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Mormonism - Vax - Exemption ?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am curious if Mormonism is a valid religion to have an exemption under?

I know that if anyone asks what religion you are you don't have to tell them. But I am curious what actual religions fall under the religious exemption for not getting vaccinated. Mormons don't believe in putting harmful stuff into the body, ex coffee, smoking, drugs. So would vaccinations fall under this same clause as far as the religious beliefs?

What other religions fall under the exemption? Is it possible that one would have to disclose such information as to what religion they are? Like in court? How far does "I don't have to say" really go?

Also, I am a member of the church but am not currently active so I wouldn't go and join the church just for the exemption, and I wouldn't lie and say I was Mormon if I really wasn't just for the exemption. I don't follow all of the rules of the church but I still believe in not putting harmful substances into your body, I don't smoke, do drugs, drink coffee, very little alcohol or caffeine.

I am going to cross post this in both spirituality and vaccination forums.

P.S. I just got a call from the health department and have to mail them a copy of my religious exemption (only medical and religious exemptions accepted in my state) as well as give one to my sons doctor for his medical records. I am prepared to fight tooth and nail but I want to know how much ground I actually have to stand on.
post #2 of 16
Well, I'm not totally sure how a religious exemption works as far as if you have to disclose your religion, but the church does not have a stand on vaxes.

Actually, several general authorities have recommended vaxes, but you have to remember that we are a world-wide church...so that counsel might be very important to those in less developed countries.

But...you are correct that we do our best to avoid harmful substances, and I would consider the things in vaxes to be harmful. The church is also against abortion, and several vaxcines are made with aborted fetal tissue.

You might be able to argue it. I'm not sure. Do your research and stand your ground.

Good luck!!
post #3 of 16
I suggest you move this question over to the vax board. However, I believe it's been mentioned several times that under your constitution you can be a religion of one, and not have to belong to any mainstream religion or "prove" your belief. I'd check into the laws for your state to see how far you can stretch it.

Check this link- I notice you put your location as North Carolina.
post #4 of 16
Our Church's general authorities recommend (but do not command) vaxing, even for our own children. We select and delay vax. I would not be able (in my own mind and heart) to claim a religious exemption for vaxing on the basis that I am a Latter-day Saint.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by InfoisPower
I suggest you move this question over to the vax board. However, I believe it's been mentioned several times that under your constitution you can be a religion of one, and not have to belong to any mainstream religion or "prove" your belief. I'd check into the laws for your state to see how far you can stretch it.

Check this link- I notice you put your location as North Carolina.
Thanks for the link but from the way I am reading it it states that it has to be an organized religion, I can't just say "I religiously believe ____".
No child shall be exempt from the requirements of immunizations for the case of a personal belief or philosophy of a parent or guardian not founded upon a religious belief.
Also, thanks for mentioning the aborted fedal tissue vaccinations, I hadn't even thought about that. But I do know the churches view on abortion and would personally not give a vax that contained such tissues.

I did post this in the vaccination forum (which I mentioned in my original post) but I see this as being a religious issue as well, that is why I cross posted. I don't want to start vaccination discussions in this forum, but this is a religion question.
post #6 of 16
I amde myself crazy worrying about this! I live in Mass, and it's different by state, but my kids have gone to camp in other states, etc.

All I ever have to do is sign a paper the school presented to me. I was never asked anything.

If they did? MY plan was to say I was a 'Solitary Wiccan', meaning no coven or higher ups to ask. It is MY religious belief that the higher power would NOT want me to put those poisons into my kids. Oh, excpet for tetnus, cause we live in farm country and the Killer Polio virus, cause the VIRUS is dead. No one ever questioned these inconsistencies, either.

Don't worry, you can always move here!
post #7 of 16
I see the part you quote, I just interpret it differently.
1) Under the U.S constitution you have freedom of religion - ergo it doesn't have to be organised religion, although you claim to be LDS and I understand that you're looking for church policy on that.
2) If you look further down on the page they have an example of an exemption letter and the statute and this statement which clears you of potential problems - "you DO NOT have to belong to any organized religion to claim your religious exemption, and the signature of a representative of a religious order is NOT required to obtain an exemption. It must only be your genuine, bona fide religious belief." Then comes a bit more and the following:


SECTION 130A-157. Religious exemption. - If the bona fide religious beliefs of an adult or the parent, guardian or person in loco parentis of a child are contrary to the immunization requirements contained in this Part [Chapter 130A, Article 6, Part B], the adult or the child shall be exempt from the requirements. Upon submission of a written statement of the bona fide religious beliefs and opposition to the immunization requirements, the person may attend the college, university, school or facility without presenting a certificate of immunization.

Pursuant to the aforementioned N.C.G.S. 130A-157, I, the undersigned, declare the immunization requirements as set forth in N.C.G.S. 130A-152 contrary to my bona fide religious beliefs and request, as permitted by the law, an exemption from the immunization requirements of your institution for myself or the undersigned minor child under my legal care or guardianship.

I hereby release your institution, __________________________________________________ _, its owners, staff, or representatives, from any liability based on health impairment resulting as a direct consequence of this exemption.

NAME _________________________________________




PHONE ________________________________________

DATE _________________________________________

___ Check here if declaring exemption for a minor child and enter child's name below.

MINOR CHILD'S NAME _________________________________________




post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks InfoisPower, I didn't read down far enough but the exemption form you quoted is the one I use, but in Acrobate reader format. I am getting concerned now because I got a call from the heath department asking for a copy of our exemption form. The head doctor at our peds office turned us in. With his reaction to us not vaxing I am sure he would love to try and 'force' us to vax. I just want to have some leg to stand on, KWIM?

Thanks for your responces.
post #9 of 16
Well depends on the official stance on abortion. Some vaccines are grown on tissues from stem cells and aborted babies.

Also there is scripture I'm sure that talks about your body being a temple of God and keeping it holy and healthy. You could state that putting chemicals in your body is something you try to avoid and you don't agree in the chemicals in the vaxes.
post #10 of 16
The only religion that I know for a fact prohibits vaccinations is Christian Science. There are others, but this one I do know for an absolute fact.
post #11 of 16
We are LDS and claim religious exemption now even though my son was vaxed all the way up to MMR but not chicken pox or Hep B (on a delayed schedule). When we know better, we do better, and even personal religious belief can change.

In my state (VA), a notarized statement using their form is required that it is against my or my child's bona fide religious beliefs. There is no philosophical exemption allowed in Virginia. Initially I thought I would have a problem with claiming religious exemption because my CHURCH is generally pro-vax until I read up on a few court cases involving vax exemptions and learned the legal difference between personal religious belief and church tenets. You can learn more at www.NVIC.org (the national vaccine information center).

The only time they really "check" in my state is when you go to school or daycare. I simply had our ped fill out the health form, then included our notarized exemption form for the preschool. Also offered to provide a copy of our exemption form to our pediatrician (just to keep them from turning US in!). They said that wasn't necessary.

That's really sucky that your ped reported you. Are you looking for a new ped? Once you turn in your form, you shouldn't hear from the Health department again and if you do, you can tell them you will get in touch with them through your attorney. (There are several listed on the NVIC website if you ever need to make good on your threat, but you probably won't have to.)
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Lisa. We are in NC and they only allow medical or religious exemptions. I printed out a form, typed in all the info, then signed it and mailed it to the health department. They called me back and said it wasn't good enough, I needed a hand written and signed note.

I have very little options for peds that my medical coverage will cover. DH is military so we have 100% coverage if we go with the doctors they allow. Our peds office or going on base are the only two options, the ladder only has 2 docs and very bad hours (9am - 4pm Mon - Thur) and it takes a while to get an appointment. However, off base has great hours (8am - 8pm Mon - Fri, 8am - 5pm Sat & Sun) and tons of docs and PAs and nurses, so it is easy to get an appointment.

I am going to hand write the letter then mail it off again on Monday. I just want to make them happy so they will go away. Oh and I will use the lawyer responce if they say anything else.
post #13 of 16
I would talk to someone at NVIC before sending them a handwritten note. I don't think legally they can ask for this once you have fulfilled the legal requirement. I would provide for them a copy of the language of the statute regarding religious exemptions and state that you have fulfilled your legal obligations by providing the exemption form. Determining religious belief is not a health matter. This is harassment.
post #14 of 16
Personally, I think someone in the health department is on a power trip.
post #15 of 16

You could always take your child to a chiropractor that deals in general wellness and preventive medicine. They usually aren't very expensive, and then you'd have a doctor that would be MORE than happy to sign off on vax exemption.

Quoting scriptures, I'm told, in your handwritten defense, usually locks it in (or at least I've been told by several parents. Public health officials aren't scriptorians and they don't want to get into it with you. A good one I've used is “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods (I Corinthians 6:19,20)"  And then mention the fetus tissue thing - again, a hot button no one wants to debate with you on, that is a stance shared by many large, organize Christian faiths (whether it be your faith or not)

post #16 of 16

This is information I found years ago and found very useful.




Excerpted from Innovation, Spring 2000 issue By: James Filenbaum


A great deal of concern regarding immunizations has recently been given considerable media attention. While many people are now looking at alternative information sources as to the choice of whether to have their children immunized, their rights are often not clearly explained. As an attorney who has represented many people who have secured exemptions from immunizations, and has won the leading Federal Court cases which have expanded on peoples’ rights to claim exemptions from immunizations, I have become particularly familiar with this area of the law.


Most States only allow an exemption from immunizations for children attending school based upon religious beliefs or by a licensed physician signing a certificate indicating that the immunizations are contraindicated. Some States have taken a more liberal approach in the enactment of statutes that allow for children to be admitted into school attendance based upon the parents’ request for an exemption.


Securing the medical exemption is extremely difficult since only those criteria approved by the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics as contraindication for each immunization are considered valid by school districts or Health Departments. Therefore, requests for medical reasons are extremely limited.


Valid claims for exemption from immunizations based upon religious beliefs now encompass PERSONAL religious beliefs. This is a much broader base than was possible before we won several landmark cases. A great number of people fail to utilize this right to a religious exemption because they view religion in traditional terms and do not feel the exemption can apply to them because they are not members of a specific church, such as the Christian Scientists.


Religion goes far beyond simple membership in a church, attendance of services, adherence to prescribed dogma, or participation in various rituals. While an exact definition of what would constitute a “religious belief” sufficient to qualify for the religious exemption from immunizations, is whether the adherents’ beliefs and faiths occupy a place in their lives parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God held by others; or any other “sincere religious beliefs which are based upon a power or being, or upon a faith to which all else is subordinate or upon which all else is ultimately dependent.” U.S. Vs. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965), Sherr and Levy vs. Northport East-Northport Union Free School district, 672 F.Supp 81, (E.D.N.Y. 1987)


The right to claim exemption from immunizations based on religious beliefs is available to all persons who hold religious beliefs against immunizations regardless of what any state statute may say regarding the necessity for membership in any particular religious group or church.The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from discriminating between people based on their religious beliefs. If there is any state law that allows for exemption based on religious beliefs, it is available to all those people who hold religious beliefs against immunization even if their beliefs are personal and unique to them alone.

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