Vaccines have been a BIG topic of conversation lately (particularly the COVID-19 vaccine) and many have wondered what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe about vaccines, blood transfusions, and organ donation. Can Mormons donate blood? Can Mormons be organ donors? Do Mormons get vaccinated? In this episode, we talk about the beliefs of LDS when it comes to vaccines, blood transfusions, and organ donation. We share thoughts from LDS leaders and give our opinions. See why David thinks Taylor should just donate blood already by watching the video 😉 Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments below!!
David: As recent as earlier this year, we saw photos of the entire first presidency, and I think five members of the quorum of the 12 receiving their COVID vaccination. The other ones couldn’t receive it at that time, because they were younger than 70 and there was an age requirement at that time. But anyways, so they’re pretty unanimously in support of it, it would seem. But of course, it’s a personal decision and yes. Just going to leave it at that. Just going to leave it at that.
Kaitlyn: Who’s starting this one?
David: See, I always feel like I’m annoying people before we start, and I’m like, “Okay, who wants to start?” But then if I don’t-
Taylor: Then nobody knows.
David: Then nobody knows what’s going on. Okay, I’ll do it. All right.
Taylor: Thanks, David.
David: Today, probably apparent from the title of this video, we’re talking about priesthood blessings, and we’re talking about medicine. Now, in some people’s minds, there’s this conflict between how much we should rely on faith and God and how much we should rely on medicine and doctors and stuff. It’s a false dichotomy, and as an aside from that, we’re also talking about this topic because there are a lot of people that get confused about what Latter-day Saints believe when it comes to this. Sometimes they confuse us with other religions that might be a little more hesitant to participate in some medical procedures, like blood transfusions, and stuff like that.
So hopefully, this can clear that up. So to get the ball rolling, we’re not going to talk a whole lot about priesthood blessings. If you don’t know what a priesthood blessing is, we have some other content that we’ll link to that you can look at to brush up on that. But jumping into this, what are you guys’ thoughts? Faith or medicine, or is that even a choice we need to make? What do you think, and what does the church have to say about it?
Taylor: I feel like it’s the same question as science or religion.
Kaitlyn: I was just thinking that.
Taylor: Everyone seems to… not everyone, but there seems to exist out there a mode of thinking where those are different things. And in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we don’t see it that way. Sometimes, they’re very intertwined and hard even to separate.
So I feel like faith and medicine, sometimes we should have faith in medicine, you know?
David: Oh, I’m going to put that on my living room wall.
Taylor: Cross-stitch that on a pillow!
David: Yes. That was well-said.
Kaitlyn: I love that. And to go off of that, if you think about it like our prophet, President Nelson is a world-renowned heart surgeon.
Kaitlyn: And several of the apostles. In fact, another one is a heart surgeon too, isn’t he? Or a-
David: Is that Elder [Renlund 00:03:00]?
Kaitlyn: Or maybe-
David: I know Elder Renlund was in the medical field.
Kaitlyn: Okay, maybe he’s in the medical field. I don’t know if I’m thinking of something wrong.
David: Elder Ballard was a car salesman.
Kaitlyn: There’s that.
David: Which is cool too.
Kaitlyn: They have a wide-
Taylor: Thanks for that.
David: You’re welcome.
Taylor: Just log that away.
David: I’m just telling you-
David: … Elder Ballard does not have that medical experience, but…
Kaitlyn: Yeah, thank you for that fact.
David: You’re welcome.
Taylor: He’s probably got a Swiss Army knife though, he could probably-
David: Yeah, do one of those-
Taylor: … get your heart out of there.
David: O’Connell from the Mummy, if you’ve got a scarab beetle crawling under your skin.
Taylor: Yeah, he could probably-
David: Okay, okay. Yeah, let’s…
Speaker 4: Do something, do something! Not that, not that! Ah!
David: Let’s move on.
Kaitlyn: What are we talking about? Okay.
David: Sorry, sorry.
Kaitlyn: Basically, the faith and the science go together, obviously, if we have, I mean, tons of amazing members of the church and leaders, and leaders that we know are in the medical field and believe in it, so that’s something we-
David: Sometimes, they can refine each other too, I feel like. Sometimes faith will refine medicine, and medicine will refine faith a little bit. Don’t ask me for examples of that. I’m sure they’re out there, but I feel like they work together as checks and balances against each other sometimes. In as much that at least they apply to my life, it seems. But maybe let’s talk about just some of the things that the church has said about medicine. Can we do that?
Taylor: I particularly like this example, it’s pretty famous, pretty common. It shows up in conference talks here and there. It’s an example from Brigham Young, which says a lot because this is way back there. This is early days of the church-
Taylor: This is how it’s always been. So this is a Dallin H. Oaks quote from his April 2010 talk, Healing the Sick. He said: “The use of medical science is not at odds with our prayers of faith and our reliance on priesthood blessings. When a person requested a priesthood blessing, Brigham Young would ask, “Have you used any remedies?” To those who said, “No, because we wish the elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed,” President Young replied, “That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick and ask the Lord to heal us and to do all for us that is necessary to be done according to my understanding of the Gospel of Salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed.”
David: I have the end of that quote. I put it in here, because I also liked it.
David: Because that quote that you just read, that’s my… Totally agree with that whole sentiment.
Kaitlyn: Yeah, love that.
Taylor: Yeah. Like, you’ve got to do everything in your power as well.
David: Right, otherwise it just reminds me of the person on their roof while there’s a flood around their house and the helicopter comes by, and they’re like, “Do you need help?” And they’re like, “No, God’s going to help me.” And you’re like, “Ugh!” But anyway, so that Dallin H. Oaks quote ends with, “Of course, we don’t wait until all other methods are exhausted before we pray in faith or give priesthood blessings for healing. In emergencies, prayers and blessings come first. Most often, we pursue all efforts simultaneously.”
Taylor: And there we have that interweaving of medicine and faith.
David: A double helix of faith, shall we say.
Kaitlyn: Faith of action, faith of… yes.
David: I’ve been using that a lot lately. Double helix, DNA, medicine. It all works together.
Kaitlyn: It all connects.
Taylor: What were you going to say?
Kaitlyn: I just think that is so, so true. It’s like pray… How does that quote go? I’m going to botch it.
David: Oh, oh, I know the one you’re thinking of. Dang it.
Taylor: How did you get that? She said one word.
David: It’s that-
Kaitlyn: Pray as if-
David: It’s the pray-
Kaitlyn: … it’s all up to God-
Taylor: Oh, oh, and act as if-
David: And then act-
Taylor: And act as if it’s all up to you.
Kaitlyn: And act as if it’s all up to you. Anyway, just that was the quote that came to my head.
Taylor: How did you get… Did you know that was in?
Kaitlyn: Well, let’s put it on the screen, if it’s there.
David: Yeah, I knew.
Kaitlyn: That was my thought on that, or I just agree, so.
David: I think that’s great.
Taylor: That’s great. Yeah.
David: Okay, so things like the church is totally fine with things like blood transfusions, transplants, vaccines. Obviously, there’s been a lot of talk about vaccines lately. But anyway, so-
David: … maybe we can just read some of these things the church has said about these things. So for example, blood transfusions. Although there are references in scripture to the sacredness of blood, the church does not hold that any scripture or Revelation prohibits giving or receiving blood or blood products, such as gammaglobulin, sounds like a Pokemon. The anti-hemophilic factor, and antibodies through transfusion or injection, and it is therefore not opposed to its members engaging in such practices.
In fact, individual wards sometimes have blood drives to increase the supply on hand when a ward member might need a transfusion. That’s so cool that wards do that.
David: The church however leaves the decision of whether to be a donor or recipient of a blood transfusion or blood products to the individual member or family concerned. I have a hard time giving blood. My body about halfway through is juts like, “Nope, I think you’re going to pass out at this point.”
Taylor: To be honest, I’ve never done it because I’m just too afraid.
Nurse: Ah, we did it.
Michael Scott: Wow, I was so nervous about this. I don’t think I ate for three days.
Speaker 7: Is he okay?
Kaitlyn: I haven’t done it either.
David: It’s okay.
Kaitlyn: But for a long time… yeah. I wasn’t able to for a while, but-
Taylor: Did you-
Kaitlyn: There’s a weight requirement. And growing up, I was always really small and so, they if they take all your blood, you would die, so.
David: That’s how that works.
Kaitlyn: But obviously, now, I do. I need to do it. It’s a good thing to do. Are you afraid of needles?
Taylor: Kind of, yeah. A little bit.
Kaitlyn: Yeah, they are scary.
Taylor: I just don’t like the idea of…
David: But sometimes, you just got to suck it up.
Taylor: Thanks, David.
Kaitlyn: Yeah, suck it up for the good of your fellow man.
David: I’m sorry, Taylor.
Taylor: Man up!
David: That came off as so insensitive. I was thinking in terms of vaccines and stuff like that, but I see how that might be taken personally.
Taylor: I mean, just because I was the person here who hasn’t done it, but I get what you mean.
Kaitlyn: Yeah. And we bring that up because in a lot of religions, I’m not sure which religions exactly-
David: Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Kaitlyn: … blood transfusions… It’s Jehovah’s Witnesses? Okay. Blood transfusions are a no-no. So, but with us [crosstalk 00:09:27]-
Taylor: Yeah, because it talks about things like that in the Bible, where it talks about-
Kaitlyn: The sacredness.
Taylor: Yeah, the sacredness of blood.
Taylor: And stuff, so.
David: Which in my mind, just makes a blood transfusion almost a sacred thing. Right?
David: Kind of. I don’t know.
Taylor: I mean, you’re giving it to someone else who needs it.
David: It’s life.
Taylor: Yeah, it’s life.
Taylor: Life force.
David: My blood is my life blood.
Kaitlyn: Yeah, and then also… Wait, you talked about transplants, did you? Or should we read more into transplants? I mean-
David: Yeah, let’s read that. Or-
Kaitlyn: … basically, so it says here, “The donation of organs and tissues is a selfless act that often results in great benefit. The decision to will or donate one’s own body, organs, or tissue for medical purposes or the decision to authorize the transplant of organs or tissue from a deceased family member is made by the individual or the deceased member’s family.”
Kaitlyn: There’s some cool stories about that out there. I just met someone yesterday who gave one of her kidneys to her sister.
Kaitlyn: Like 25 years ago.
Taylor: Wow, that’s nice.
Kaitlyn: I’m just like, “That’s so sweet.”
David: Have you heard the stories, okay, slight tangent here for 30 seconds of people getting heart transplants, and then afterwards, the person who received someone else’s heart has characteristics of the person whose heart they received.
Kaitlyn: I’ve never heard of that.
Taylor: I’m having a weird flashback to my mission of a story that I heard from somebody we met who was talking about this. But it’s like a dream, it’s like I can’t remember everything, but it feels… I think I’ve heard a story like this.
David: Maybe it’s someone else’s.
Kaitlyn: It seems familiar?
David: And you received a-
Taylor: A brain transplant?
David: … transplant? I don’t know. That was nothing to do with our church at all, but it’s just really interesting stuff behind that kind of stuff.
Taylor: It always makes me think of that movie Seven Pounds.
Taylor: That’s a tough movie.
David: That’s sad.
Kaitlyn: I’ve never seen that.
Taylor: We don’t encourage you to do what he did in that movie, but it’s still… sorry, irrelevant.
David: Yeah. Will Smith, I mean, it’s a Will Smith movie.
Kaitlyn: So if you’re given the option to be a donor, I mean, by all means.
Taylor: Yep, and the hot topic [crosstalk 00:11:37] of the week is vaccines. Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life. Members of the church are encouraged to safeguard themselves, their children, and their communities through vaccination.
Kaitlyn: It’s in Handbook Two.
David: The church has been doing stuff in support of vaccines and immunizations formally since the 70s, for the last 20 years at least, they’ve been as part of their Humanitarian program have been-
Taylor: Yeah, they provide vaccines to third world countries and stuff.
David: Yeah, and as recent as earlier this year, we saw photos of the entire first presidency and I think five members of the Quorum of the 12 receiving their COVID vaccination. The other ones couldn’t receive it at that time, because they were younger than 70, and there was an age requirement at that time. But anyways, so they’re pretty unanimously in support of it, it would seem. But of course, it’s a personal decision, and yes. I’m just going to leave it at that, just going to leave it at that.
Kaitlyn: Leave it at that? Okay.
Taylor: Bringing back to David’s original point, the original question is I mean, when it comes to getting better, what trumps what? Should we take the route of priesthood blessings, or should we take the route of medicine?
Kaitlyn: Well, you definitely need a little bit of both.
David: A lot of both.
Kaitlyn: A lot of both. Sometimes, your full ammo of both. But for me, the last… What was it? There was a time in my life last year and the previous four years, I had this medical issue and I had to get so many surgeries. And I had so many priesthood blessings. And the surgeries repeatedly failed even though I had a lot of priesthood blessings. And I was like, “What gives? Come on, this is supposed to be working.”
But one thing I did learn through this experience and priesthood blessings was that yes, they can provide healing. That doesn’t mean that there will be a miracle every time, at least that’s what I think. Because sometimes, we hear about those crazy stories, where it seems just quite surreal. But it did give me the strength and the patience and the faith to just keep going and looking for my options, and doing research, and finding what was out there. There was one doctor in the whole country, found him eventually, who was able to solve my problem.
Kaitlyn: And that was a huge answer to prayer, but it took like four years.
Taylor: Four years.
Kaitlyn: So, they definitely go hand-in-hand, and these priesthood blessings can do so much. I mean, a lot of it’s just up to the will of the Lord as well, so that’s important to remember. Doesn’t mean-
David: But modern medicine-
Kaitlyn: … that it failed.
David: But modern medicine, God uses modern medicine to bring about his will.
Kaitlyn: Right, answer blessings, or prayers.
Taylor: Who’s to say those blessings were… I guess you didn’t say the blessings were failing, necessarily. But there-
Taylor: … just wasn’t an immediate result, but over time, the solution did come, however unlikely it was that you found that one doctor.
David: I think the moral of the story is if you are in a situation where you’re sick or you need medical care, get the medical care you need. Get priesthood blessing as well, if you’re in a position to be able to do that. Tap both of these sources, okay? It’s important. My wife has Type I diabetes. If she was just like, “All right, God. It’s in your hands, but no, I’m not going to take insulin and check my blood sugar,” she would be in a bad, bad situation right now. But you need both, okay? Seek out both, take advantage of both. That’s your best shot.
David: In our non-medical position, I guess. We are not medical professionals.
Kaitlyn: Yeah, none of us are in the medical field at all.
Taylor: Right. None of us have studied that.
David: You should know this. Please do not start a lawsuit against us.
Taylor: But as active Latter-day Saints, we’ve benefited from both. That’s what we have to say.
David: And I’m grateful to belong to a church that encourages both.
Kaitlyn: Me too.
David: That doesn’t see-
David: … a problem between them, but cool.
Taylor: Thanks for watching. Hope this clears up-
Kaitlyn: Thanks, guys.
Taylor: … any questions you may have had about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whether you be a member or not. Don’t forget to share this video around like wildfire, so we can get this out there to everyone else who doesn’t know. And thanks for watching.
Kaitlyn: Take your vitamins.