Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, September 26

“LDS Church Policy: Wisdom Teeth Removal and Vaccinations: Unnecessary and Burdensome Requirements for Going on a Mission?” by grego

LDS Church Policy: Wisdom Teeth Removal and Vaccinations: Unnecessary and Burdensome Requirements for Going on a Mission?



So my relative wants to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His family is poor. He’s working for his mission money.

But on top of that, there’s over $1,000 that he will need for wisdom teeth removal and more for shots (recent update:  whoops, that’s PER TOOTH, not total).

Because if you don’t get your wisdom teeth removed and get your shots, the Church does not allow you to fulfill the commandment to go on a mission.

My question is, are these two things really helpful, necessary for all or just some (like according to a dentist’s judgment), or do they just add expense and health problems to future missionaries’ already-heavy stresses and burdens?

Anyone remotely familiar with surgery knows that any type of surgery has the potential for danger, especially if any type of anesthesiology is used (which almost always is for wisdom teeth removal). If the wisdom teeth don’t present a problem—especially if they have already come in and there is no impaction or compaction—why unnecessarily endanger someone’s health by forcing their removal?

Vaccinations have yet to be proven or even shown helpful; there is plenty of evidence that they are dangerous, even damaging. Every state in the USA (except Mississippi and West Virginia) allow religious exemptions, and twenty states allow philosophical exemptions for required school vaccinations (see; yet missionaries aren’t allowed these options.

While this might have been “standard” years ago, the LDS Church will continue to run into more and more problems as more and more parents become educated and aware of the dangers of vaccines (and about Western medicine and drug companies in general), and don’t allow their children to receive vaccines.

It would be a shame to force members to choose between either going on a mission or keeping their God-given teeth in their bodies and dangerous substances out.

I imagine that the LDS Church is worried that missionaries will have problems with their teeth or with some disease that the vaccination is supposed to protect from, and then church insurance will have to cover it, which will add financial burden to the church.
If missionaries have to pay for surgery anyway, why not just allow surgery and vaccinations to be opted out of for those who don’t want them, but make payment mandatory if it needs to be done later while they are on their mission?
I’m not even sure why the LDS Church still puts these requirements/ limits on the physical exam anyway. For example, people with asthma can go on missions (where there is immediate danger and often required hospitalization).

This LDS Church policy reminds me of the fiasco of Texas forcing all females over the age of 11 to get HPV vaccinations in order to attend school—which resulted in 68 deaths; life-threatening situations; and other serious problems. From the CDC:
“As of June 22, 2011, approximately 35 million doses of Gardasil® were distributed in the U.S. and VAERS received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil® vaccination… Of the total number of VAERS reports following Gardasil®, 92% were considered to be non-serious, and 8% were considered serious*… As of June 22, 2011 there have been a total 68 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil®.”

That’s .0535%!! (And they don’t count fainting as serious–fainting isn’t serious?? So if you’re driving a car (with passengers), or you fall and get a concussion or worse, etc. that isn’t serious? Fever isn’t serious only because it didn’t result in death, right?)

It’s generally understood that many problems are not ever linked up, and many are never reported.

Many other moral problems arose from that situation.

I encourage the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to review its policies regarding missionaries being required to receive wisdom teeth removal and vaccinations, instead of having an option to opt-out (even if it means signing a waiver).



  1. The vaccinations are required by the government, not the church. My vaccination list was specific to the country I was serving in to fulfill requirements set forth by their government and ours. Any person traveling and applying for a visa would need to get these vaccinations. In addition, the second round of many vaccinations and the first round of others are provided at the Missionary Training Center at no cost to the missionary.

    Wisdom teeth is more of a practical matter; not to avoid costs, but to avoid having to use any recovery time during the short two years of missionary service. Also, imagine having to get your wisdom teeth pulled in a third world country like Bolivia. It’s much wiser to take care of any medical issues here in the USA. With a dentists consultation, missionaries can waive the requirement as well. I knew several missionaries with wisdom teeth still intact.

    Comment by Robert — 2011, September 26 @ 4:14 pm

  2. Robert,
    Vaccinations are not required by the US government (the visa regulations at the State Department website will show that) for travel. They do make recommendations, but no more.
    Having traveled all over Europe and much of Asia, I also know that none of those countries require vaccinations to be entered, either. And the State Department says no country requires vaccines. TB shots are required for foreign students in the USA.

    I agree about the recovery time. It’s good to hear that with a “dentist’s consultation, missionaries can waive the requirement as well.” I didn’t know about that.

    Comment by grego — 2011, September 26 @ 11:06 pm

  3. In case my opinion is of any value, having earned a D.D.S. and being extremely active in the Church and gospel (it is the very substance of my life), I submit that I agree with you, grego. In my opinion, it doesn’t take too much research to discover for yourself that immunizations are not nearly what they promise. The rewards are becoming more and more questionable and the risks immense. My 6 children are not immunized (I think the eldest had a couple shots before we knew better, for example, for chicken pox, which she later contracted anyway, along with the rest of the children, who are all now naturally immunized, the way I believe our Maker designed our bodies to become immunized). If there are cases of extreme poverty, where the immune system would be unable to deal with the disease, one can begin to make the argument for immunization, but then again, those are last group of individuals whom you would want to subject to the immunization, so we have the dilemma.
    My father, also D.D.S., never removed my wisdom teeth before I served a mission (they are still there). Professionally speaking, there are complications that can arise, so a dental appointment before a mission should be highly recommended, or even required, to determine overall dental health, including evaluating the 3rd molars, but to require their removal would not be ethical in my opinion.
    My oldest son, age 14, would not miss serving a mission for anything, I believe. Are you telling me that this policy requires that he be immunized? Where is this policy? (That’s going to present a problem.)

    Comment by Kent — 2012, July 29 @ 12:55 pm

  4. Hi Kent,

    Yes, I think your opinion is valuable.

    As you said, anyone with a desire can now search about ten main websites on vaccinations that show hundreds of things about how and why the pro-vaccine arguments aren’t fulfilled, and aren’t sound. After my children got a vaccine at birth for sexually-transmitted disease, a small red flag popped into my mind. Then as they continued to get their shots, and I saw them get sicker and worse, I finally did a little research and realized how fooled I had been. Looking back I think, so trusting, naive, and slow I was! Oh well, at least they’ve stopped all their vaccinations since then.

    The risks are becoming more and more immense as the number of shots at earlier and earlier ages increases.

    I think there’s a lot of misconception about immunization and disease. Visiting family members recently, I realized that as they freaked out recently about a weak virus making its way around us, and how it “required hospitalization”, as if maybe God completely forgot about viruses when He created us?

    I believe that for the immune-deficient, nutritional abundance and natural foods would do well, or things like MMS, for example (takes care of malaria in a day).

    I agree with a dental inspection, as with getting a physical. It doesn’t mean everything, but it is a good baseline, so to say.

    “My oldest son, age 14, would not miss serving a mission for anything, I believe. Are you telling me that this policy requires that he be immunized? Where is this policy? (That’s going to present a problem.)”
    I agree that this will present a big problem, probably for a minority of very conscientious and very-well prepared families. If it were God’s will, fine, we could do it; but I don’t believe it is. I believe it’s one of those cultural norms that I hope comes down–soon. Two stake presidents have responded that there are no opt-out options for either issue. Now whether that’s the whole true policy, I don’t know, but if that’s what they’re saying, I don’t think it matters if there IS any other policy.

    Comment by grego — 2012, August 2 @ 8:32 am

  5. I’m interested to learn more about the “required” vaccinations for a mission. My elementary aged boys have had severe reactions to vaccinations, especially my youngest. I mission is very important to me and I hope they choose to serve as they get older, but being unvaccinated is more important to me!! My oldest broke out into measles and a form of meningitis after being vaccinated. He was hospitalized and it was documented. My youngest had a more severe reaction. He lost the use of his legs for 3 days. Now when he gets ill he collapses and can not move his legs for days at a time. He, too, was hospitalized. He also was on the autism spectrum. We saw dramatic changes in him before and after vaccinations. We worked VERY hard with a Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctor to reverse the autism. He isn’t 100% recovered, but he is greatly improved. I have worked like you wouldn’t believe to get him where he is. Vaccinating is not an option for my boys.

    Comment by Christina — 2012, September 20 @ 2:40 pm

  6. Christina, Others,

    I hope to send a letter out within a week on this. I will post the general response here, too, though with general conference coming up it might take a while for them to respond.


    Comment by grego — 2012, September 21 @ 6:47 am

  7. I feel I should a comment here regarding vaccines. Now you might think me a conspiracy theory nut but you can study it for yourselves. Vaccines are part of world population control. Bill Gates says vaccines can reduce world population:
    Georgia Guidestones “ten commandments” – the first one states that world population should be maintained below 500 million:
    That’s somewhere around a 92% reduction of the current population.
    Bill Gates promises 10 billion for vaccines:
    Since he already stated that he would use vaccines to reduce world population 10 billion will go along way in making that happen.

    Comment by Oni — 2012, October 15 @ 8:02 pm

  8. Thanks Oni,
    No nuts here! He said it, and he meant it.
    Covert birth control via vaccinations has already happened in Mexico and the Philippines.
    Vaccinations are also a beautiful means to make money, not only on the front end (the vaccine shots), but on the back end (“curing” all the resulting problems caused by the vaccines).
    As with many goals of big money and power, it kills many good birds with one evil stone.
    I encourage all to study more, and don’t vaccinate!

    Comment by grego — 2012, October 15 @ 11:49 pm

  9. Grego,
    Did you ever hear back from the LDS Church regarding these concerns? Curious.


    Comment by Marta — 2012, December 4 @ 7:36 pm

  10. Not yet, my fault with the letter. But I’m hoping a response will come soon. (I’m actually hoping to not get a personal response, but to see a change on the missionary form. ;) )

    Comment by grego — 2012, December 21 @ 3:23 am

  11. Hi Grego,

    My family is also in this situation, in my family 6 out of my 8 children were vaccinated and all 6 have various neurological disorders and autoimmune conditions yet my 2 unvaccinated children have none of their siblings disorders. My eldest daughter is now wanting to go on a mission and they have told her to get all her vaccinations but I believe this is wrong. Insurance requirements should not stand in the way of your desire to serve the Lord, I have brought it up with my Bishop and Stake President as yet I have had no reply. I would really love to hear about how your letter goes as this is very important and like yourself and others have been saying, more and more families are being hurt by vaccines and should not be discriminated against because of it. I really hope the leaders of the Church pray about this and address this, as I feel strongly in my heart that Heavenly Father would not want this for us, he would not want us to be forced to be customers of pharmaceutical companies who have proven themselves untrustworthy over and over again.


    Comment by Tasha — 2013, February 3 @ 7:01 am

  12. Dear Tasha,
    I’m very sorry to hear what has happened to your family because of vaccines. Yeah, we thought we were “doing the right thing” and all that, too… I hope things work out. There are a few ways to help with those situations, if you’d like to hear.
    My letter was sent and I still have no idea what’s going on with it (naturally), but I sure hope it makes headway.
    Did the church say it was because of insurance? Can you see that part? Have you considered having your own insurance, not the church’s?
    I encourage you to also write to church headquarters and make your voice heard. This is not church doctrine, but policy–which has changed many times over the years, and will continue to change–hopefully always for the better. There is often a point where leaders will reconsider things they thought easily taken care of the first time around, but in the absence of reminders and cases, it might not happen for a long, long time.
    Anyway, I am in total agreement with what you say. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    Comment by grego — 2013, February 4 @ 3:30 am

  13. Thank you for the advice Grego, I will definitely write that letter!

    I had been wondering what to do, and had approached the Bishop who referred me to the Stake President and it was he who said that it was for insurance purposes. To make sure that I send my letter to the right place can you tell me if I should send it to the church headquarters in my country (Australia) or the headquarters of the Church itself?


    Comment by Tasha — 2013, February 5 @ 3:26 am

  14. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    YAY, YAY, YAY!!!! For those of you worried about it and unable to find answers, comes this:

    Official letter from Missionary Department:

    “…you asked if receiving immunizations and having wisdom teeth removed are optional. …[T]his medical treatment… is not required for full-time missionary service.”

    I don’t think the church will change its mind on this policy for a while (until at least a few leaders die, I believe), and this still might limit the area of service (in country/ not foreign/ not to places with “potentially different standards of health care”). However, it is clear now that removing wisdom teeth and immunizations/ vaccinations are optional, not required.

    If your unit leaders (ward, stake, etc.) need to check/ find out for themselves (if I were one I’d want to do that, too–understandable), they can call the Missionary Department Pre-field Services (801-240-2030).
    So if you want to opt out, I’d suggest just writing “Personal Opt-out” in the area(s) or such on the form unless Pre-field Services says to communicate it in a different way.

    Comment by grego — 2013, February 20 @ 8:24 am

  15. grego, that is very good to know. Thank you for posting. I already knew that wisdom teeth removal was not required based on the dentist’s professional opinion (I never had mine out when I served).

    My question is are you certain that “this medical treatment… is not required for full-time missionary service” *also* refers to vaccinations?

    Would you be willing to post the letter in its entirety?

    Lastly, opting out may confine service to within the United States?

    (Incidentally, while it seems obvious to us that one would never want to knowingly put his body in harms way, for example, by injecting known toxins, the truth is we consume a terrible amount of toxins every day that we can’t escape. My preference and intellectual choice, given research and understanding I’ve come by, is to forgo immunizations and vaccinations because the risks far outweigh the limited value. However, I admit the risks seem to be highly age dependent. In other words, in my opinion, given my understanding, an 18 year old is at almost no risk of death or developmental harm like a 2 year old is. Personally, I’d always prefer avoiding the toxin in the first place, but that is at least something to mull over and think about a little….)

    Comment by Kent — 2013, February 20 @ 1:08 pm

  16. CAPS FOR ANSWERS, not yelling or authority. :)

    “My question is are you certain that “this medical treatment… is not required for full-time missionary service” *also* refers to vaccinations?”
    “Would you be willing to post the letter in its entirety?”
    I’D PUT A COPY OF THE LETTER UP, BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE OF WORDPRESS RESTRICTIONS; I APOLOGIZE. I was sure to put the phone number up for anyone who wanted to double-check.
    “Lastly, opting out may confine service to within the United States?”
    “(Incidentally, while it seems obvious to us that one would never want to knowingly put his body in harms way, for example, by injecting known toxins, the truth is we consume a terrible amount of toxins every day that we can’t escape. My preference and intellectual choice, given research and understanding I’ve come by, is to forgo immunizations and vaccinations because the risks far outweigh the limited value. However, I admit the risks seem to be highly age dependent. In other words, in my opinion, given my understanding, an 18 year old is at almost no risk of death or developmental harm like a 2 year old is. Personally, I’d always prefer avoiding the toxin in the first place, but that is at least something to mull over and think about a little….)”
    I SEE NO VALUE IN ANY VACCINATIONS, and lots of potential harm, given that, as you said, we get enough toxins as it is…
    Whether to get shots or not will, of course, be a personal choice, which is what we were at least hoping for with this letter.
    Correct, in general it’s less poison/ body weight, and development/ maturity is very different, so it would generally be less dangerous for adults. But then, taking almost any poison would be better as an adult than as an infant or child.

    Well, I’m very tired right now, all is meant well, I hope all is taken well, too. :)

    Comment by grego — 2013, February 20 @ 2:49 pm

  17. That is wonderful news Grego!!!! I have written my letter and sent it off as well but still haven’t heard back yet. One thing that has concerned me also about our Church and vaccinations (and which I mentioned in my letter) is the fact that they through their LDS charities dept, are one of the third largest contributors to the Meningitis vaccine in Africa and 7th largest contributor to GAVI.

    “LDS Charities

    LDS Charities became a GAVI Matching Fund partner in June 2012, and its significantly increased commitment just six months later shows its devotion to the cause. Its members have spent tens of thousands of volunteer hours on child immunisation, such as arranging 1.5 million SMS messages to be sent during GAVI’s historic double rollout of vaccines in Ghana.

    “It is an honour for us to partner with GAVI in the effort to save children’s lives and improve people’s health through immunisation,” said Fred Riley, manager of Immunizations and Special Projects for the Humanitarian Services division of LDS Charities. “The funds come from our members and demonstrate the priority the Church places on this good work.”

    Wow, I didn’t even know we had an “Immunizations and Special Projects for the Humanitarian Services Division of LDS Charities” I just read this part now!!! $4.5 million dollars from our church for vaccines that is quite shocking!

    We are told that sick children should not be vaccinated, yet it is ok to vaccinate severely malnourished and sick children in third world countries? If the Church focused it’s humanitarian efforts on just sanitation, clean water, food and more medical services other than vaccines they would help the community/country which would benefit everyone not just the children. In regards to this particular Meningitis vaccine, they had a lot of children in Chad get really sick from this just recently.

    Now please don’t take this as an attack on our Church, I love the gospel and feel privileged to have been raised as a LDS, I just think there is a lack of awareness when it comes to this particular subject and even about alternative medicine. But hopefully this will change sooner rather than later, especially if other members are willing to speak about their own experiences and research.

    Good on you Grego for getting us some much needed clarity on this issue :)

    Comment by Tasha — 2013, February 21 @ 11:14 pm

  18. I agree, and no, I don’t think this is attacking the church. I was not happy when I read about the church’s help with vaccinations. I completely agree they should and should find better ways to help (such as providing gruel and rocket/ biomass stoves–much cheaper, clearer results, and much better for everyone).

    Oh well, they believe it’s good, others believe it’s good, it’s well-intended, and it’s good for PR, I guess…

    If you search for words like “polio”, “disease”, “vaccine”, “vaccinations”, “immunize”, “immunizations”, you’ll find out more about what’s behind this, I think. Some leaders are determined to stamp out childhood diseases such as polio.

    I believe many general leaders and members also love the stories of sacrifice and spirituality that come from Western medical experiences, and aren’t so willing to “leave them behind”, so to say. Search for “cancer” and “operation” to see what I mean.

    Nevertheless, as seekers of truth, we are supposed to lay aside the false traditions of our fathers when we find them, at least for ourselves.

    Comment by grego — 2013, February 22 @ 12:13 am

  19. Here is a portion of the 140+ search returns for “polio” on As you read, and notice who said it, you’ll see why this program will likely continue for many years into the future (though you never know!):

    “Church Helps DR Congo Reduce Preventable Deaths

    With help from Church Humanitarian Services, vaccination campaigns are spreading from the main cities to the most remote villages in Africa to prevent contagious diseases.

    With one out of five children dying there each year from preventable diseases, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has received promotional assistance from the Church to attempt to reverse the trend.

    “The childhood death rate in the Congo is very high, because people are unable to afford health care and often delay seeking help until it is too late,” said Sister Marilyn Barlow, a humanitarian services missionary serving in the DR Congo with her husband, Farrell. “Even among Church members it is hard to find a family that has not lost at least one child, and some have lost many.”

    But the real tragedy is that a simple, inexpensive vaccine could have saved many lives. In 2007 Church humanitarian volunteers helped publicize the country’s measles vaccination program. As a result, more than 670,000 children received measles vaccinations.

    DR Congo health officials were so impressed by how the Church handled its part of the measles campaign, which included radio and television advertising, they asked for help with another project.

    In 2008 the Church paid for the production of updated materials—posters and flip charts—so the government could train health specialists and educate mothers about the importance of primary vaccinations such as measles, polio, tetanus, and tuberculosis.

    “[The Church’s] gift will help us educate families and make them healthier,” said Dr. Charlotte Ngokaba, National Director of Vaccinations in the DR Congo.

    Since 2003, nearly 60,000 Church volunteers have teamed with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the American Red Cross, and local Ministries of Health to decrease the measles death rate.

    According to a WHO report, these efforts are paying off. Measles deaths in Africa have dropped 93 percent since 1999. Worldwide measles deaths have fallen 73 percent, from nearly 900,000 in 1999 to an estimated 242,000 in 2006.”
    –Dec. 2008

    “Some great athletes have had to overcome handicaps before they have succeeded in developing their talents. Shelly Mann was such an example. “At the age of five she had polio. … Her parents took her daily to a swimming pool where they hoped the water would help hold her arms up as she tried to use them again. When she could lift her arm out of the water with her own power, she cried for joy. Then her goal was to swim the width of the pool, then the length, then several lengths. She kept on trying, swimming, enduring, day after day after day, until she won the [Olympic] gold medal for the butterfly stroke—one of the most difficult of all swimming strokes” (Marvin J. Ashton, in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 127; or Ensign, May 1975, 86).”
    -Gospel Principles

    “In the Dominican Republic, a person with physical disabilities without a wheelchair has a hard time integrating into society and feeling like a part of the community, said Jose “Riqui” Manual Perez. Riqui lost the use of his legs at eight months old when he contracted polio.

    “Life was very uncomfortable,” he said. “I never went out. I never saw the street. I didn’t have friends. After I received my first wheelchair, doors opened to me. I began to make friends, got my first job, and then formed a family.””
    -LDS Church Newsroom

    “In the early part of this decade we collaborated with Rotary International in its PolioPlus endeavor, the goal being to eliminate that dreaded disease. As a young man in high school, I witnessed firsthand the start of the polio epidemic in Salt Lake City. Every day it seemed that someone at school came down with polio. If you have ever seen an iron lung or a child who has suffered from the devastating infirmities of polio, you understand what blessings have come to countless individuals because your club has had the vision and the faith to accomplish what you have to eliminate polio. A bronze statue was given to the Church by Rotary officers expressing thanks for our substantial contribution in this effort. The Church purchased sufficient polio serum to immunize 300,000 children and also helped place gas and electric refrigerators in rural health outposts to keep vaccines viable until they were administered to the children. As a result of this joint endeavor, Rotary International has ensured that every child in Kenya is protected from this crippling disease. One never goes wrong by helping a child.

    There are other problems that can be solved when people such as the Rotarians tackle them. I understand that you plan, through your foundation and others who help, to wipe out polio worldwide by the year 2000. I cannot think of a finer goal.”
    -President Monson

    “The children in African nations are receiving immunizations in an effort to eradicate common communicable diseases by the end of the century. A specific project involves a cooperative effort with Rotary International’s Polio Plus endeavor. The Church has purchased sufficient polio serum to immunize 300,000 children. Gas and electric refrigerators have been placed in rural health outposts to keep vaccines viable until they are administered to the children. You, my brethren, and your families helped to bring this dream to reality.”
    -President Monson

    “Children walk who once would have been crippled by polio, thanks to your contributions which provided the vaccine to prevent such tragedies.”
    -President Monson

    “My heart burned warmly within me when the First Presidency approved the allocation of a substantial sum from your special fast-offering contributions to join with those funds from Rotary International, that polio vaccine might be provided and the children living in Kenya immunized against this vicious crippler and killer of children.”
    -President Monson

    “In February of this year the president of the American Red Cross presented to the Church the Circle of Humanitarians Award, which is the highest honor given by them. It is in recognition of the effort of the Church to extend the vaccination against measles to thousands and thousands of young people.

    Likewise, Rotary International has recognized the Church for a contribution to bring about the eradication of polio in third-world countries where it still exists.

    Countless lives have been saved, and much pain and misery have been avoided throughout their lives.”
    -President Hinckley

    “This is the season of an explosion of knowledge. For instance, when I was your age there were no antibiotics. All of these wonderful medicines have been discovered and refined in more recent times. Some of the great scourges of the earth are gone. Smallpox once took whole populations. That is gone entirely. It is a miracle. Polio was once the dreaded fear of every mother. I remember going to visit a man with polio in the county hospital. He was in a great iron lung that moved his own lungs as it pumped up and down. There was no hope for him; he couldn’t breathe on his own. He died, leaving his wife and children. This terrible disease is now gone. That too is a miracle. And so it is with other matters.”
    -President Hinckley

    “3 He contracted polio and recovered (1911).”
    -President Hunter

    “There they found an unshaven, misshapen man lying on a bed. He wanted to hear their message. They presented the first discussion, bore witness to him, and then left. As they walked away, they discussed Atiati’s condition; he had had polio 22 years before that had left him without the use of his arms or legs, so how could he ever be baptized, being so completely disabled?”
    -President Faust

    “When I was five years old, I became very ill. It turned out that I had polio, a disease that was completely unknown to the small-town doctor. I lay for several weeks on a World War I army cot in our front room beside a coal stove. Afterward, I could not walk. I remember very clearly sliding around on the linoleum floor and pulling myself up on chairs, learning to walk again. I was more fortunate than some. A friend walked with crutches and steel leg braces all of his life.

    As I moved into school, I found that my muscles were weak. I was very self-conscious. I knew that I could never be an athlete.”
    -President Packer

    “An affliction like polio can cripple or destroy the body. An affliction like sin can cripple or destroy the spirit. The ravages of polio can now be prevented by immunization, but the ravages of sin require other means of prevention.”
    -Elder Nelson

    “We have mapped the human genome, made amazing advances in medicine, and reached into the heavens and pulled back answers to riddles that have puzzled mankind for centuries.
    We are ever on the threshold of new journeys and new discoveries. Can you imagine the excitement of the Wright brothers on the morning of that first flight? The anticipation of Jonas Salk as he analyzed the data that demonstrated a way to prevent polio?”
    -Elder Wirthlin

    “When I was just a young girl, I became seriously ill. Each day the illness became increasingly severe. Nothing the doctor recommended helped. At that time the dreaded disease of polio was raging in almost epidemic proportions in the land. It was taking the lives of many, and those who didn’t die were often left crippled. Polio was everyone’s worst fear in those days.

    “One night my illness became critical, and my father and grandfather administered to me using consecrated oil, and through the power of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood, which they held worthily, they called upon God for healing, help, guidance, and comfort. And then my parents took me to a doctor in another town who immediately sent us to Salt Lake City. . . .

    “When we finally arrived at the hospital in Salt Lake, there were medical personnel waiting for us. They grabbed me from my parents’ arms and whisked me away. Without a word of good-bye or explanation, we were separated. I was all alone, and I thought I was going to die.

    “Following the painful diagnostic procedures, including a spinal tap, they took me to a hospital isolation room, where I would stay all by myself with the hope that I would not infect anyone else, for indeed I did have polio.

    “I remember how very frightened I was. It was dark and I was so sick and so alone. But my parents had taught me to pray. I got on my knees, and I knelt beside the railing in the criblike bed and asked Heavenly Father to bless me. I was crying, I remember. Heavenly Father heard my prayer even though I was only a child. He did. Heavenly Father sent His comforting power, which enveloped me in quiet love. I felt the power of the Holy Ghost, and I was not alone.”

    (Margaret D. Nadauld, “A Comforter, a Guide, a Testifier,” Ensign, May 2001, 90-91.)

    “One of his employees, Carmen Richardson Smith, recalled the faithfulness of Spencer and Camilla Kimball when their son Edward was stricken with polio in the early 1930s:

    “The relationship between Brother Kimball and his wife was something I admired very much. When Eddie was in California, receiving extended treatment, Sister Kimball stayed with him and President Kimball traveled there at critical times. During periods of recuperation following Eddie’s surgery, Brother Kimball would return home to take care of the rest of the family, while his wife stayed with Eddie.

    “I believe he wrote to her every single day. Not just a short 50-word letter, either. Sometimes when he was particularly pressed for time he would dictate a letter to me, and I remember how I felt: it was almost a sacred honor.”
    -Teachings: President Kimball

    “Immunizations Help Prevent Disease

    We can protect ourselves and our families from some diseases by getting immunizations. For some diseases we need only one immunization, but for other diseases we may need several immunizations at certain time intervals. Polio is a disease that was once very common. Many years ago a physician-scientist discovered a way to protect people from getting this disease. He developed a polio immunization. People who get the immunization protect themselves from this disease, which once killed many people and crippled many more. In most parts of the world, people can receive immunizations from a health clinic or a physician.

    • What diseases are common in your area? What immunizations do physicians or workers at the health clinic recommend? How often should they be given? What can you do to get the necessary immunizations to protect your family? Tell the sisters when and where immunizations are given. Suggest that the sisters set a time to go get them.
    • Display visual 24-a, “Resistance and Immunity to Disease.” Allow the sisters time to study the chart in their manuals.

    Teacher Preparation
    Before presenting this lesson:
    1. Visit the local health center to learn what immunizations are available to people in your community. Find out when they are given, what record you must take with you, and so on.”
    -The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A; Lesson 24

    A similar scenario is played out in Cebu, in the southern part of the Philippines. Sister Hilda Bactin could not make it through the makeshift walkways that lead to people’s homes without the help of her companion, Sister Amy Andersen. Sister Bactin has polio, yet she carries on.

    “My feeling is that I want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love people, and my mission is everything I thought it would be,” says Sister Bactin.

    She doesn’t want to talk about her disability. To her, it’s not really an issue. Sister Bactin was going to serve a mission. That much was certain. “When I was baptized I told myself I would become a missionary,” she recalls. Less than two years later, the goal was being fulfilled.

    “Seeing [Sister Bactin] struggle to get to different places we go, and seeing her desire humbles me a lot,” says her companion.”
    -New Era 1997 (“I Will Go and Do”)

    Comment by grego — 2013, February 22 @ 12:51 am

  20. I can’t deny that this saddens me to see how ingrained this belief that vaccinations have saved the world is in our teachings :(

    I can only hope that with more awareness of what actually happened historically with the polio vaccine and SV40 and even the mortality rates declining 99% before most vaccinations were introduced, and the ever increasing amount of vaccine injured children hopefully things will change. I mean 1 in 6 children are now diagnosed with a developmental disability and soaring rates of childhood allergies, cancer, autoimmune disorders ie asthma, eczema etc obviously something we are doing to our children is making their immune systems malfunction. These increases just happen to coincide with increasing rates of vaccination, could it be coincidence? Maybe so, but I have to say that I definitely believe that vaccination is part of the reason.

    Thanks for digging this up for me Grego, I was just in the process of looking it up :)

    Comment by Tasha — 2013, February 22 @ 1:18 am

  21. A small (late) correction from a math geek who stumbled on this blog, which currently reads:

    ‘…From the CDC: “As of June 22, 2011, approximately 35 million doses of Gardasil® were distributed in the U.S. and VAERS received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil® vaccination…”‘

    At this time the blog reads, ‘That’s 5.35%!!’

    But of course, 18,727 out of 35,000,000 is not 0.0535 but 0.000535 (just over 1 complication for every 2000 doses distributed).

    Whether those complications (including the 68 deaths) and (maybe) sending the signal to young people that “sex is expected” are worth the benefits (protection from only some strains of a virus that causes a wart that eventually may cause cancer) is a societal debate that probably requires long-term cancer death stats as well as non-vax “normal” sudden-death control stats that I don’t have, so I’ll leave the rest of the debate here to everyone else!

    Thank you for indulging my geekery.

    Comment by Azimuth — 2014, April 29 @ 7:09 am

  22. Vaccinations are not mandatory in the Church. Each missionary decides. I know it is so from direct experience.

    Comment by Yohan Carus — 2015, March 6 @ 7:06 am

  23. Yup. And some of those non-vaccinated missionaries have served foreign missions, too.

    Comment by grego — 2015, March 7 @ 1:26 pm

  24. looking for more info on option out and still having the option to serve overseas.

    Comment by Anji — 2015, March 31 @ 6:27 pm

  25. Hi Anji,

    I have heard of missionaries opting out of vaccines and still serving overseas.

    I don’t know about wisdom teeth.

    You could write the missionary department and ask?


    Comment by grego — 2015, March 31 @ 11:54 pm

  26. Thanks!

    Comment by Anji — 2015, April 25 @ 11:30 pm

  27. Hey! I love that you are talking about this. Shows I’m not the only one who thinks this way. =) I’ve been writing a blog on vaccine education for over a year now. My philosophy has been to legitimize vaccine refusal by using resources from the public health and medical communities to prove the weaknesses of vaccines. I’ve scoured medical journals, epidemiology and vaccinology textbooks, decades of statistics from the Office of Vital Statistics, and books and news articles on infectious diseases to support my research. I recently did a four part series on my blog specifically for Latter Day Saints. The first part of the series is here:…ts-part-1-of-4/ ‎ My homepage is here: Please come take a read and share with anyone you think may benefit from it!

    Comment by Nicky/Elizabeth — 2015, September 29 @ 11:20 pm

  28. Nicky/Elizabeth,
    Awesome work! And that’s straight from the medical establishment. Imagine what would happen if it were from an independent party…

    Comment by grego — 2015, October 11 @ 1:01 am

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