A Triptych on Fasting, Latter-day Saints, Muslims, Anti-COVID Vaccinations, Dan Vogel, and the Book of Abraham

A Triptych on Fasting, Latter-day Saints, Muslims, Anti-COVID Vaccinations, Dan Vogel, and the Book of Abraham April 12, 2021


A note from D. Todd Christofferson
A reader named Doug Ealy just called this to my attention. I was very pleased to see it and I hope that Elder Christofferson won’t mind my sharing it further.  It’s not connected with the material below, but I thought it worthy of note.




First, I want to pass along these items from Sam LeFevre, a reader of this blog and, if I’m not mistaken, the director of the Bureau of Epidemiology in the Utah Department of Health.  I share them with his kind permission, and with the understanding that they represent his opinions and do not speak for the State of Utah, because I think that what they have to say is urgently important:


There is a formula that is used by epidemiologists to determine what level of herd immunity is needed to control the virus. The formula is 1 – (1/R0). R0 (R naught) is the wild reproductive factor of the virus (where “reproductive” refers to the ability to generate cases of infection and disease, not viral progeny). For COVID the wild R0 is thought to be between 2.4 and 3.1, with a pooled analysis saying it was about 2.7. This suggests that we need about 63% of the population to either have effective natural immunity (I’ve recently described what “effective” means elsewhere) or acquired (vaccine induced) immunity. That level of herd immunity needs to be uniform across the whole population.

If the level of immunity is not uniform (say 80% in Salt Lake City, and 40% in Provo), wherever there are pockets where the virus is able to continue to propagate, the likelihood of the emergence of a variant that can escape immunity increases. RNA viruses mutate fast. We already have the emergence of foreign variants that can partially escape immunity. The latest is the double mutation variant from India (B.1.617) and the even more troublesome French variant (“le variant Breton”).

My fear is that those who resist vaccine put the whole state population at risk of going through this whole ordeal again. And I don’t think I can survive another year like the last (I’m tired of the hate mail).

Anyway, some might find this interesting: Five reasons why COVID herd immunity is probably impossibleNature, March 18, 2021..

Heading off the accusations: I am sharing this not to incite fear (although I’ve admitted I have some). I am hoping to just provide some educational information and perhaps some incentive.

Disclaimer: These thoughts are my personal opinions. Hopefully somewhat informed opinions that others might find profitable. I do not represent or speak for any state government agency or policy-making body.


More about R0 and Rt. Rt is the current reproductive number. It is most useful in forecasting models, but has an additional interpretation. If Rt is greater than 1.0 the epidemic is growing and out of control. If Rt is less than 1.0 the epidemic is declining and in control. The lower the Rt, the better the control.

The whole idea behind the non-pharmaceutical interventions (or NPI = mask wearing, social distancing, gathering restrictions, etc.) was to “flatten the curve” OR reduce the Rt, until a pharmaceutical intervention (anti-viral drugs, vaccine, monoclonal antibodies) could be developed.

If one is interested, one can find a reasonable estimate of the current Rt for Utah here (click on the map): National and Subnational estimates for the United States of America.

Check this again in about 14 and 28 days to see what the ending of the mask mandate did.




I haven’t been doing as well at sharing these valuable materials from Jeff Lindsay as I should have been:


“Just Started Dan Vogel’s New Book: Already Chagrined by the Treatment of Champollion”


Many Hits But Plenty of Misses in Vogel’s Book: Part 2 of My Review of Book of Abraham Apologetics”


Missing Some of the Most Important Questions, Documents, and Evidences: Part 3 of My Review of Dan Vogel’s Book”


“A Highlight from Dan Vogel’s Book: A Clever Explanation for the Most Obvious Evidence of Scribes Using an Existing Translation in Making the Book of Abraham Manuscripts”


“Geocentric Astronomy in the Book of Abraham? Dan Vogel’s Refutation of LDS Scholars”


“Trying to Take the Shine off Shinehah: Vogel’s Response to a Commonly Cited Evidence for Book of Abraham Authenticity”


Also these:


The Valediction of Moses: A 2,700-Year-Old Biblical Document Long Said to Be a Forgery Gains New Respect”


“New Scholarship on the Influence of the Small Plates on Mormon’s Writings”



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