WE ARE STILL MEETING
Some of you may have been wondering about the status of the conference given the present concern about COVID-19. Have no doubt, we will still be holding the conference on Shavuot weekend of 2021 (May 21-22), and this has always been our plan.
Concerns over issues relating to the virus are real and valid. Life and Living (which are not the same thing) come with inherent risks and rewards, and everyone eventually dies. It is up to each of us to balance those things – it is our Right to do so. We take no issue with wearing masks, we do take issue with it being forced. We take no issue with a business owner shutting their own doors, we do take issue with government officials gratifying their pride and vain ambition, and exercising control, dominion, and compulsion over the souls of men, and forcing businesses to close upon threat of violence (men with guns and badges will eventually come). Government officials who do such things brazenly violate the Supreme Law of the Land, fight against God, and persecute the saints; and yet, we know by sad experience to expect nothing less. It is the nature and disposition of almost all men to do so, once they get a little authority as they suppose.
Many of the heavy burdens our nation faced in 2020 were due to the tyrannical and foolish policies foisted upon the people by their government officials (including an absolute glut of appointed policy makers who have taken it upon themselves to enact “law”, as they call it) who did not have any delegated powers to do so. Their hypocrisy and hostility towards the American People has been on open display. They claim to have authority to abridge our God-Given Rights to assemble, practice religion, speak and print freely, keep and bear arms, travel, conduct trade, work for our living, and petition for redress of grievances (among other things); all of which are more dear to us than Life.
They have imposed many tyrannical and nonsensical policies (COVID is more dangerous after 9:00pm; everyone must stay 6ft apart at the airport until they are crammed together in a full airplane sharing each other’s air for hours in flight while 6 inches apart; you must wear a mask to be seated in a restaurant, then take it off while you are eating; you can be arrested for being at an empty public park; you may go to the beach, but may not sit down; you may go fishing on a boat, but may not use the motor, some businesses are essential while others are not, big businesses are favored while small businesses are closed, large gatherings are only allowed if they will bring in tax revenue, etc., etc., etc.)! They have never been delegated powers to regulate any of these things (nor a host of other activities which they have undertaken to control).
O, blind guides! They have driven numerous businesses to bankruptcy, and multitudes to unemployment; have spread fear and depression far and wide; have damaged our social interactions and dehumanized us, and have caused untold harm to our nation and its people. All the while, our law-makers have felt themselves to be exceptions to their own rules. They apologize when they are caught violating their own orders – when they should be apologizing for making them! The 23rd Chapter of Matthew applies very well to this den of vipers.
Regardless of your position on the seriousness of the virus, or the seriousness of the violations of our Rights, things are looking very good for our conference based on the numbers. Utah has a population of about 3.2m , and there have been about 360k confirmed cases of COVID-19 (at the time this page was written). However, the case count (this consists of people who have had symptoms and been tested positive) is quite underreported in comparison to the number of infections. This is due to a variety of factors, including the fact that roughly 80% of infections with the SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic, or have symptoms so slight that the infected persons aren’t bothered enough to seek any sort of treatment (including testing).
A study by the CDC last year, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the infection count is anywhere from 6 to 24 times larger than the case count. If we make a conservative estimate (multiply it by 6), then there have been about 2.2m infections in Utah, which is already close to 70% of the entire population. This web page was written mid-February, and those numbers will be higher in May. The case counts are plummeting everywhere, have been for months, and this has nothing to do with the vaccine.
However, the vaccines are also out, and are being administered at a relatively rapid rate. There have currently been administered about 125k completed vaccines (both doses) in Utah, and it is estimated that 80% of all Utahn adults will have received the vaccine by the end of May (which is when our conference will be held regardless). By then, the combination of natural and vaccinated immunity should be quite near 100%.
Nevertheless, this will not necessarily ensure public sanity on the subject. There are plenty of folks saying that you must still keep wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings, businesses shut down (totally or partially), etc. – even if you have been vaccinated, or have already cleared an infection. In other words, the vaccine doesn’t change anything for your day-to-day life. They are pushing for us all to accept this dystopian state of affairs as, “The New Normal”. We reject such foolishness.
The Conference will not be placing, nor enforcing, any restrictions on healthy conference attendees. Social distancing and the wearing of masks will not be compulsory, nor even encouraged. We expect that those persons who are sick, at risk, or otherwise concerned will take responsibility and appropriate action for their own protection.
If you are the kind of person who is offended at the assertion of personal liberty, rights, and responsibilities, or are fearful of gathering with your fellow human beings (for one reason or another), then we wish you well, but this activity probably isn’t for you.