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Hamba Tuhan

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  1. Indeed. Here's an important piece of data when considering the claim under question (published online in Oct. 2019, before the emergence of Covid-19): 'We estimated an average of 389 000 (uncertainty range 294 000-518 000) respiratory deaths were associated with influenza globally each year during the study period, corresponding to ~ 2% of all annual respiratory deaths' (Paget et al., 'Global mortality associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: New burden estimates and predictors from the GLaMOR Project', Journal of Global Health 9:2, Dec. 2019). Including all influenza deaths, the research continues, might double that figure.
  2. In our region (though not in my stake), worship has been halted and resumed a number of times. It remains to be seen if American Saints will tolerate that.
  3. Correct. That's why the same section in the Handbook instructs that 'The bishop may authorize a priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder to administer the sacrament in person to those who cannot attend the meeting'. In my case, Bishop authorised my housemate to do it for me.
  4. That's all we've ever done, always sent out in an email by bishop on Sunday morning. Since getting permission for everyone to attend in-person, we only stream on Sundays when people are sick or self-isolating and have asked for it, and then the link is sent just to them. (We always know when someone is home sick because there's a camera on a tripod at the front of the chapel.)
  5. I didn't ask why the ward conference yesterday was being streamed, but I know that this ward has an older single sister in it who lives nearly 200km away from the chapel. In the past, someone rang her at home just as sacrament meeting was starting, and she listened in through the telephone. It's possible now that she is able to have the stream with video. What a blessing for her! (Her ministers visit twice/month to administer the sacrament.) Updated guidelines certainly allow for this: We've returned to in-person stake/high council meetings as well, but we still have someone Zoom in now and then, whether for illness or because s/he is away. I haven't detected any pressure for this to happen, just a willingness. I'm not sure how this would happen. I fell very sick just after Christmas and had to miss church. I contacted the bishop to let him know, and then on Sunday morning he emailed me a link to the stream. It wasn't publicly available in any way.
  6. Interesting. I can provide an update from my stake. I attended two services yesterday, one in my role as high council member because it was their ward conference, followed by my own ward. Both sacrament meetings were streamed. This was the second Sunday in a row for my ward. Under our current health guidelines, no one who is sick can attend anything indoors, including church and affiliated meetings. Consequently, when people are sick, they stay home, and we stream the service to them. I'm really glad for this, and to be honest, I hope it continues post-pandemic. Besides shifting the ordinance of the sacrament to the end of the meeting, it has zero impact on those attending in person, and it makes being stuck at home sick on a Sunday so much better.
  7. Cool. Cos that is what I hope all members do regardless of their personal political preferences: 'As appropriate opportunities become available, the Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization' (emphasis added).
  8. I don't, unfortunately. But the political landscape here is so different to the one in America that I'm not sure how to even compare them. The people I know best at church would be evenly split between centre-right and centre-left. More importantly, the approach to the pandemic here simply hasn't been politicised. Our national and sub-national governments are all over the political spectrum, from a centre-right/right coalition to a centre-left/left coalition, but mostly they've put aside their differences and worked on this together. Major decisions have all been unanimous. There has definitely been some sniping amongst various government leaders, but that hasn't necessarily followed party lines. The one thing that I have noticed is that there is a direct correlation between members who closely follow American political reporting and those whom I have heard express vaccine hesitancy. To me, it feels like we've been subjected to two sources of infection from the US: outbreaks of the actual virus and outbreaks of heavily politicised misinformation. I know the people who support what's going on don't care, but in my corner of the world, America's standing has taken a real hit as we've watched what feels like a clown-filled circus play out there. That would be the consensus here right across the broad middle of the political spectrum, not including the far-left and far-right fringes. It's sad.
  9. Are you suggesting that listening to the living prophets and following their example is not a virtue?
  10. I've had my first AstraZeneca jab. It was dreadful. I got it Sunday morning before church. After church, I drove 240km to speak at a fireside, taking one of my former Young Men with me as a companion. Halfway home, I started freezing. I turned the heating in the car up till it was blasting, but still I shivered. (My poor companion! He just patiently roasted.) I took my temperature when I got home: 39.6C. By this point, I ached from head to toe, with every muscle in my body sore to touch. I tried to sleep but was so delusional all night that I couldn't tell if I was awake or asleep, dreaming or mad. Twenty-four hours after it started, my fever broke, and all the achiness went away too. I thought I was fine, so I went to work the next morning. Around midday, I think, the headache came on. Debilitating. It came and went for two weeks, decreasing in frequency as time went on. My nose also bled for two weeks but not like a normal nosebleed. Instead, I was constantly blowing out huge clots of blood. Not fun. And my injection site is actually still mildly sore. But if this is how my body reacted to just the Covid-19 spike protein, imagine how it might react to that same protein on the outside of millions of rapidly multiplying viable viruses that are simultaneously attacking my lungs. No thanks. I'm with Pres Nelson on this one: these vaccines are a 'literal godsend'.
  11. It's going to take a long while for many people (like me) to stop associating 'American' with 'people who actually had vaccines when we didn't but refused to use them'.
  12. No. Maybe that will take time? Maybe she won't say it, but the content and tenor of her posts will change? Maybe she doesn't see it? My brain simply cannot compute. I feel like I've had mental vertigo for the past 18 months, and these kinds of things just add to the dizziness. What I've discovered, however, is that I can fast and pray with both faith and sincerity for people who I think are dead wrong. That's an important lesson.
  13. I belong to a private Facebook group started by some of my Latter-day Saint friends in America. We didn't do much with it at first, but with temples closed, it morphed into something of a private 'prayer roll' where we fast and pray for each other. It's been really powerful. On her own Facebook page, one of the women has been very vocal against vaccines, masks, public health mandates of any kind, etc., all for 'political' reasons. I have a name that I coined for this particular vortex. I'll avoid using that here, but I suspect most people know what I'm talking about. From afar, it's one of the most obvious outcomes that the rest of the world can see resulting from the determination of some Americans to politicise a public health emergency. Anyway, she posted to us last week asking for prayers for her family. Both of her brothers and one sister-in-law have Covid. Her father had it too, but he passed on Thursday. One brother has been in ICU for three weeks and had to be ventilated this weekend. The family have been told that the damage to his lungs is so great that, even if he somehow pulls through this, he'll be permanently disabled. The father was actually vaccinated, but no one else had been, and now my friend is terrified that she'll get infected too. So much pain and now fear that could almost certainly have been avoided ... Regarding the OP, we are doing fine in my jurisdiction at this point. No community transmission of Covid-19 in over a year. But our neighbouring jurisdictions are locked down as the Delta variant begins running rampant. Hospitals are still OK but filling, especially ICUs. Now the deaths are starting to rack up as well, still mostly in the older population but as young as 30s. One of the deaths last week was a woman in her 50s, infected by one or both of her children, who chose to isolate at home following diagnosis. They're fine. She's gone. No worship services of any kind are occurring in neighbouring jurisdictions. Our ward straddles the border, and at this point, members who live on the other side are allowed to travel to church services here. We think that will remain the case, but who knows? If Delta starts spreading that close to us, we'll probably have to stop church services as well. We're still limited to only half our pews. We actually have the option of going back to using all the pews, but the condition for that is no singing. The decision to continue congregational singing was pretty much unanimous. Our priests wear masks and gloves. Our deacons do not, but the bread is still served with tongs. We're now allowed to use one tray for the water. Still no communal hymn books. Our chapels, like all other indoor venues, require each person over the age of 16 to check in electronically upon entry. We are in the process of planning our stake conference, and we of course can't accommodate the entire stake in our buildings. We'll be streaming to members who have good internet access and reserving the chapel for those who don't, speakers, those offering prayers, those singing, and then whoever else gets tickets before they're gone.
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