Friday, June 17, 2022

Another one bites the dust (it's me!)

Slowly piecing things together...

A small family—husband, wife, baby, and, I presume, grandmother—are "too sick" to come to church but they send uncle and grandfather anyway.


October 15, 2021—the following email was sent from a councilor in the bishopric to a handful of people, me included although I had voiced several times that we are not attending in person:

Brothers and Sisters,

I normally don’t do this but I find myself in a bit of a jam.  The sacrament speakers scheduled for Sunday have come down with colds and are unable to speak. 

If any of you would be willing to take a quick assignment to speak this Sunday, please let me know.
I respond:
I spent the night in the hospital with preterm labour. We’re home now (and still pregnant), but still trying to be careful. Sorry I can’t help. 

He replies:

Fully understand. Thank you for responding. We wish you the best.  

No one checked in on us. Cool.

June 10, 2022 he does it again:

Young Men and Young Women that attended seminary this year:

This Sunday’s sacrament meeting is dedicated to the seminary program.  Due to some last-minute conflicts, some of our speakers are not available.  I would ask that each of the seminary students be prepared to speak for 2-4 minutes about your experience with seminary this year.

Rachel and Miriam have been attending church because I caved to societal pressure. Because people miss seeing them. Because there are so few. Because they'll be safe. Because we can't continue to live in fear. Because you can't feel the spirit unless we're together. Always masked. Always, always masked.

I do not send my little kids because they are impressionable. They will cave to "let me see your beautiful smiles" and "you don't have to wear a mask anymore, don'tcha know?" Because grown ups have power.

But I send my big girls. They are tired of staying home, after all. For a while everyone masks. For a while activities are held outside. But soon people are tired of masks, tired of being outside. But we keep sending our girls because we are fools

So Rachel prepares a talk, which she delivers at the podium after the previously mentioned grandfather and uncle give the opening prayer and a lengthy address. She removes her mask—because everyone who spoke did! Because we were instructed to remove our mask at the podium, speak, put our mask back on.

When Andrew spoke in church he didn't. Take his mask off, that is. He left it on. 

But Rachel was flustered. She didn't want to speak in the first place. And she just followed suit. 

And I don't blame her for that, just as I don't blame the family who sent their healthy members to church. That's what we do! If you don't attend, you lack faith, see?

It's likely this family doesn't know they have COVID. We've had a few "spats" with them before, regarding safety measures in place for youth activities hosted at their house. not sure they believe in COVID. 

But I do. 

I can feel its grip around my neck, humming in my spine, squeezing my elbows, hips, wrists, ankles, squeezing every joint in every finger. 

Yesterday, before I developed symptoms, when I was shaking with rage, I wrote a very short email to the bishopric (I had to edit out a lot):

What, may I ask, were the "last minute conflicts" that prevented speakers from attending on Sunday? 

C______ mentioned in his talk that his brother wasn't able to speak because he was "too sick" to come to church. I assume this is the reason Rachel (and other seminary-aged youth) was asked to speak. Do we know if his family are sick with COVID? 

I explain that Rachel has tested positive for COVID. I explain her symptoms and timeline. I say:

In addition, I have gotten word that M________ has also tested positive for COVID today. Her husband gave the closing prayer on Sunday. That would be the only link between her and Rachel that I am aware of and given the timeline of their symptoms, it seems a suspicious link to me. 

I get in response:

First, I am sorry that Rachel is not feeling well, especially if it is COVID. 

If? IFFFFFFFFF?! Friend—she tested positive, she is miserable. I don't want to discuss the whether! I want to discuss politics!

He continues:

C_____'s family, as far as I know, did not have COVID. Some of the other youth (seniors) were not available for various reasons none of them associated with COVID. 

When Rachel was at the stand, she was separated by more than 6 feet from anyone else but your points are well taken. 

My understanding is that COVID has up to two weeks to manifest symptoms so Rachel may have come in contact with someone at church or elsewhere. I hope that everyone else in your household is well and continues to be well. Thank goodness the current strain’s symptoms are much less problematic than earlier strains. 

As far as masks go, that is now a personal choice. I know I wear a mask in certain circumstances. I wore one yesterday and will be wearing one today when I go to a confined place with people I am unfamiliar. 

 Let it be known that like three families wear masks at church. And no one ever shows up wearing them on occasion—like something that would hint that they were exposed but hadn't tested positive, etc. etc. Because we're supposed to limit contact and wear mask after a known exposure. So I guess we can just assume that no one at church has ever been exposed. 

Lucky liars them.

We have spent the last two years doing virtually nothing and we are. It's inconceivable to me that everyone else can simply go about their business and never be exposed.

True that we went to the pool. But every time we've gone lately the pool has been virtually empty. Gotta love summer camp season. No kids are around!

I get snarky. Which may have been out of line. 

But on the other hand...ifffffffff?!

Church is the one place Rachel goes, against my better judgement. I fail to see where else she could have gotten it. But thanks for explaining how transmission works. I, too, have read things about COVID. 

I’d point you to further reading on that, such as how “Research shows that the virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours. It can get into your lungs if someone who has it breathes out and you breathe that air in” (see web MD).

See also: “Since COVID-19 is transmitted through contact with respiratory fluids carrying the infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus, a person can be exposed by an infected person coughing or speaking near them. They can also be exposed by inhaling aerosol particles that are spreading away from the infected person. Transmission of COVID-19 from inhalation of virus in the air can occur at distances greater than six feet. Particles from an infected person can move throughout an entire room or indoor space. The particles can also linger in the air after a person has left the room – they can remain airborne for hours in some cases” (that’s from the EPA).

But I appreciate my concerns being swept aside once again. It puts my heart at ease to know that this is simply a matter of personal preference and not at all anything I should be overly concerned about. Phew. 

We certainly don’t have any obligation to try and prevent the spread by doing any sort of contact tracing or mitigation efforts. That would be crazy!

I inform him that we will no longer be attending any indoor activities. Andrew will continue to play the organ. And then he will be coming home. Of course, he'll have to find a substitute for this week. Unless he's still testing negative, in which case I guess it would be polite to still have him show up and fulfill his calling, amirite? (That's sarcasm, by the way; I can dream about attending church and sneezing in every unmasked face, but I would never actually do that—it would be one of those horrible punishments that are impossible to fulfill because I would run out of saliva to sneeze with before I ran out of stupid, naked faces. Also, it would be irresponsible. Obviously).

Nancy, we have all been and continue to be impacted by COVID in very personal ways. I was not trying to belittle your concerns or educate you on how COVID is transmitted. 

I agree that the current COVID strain is very contagious and can be passed along in many ways. As you stated below, it can be spread for a period of time even after the infected person leaves the area. That being the case, there are numerous opportunities for any of us to come in contact with it, anywhere that we go.  We cannot eliminate the potential that Rachel was exposed while in the church building, just as we cannot eliminate the potential that she was exposed somewhere else - even if it was for a short period of time. 

At this point I'm about ready to scream because, shut up already! I'm not talking about eliminating all risk, I'm talking about doing anything to mitigate the spread (specifically contact tracing because apparently this virus is contagious).
I hope that Rachel has a strong immune system and quickly recovers.  Moreover, I hope she does not spread the virus to anyone else in your household. 

Be assured that we ALWAYS tell those that are COVID positive to stay home and participate in church meetings via Zoom for the recommended 10 day quarantine period.  That is one of the reasons we have kept the Zoom meetings. 

Again, save it. Y'all keep pressuring us to attend in-person. Y'all cut off Zoom completely for a number of weeks. Y'all have the link secret. Y'all sent it out with a big DO NOT SHARE THIS LINK WITH ANYONE warning. And no one is ever on there! So I can assume that no one ever has need to isolate due to COVID. After all, it's impossible to isolate for something that maybe exists (but maybe not...I'm still on the fence here...eye roll). 

It's kind of a matter of personal preference whether we want to believe in a virus or not. If you're too afraid to show your face, you can mask...if you want. But no one else is going to. Because freedom!

Americans! And their idiotic, incessant use of the word "freedom!"

Bunch of morons. 

As with anything that we do, we will continue to listen to the best advice possible to ensure that we look after the best interests of the whole person - whether that be temporal matters including heath (physical/mental) and spiritual.  

As with anything that you do, you will continue to ignore the best advice possible to ensure that we look after the ninety-and-nine while casting other—fearful, unfaithful—members aside. We will ask you over and over to just give it up already and come in person. Because Zoom is hard. And it makes us sad. Because we like to see teeth in-person and not over a camera. And we can't wear masks when we're together because—again—it's the teeth that are important for mental and spiritual well-being. 

I understand that we are all in different places and circumstances in our lives.  We take action based on our understanding of what is going on around us.  Everyone will not interpret things in the same way all of the time, even within the same family.

There are many things that we (collectively) will agree on and some that we will not. That is one of the wonderful challenges that we work through in this life. I am so grateful for the restored gospel and living prophets to help us understand more clearly our Heavenly Father’s plan. At least that is one area that should eventually bring us closer together. 

I do look forward to the day when everyone will be able to attend church and the temple without having to worry about health issues - even in the least bit.  

In the meantime, enjoy your COVID! Relish every chill, savour the pain in your spine that makes it difficult to sit up. Go to bed blissfully thinking about how you're going to manage to keep your breastfed baby safe, your four-year-old safe, your seven-year-old safe, your ten-year-old safe, your twelve-year-old safe, your husband safe, your father-in-law safe. 

Join us when you're feeling better (and don't hesitate to send anyone who's feeling "fine" in the mean time...apparently)!

In the meantime, I keep getting texts from people at church:

Oh, so sorry to hear! Can I do anything for you?

I want to say, "Wear a mask!" but...I know that request will fall on deaf ears. I'm only glad that Rachel, asymptomatic, unaware of exposure, wore a mask when she went to that stupid indoor church activity.

People—neighbours, Andrew's students—have been mailing us tests, which is wonderful because the eight tests we received from the government were gone in a flash. And they all expire in July, anyway, so I guess people feel they're better used than not. 

I assume all our fellow church-goers have used their tests. Or never ordered them. 

So, I'm worried—how do I keep feeding my baby?—and I'm angry—not at any person in particular but at the complete failure of society to do any sort of collective action at all.


  1. Yikes! Hope you and Rachel feel better soon, and that the others are spared.

  2. A few months ago, I went to the Provo Temple, because at previous visits I'd seen that there was 100% masking. To get an appointment, we had to electronically sign that we would follow strict Covid protocols. Additionally, there was a large poster reinforcing the instructions at the recommend desk. When I got into the session, I could see that several patrons were not masked, and I could hear more than one person coughing throughout the session. One unmasked cough-er happened to be a ward member (and cancer survivor!). Needless to say, the Spirit may have been there, but it was impossible for me to feel it.
    It staggers the mind to see former bishops and RS presidents choosing to ignore the instructions of the Prophet! I grieve, because if a dam were to burst, or an earthquake were to strike, these would be the first people to rush to the aid of others, grabbing their protective gear, or their sandbags as they came. There is no other word to describe it but "deceived", and I pray that I am protected from it. I pray for the ability to forgive. It will take a super-human miracle. I'm not there yet.