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Washing Our Hands After Using the Bathroom Isn’t a Sin

One of the young men in my Teachers’ Quorum sometimes picked his nose before tearing apart the sacrament bread and placing pieces on several sacrament trays to be passed among the congregation.

A few years later, I discovered that one of my missionary companions in Italy only bathed once a week on Preparation Day. Another took a shower every morning but never washed his hands after using the bathroom. Still another only occasionally brushed his teeth.

These behaviors might sound gross to secular ears, but they all have one thing in common—they demonstrate that Mormons have a deep, abiding faith in God. Other, less dedicated people might be forced to face the consequences of their bacterial choices, but Heavenly Father protects the worthy.

Only the faithless, many Mormons insist at rallies and city council meetings, wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID.

This pattern can be seen among other Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists as well.

While LDS Church leaders have officially encouraged members to wear masks, too many members believe such pronouncements are like the 1890 Manifesto “ordering” members to stop engaging in plural marriage. Members “knew” polygamy was still God’s law and continued practicing it secretly until 1904.

Some Mormons have publicly called the Mormon First Presidency “false prophets” for endorsing mask mandates. They’re upset that Church leaders seem to be bowing to pressure from the liberal media. Since the protesters don’t believe in science, they can’t understand the possibility that Church leaders might. Apparently not even President Russell M. Nelson, a former heart surgeon.

Mask-deniers can, of course, excuse church members in California, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington for wearing masks. Face coverings are perfectly appropriate when people are dealing with smoke from wildfires. That’s just plain common sense.

But wearing a mask to reduce the spread of disease?

Apostasy. Tyranny.

Fortunately, most Mormons are smarter than that. And more faithful.

Just like my missionary companion in Rome who cooked a huge pot of spaghetti sauce one week in June and left it on top of the stove for several days, so we could enjoy homemade “sugo” the rest of the week without needing to redo the work.

When the sauce turned green on Day Three, my companion was confused. “We didn’t have this problem back in Napoli,” he said.

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“Last winter, you mean? In that unheated apartment?”

“Yeah.” He scratched his head, perplexed.

None of the missionary apartments had air conditioning, either.

I remember the day years earlier when my middle school friend, Jeff, came home with me after band practice. He soon began feeling a pain in his right side, which grew worse over the next couple of hours, especially upsetting because we couldn’t reach his mom.

Fortunately, our bishop lived only a few blocks away. We called him, and while waiting for his arrival, I comforted my friend. “He holds the priesthood,” I explained. Jeff was Catholic and didn’t understand these things. “He’ll give you a blessing and you’ll be good as new.”

By the time the bishop showed up, Jeff was lying on my bed, unable to do anything but moan. The bishop asked him a few questions, pressed on his lower right abdomen, and turned to the rest of us.

 “No doubt about it,” he said. “Appendicitis. Get this guy to a hospital.”

Our bishop, I should point out, was a gastroenterologist. He’s still a faithful member of the Church 45 years after this incident. Surprisingly, it turns out that faithful members aren’t forbidden from accepting science as real, despite the general attitude expressed by mask deniers.

In Microbiology lab, my professor had all the students bring E. coli cultures from our own microbiome to class. The day we worked with Streptococcus pyogenes, she told us, “Last year, one of the students developed scarlet fever. Remember, guys, we’re not just doing ‘academic’ work. These bacteria are alive.”

Bacteria, mold and fungal spores, particulates in the air. Viruses. All real.

The only reason so many members of the LDS Church ignore science is that over the years, we’ve started putting more of our faith in the Republican Party than in our religion.

We’re members now of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Republicans.

 Many other American Christians seem to have made similar choices.

Johnny Townsend

The good news is that we don’t have to worry any longer about “evil” Democrats destroying our faith or “attacking Christianity.” We’ve chosen to do it quite efficiently ourselves.

Johnny Townsend