Jennifer asked, in response to my recent blogs on immunization, about her son going on a church mission. The LDS Church requires a service or proselyting missionary to be current on shots–even seniors.
This blog entry applies only to LDS people concerned about vaccines who want to go on a mission or send a child on one. I called my mother, who recently served an 18-month mission in Italy with my father. She is extremely well read about the pharmaceutical industry and has been a guest on radio shows because of the level to which she has educated herself.
My mother called the church’s committee and spoke to a nurse there about her desire to avoid shots. (My mom is a rather tenacious person.) The nurse told my mom, “If you are not willing to be vaccinated, you will not leave your hometown to go on a mission.” She explained that the church doesn’t want to accept responsibility if a missionary needs to come home early. (The church does pay for missionaries to fly home.) My mom asked, may I sign a legal waiver? No. Even if I hire the attorney to put the legal waiver together? No.
Mom wanted desperately to go on a mission (supporting two Air Force bases in Northern Italy). Enough to get the shots. But she found a source to get immunized without the preservatives in the shots, and this helped her feel a LITTLE better. My parents paid $960 out of pocket for this, at a pharmacy, instead of shots their insurance paid for.
Mom also didn’t want the required mammogram (which she believes, from her research, to cause rather than prevent breast cancer). She ran into the same roadblock. She was able to negotiate to be allowed to use thermography instead of mammography. She went to Dr. Marietta Bergdorf, a naturopath in Bountiful, Utah. She was trained in holistic medicine in Europe but practices under an M.D. in order to have full rights.
Dr. Bergdorf said her son was in Switzerland on a mission and was not immunized. The doctor told my mother there is a statute in Utah law that you can’t discriminate on the basis of whether you immunize or not. She wrote a letter to the church and quoted Utah law, and they allowed her son to go without shots to her native country.
My mom said if she goes on another mission, she will put herself in Dr. Bergdorf’s care; the doctor told my mother she would help her accomplish the same objective.
My mother’s kinesiologist, Brandon Nielsen, is personal friends with the chiropractor just recently accepted on the church’s medical board. My mother asked him, “How can the brethren take the stand they take when the scriptures so clearly state that we will be healed by our foods and herbs?” Dr. Nielsen had the same concern and had asked his friend, who said it’s not the general authorities taking that stand. The GA’s have delegated to this medical committee the authority to make and set church policy. The brethren are not anti-“alternative”–they just allow a medical committee to set policy while they focus on other things.
This blog post has been a THIRD HAND RECOUNTING of someone else’s experience and story. I have simply interviewed and reported the quotes. However, you must do your own research, and I cannot vouch for the veracity of all the statements herein. Dr. Bergdorf’s phone number in Bountiful is 801-397-2273, and she practices at 469 Medical Dr. Suite 100.