keeper?
Christ said to Peter, “Lovest thou me more than these?. . .[If so,] feed my sheep.” The question for you today is “Do you love your neighbors, and thus love Christ, more than your politics, and your agency, and your rights and freedoms?
Will you be a hearer of the word? Or will you be a doer? Will you be like the King-Men who refused to do what was right for their country? Or will you be like Captain Moroni who did what was best for everyone?
If you want to be like Captain Moroni, put on the mask.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Anything written herein is not an official declaration or commentary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or its leadership.