First of all I’m a big fan! So, with Covid-19 President Nelson instructed members to stop meetings, closed churches and temples,but did not talk specifically about stop to work in their jobs. Here in Brazil, our country president, instructed the people to work ( who needs to and can do it, like people who sell things, barbers, etc. ) Most of the members used Pres. Nelson’s declaration to say that is wrong to work and we should not do it. What do you think about it? What should we do?
Thank you for the question. In our scriptures we have the following Article of Faith #12, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” Personally, I think this should suffice in answering your question pertaining to President Nelson’s instruction to the members of the Church and the use of Church buildings; however, let’s review some other scriptures.
Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not?
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. (emphasis mine)
The first verses of scripture, particularly the last verse, explains that we should give unto our government (remembering Article of Faith #12) what is our governments, and unto God the things that are God’s.
The second verses of scripture, again particularly the last emphasized verse, explains that we also shouldn’t offend our government unnecessarily. If we are to honor the laws of the land, then we should also honor just decisions.
President Nelson’s statement is specific to what is God’s, and that is the Church buildings and anything related to Church activity. No more, no less. We do not want to add to what a prophet has given counsel for. This is the reason why we aren’t having mutual, youth activities, primary activities at the Church also. These activities fall under the purview of our prophet, President Nelson. If President Nelson decided to make a statement regarding staying at home — no matter what — he would have been clear on that.
I assume we can then ask the question, “What if someone works for the Church.” Well, then that is God’s, and President Nelson or whoever is in charge of those places of employment will make a clear and distinct statement to those who are employed there. Simple as that.
The country President is providing counsel according to his purview. In the United States we also are receiving local recommendations of opening up specific practices where people can get back to work and provide for their families. These are good things.
If a member feels they should stay home and not go to work, then that is their choice, but they should leave President Nelson’s statement to what he said and not add anything to it. They can make the choice to stay home, despite your local governments decisions.