Salt Lake City, Utah— According to a report Friday from The Salt Lake Tribune, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be granted a religious exemption to COVID-19 vaccine mandates in California.
California now requires vaccines for health care workers, teachers, and others.
According to the Tribune reports, some Californian members of the faith (which is headquartered in Salt Lake City) have asked their local leaders to support their applications to receive religious waivers from their employers.
Church’s Area Presidency to local leaders in California sent a letter to the Tribune, which tells them to not sign such faith-based exemption applications.
“No church official can sign any kind of documentation supporting the notion that church doctrine/teaching is opposed to vaccination or that the church is opposed to vaccination mandates,” the letter reads, in part. “As to the former, the opposite is true [the church not only supports but also encourages vaccination]; as to the latter, the Brethren [top officials] have not taken a position.”
A month ago, the church’s top leaders urged members to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
And while fundamental teaching of the faith is “agency,” or the freedom to choose, the letter states that this “does not provide a religious basis for disobeying the law or demanding special exemptions from it.”
The letter even says if leaders sign such exemptions, it could be considered perjury.
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